I tend to run cold. All winter, I sneakily turn up the thermostat, which gets sneakily turned down by my budget-conscious, warm-blooded husband. He’ll be hanging out in shorts and a T-shirt, while I wear sweats and hide under a blanket. So imagine my surprise when I asked recently, “Is it hot in here?” and he said no. Well, I was drinking red wine, and had been cooking. That must be it. The kitchen was hot from the oven. Yeah.
It happened again, both us in the dining room eating lunch. “Am I have hot flashes?” I asked him, appalled, wiping sweat from my forehead and pulling my hair off my neck. He said that maybe I was warm from the stress of dealing with my son, who had just put me through a challenging parenting half hour. Yeah, maybe. Yeah, no.
It keeps happening. Sometimes it even wakes me up at night and I have to adjust the fan to point on me and pull off the sheets to let the sweat evaporate and cool me. It’s been about a month, with a flash happening once or twice a week. I’m having some weird sleep disturbances too, waking up early for no reason (and if you know me, you know how truly weird that is). I’m 38. I’m effing perimenopausal. You’ve got to be effing effing mother-effing kidding me.
So, yeah, that’s happening.
I went on the interwebs and found out that perimenopause usually starts around age 40, and can take anywhere from 5-10 years to fully resolve into actual menopause. So I’m not out of the range, I guess. But damn. I’m not ready. I went to grad school, which tends to delay child-bearing, so lots of my friends had babies at the age I am now, and into their early 40’s. My family is complete. I don’t want more kids. But… menopause?! No. Not yet.
I feel like my mom only just finished hers. She had a protracted perimenopausal period too, ten years? Maybe more? I remember her going to the doc claiming to be perimenopausal (At what age? I don’t remember. It suddenly matters.) I remember the doc telling her that she could still have a kid tomorrow, hormonally speaking. That lasted a long time. So I know this is just the beginning. But it’s the beginning.
I’m trying desperately not to think of it as the beginning of the end.
The part about no periods sounds pretty good, but I’m on the Mirena, so that is already mostly true. The part about osteoporosis is scary. The part about losing my libido is the part that really freaks me the hell out. My libido is so much a part of me that I can’t imagine what life would be like without it. I can’t imagine who I would be. I’m a woman, sexy, hot, curvy, awesome. I’m scared of those things changing, of feeling less like a woman. Terrified of feeling less sexy, less sexual.
I know there is more to me than sex. Obviously. I’m trying to think about wisdom and crap. But crap. Screw wisdom. I want the big screaming O’s. I want to boink without synthetic funny-tasting lube. I want to feel that swing in my hips that comes from knowing that I am one sexy bitch.
Every woman goes through this eventually. I’m not alone. I should probably start reading self-help books and crap. They’ll probably talk about the wisdom of being an elder and transitions and crap like that. Blah. Sigh. I’m too young for that shit.
In my own mind, anyway. My body, apparently, not so much.