In Which I Share Too Much Information and Scar You For Life

I am getting old.

Obviously we all are aging, but somehow that process seems to have gone by faster for me in the last few years.

It all started when my cycles got out of whack. At first I blamed it on my daughters. You know how when you have a bunch of women living in one house their bodies tend to adjust to each other and your cycles line up? Well, I was living with teens who weren’t quite “regular” yet, so I thought that’s why I was going all wonky. I didn’t think much of it.

Then the wonkiness wasn’t wonkiness as much as it was frequency. I’ve always been a 30 day kind of gal, like clockwork. Then I went to 28, which disappointed me, but really was nothing to complain about.

21 days, on the other hand, is ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS!!!! And having to sleep on top of a towel, and not go out for more than 2 hours during “that time of the month” in case Niagara Falls hits, is really frustrating.

And if said cycle also lasts way too long, too, life just becomes unfair.

But it’s not just that life isn’t fair. It’s that your body decides it’s had enough, and then it decides not to make any more red blood cells, because really, what’s the point? You’re losing them too fast anyway. May as well go kick your feet up and grab a cold one and take the day off.

So your body takes a whole bunch of days off, and one day you wake up and you are so TIRED you feel like you did during the first trimester of pregnancy. But you can’t figure out the reason, so you push ahead, and push ahead, and push ahead, until one day you come back from a speaking engagement and flying all over the country and you just lose it. You start crying uncontrollably because life is just so OVERWHELMING and you can’t do it anymore.

Eventually you decide maybe a visit to the doctor may be in order, and lo and behold, you have major anemia. Yay! You’re not going crazy. There’s a reason!

So you take iron supplements for a few months, and you’re happily contented because soon this will all be over. You go for another checkup, and–WHAM!–you’re even more anemic than before.

Your doctor is now worried, and sends you for an ultrasound and a specialist, but this is Canada, and both take forever. So in the meantime she puts you on a progesterone pill, hoping this will even out the cycles.

It doesn’t. It’s just as bad.

And not just that, but one day you wake up and you’re certain you have bed bugs, because you have bites ALL OVER YOUR LEGS. Everyday they keep coming. Then some on your hands. You do research on the internet, because, OH MY GOODNESS, THOSE ARE IN MY BED!?! And you want to throw out your bedding, but the internet says there’s no point, because the little critters may be in your night table. Or your beautiful wooden headboard. And you can’t throw everything out! So you do the biggest clean you’ve done in your entire life, and then fly out to Calgary for five days to speak at a marriage conference.

You’re happy, because there will be no more bed bugs!

But there are. The bites keep happening. And you REJOICE! Because this means the problem is with YOU, not your BED.

It’s those blasted pills. They gave me a weird rash.

Oh, and did I mention I gained five pounds within two weeks of starting them?

Then, right after the trip home from Calgary, your leg starts to feel weird. Within a few days you can’t walk the pain is so bad. You go in for an emergency ultrasound because they think it may be a blood clot. It’s not. You have an Xray. They don’t see anything there, either. Finally they conclude you have inflamed superficial veins, which are totally harmless but hurt like the dickens. So they give you Tylenol 3s, which make you very happy.

And you go home and put on old lady pressure stockings.

OLD. LADY. PRESSURE. STOCKINGS.

Oh, yeah, baby. Old lady pressure stockings. Muffin top. Old lady slippers. Doesn't get better than that!

Oh, yeah, baby. Old lady pressure stockings. Muffin top. Old lady slippers. Doesn’t get better than that!

You are officially an old lady.

Sixteen years ago, when you had varicose veins ripped out after your last child, the surgeon said, “you’ll have to wear these from now on, for the rest of your life.” You scoffed at him. You laughed. You were 28. You were invincible! And besides, it was July and it was HOT.

And now you’re wearing them all the time out of desperation. You’re even sleeping with them. They’re like one huge, tight chastity belt.

In the middle of all this you finally get that ultrasound appointment, where you become far too intimate with a probe. And after that humiliation, it turns out you have several things in your uterus that need to be taken out.

So you’re scheduled for surgery.

And that’s where I’m going. Tomorrow. My daughter has the biggest quiz meet of the year this weekend, and I’m just praying I’ll be well enough to go see her on Saturday.

Mostly I’m praying this will fix a lot of my problems, because I’ve just been so tired.

I understand what people mean now when they talk about having black moods, and just being so depressed and unable to move. I know what it feels like to just feel desperate, and logically you know you shouldn’t feel that way, but there’s no way to kick yourself out of that mode.

This has been a tough year in so many ways. Work is busier. I miss my oldest daughter. My husband’s work has increased, too. And I’m just so tired all of the time. Things that once were easy–like going grocery shopping–seem like so much effort I could curl up in a ball and cry. And sometimes I even do.

I love my husband, but so often I erupt because I just can’t handle life. And I find myself feeling so guilty all the time for not being a good wife and mom that I shut people out, which is totally counterproductive. I just want “me” back again.

Perimenopause and menopause are really hard on some women, and I have a feeling the next ten years are going to rather challenging for me. But at least if there’s one thing that I’ve realized, it’s that I can’t keep going full steam ahead with everything I’m doing. I really need rest, or my body is going to start to shut down!

So if you think of me tomorrow, can you say a prayer for me in surgery? It could either be something really simple or something far more complex, and they won’t know until they get in there.

Thanks so much! And I hope I didn’t scar any of you too badly.

Sheila Gregoire on FacebookOkay, totally shameless plug now that I have you all feeling sorry for me: Can you help me reach 20,000 likes on Facebook this weekend? I’ve been feeling a little down all week, and if I had something to look forward to–some goal other than just “get through surgery and hope I shaved my legs enough that I won’t embarrass myself”, then I’d be happier. I need about 700 more people–so come on over and “like” my page, and send other people my way, too!

 

 

Comments

  1. :( :( Sheila, am praying for God’s strength and healing for you in the midst of so much discouragement!

  2. At least SOMEONE is telling us! We got all sorts of information on what happens to our bodies when heading INTO puberty. What about heading OUT of, whatever you’d call it. :)

    • Sheila says:

      I KNOW!!!!! No one ever told me anything about polyps and fibroids and all these awful sounding words!

      • Marla McLean says:

        We were at the recent Marriage Getaway in Banff and I really enjoyed what all of you had to share. I hope your husband isn’t giving you Christian books about how sex should be just a good at 60 as it was at 20! I’m personally looking forward to your book “Sex and the Post-Menopausal Woman. NOT!” LOL I’ll be praying for you and looking forward to hear that you are feeling better soon.

      • Denise Porter says:

        I was told I had a fibroid. Scheduled for hysterectomy. But then I got scared – especially since the discomfort was Only during periods like you described above. So I cancelled. So far, so good. Periods have gotten fewer and fewer and so problem solved! Hope your surgery takes care of the issues and you don’t have to resort to a hysterectomy. I was all for it till they told me it was going to be worse than my C-Section. Then, not so much!

  3. Bless your heart, Sheila! I went through a bunch of “lady” problems in my late 30’s and 40’s as well, so I can sympathize a bit. But in the end (after various treatments and surgeries) things finally got straightened out and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. One piece of advice (and I am sure you have heard it before), when in recovery mode do exactly as they tell you. With a “do-it-all” personality I did not adhere to the post-off instructions for rest, don’t lift etc. and now pay for it with internal scar tissue that causes other issues. (Hows that for TMI-lol) Will be lifting you up in prayer. God has this and will use you as He always does to lift up and encourage others.

  4. Bethany says:

    Prayers for you!! And a hug, too.

  5. Praying for you.

  6. Mrs. Mac says:

    Your photo made me laugh so hard the kids wondered if I was okay! Then I read the rest of the blog. I’m praying for you just now – for quick healing, peace, a time of reflection, and REST (it does a body good!)

  7. I’ll definitely be praying for you, Sheila! My mom went through a similar thing over the past 5 or 6 months. She ended up having to have a couple of blood transfusions because of the anemia. But things seem to be better now that she’s gone through a procedure or two (though she’s still getting her energy back gradually). Thanks for being so honest with us about this stuff!

    • Sheila says:

      I haven’t had to have a transfusion yet, though I have gotten really low. I just pray this will be a quick fix! Thanks for your support.

  8. Michelle Slomp says:

    Thank you for the TMI. There should be a book about this stuff called “Things Your Mother Really Should Have Told You?” I often tell women who are expecting the messy truth of delivery and post delivery. Luckily a friend warned me and I was prepared. Thank you for sharing your struggle. Sharing our struggles reveals our authenticity.

    • Sheila says:

      Thanks, Michelle! My mom and I were talking recently, and my grandmother had her kids when she was quite old (for the 1950s), so when she was my age she had an 8 year old, a 6 year old, and a baby. And my mom remembers my grandmother just having issues. And it occurred to both of us recently that maybe she was like we were (I am?) during this period of our life. My mom had a tough time with perimenopause/menopause, with lots of fibroids, and other lovely stuff, and now I am too. But we talk about it and we have doctors who will do something. If she didn’t, that’s likely why she was so depressed and tired. Gives you a new perspective. I’m glad we can talk about it today!

  9. Hi Sheila
    Thank you for your honesty. I will be praying for you tomorrow and afterwards.
    Rest well and give your body a chance to heal.
    Cheryl recently posted…Tokyo with Kids- Tokyo Toy MuseumMy Profile

  10. Putting a reminder into my phone to pray for you.

  11. Ya, growing up is HARD to do! I’m on the other side now (menopause), but those years prior were ROUGH to say the least. Prayed for medical team to see what they need to see to alleviate the issues (pardon the pun – couldn’t help myself) and that your healing is swift.

  12. Wow, Shelia that was AWESOME!! :D <3 Hang in there girlie, do what the doctors tell you to do and know that God is holding you!! Praying for you and the doctors!

  13. Hi Sheila
    Been going through some “change of life’ stuff myself. I agree this time of life should come with a manual. I read alot and look for information wherever I can find it, books, internet, health magazines… I had my thyroid removed last year (it was hyperactive and caused racing heart and arrhythmia – my doctor wanted to treat for heart disease.) Now for the first time in my life I have to deal with the dreaded “muffin top” although it is nice to have big boobs for a change. I’m in the middle of losing my period. I went 3 months without and then bam a heavy period that lasted 2 weeks! So I kinda know what Niagara Falls feels like. My prayers are with you for successful surgery. I hope you recover quickly and completely. Ask your doctor about natural hormone replacements and try to stay away from the synthetic ones. God bless. I love your wit and wisdom.

    • Yes, Armour Thyroid comes highly recommended over the synthetic, as it is considered much safer overall; though you may have to fight to get it as the synthetic is being pushed pretty aggressively these days.

  14. Praying all will go well, doctors will be able to find a solution, and you will have patience for the process. Sounds weird, but have you tried eliminating gluten? It might help some of the issues. (Or maybe not, but could be worth a try.)

  15. Gabi M. says:

    Sheila, my heart goes out to you and I will pray :). You are very special to me even though we’ve never met! Maybe someday :)

  16. The beginning of your article sounded like you were writing about me! My cycle is completely wacko and has been for a few years. I have now moved from 5-6 day duration to 10 -14 days, although I’ve also traded Niagara Falls for a much calmer scenario, but whatever, it’s still a nuisance! I have been told that I am very healthy and have no need for surgery (I was looking forward to no more periods, but nope), so as you can see our stories begin to differ. Oh, and the Dr. said I was too young for menopause …???? (I’m 44) then what the heck is going on here???? There really is a complete lack of info for this stage of life. :/ I will pray for your surgery and hopefully you are feeling much better very soon. Blessings to you.

  17. I will say a pray for you. But we’re not scarred we are female and are used to this.
    I would say stop taking those progesterone pills pronto. I was going through some of what you are going through and the gyn recommended progesterone cream. I started using it, was unsure if I it helped, read the label and decided to stop. It said it may cause cancer, and I thought I don’t want to take anything that may cause cancer.

    I understand the fatigue and the out of whack cycles. Husbands really do become saints at this time if they are understanding.

    I started making a green smoothie daily, taking my women multivitamin and fish oil daily and became a serious runner. All of this has helped tremendously and on days when I feel too tired to go on, (which are few and far between) I rest and don’t feel guilty. I have too much mileage on this body to not feel tired, so it’s ok.

    Godspeed tomorrow.
    nylse recently posted…Endearing not EnduringMy Profile

  18. Perimenopause isn’t for sissies, is it? A while back, I went through a three-year period that involved quite a few tests, medical procedures, and a couple surgeries. I had a myomectomy, a D&C, an ablation, and finally a hysterectomy. Extend yourself some grace and let others pamper you for a while.

    I absolutely love your slippers and think I need to try to knit myself a pair

    I’m praying for a smooth surgery and a straightforward and speedy recovery for you.
    Chris recently posted…Marriage-scapingMy Profile

  19. I’m so sorry you’re going through all of this, Sheila. But it is good to know we’re not alone in this “oh-my-goodness-I-didn’t-know-I was-old-already” stage. {I was recently diagnosed with arthritis. I was fairly sure I had it. Have been sure of it for years. But to have a doctor confirm it with X-rays and an official entry in my chart – too much for this 45 year old girl to handle right now.}

    On another note, not sure the extent of your vein issues, but if you can get away with it, they have knee-high old-lady-stockings that are more comfortable than the full body cast variety. {More comfortable as in, fewer places constricted. The parts that are uncomfortable are still just as uncomfortable.}
    Kendra Burrows recently posted…TrustMy Profile

    • Yeah, I know about the knee highs, but the problem is actually AT my knee, so I need something that applies pressure to the whole leg. I’d so much rather have the knee highs! :)

  20. Praying surgery goes well. I had an ablation years ago and it worked wonders. Now if they could easily do something about those other pesky menopause symptoms…

  21. Suzanne Forsyth says:

    Hi Sheila! I have been reading for about a year now and thank you so much for the encouragement! I just had a hysterectomy in November and while the recovery had a few bumps, it has been wonderful since! I am praying for you and hope you have a fast recovery. With that said, you only get one chance to heal properly. Head on over to the hystersisters website and find help and encouragement there. It may also help you to try harder to rest and take it easy. :-)

    • I will chime in on exactly what Suzanne says. I had my hysterectomy 2 years ago and have never felt better! Do listen to your doctors and let other people carry the load for awhile. Healing is very important and you must take good care of yourself. Hystersisters is a great website to find answers to all your questions and tons of encouragement also. I will say a prayer for you that your surgery is a success and recovery is fast.

  22. Oh Gosh! I’m so in the midst of some of this myself, knowing I need another Dr. appt because I’m pretty sure I’m anemic again ugh. I was totally unprepared for this part of life. Add that I was diagnosed with diabetes at the same time and other stuff that comes with that. I’ve decided getting old is certainly not for the weak at heart.

    You are in my prayers!!

  23. I totally hear you! It’s like you described my life. Praying you find out some answers…

  24. My periods have been crazy for several years now! Crazy! Now they aren’t the Niagara Falls you talked about, at least not lately. For a while there, mine were SOO heavy and I was quite worried I was bleeding to death. I’ve had “pre-period” periods as I call them. I spot for a good week or so before the actual period comes. So very annoying and disruptive when it comes to loving with my hubby. I’ve had ALL kinds of testing done, but nothing ever shows up. I’ve had the ultrasounds, blood tests (so many of them), even had my uterus biopsied. All to show that I’m “normal.”

    Then there are the crazy heart palpitations. Had many tests for those last year, too. My heart is “normal” and they say I have PVC (premature ventricular contractions). Totally harmless, but still so disruptive if you ask me. Give up coffee the docs say. So I did, but NO CHANGE, so I decided to continue drinking coffee. LOL What difference does it make?

    I’ve been changing my diet and adding some natural things like Evening Primrose Oil (I take it mostly before and during my period) and magnesium (which actually makes my periods heavier, so I don’t take it when my period starts – freaky body). The last 2 months have been better than the last several years as far as my cycle goes. I don’t know if it’s the diet change or what, but I’m thankful no matter what! :)

    I’ll be praying for you on this crazy journey called per-menopause and menopause! And especially for you as you go through surgery and recovery! Take care and God bless you!
    Emily recently posted…365 – 121 (AGAIN)My Profile

  25. Lifting you up in prayer, Sheila.
    Ngina Otiende recently posted…I am Not A Perfect Wife (and it’s plain silly sometimes)My Profile

  26. Tammy Arseneau says:

    Praying all goes well tomorrow. So thrilled to be able to spend the time together earlier this week. Love you girl!!!

  27. praying for you today, tomorrow & as you REST and allow your body to recover!. I laughed reading your article as the beginning sounds oh so familiar to me right now…

  28. Stephanie Asuncion says:

    I’ll be praying for you Sheila! Lifting you up, asking for God’s hand to be on each person in your room. That He would give you rest and comfort before, during and after.
    Thank you so much for all you do for so many of us. Now take some time and take care of you!

  29. Pamela Puskarich says:

    Try to give yourself a break – try to not beat yourself up for not being perfect. It’s far easier to say than to do but somehow so many of us need to figure out how to do this before we drive ourselves crazy! I’ve been through the fibroids/cysts/etc route. I had endometriosis with terrible pain, endometriosis so severe that it destroyed my fertility and led to two surgeries. The final one was a hysterectomy. Immediate menopause. It was a bit of a bumpy ride but it was SUCH a relief! I’m only 46 but I’ve been pain free and through any hormonal menopause symptoms for almost 2 years! Hang in there – God will give you wisdom as to the best steps to take and all of us will pray :)

  30. I had similar issues to what you are having after I had my daughter when I was 24. I finally convinced my doctor to send me to a gynecologist when I was 26. They had to immediately do a hysterectomy due to adenomyosis, very similar to the symptoms that you have. My last period was 21 days long.
    I am glad that this popped up in my news feed. I have been going through another medical issue, female related since Jan. I have had a bartholin’s gland abscess that has required surgery and now next week I have to go in for another surgery because the infection came back and the doctor wants to remove the gland. I have had days where I have cried and cried and cried. I don’t think they ever teach us anything about bartholin’s glands. I had no idea what was going on when it first started.

    I pray that your surgery goes well and that you are able to see your daughter do her thing this weekend!

    • Catherine says:

      I have had that gland swell. The doctor was going to lance it but antibiotics cleared it up. So painful. Praying it gets better quickly.
      CC

  31. Thank you for sharing. It is true, there is so much information about starting puberty, getting pregnant, having babies, and heavens, there is even a whole organization – LaLeche- devoted to nursing your baby. But it seems like there is very little out there to help us navigate the next stage. I think all the older ladies in the church should sit us middle aged women down and give us “the second talk.” :)
    Wendy Clark recently posted…For Your Laugh Of The Morning….My Profile

  32. Louise says:

    Praying for you. I met you at the conference in Banff and we briefly discussed health issues. I’m on the other side now of menopause but I remember the rough ride. I have eliminated wheat and my abdomen is thanking me. I appreciate your humor and am so happy I “discovered” you!!

  33. Catherine says:

    You are in my thoughts and prayers. Now that I am officially in menopause (14 months with no period) I can say that you are in a season that does fade away. Take care of yourself! You will get through this.

    Dear Lord, I lift Sheila up to you. Give her peace as she goes through this process. Give the medical staff wisdom and direction as they take care of each and every detail. Thank you for healing Sheila and directing her on how to take care of the body you gave her. Peace, wisdom and rest. Amen
    Blessings, CC

    • I echo Catherine’s prayer! I’m so sorry you’re having these problems. Hormones and imbalances in your body are so, so hard and depressing! I will be praying for your surgery and recovery and that this will be the solution to the physical problems you’ve been having.

      Also, your “old lady” slippers are awesome…and you’re still wearing blingy jeans, which is a good sign!:) Hugs, Sheila! There are a lot of people who are so thankful for you without even having met you and we are praying for you!!

  34. Praying for you! My mom had the same surgery exactly 2 weeks ago and feels so much better now. Praying your recovery is quick and easy like my mother’s.

  35. Oh, Sheila, I’ll be praying! I have no idea what you’re going through… but my mom is about your age (a little older, I think) and now I’m wondering what SHE’S been experiencing!

    God be with you, dear!
    Jaimie Ramsey recently posted…Young people of my generation: set an example!My Profile

  36. Teresa says:

    Praying for you. I just had surgery removing my last ovary & an ovarian cyst. I’m officially in menopause now.

  37. Oh my. You have no idea how this post is exactly what I am going through right now. I’m so tired I can’t hardly function. I am having a period every 9 days to 2 weeks. And yesterday I found out from and ultrasound that I have a fibroid. I’ve already had one ovary and tube removed from cysts and I am in menopause because my other ovary decided to just shut down. I’m so so over it. Doctor mentioned hysterectomy but I’m scared to do it. I feel like all my options suck at this point. I’m 37 by the way, exhausted, and totally unable to lose weight.

  38. Welcome to the club, Sheila! It’s absolutely wonderful for you to be so open in sharing your struggles and frustrations which so many women go through, are going through, or will go through (and yes, there’s always that one who says it was a complete breeze….and for her, we can all go find out where she lives and egg her house!!). With the changing seasons of life come concerns for health, some valid, some just something we have to learn to live with. As having just turned 50 last year, and having gone through menopause early (thought I was dying a couple of times!!), I can agree it is terrifying, exciting, thrilling, and sometimes sad. It’s in these changing seasons of life I am reminded this is not our home and am thrilled to remember one day we will dwell in His presence forever, where there will be no more fading tents. Be blessed my friend, praying for you! xoxo

  39. Oh, Shelia. I’m so sorry. This is hard stuff!! I’ve had some health problems in the last year, and it’s just…exhausting and consuming. I will pray for you tomorrow. Thank goodness they figured out what’s wrong, so hopefully they can FIX it!!! Be gentle with yourself and let your husband and daughter take care of you for awhile…

  40. brooke says:

    I had a hyster last year at 34. It was not what I wanted at my age but now, exactly 1 year later I’m so glad I did it. Life is too much fun to be ill or in pain. Good luck with your surgery!

  41. Oh, I am so sorry you are going through this right now. I am praying for you today and will be praying tomorrow for your surgery and the rest of the week as you recover.

  42. michele says:

    Oh Sheila, I can relate. There have been days where getting a shower & cleaning off a side take have been a big accomplishment because I’ve been so tired! Praying for you sister!

  43. Melissa says:

    Ugh, I feel for you, Sheila, and can so relate to sleeping on a towel and not wanting to be away from home for fear of a soak-through. I now actually refer to that time as “alien birth watch” considering what happened to me at work one day. It was quite terrifying and I, of course, had to explain to my male boss why I needed to go home Right Now! After my own intimate probe procedure, the results are that there’s nothing to worry about. My mom and two oldest sisters all have had hysterectomies at much earlier ages so my sister (52) and I (49) really have nothing to go on as far as timeline or what to expect. There really should be a book, class, program that gives us all a “heads up” as to what’s normal and what warrants freak-out mode.

    I, too, will pray for you and for the doctors and the big “d” Discernment! Thank you so much for being so transparent! I’m heading over to FB now to offer you a little boost!

  44. I haven’t had all of those issues, but I have been dealing with some perimenopause stuff — including the “why am I falling apart and crying so hard?” moments. The weight gain at this age too is a slap-in-the-face; I look at my tummy and wonder if it’s a muffin top or a Michelin tire. Thanks for being honest and informative.

    Praying for you and your surgery! Hang in there.
    J (Hot, Holy & Humorous) recently posted…What Are Your Sexual Fears?My Profile

  45. It’s amazing how sharing our burdens makes them lighter! Thank you all for sharing. When I turned 50 I felt like my life was changing so fast. Like someone had flipped a switch. I started with the hot flashes, was diagnosed with cataracts, started with osteoarthritis in my knee, strange allergies,my back became as stiff as a board, and constipation became a common occurrence. I also struggle with mild vertigo ,and itchiness that lasted one whole year. After voraciously perusing the internet, most of these are related to the hormone imbalances of menopause. Who knew? All I was expecting was the hot flashes you hear a lot of women talk about. I am now 55. The hot flashes have calmed down a lot to a few at night. Whenever I see women dancing, running, moving freely, I mourn the loss of my once active healthy body. I told my hubby, this a.m., getting older is mourning losses a little at a time. But I thank God for my overall good health. I have 3 little grandchildren I get to enjoy. So I’m learning…’whatever state I am in, to be content’. Thanks, again, for sharing and will say a prayer for you right now. God has a wonderful way of making everything go smoothly and our anxieties fall away.

  46. Sorry for your troubles. I will pray for you.

  47. Sheila says:

    I just wanted to say to you all that I’m overwhelmed by the support! Thank you so much! Thanks to those who have commented that know me in real life (and there have been several), and for those who have become my friends and supporters online! I feel really loved, like I’ve got a big virtual hug.

    A few comments: When I started going through perimenopause, I read on the internet about the signs of it, and so many documents (including ones in my drug store) said things like: “Your period will get lighter and less frequent.”

    SERIOUSLY?

    Seems like a whole bunch of us have been commenting the EXACT OPPOSITE. Who makes this stuff up, anyway?

    And secondly, etiquette question: let’s say THEORETICALLY, of course, that one had to go in for surgery DOWN THERE, and THEORETICALLY, one’s period were to start. What, THEORETICALLY, would be the correct etiquette and protocol in this situation? If one knows the surgery is fine to go ahead regardless (one checked), does one just wear a pad as they wheel one into surgery? Or what?

    • Women are asked about their periods when they check in for any surgery–especially anything of gynecological nature. A woman with her period would theoretically wear a pad into the hospital and be sure to mention said period to the nurse. The nurse will take it from there. It may be that right before you’re wheeled in, they would ask you to remove undies and pad. Folks who provide gynecological care for women of a certain age have quite a lot of non-theoretical experience with bleeding women.

      Depending on what all you have done down there, you may come out with a lot less bleeding that you have going in. Just imagine how wonderful that would be!
      Chris recently posted…Marriage-scapingMy Profile

      • Sheila says:

        Yay! Thanks, Chris. Theoretically, of course.

      • Melissa says:

        Yep. When I had a miscarriage and then went in for a D&C a few days later, I remember the anesthesiologist reviewing that I wasn’t wearing any jewelery or any clothing. I told him I did have a pad since I was still bleeding and he said “that’s fine. We’ll take care of that”. And, I did have to have a pad after the surgery anyway. At my last exam (after the previously mentioned alien birth incident) I hadn’t completely stopped bleeding and the gyno had no problem including a pap test during the exam. While we might be screaming in our heads “oh my! What about….” the doctors just view it as no big deal and nothing out of the ordinary.

        Speaking of anesthesiologists, if you have to “be under” for your procedure, it’s always good to express to your anesthesiologist how, if you have to be intubated, that the tube is removed before you wake up.

        • Sheila says:

          Yeah, my aunt is an anaesthetist (I think Americans say anesthesiologist), and she was suggesting I try spinal which I think I will. When I had the veins removed in my leg I was completely under and my throat KILLED for about a week later. I just don’t want that again.

          • Melissa says:

            The whole tube talk was a suggestion from someone who had that happen and it sounded horrible. I had epidurals (spinals?) when I had my two kids and other than feeling like a bloated toad afterwards, it went great. I donated a kidney to my sister after I had my son and the anesthesiologist noted that I’d had an epidural for the birth and suggested I do that for the transplant. I turned that down because I didn’t want to hear all the doctors and nurses discussing whatever and suction noises and “bone cutter” requests (they had to remove a part of one rib to get to the kidney). I wanted to be blissfully unaware. When I had the D&C I don’t think the anesthesiologist gave me enough (because I’d had the tube talk with him) because I remember sitting up during the procedure and seeing the doctor between my knees. He quickly said I needed to have more and that was all she wrote! TMI?

  48. siminoz says:

    Prayers for you today, Sheila, from the land Downunder :) (although coming to visit Toronto in a month – yay!).May God give you His peace and strength…. Isaiah 41:10

    siminoz

    • Sheila says:

      Cool! Okay, if you’re coming to Toronto, don’t miss the zoo. It’s quite a lovely one, and it’s a nice walk through it. The CN Tower is overrated. Eat in Chinatown–just go to Dundas St. W. and go to the Dragon Mall. It’s amazing. Get last minute tickets to a play if you can on King St. West. And if you want a beautiful walk (other than the zoo) visit Edward’s Gardens!

      • siminoz says:

        Oh thanks for the tips! Yes, the Zoo is on our list :-) We were thinking of the tower…! Chinatown is good in every city, so yep ;-) Haven’t heard of Edward’s Gardens, so I’ll look that one up…

  49. Sheila…I’m so sorry that you’re going through this. I will be lifting you up at mass tomorrow…it’s the first Friday of the month and we do special devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I’m 47 this year and I’m so grateful that you’re sharing what must be painfully difficult to share. My heart aches for you. I do believe that your strength and humour will see you through.Lay your burdens on Him . It’s so wonderful to see the outpouring of love and support here! Maybe you should start a support group for the “not quite and over the hill” ladies club. :)

    God be with you and may He guide the surgeon’s hands.

  50. Sheila–I had a hysterectomy at 49. It wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but, wow–it was the best thing for me! I felt better than I had in years. And I’ll never forget what one friend said to me: sometimes God needs to do this to you so you can stop, rest, give your body a break, and spend more time listening to him. Blessings!

  51. last year after a series of test, proceedures and more test my doctor says to me, “you’re not going to do this menopause things gracefully are you?” Nope..guess not!!! So I totally understand!!!
    sharonb recently posted…I Will Not Be Silent. I Will Speak.My Profile

  52. Sheila, you can ABSOLUTELY count on prayers from AZ, and from our readers too. Declutter that Super Woman cape for a bit and let others take care of YOU while your body heals. You do SO much for so many but it’s time for a rest. I firmly believe that when we don’t rest on our own, God ensures one way or the other that we do. I will be praying for a simple surgery, no scarring, peace while you rest and a fast recovery. Praying your energy, strength and joy is restored in short order. And I WILL be seeing you when you are speaking in the states again. Love you my friend and look forward to your update. Blessings!
    Sherry Gareis recently posted…Lifetime Honeymoon for Sale!My Profile

  53. Hi Sheila,
    Your blog is like a ray of sunshine in my life. I am glad you are finally able to get the care you need. I will keep you in my prayers.
    Maria

  54. Martina says:

    I’ll definitely say a prayer for you.

  55. MarieP. says:

    Sheila, I am and will be praying peace for you now and tomorrow before your surgery. I pray that God guides the hands, hearts and minds of all who have anything to do with your care tomorrow, all the support staff and medical staff. I pray for a successful surgery and quick healing with a return to a feeling of being yourself again as soon as possible. May God bless you and your family :)

  56. Well, first of all prayers are being sent your way and also for your family and doctors. My heart goes out to you! Secondly, I just want to say THANKS for the refreshing honestly on these issues and spurring on others to be honest and share! I don’t think there is such a thing as text-book peri/menopause. I’m only 44 and have had issues the last few years (and by reading a few posts above I take comfort knowing I’m not alone despite my Dr. also saying I’m too young). I’ve also had ultra sounds and told I have cysts “not to worry about”. My cycles are also really short (21 days) and super long and heavy such that I don’t get much of a break. Sheila, thanks to you I have been very intentional about being a better wife (especially on the intimacy side) and my husband and I are really feeling rich in our marriage. However, I have to be honest and say these female issues cause me trouble in that intimacy department all the time – so hard to love my hubby like I’d like to when it causes bleeding or pain most times. I’m told my “issues” are “normal” every year I go to my checkup. I told my Dr. I wished that women would discuss these issues more honestly among each other so that we know we aren’t alone or can worry less. There is comfort when you can convince yourself it’s not entirely “abnormal”. Anyway, I would love to encourage more open honest dialogue among women on these issues. I think my mom’s generation didn’t share too much and just toughed it out… but sheesh… it’s not fun when you feel alone and wonder. Good luck tomorrow. Will pray for you, the surgery, the recovery, etc. You have a wonderful ministry and thanks for TMI. (((HUGS)))

  57. Christy M. says:

    Praying that everything goes well with the surgery.

    In 2005, I was put on progesterone (Provera) and from Feb to Sept, I grew a fibroid so big and so fast that it outgrew its blood supply, died, and was rotting in my uterine wall (How’s that for TMI!?) My GYN blamed the Provera and told me I am never to take it again. Apparently some fibroids are stimulated by progesterone. Who knew?

  58. Thank you, Sheila, for being transparent and sharing your struggles with us. I pray that all will be well with your surgery and that you will have a speedy recovery (hope you get to see the Bible Quiz!).

    I also wanted to mention some health benefits, for this time in your life as well as others, of essential oils. Have you ever researched them? I started looking into them recently and there are so many benefits to using them, getting our bodies back in tune to the way God created them in the first place. I’d be happy to talk to you about them, if you’re interested.

    Get some rest, and listen to that doctor.
    Heather recently posted…Answer Me This #2My Profile

  59. I obviously can’t begin to identify with most of these issues other than some of the symptoms like fatigue and depression. I have an aunt a year older than me who is in surgery in Chicago for her anemia issues and also has Crohn’s disease. I’ll be praying for you as well as her. There was such a big change in my life between 40 and 50 as a male even. My dad used to say when you have your health, you have everything. I understood that to some degree, I just didn’t understand I wouldn’t have it forever.
    Dan recently posted…“Look Away! I’m Hideous.”: Part 6My Profile

  60. Praying for you!

  61. Lauren says:

    Praying for you and wanted you to know you are on my heart today! I pray it is going very smoothly for you!

  62. I didn’t get a chance to get online yesterday and comment, but I wanted you to know I was praying for you!
    Lindsey Bell recently posted…Raising A Princess GiveawayMy Profile

  63. Amber Butts says:

    I am late in responding but I am so blessed to come across this thread as I have been recently going through more issues after I had a total hysterectomy four years ago, I am 43 now. I had severe endometriosis. At first everything was not so bad, but lately without any hormones things have gotten worse with hot flashes, palpitations and anxiety, tired, achy and much more. fighting through it and knowing it will pass eventually. Hearing others who struggle as well just always makes you feel better. Hyster sisters site is a great place, I learned a lot there :) I hope everything goes well for you and God is always with us, we grow stronger through the storms of life and then can use them to help others. That is how I think with the anxiety and panic attacks I have been struggling with for months now…I am learning perseverance and how to use what I go through to help someone else, I am learning I am stronger than I thought and I am thanking God for everything, because I do not see the path ahead but He does and He knows better than me what is to come, whatever it is, its going to be beautiful.

  64. Brenda Cruz says:

    Praying for a speedy recovery! I recently started getting bites all over my legs and those went away and now they just started on my arms. Went to 3 doctors and ruled out bed bugs and just said it was just a “bug” biting me. I can’t imagine that it is because I never feel if nor see it. Yours makes more sense. Thanks for sharing!

  65. Sheila, I missed this- so sorry you’ve been feeling so miserable. Praying this is a major corner you have turned and praying you feel better than ever soon, and for complete healing.

    Haven’t forgotten about sending you a new ad. I’ve been sick with pneumonia, had a conference, more pneumonia and bronchitis now, and….life. :) I’ll be in touch soon.

  66. Elaine says:

    Hope it went well and you are feeling better. In my thoughts and prayers. Please update as soon as you are able. :)

  67. As someone who just recently went through all this, I can totally relate. The last five years of the peri-menopause phase were the absolute worst for me. I knew the physical symptoms would come – very heavy periods, periods that seemed to last forever, weight gain, hot flashes, etc. What I wasn’t prepared for was the emotional upheaval it caused. I was always someone who was secure and confident – afraid of very little – an “I can do it all” kind of person. All of a sudden, seemingly out of nowhere, I started having horrible fears….fear of death, fear of disease, just this horrible ominous cloud hanging over me all the time. Even went to a Christian psychologist. He told me that the “just suck it up and do it” attitude can only last for so long and then you crash – with so much hormonal upheaval I had finally reached my limit emotionally. I went to Scripture to try to find comfort, I prayed – I did everything I knew to do spiritually – but it was a physical problem that wreaked havoc with my emotions. THings have calmed down significantly – partly because of a low dose of anxiety medication – but mainly due to changes in diet and my hormones just calming down. It DOES get better!!! The relief is wonderful – so hang on – the next few years will be a bit of a rough ride but you WILL get off the ride and will fell a thousand times better!!! Hope the surgery went well and you are getting some relief!!

  68. Do I get an award for making it through the whole post as a guy?

    I watched my dear wife struggle with perimenopause and it made me once again glad I was a man. You have my sympathy and prayers. (As does your husband!)
    Paul H. Byerly recently posted…When HE Says no to SexMy Profile

    • Thanks, Paul! My husband really deserves your sympathy, too. He’s put up with a lot this year!

  69. Thank you for this post! I can oddly relate now 9 months postpartum from my first born. Why, you ask? Because these last 9 months have been wonderful, but I have been fatigued beyond belief as my daughter is a terrible sleeper and breastfeeding is an on demand sort of business. Plus I work part-time from home which steals more time away from sleep. Anyway, thanks to the fatigue plus the roller coaster hormones, I have been quite irritable with my husband. I know in my head I am being un-Christian but anger seems like the only available emotion whenever anything goes slightly wrong.

    Therefore I’m apologizing to my husband…a lot!

    Anyway, knowing that you have also been hard on your family as a result of your medical condition makes me feel better. I shouldn’t be so hard on myself, not that it is an excuse, but I can let go of the expectation to be superwoman. As Jesus said, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

    • You’re so welcome, Sharon! Life just has such hard seasons sometimes, and that’s when we need to pray A LOT!

      • Viviane says:

        Hi
        First time commenting hope that I do it right. When I was in my 20s I had similar symptoms. By 25 I would say I had complete gynecological failure resulting in the removal of everything and my hope of ever being a mother along with it. The depression that followed prevented us from adoption and fostering. Made me ask where is god in this?
        Anyway I geuss I am saying if your body and mind are telling you that that life is too busy then listen. God gave you a beautiful family and friends now your body is telling you to slow down and enjoy it.
        My prayers are with you and I hope you find peace in your mind and body.

  70. Sheila,

    I’ve come a bit late to the party here ;-), but I SO relate to the symptoms. I should have bought stock in the companies that manufacture feminine protection. Having an 11-14 day cycle with only 5-7 days off in between for four months nearly sent me around the bend at the beginning of the year. Thank you for being REAL and allowing lots of women to commiserate, laugh, and encourage one another as only those who are all experiencing the same process can do.

    Just as my body and mind are needing to slow down, family needs are accelerating (we have a 9 year old but have also had an 18 year old step daughter living with us and are having to intensively teach her how to parent her 1 year old; my husband’s income has been cut by 3/4), and doors to ministry are opening. Much discernment is needed, and God is faithful to supply it when I seek Him. I’m learning to set healthy boundaries, to delegate (SO hard for me!), and am experiencing the delight and awe of relying on the Holy Spirit at absolutely every moment of the day. A hard season, but this jar of clay has great treasure within and I pray that HE shines more brightly as I waver so much these days.

    You are in my prayer for rapid recovery from surgery, healing for this anaemia, and PEACE and REST during this season of life.

    Dianne

  71. I wanted to laugh – and cry – as I read your post. It could be my story (except for the surgery) and I’ve been wondering what’s wrong with me when everything (and everyone I know who has been through it) says that your periods get further apart and lighter. Really? Why am I the opposite? I’ve also been told that you’ll experience it similar to your mother. If that’s the case, I must have been switched at birth. My mother was finished by my age and had only one hot flush. One!

    My problem with ferritin levels was not picked up until my hair started falling out by the handful. Even then, because haemoglobin levels were normal (despite iron store levels being almost non existent) they were reluctant to give me iron supplements. Now, realising what a difference they make not only to my energy levels but also my moods, they’ll have a hard time getting me off them.

    When it gets hard and I’m unlovely to live with I have to often remind myself that my messed up hormone levels are not a license to sin.

    Hoping we both get through this with grace – and quickly.

  72. Hi Sheila, its sad to know that you really had hard times. hope you are doing great now

  73. I’ve been struggling with feeling overwhelmed and fatigued for months now, maybe even years. My daughter suggested a possible hormone imbalance and my search today led me here. (Actually, I first read your post on perimenopause…) That’s me. I’m struggling with perimenopause. I always figured menopause would hit me at about 50-55 years of age, like my mom, but she never told me about the struggles I might face in the years previous, I mean the emotional struggles, and how that would affect my perception of myself as a woman of faith. I am relieved already, just knowing that i am neither crazy nor alone.
    Martha recently posted…Finally FridayMy Profile

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