By Lisa Weinstein
Each morning before leaving the house, I used to check the weather channel to find out if I should wear a coat. But these days it truly doesn’t matter what the thermostat says….I won’t wear one anyway.
Because I am always hot.
The car thermostat could read 32 degrees and I’ll be turning the air conditioner full blast onto my sweltering face while my poor husband Bob, in the driver’s seat, quickly succumbs to hypothermia.
Yes, I have entered into the stage of life called “The Change”, also known as (cue the twilight zone music) MENOPAUSE!
Yes, menopause, where you finally get to say goodbye to your monthly “friend”. Except in my case, my “friend” didn’t want to exit my life as instantly as it had arrived.
Flashback to the 70s……………..
There I was, a gawky 12-year old cursed with huge glasses, braces, and a well-endowed body that had “blossomed” much faster that my flat chested friends. I woke up one morning, visited the bathroom as usual, looked down and behold, I had made a new “friend”.
My status in life had instantly changed.
I had become a woman.
And every 28 days for nearly four decades (with the exception of my pregnancy), the cramping, bloating, and heavy flow never ceased to remind me that I had become a woman.
Unlike its entrance into my life, the departure of my monthly “friend” did not happen overnight. My first inkling that “The Change” had begun to wreak havoc on my innocent body came when my “friend” failed to visit after 28 days.
Another week passed, still no sign of my “friend”.
Two more weeks…no “friend.”
The time had come to tell Bob that even though we had successfully raised a teenage daughter, we might have to prepare to do it all again.
The time had come to pee onto a tiny stick, wait three minutes and solemnly stare at a negative result that told me, in no uncertain terms, I was not with child….I was just getting old.
My “friend” finally came back a few days later, and misinterpreting my angst for affection, it decided to come back again after only 21 days.
And so it went.
I just never knew when my darn “friend” would decide to show up again. I wanted to end the relationship, I really, really did. There were no regrets. We had a good run. Yet every time I thought the door had closed forever, my stupid “friend” would show up once again, begging for forgiveness.
In the meantime, I also learned that the word “change” was not simply metaphorical.
I wondered why clothes that I had comfortably worn for years had suddenly started to shrink. Surely there must be a problem with the dryer, came my delusional rationale.
I wondered why in response to the normal antics of my husband, daughter, family, friends, and co-workers I suddenly transformed into the raging hulk.
I wondered why the rings I had worn since my engagement suddenly cut off the circulation in my fingers.
I wondered why in the middle of a meeting at work, I experienced a sensation of heat that radiated outward from the deepest depths of my body. A sensation so intense that I didn’t care about the consequences of running screaming from the conference room, throwing off my clothes, and hiding inside the office refrigerator for the rest of the day.
I wondered why Bob didn’t smother me with a pillow after enduring the covers being pulled off and on and off and on and off and on from 11 pm to 6 am, just about every night.
To be fair, not everything about menopause is all bad. The good news is I’m not going through it alone. I have my older sister and a close knit group of friends who can empathize. Together we laugh, we cry, and we attempt to tame our inner hulk as we navigate the seas of “The Change”.
What’s more, think of the money I’ll be saving by no longer having to buy feminine protection products….or a winter coat!!!
Lisa Weinstein’s blog takes a humorous and poignant look at parenting a teenage daughter, celebrating two decades of marriage, and coping with the inevitable changes brought on by mid-life. You can read her stories at The Mixed Up Brains of Lisa Weinstein.