'A sense of humour lends you poise, it gives you balance and it helps you to bend without breaking'

(HH Pujya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda)

Menor-eek-overy; (say it fast)

The thing about menospection and blog reviewing is that one rediscovers 'eek' moments. Looking back one wonders why they ever got mentioned, but of course at the time, they were important. Essentially, the purpose of MENO blog (aka Wild YAM) is to let go of those 'eek' moments in life. All the drudge moments, the pulled rug moments, the 'it couldn't have been me!' moments. It was also, originally, about finding an anchor in the midst of the absolute mayhem that is 'menoplyxinaemia'; that point in a woman's life when Ma Nature rips away part of the personality and drains the brain of any function worth the having.

I discovered quite recently that both my sisters have been on long-term hormone therapy. "Why?" I wondered, we being a family who generally favour letting Ma Nature have her whim. Admittedly, they both look rather less than the fifth decade of living might display. Meanwhile the YAMster looks considerably more. They had their reasons, but it's not for me. I may have moments of cursing this body which is old before its years, but the truth is I don't concern myself about it for the majority of time. Oh I look after the basic needs, and tend any damage, but other than that, it is just my vehicle. "I" am not this body. This was something I understood from a very young age, when the arthritis was first ravaging it. Occasionally pains are bad enough for them to get mentioned... but then you know it is REALLY hurting. I ignore pain, for the most part.

That said, since the menoplyxinaemic pinnacle, I have been forced to acknowledge the need for more gentle treatment and consideration; as with all aging vehicles, a wider variety of maintenance and more frequent pit stops are required. It has to be said, though, that it seems that the meno is mainly over(y) and the biological business has settled down to its cronehood.

Astoundingly, it is five years since the actual date. The Pause. I nearly decked my mother when she answered my enquiry as to how she dealt with certain aspects with "I don't think I had menopause"... gggrrnrnrnrnrhhrhhhhhh.. Of course she did. She just didn't have any symptoms. Apparently.

What she seemed to have forgotten were the times she had made me promise that if she ever lost her mind I'd take her out and shoot her. It would involve sourcing the necessary equipment, of course, but that was irrelevant. It was also irrelevant to her that it might mean her daughter getting a life holiday at her majesty's leisure. Mother had terrible trouble with the mental effects - which I can date to about 'the time'. She'd forgotten all that though.

Length and variety of symptoms is an individual thing. Some folk only have the mental stuff, like mother, others get a few of the physical symptoms. Yours truly had the lot and for the fullest amount of time.

Yup. Read the manual; I copped the lot**. Early symptoms were, of course, not recognised and it is only in hindsight that it can be seen the meno was creeping on by the early-40s. Weight-gain; out of proportion to lifestyle. Investigations showed potential for diabetes, but not 'yer ackshual', just be careful. Beyond that, nothing. Just get more exercise. This at a time when I was, in fact, at the most physically active I had ever been in life at daily consistency, both through work and socially. It didn't make sense then. It does now. Once the weight started to build, there were the migrainous headaches. Only six in total, spread over a period of about eighteen months. Debilitating. Not being one ever to get headaches (other than with an infection), it was disconcerting. Then they stopped and have never returned. What came in their place was the anger. Rage. Not all the time. It just would pop out for an attack upon a someone or a something without any warning to them, it or me. It wasn't me. It was a monster who had taken over the vehicle and seemed hell bent on crashing. That was the point at which it twigged that there was something going on and the question was asked of the mother. It had been six years of symptoms already and I was still only 47. The next peculiar symptom was the desire for junk foods. Not just the odd meal of pizza or egg and chips and occasional iced chocolate... we're talking some kind of addiction here. I just could not seem to get enough of that stuff. Which all didn't help the weight management, the will power apparently having upped skirts and escaped via the back entrance. The head knew it was wrong, but had no voice whatsoever.

So it went on, until my 49th birthday. A day marked by dark red. On came the first of what would be many months haemorrhaging and gone was any concept of 'monthly'. Given that towards the end of that year, 2010, I was applying to attend Sandeepany, this was really making a nuisance of itself.

The day I was due to fly out of Australia, June 2011, on it came. I was buttressed in mega-stocks of protective items for that journey. I arrived in Edinburgh for the two months with family before going to India and I was very worried. How on earth was it going to be on an ashram with this stuff going on???

Twelve months later, sitting in Sandeepany, it struck me. There had been no more drainages. The flight out of OZ had marked the last flow. The end of 'the curse'. A full year on I could say the meno had paused.

Not the end of symptoms though. During my time at Sandeepany, the next major effect was short-term memory, the lack thereof. Those who have read the bloggy from the beginning will recall it was the central point of discussion. What I never mentioned before was that much of the long-term memory also seemed to disappear. It was worrying me sick. I was going to ask someone to take me out and shoot me...

I didn't; but I did ask achaarya-ji to release me from my obligation as I felt worthless and unable to contribute at the appropriate level and was 'clearly-an-academic-dwarf-compared-to-all-the-other-students!' He just let his gentle eyes glitter and his lips twitch a soft smile and said, "amma, you must stay. We need you and your insights."  That was it. Nothing else said. I stayed and I thrived^^. Despite the six month black hole in my brain which straddled the actual pause.

Five years later I sit here in the Hutch and see that it has been about a year since I had any symptom that could be attributed to the meno; except, of course, one has been left with the short-term memory loss as a permanent fixture and there are still some black patches where history used to be; as well as the inability to lose any weight whatsoever and feeling ten years older than the numbers say, a crumbling spine and legs which operate according to their own individual requirements. No, apart from all that, and seventeen years from the first onset, it seems I am menoreekovered.

Woo. Hoo.

**Am not listing all the effects here. Don't want to frighten anyone who has yet to embark on this stage of life's little adventure... Remember. It may not happen to you.
^^Away from the slightly tongue-in-cheek recall here, it ought to be acknowledged that I could not have been in a better place than Sandeepany to see me through the dreadful time; there was only one point of focus - study of Vedanta - and one expectation - understand Vedanta as fully as one can. All the peripheral stuff of life was managed by the application of Vedanta. Had I not gone to India, it is entirely possible that I would, in fact, have found someone to take me out and shoot me...


  1. Oh, I am there. I will not say what my symptoms are but they are not FUN.

    Happy Thursday, enjoy your day and the weekend ahead!

  2. The 'last' day of unscheduled events was well remembered too. It had been a while. My daughter (age 25 at the time) was having some hiatal hernia surgery. I took off several days work to be with her at the hospital and she was coming home with us for a few day. Lo and behold I (I was 46) awoke with the curse in full rage, as it had been a while since the last. I was to sit at the hospital with all that going on?
    Geez I found a very loose denim jumper in my closet that would allow room for more protection that and off I went. I'm happy to say that was it and I didn't miss it until the hot flashes started about a year later. LOL
    YaYa this was a very informative and well written post many will identify
    with it.
    Hugs HiC

  3. Meant to say I took HRT for about 3 years for the hot flashes. After that I tired to ignore them. They were followed by lots and lots and lots of sleepless nights. I still have sleepless nights but not as frequent.

    1. Hari OM
      Oh yes the insomnia has been one of the biggest and longest-lasting symptoms. I still have a couple of 'all-nighters' a week, but am so used it now it is handled by being productive or catching up on reading/viewing!!! Yxx

  4. Isn't it amazing and frightening just what your body can do to itself, I mean why should hormonal changes affect your sleep so much????
    Loves and licky kisses
    Princess Leah xxx (who has no problem sleeping all, except for when Mum is too restless!)

  5. An entertaining history of The Pause! First of all I cannot even imagine you having rage. I can't even imagine you with a slight "piss off". The best I can do is imagine you as irritated. Sorry but you were pretty level and mellow last June! I went through it during a drug induced slumber (anesthesia during surgery). Immediately after that I was put on HRT and remained there very happy with my daily 125 mg. of estrogen. Then later, in light of all the bad press about estrogen and breast cancer, I decided to stop the HRT. Whoa! Oh mama mia! I nearly embraced the hot flashes (since I'm always cold) but could no longer sleep. Oh, I could fall asleep . . . for about 2 hours. That was about the maximum for the night. I could not exist with such sleep deprivation. Since that point I have been on 63 mg. HRT. It gets me by.


  6. I hope all the symptoms will not haunt me when it starts... maybe I'm one of this happy people who see or feel no change...maybe...

  7. Menopause is so random in its severity of attack. Thank goodness it seems yours is just about done. For me it was the previous 30 years that were more of a problem, with extreme irregularities in timing and flow (but strangely, almost no pain).First hot flush came a week or two after I started blogging - a pure coincidence I might add. Still get them occasionally, but thankfully few other symptoms, despite mid-change removal of ovaries and the rest...
    I've probably said before that the workings of the female reproductive system are surely the best ever argument against so-called 'intelligent design'.
    Cheers! Gail.

    1. PS You say you look old, but you have a beautifully young looking, smooth skinned face.

  8. I never thought I'd be involved in a discussion such as this. But, for those of you would would like to take me to the back yard and shoot me, tough. And for those of you who skip menopause, like I did, don't worry.
    I was forty. My formerly scanty periods stopped. I thought there might be a problem and I saw new doctor. This was in this country's fit of insurance insanity called HMO's (health maintenance organizations). There one saw the next available doctor, there was no continuity of care. And the little fat doctor said "OMG, you must have periods. Take these pills." I did. I suffered the most wrenching, painful period of my life. It resembled a miscarriage. It certainly wrung my uterus dry. I never went back to that doctor. I did carry on with my life as usual, and have put 34 years between that episode and now. The end.
    I also dropped HMO, paid the insurance differential for "premium" insurance, and found a doctor I trusted to listen to me and work with me. Like everything else in life, health is a partnership.
    PS-Yam is the prettiest little girl on the block. And sensible. And capable.

    1. Hari OM
      HAH! That's the Joanne I know and love!!! Yxx

  9. I went into menopause early (42) and had 3 years of constant, literally constant, periods and headaches. I remember going to the doctor and she said "what are you using for birth control?" I said "Huh, I'm going into menopause?" She said, "it can happen, what are you using?" to which I replied "so far, nudity and a poor bar selection at home seems to be working". That was a miserable 3 years.

    After that, the hot flashes and weight gain. I tried hormone replacement for a whole 2 days. It made me feel worse and the cancer risk wasn't worth it. Now use a bioidentical hormone cream from Smokey Mountain Naturals. The term “Bioidentical” in Bioidentical Hormone Replacement means that the hormone content found in these supplements is structurally identical to the hormone that the body produces naturally. This distinction is important because even minor variations in chemical composition can alter the way that a hormone interacts with the body.

    The creams are a very gentle and natural nudge for the system without any side effects and the increased cancer risk of hormone replace therapy but I have no hot flashes and at 59, most people think I'm about 7 years old than my 34 year old husband (OK 80% of that is 40 years of SPF 30 and hats, but still :-)

    I also greatly increased my water, fruit, and veggie consumption and started weight training exercises with a trainer, so the weight came off. I won’t be skinny but that’s OK, Husband said skinny is like “hugging a bag of antlers”.

    Thanks for the frank discussion. Wish I knew all of this 15 years ago.

  10. It's quite a journey, isn't it? Our biology sure has changed in the centuries since we don't die at age 40 anymore!
    Mine began, perimenopause, after my mom's cancer surgery. I'm sure it biopsychosocial, all interrelated. Poor daughter is having a cyst removed Monday, hence we have the kids for a week. It's on her ovary and gives much pain at times. sigh.

  11. After my operation 2 years ago I was put on contraception, even though there is nothing to contracept. I will have to take that until I am about 50, at which time (according to the doctor), I should be over the meno as well. I will wait and see. And ask my mum when she first got symptoms and when last (I was still 'happily' being pre-meno when the operation took place. I was 43 then).

  12. Well, born in 1946, onset in 1956, secession in 2001. Yep, 55 years old. 45 years of the visitor.... Last few years were sporadic. I've always been crazy and quick tempered so no one noticed any difference. I did notice some night sweats. Developed belly fat but then, again, always chubby. Glad it is in the rear view mirror.


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