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Friday, July 09, 2004

I was out and about downtown a few evenings back when I stopped in at my favorite coffeehouse and got myself a hot cup of java to go.

No sooner had I continued on my jaunt when I started having hot flashes.

Could it merely be the balmy 99-degree nighttime temperature in July combined with hot coffee -- or was it something else?

That's when a friend commented, "Maybe it’s menopause, dude!"

That was enough to send me into an emotional tailspin I have yet to recover from. I now find myself crying uncontrollably for absolutely no good reason. Oh sweet Jesus, I'm only in my 30s! And a man! Could it really be menopause? Stranger things have happened, you know. The human body is tricky business and doctors don't know everything.

I knew I needed medical answers, but fast, so went to the most reliable source I know:

The Internet.

After polishing off a gallon of Cherry Garcia ice cream, I logged onto womentowomen.com and took the "Hormonal Health Profile" in order to rule out this menopause thing once and for all.

First, What My Body Was Telling Me -

I have hot flashes or night sweats...
What do you think started this whole business? And if I wasn't sweating before, I am now.

I have insomnia or disturbed sleep...
If I can sleep four hours straight, I'm lucky. I find I've been sleeping even less since this menopause business came up.

I feel very tired, especially in the afternoon...
Only when I'm not napping.

I am irritable, sad or depressed...
Please, don't get me started again. I'm barely maintaining now and don't need a statement like this -- it only upsets me further.

I feel that I've gained weight compared to last year...
I know, for a fact, I've gained at least 5 pounds in the last year. Give or take a few pounds.

My interest in sex isn't what it used to be...
Interest? It's been so long, I'd be happy to just remember sex much less show an interest.

I crave sweets, carbohydrates or alcohol...
Im to drnk to ty pe write nOW and too BUsY eyeing that boX of chocolates. Let me gt back to u on this ONe.

I suffer from vaginal dryness...
Finally, a "no" answer! Woo-hoo! There's still hope!

I am forgetful, fuzzy-minded or confused...
I'm sorry, what was that statement again?

I am anxious or have anxiety attacks...
What if this quiz indicates I'm menopausal? Holy crap, what will I do then? Like I don't have enough to worry about! Please God please... help me.

I have tension headaches or migraines...
All the time. Very painful. But it's nothing a handful of aspirin, or one well placed bullet, can't fix.

I feel stiff or achy in my joints, especially in the morning...
"Stiff and Achy" is more or less my motto and way of life.

I sometimes feel overwhelmed or just not myself...
I can't even answer this one. Too overwhelming. I don't even have the energy to try.

Next… What Demands I'm Making of My Body -

Are you being treated for any disease or serious condition?
Not currently; but suspect I'll be treated for menopause quite soon, thank you very much.

Is your work a source of stress for you?
It's work. Duh!

Do you skip meals or follow popular diet plans?
I often skip meals. Or, as I call it, "forgetting to eat." As for popular diets, is fast food considered a "popular diet"? If so, then the answer is a resounding YES.

Do you feel overscheduled and rushed?
What's with all the rapid-fire questioning here? Slow down already!

Are you taking more than one prescription medication?
God, I only wish.

Do you experience a lot of conflict or stress in your relationships?
Only when it gets to the point at which the relationship blows up in my face. So I guess you could say I have "a lot of conflict and stress" at regular intervals... but, otherwise, it's all good.

Do you have caffeine or soft drinks more than once a day?
Not since I started having hot flashes, I don't. I'm no fool.

Have you experienced a major trauma or loss in the last 5 years?
Yeah... it's call "living life". Look it up, pal.

There were some more questions, but I won't bore you with the gory details. Suffice to say, in the end I was rated as being at "Very Severe" risk for menopause.

And it didn't help when I called a gynecologist's office and the receptionist laughed at me.

"But I have the symptoms," I stammered,"and my profile indicates I'm at very severe risk..." before breaking into tears.

If there's a silver lining in all this, I guess it would be... I can have sex without the fear of anybody getting pregnant.

Now, if you'll excuse me, it's time to go cry myself to sleep. I need my four hours, so I can wake up stiff and achy in the morning.

posted by Pete 3:34 AM
It was really unfair of the gyn office not to accept you for an appointment; though maybe in the end that is for the best. I fear the exam would have been a bit, er, uncomfortable....

Thanks for the laugh. I am of "that age" (46) and female, and I'm going to keep this so when the hot flashes really do come, I can have a good laugh.
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