For the men who read this blog, be forewarned–this is going to be a ‘lady’ post.
After 18 months of enduring menopause symptoms, the bloodwork I had done on Monday showed my body is actively trying to return to it’s usual cycle.
That means I was right when I said the symptoms I was having two weeks ago when I felt exhausted, nauseous, headachy, and fuzzy-headed almost seemed like PMS.
In a nutshell, it pretty much was.
It means that any month now, my periods could return and with it regular ovulation.
This means I have to make a big decision about birth control, including whether I want to have a tubal ligation to permanently remove the risk of pregnancy.
It’s one thing to find out that you are no longer fertile due to health complications, it’s another to have to make that choice yourself for health reasons.
I am 37, single, and will be on hormone therapy for at least 5 years. While taking HT, pregnancy is a big no-no. When I finish hormone therapy, I will be 42–an age where pregnancy under normal circumstances can be risky.
My doctor is recommending the tubal ligation to eliminate that possible risk to my health.
I am not sure that I am ready to commit to that voluntarily. I have no way of knowing where I will be in my life in 5 years, how my health will be, or what life choices I will want to make at that time.
On the other hand, another option could be a total hysterectomy which would mean changing the HT I am on and going through menopause again. It would also eliminate the chance of ovarian, cervical and uterine cancer. Once my body adapted to not having ovaries anymore, my hormones should settle down.
One thing that keeps me on the fence is the PMS symptoms I experience. They are debilitating and unfortunately uncontrollable (since I can’t take hormones). 4 days out of every month I can expect to be almost non-functional, and I am not sure if preserving my fertility is worth enduring that until my body naturally goes into menopause. That said, those symptoms may not be ‘normal’ for me and may be changeable as my body works to return to ‘normal’ cycles. At this point, there is no telling what ‘normal’ is for me. It could be a 4-week cycle with 4 days of PMS, it could be shorter or longer.
As I have mentioned before, I had issues with hormones for more than a year before I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I was diagnosed with PMDD–Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder–a severe form of PMS to the point where it disrupts regular life. It is a combination of mental and physical symptoms, but things like difficulty concentrating, anxiety, depression, mood swings, irritability and fatigue are some of the main mood issues. The symptoms disappear completely the day menstruation starts. To put it in a nutshell, when I experience these symptoms, I don’t feel like myself and I feel helpless to control how I react and act. It is like I have to watch while someone else takes over my body for a few days.
This, more than anything else, upsets and makes me anxious about the news that my body is coming out of menopause. At my worse, these symptoms lasted more than a week, and were occurring every 3 weeks. Basically I got about 1 week out of month to feel ‘normal’ and like myself. It affected every area of my life from my relationships to work to dance.
I don’t want to go back there again.
My periods themselves have not yet returned but I have a feeling it’s only a matter of time. My oncologist actually told me if they do return while on the HT there might be a study for me to join as this is apparently a bit unusual.
It sometimes seems like as soon as I get one thing sorted, another pops up. A friend of mine summed it up that this is just another ‘inject’ in my life I will have to deal with, and those words are very true. But he also reminded me I have support.
I still feel like I should apologize in advance to every one I know before my hormones take over. I hope the specialist will have some palatable options, but I am not looking forward to the decisions I will have to make.