July 7, 2008

I'm 45 Years Old

I thought I knew myself. I thought I had an understanding of, and yes, even an appreciation for, my body and its womanly ways. It's been a pretty good body as bodies go, serving me well without demanding an extravagant price.

But I'm aging. Strange and bizarre things happen to women as they age. Strange and bizarre things are happening to ME. Oh the ignominy, the horror, the downright inconvenience of it all. (My mother never warned me. Did yours?)

Who hasn't laughed at a joke about women having hot flashes? I have, heartily. I'm not having hot flashes (yet), but I am no longer laughing. Recently I began recognizing manifestations of perimenopause, the precursor to menopause, in myself. A woman needs to know these years can be fraught with symptoms even more odious than hot flashes.

My memory, never stellar, balks. My ability to concentrate, really focus, is questionable and at times non-existent. Attention to detail? Forget it. Multi-tasking? Not today! All that effort I made to get through the empty nest trauma phase? At times it feels like The Boy departed yesterday rather than six years ago. And all I want to do is sleep, even if it is a sweat-soaked sleep. Am I depressed? Am I losing my mind? Why no, I'm perimenopausal! So nice to meet you.

A new pattern has emerged. No longer is my cycle as regular as clockwork, oh no no no. Now it turns in some twisted dysfunction of its former self, crippling me with inventive hormonal agony until my body decides to give me a break.

A friend nods and says with a caring tone in her voice, "Oh dear, someone needs to bleed."

Yes. Please?