Blog Posts, Menopausal Mutterings

Signs of positive change at last!

This post is a full-on ‘menopausal mutter’. I’m giving you fair warning now. Feel free to close this post down now and browse through my other posts.

Are you sure you want to go on? Menopause alert!!

Still with me? Ok. Here we go. At the end of last month, the UK Government made a monumental decision which will affect menopause treatment costs for 51% of our population. Not only that, but a task force has been set up to address the appalling lack of support for menopause in the workplace. Medical schools are adding this neglected subject to their curricula and HR departments are being actively encouraged to develop policies to help everyone in the workplace, not only those of us going through these unavoidable changes.

Med school curricula will be upgraded to include menopause

My last brush with HRT was quite an expensive one – even though the product was one tablet, because it contained two substances I was charged per substance, not per prescription! The new charging scheme looks like we pay once for a years’ worth of repeat prescriptions, and those preparations with two substances will only incur one charge. This step is not as far as most of us wanted it to go, considering we have no choice in the matter. It’s not as if we can avoid menopause. But for now, it will do.

I’m five years postmenopausal and still having the odd flush and night sweat. In a cool yoga studio, I was the only one removing layers. The more mature ladies in the class noticed and said, ‘enjoy your trip to the tropics!’ Five minutes later the layers went back on as my thermostat went the other way and I felt like a flexible block of ice.

Most days these temperature fluctuations are more or less manageable, if a little embarrassing. What’s not so manageable are the other things menopause brings with it. Brain fog, loss of self-confidence, inability to focus. I could go on, but I’ve misplaced my list. An odd thing just happened as I typed the word ‘list’. As the letter ‘u’ is right next to the letter ‘I’ on my keyboard, I accidentally typed the word ‘lust’. Maybe this was my subconscious having a little laugh at my expense. She’s not wrong either, more’s the pity!

Did I say that out loud?

Five years ago, I would have simply accepted my lot. Back then HRT was demonized, held in reserve in case of persistent patients, and even then, only for a short time. Fast forward to today, and I’m delighted to report a complete overhaul of prescribing pathways and duration of treatments. Not only that, but it also turns out that there are more benefits than previously understood… the balance of risk versus benefit has swung back in favour of benefits. 

This information has yet to percolate all the way through to our local GPs. My grumpy/feisty self won’t let me be fobbed off easily, so I’ve decided to bypass the local doc in favour of seeing an actual menopause expert privately. I realise that’s not an option for everyone, but I can, and so I will. It’s a measure of how much we need more of these services when I’m on a waiting list to join the patient list!! While I wait, they’ve sent me a link to download one of the few NHS-approved apps for my phone. I’m now taking part in various observational projects looking into post-menopausal symptoms and treatments. What fun. My first experiment is looking at the use of medical-grade daylight lamps and improvements in sleep and mood over the dark months. I’ll let you know how it goes.

In the meantime, I wish you all a safe and healthy weekend.

Cath xx

Blog Posts, Menopausal Mutterings

Time is an illusion…

Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.

Douglas Adams
A time warp?

You know the old saying – time flies when you’re having fun? Well, it also flies when you’re not having so much fun. This is contrary to my life experience thus far.

Time has dragged when doing exams, waiting for results, planes, trains and the end of the working day. We can agree these are not fun times. It flies when you’re finally on holiday, at a great party or concert, or simply enjoying a favourite pastime. In all of these cases time has behaved as expected.

Over the past 12 months time has been seriously misbehaving. It’s fair to say that 2021 has been a year of lockdowns, gradual returns to some semblance of normality, and learning to live with the invisible enemy, COVID19. For my family and me it has been a year of firsts. First birthdays with Mum, first Mother’s Day when I didn’t send cards, gifts and flowers. First anniversaries of her passing and burial. It seems no time at all since the actual event happened, yet here we are, a year on. Time has flown faster than expected, given the sad nature of events.

I’m not sure how I got through it all, and I seem to be reliving it all again, a time loop. I have a theory on this. At the time of extremely sad events like the loss of a parent, we function just enough to get from one day to the next, to take care of the endless admin that accompanies this loss and give our loved ones a good send-off. As time passes and you approach each ‘first’, we now have the mental space and time to deal with the emotional distress we could barely keep a lid on at the time.

The important thing for me has been to not get frightened of this time loop. I think it is the mind’s way of sorting through the memories, of remembering it all, but without the overwhelming physical sensations and emotions felt at the time. I’ll not pretend this has been easy, and at first I thought I was becoming clinically depressed. However, a quick chat with my psychologist friend (I call her occasionally just to check in and make sure I’m not sliding down a rabbit-hole of doom) and it turns out I’m doing fine. Who knew? Not me. I needed the reassurance that I am simply healing from the past events. Phew.

Whilst time does indeed fly when you’re having fun, drag when something yucky is on the horizon, it can behave itself and help you heal from past traumas. So cheers to giving yourself time and space to deal with whatever you need to deal with, and cheers to time healing wounds. The trick is to have patience.

And breathe! Remember to breathe. Definitely helps.

It’s been ages since I last wrote a post for this site, other than super-short One-liner Wednesdays. My creative mind just couldn’t deal with much more than a few sentences. I think it’s managed to bust through the block. It certainly feels like something has shifted.

For those of you new to Menopausal Mutterings, you might want to wander through the older posts from when I was perimenopausal. It might explain a few things. Then again, maybe not. You have choices 🙂

Thank you to my new followers and thanks to all for sticking with me through hell and high water.

Bless you all.

Cath xx