Wednesday, April 21, 2010
I haven't blogged directly about this issue yet. I've only alluded to it. The reason for my reticence is that I don't really know how to discuss it, or with whom. Thatís because most people donít consider hot flashes a serious issue. For most people, they're something to joke about; so people who suffer with them tend to be highly selective about with whom they will share their grief, lest they be scoffed at. It also gives you a label and permanently alters the way people look at you.
My first few hot flashes happened in the early part of 2008. They were no big deal; they were few and very far between. I had no way of knowing how horrible my life would soon become. By December, my hot flashes were so severe, so debilitating, my life was turned upside down. I couldnít sleep, couldnít function, and couldnít leave home.
If youíve never experienced hot flashes, itís difficult to imagine how hellish they can be; and even if you know what they feel like, you probably DONíT know what MINE feel like. If I had to describe them, Iíd tell you to imagine being burned alive. Like literally ROASTING in a huge oven.
Dressing, applying makeup, or fixing my hair is futile; Iíll only be drenched in sweat, sitting in front of a cyclone fan, wrapped in a towel soon anyway. EVEN HEAVILY SEDATED, the hot flashes wake me up several times every hour- they always seem to hit just as I finally start to nod off from the last one. Iím too exhausted to find words- as I told my husband this morning, I feel as if I am being tortured to death in the slowest and most prolonged manner possible. I lie down at night on bath towels spread over the bed sheets, and go through over 2 quarts of water overnight to replenish what I lose through sweat. I generally refill my glass in the middle of the night, sometimes guzzling in front of the fridge; my naked, clammy body shivering violently after each bout.
Iíve read that about 75% of women experience hot flashes at some point. Of those, 10-15% of women experience ďsevereĒ hot flashes, like me. Reading the words these women have written online is heartbreaking. What we all have in common is a sense of medical abandonment: weíre told to tough it out, and nothing can be done, and increasing our HRT is too dangerous. Is it not dangerous that we get behind the wheel of our cars everyday, despite the fact that we have barely slept in months? I am a zombie. We all feel that NO ONE UNDERSTANDS. The perception we encounter is that ĎTheyíre only hot flashes- big deal. Youíre a hypochondriac. Theyíll pass.í
I have two public speaking presentations to deliver in the next two days. I have yet to BEGIN work on the one I will deliver tomorrow morning. I feel like the walking dead.
Last week, I had 6 speaking engagements, and had to make an excuse to bow out of the last two. I have a 20+ page report to write in the next 3 weeks. And three final exams.
I have NO IDEA what to do. Last week, my doctor ran out of ideas- NOW what?? There is no medical specialty, and from what I can gather, not much research looking into hot flashes and treatments- Iím sure thatís because they just arenít seen as a very big deal (and men generally donít get them). I feel like hopeless and defeated, like I am
Thursday, April 08, 2010
...than lift a finger.
Some of you know that I spend a great deal of time on volunteer work in my city. And when I say work, make no mistake- it is heavy labor. It is hard and it is filthy. And I already mentioned that I'm a volunteer.
Okay, so, I am seated on a local government committee too. I worked long and hard to be on the committee. Not because I like politics, or am well suited to them, but because it is extremely important to me that I do everything I can to accomplish some specific community goals:
A) beautiful, healthy urban trees
B) clean urban neighborhoods
So that is what motivates me. I like clean, shady streets.
That's not to say I'm a selfless person- I know that clean, shady streets will very positively impact my property value, and that filthy, blighted neighborhoods with no tree canopy are called GHETTOES, and there goes my investment as a homeowner.
So I care for trees, and I plant trees, and I clean up. This year more than ever.
In doing so, this year I have met many more of my neighbors. Many have thanked me, which is nice. And many have talked about helping.
TALKED about helping.
I know that I'm the only person who can do the tree stuff, and I'm very exacting in my standards, and I definitely want to do it alone. But I'm not the only person with the unique skill set it takes to put trash into a can. So, I find it kind of appalling when one of my neighbors says something like 'let me know if you need any help' or 'come to the Civic League meeting, you'll find all kinds of people willing to volunteer'. The word that comes to mind is DISINGENUOUS.
I want to say, 'well gee, thanks for inviting me to my Civic League to locate volunteers, but I'll be busy volunteering.'
Point being, if you have to be persuaded, are you really a volunteer?
Somehow, *I* managed to notice the litter on the ground without traisping to a community meeting and hearing someone make the breakthrough announcement that it would be nice if litter were confined to trash cans, and seeing if there were any likeminded folks in attendance.
In the past two weeks, I have been asked by three different people to come to the meeting and speak about trees. Today, the President of the League, knowing me solely from my cleanup efforts, sent me an email suggesting I publicly grill another speaker- who represents the city- about trash collection policies during the meeting. Wonderful! You want me to be your pawn? This person also seemed to be chiding me for suggesting that residents working together can solve simple problems (like litter removal) by themselves, much faster than the city can; and accused me of asking her boyfriend to use his pickup truck for landfill runs- a complete fallacy. He came up with that idea on his own.
So, I understand that my community would rather complain about litter than pick up litter. But I'm surprised that I'd be seen as a traitor for doing it myself, and a radical for suggesting we should clean up our own neighborhood.
I have cleaned up a huge, huge amount of crap from the alleyway behind my house in the past 10 days, including enormous carpet rolls. I even bought a new saw to make some large items manageable.
There are still two discarded mattresses back there. I was going to leave those for the city to pick up, but now I'm so incensed by that email I'm going to load them on my truck tomorrow morning and haul them to the dump. I'm going to load up every last scrap and spend all day cleaning that alley. Then on Saturday, I'm going to go to that meeting, and when the President asks me to talk to the city representative about all the trash in the alleyway, I'm going to smile sweetly and say "What trash?"
The ugly politics of finger-pointing is why I haven't been to any Civic League meetings in the past ten years. While they're all congregating to complain, I'll be out volunteering, and working to make my community a better place.
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
I haven't been doing any ab work at all!
I HAVE been pruning trees, and riding my bike, and trying to jog more, but I haven't been doing sit-ups, crunches, planks, or anything like that. I've barely dug a single hole this season. I have been sawing limbs at an INSANE pace; I had no idea I was using my abdominals for this. And really, no matter how many sit ups I do, and no matter how hard I TRY, it is just about impossible for me to MAKE my abs hurt. They just never seem to be fazed, so I'm pretty happy about the hurt! I only wish it would be my troublesome UPPER abs, rather than the lower abs, that were getting hit!
And while I'm on the subject of bike riding- the weather has been great, so I've been riding quite a bit more than usual. I've been to the video store, the grocery, and to school.
Last Friday, I slept late, and asked my spouse to inflate the tires for me while I got dressed. I left the house in a panic, him holding open the front door so I could mount up and hit the road flying. He waved to me as I zoomed away.
Then, on Saturday, something amazing happened- he asked me to go for a bike ride with him. I was stunned. I stared at him momentarily, scanning his face for the punchline, but detected only sincerity. I leapt up enthusiastically and off we went, riding around happily for the next hour. We would have gone longer had my rear tire not exploded loudly, so we got in some walking as well.
On Sunday, I pushed my luck, and asked him to walk with me to Blockbuster to return a movie. He has been walking with me and the dog more frequently, but the walk I was suggesting was more than double our usual distance. To my delight, he agreed- and furthermore, he even helped me saw up scrap wood and load it into the dumpster when we came home. Now, this is not a physical stretch for me, but for HIM, well, this is major physical labor.
I asked him at one point what made him want to go for a bike ride, after so many years (I bought us both bikes as an anniversary gift, seven or eight years ago, and that was the last time he rode). He said that it was watching me leave for school, and the swish of air blowing back my hair as I hit the road. Go figure!
Whatever the reason, I'm glad he was inspired.
Saturday, April 03, 2010
This is a picture of me, in my bed, trying to sleep, every night.
I've got to go back to the doctor.
The symptoms have returned, and they're BAD.
Very, very bad.
I'm so apprehensive about seeing her again, because I'm just not convinced she "gets" it. The first time, she thought I needed antidepressants, and I had to refuse them vigorously to get her to prescribe what I knew I needed. Well, it's been over a year, and my condition is further along... I need to increase my dose. I DON'T need her to warn me about what MIGHT happen if she increases the dose; I'm fully aware of what MIGHT happen. I've read about it, I've heard about it (even from complete strangers). The thing is, I cannot live with what IS happening. I am living a nightmare every day. I have no choice but to accept the risks. I can't sleep. I can't function. I need to explain this to my physician, who doesn't understand. Perhaps one day, she will understand- she will have more patients like me... or she will endure it herself... but maybe not. Most people don't have anything NEAR this level of hellishness, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone.
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
... and such a STRUGGLE to get it LOWER? I swear, I can bust my tush for 3 weeks to earn a 5 lb loss, but just ONE week of slacking off will yield a number that is 5 lbs HIGHER.
I tell you, it's EFFORTLESS.
Enough complaining for now.
So, Saturday I did my annual 10k here in town. I'm very proud to say, I was 47 seconds faster this year than I was last year.
Not much, but I'll take it.
Just before the finish line, I spotted a friend in the crowd and called out to him. After the race, I texted him and asked him who he was looking for. He said his girlfriend was participating. Well, I thought that it was GREAT the she was in the race, but rather sad that HE was not... especially because he has put on a lot of weight in the past few years, and was looking as heavy as I've ever seen him.
I asked what kind of time his girlfriend pulled. He gave me the number, and quickly added that MY time was 4 minutes faster than hers, swelling my head a bit. I didn't even know that the times had been posted, but he sent me a link to a website that had all the official times. Wow.
Back to work now- I'm buried. It never fails that every year my business goes from zero to swamped in the space of two weeks, as soon as the weather breaks and the daffodils pop up.
Get An Email Alert Each Time NOTBLUSHING Posts