It has been a while since my last post. Last month I discovered that I had Lynch Syndrome which places me at an increased risk for about a dozen cancers. After meeting with my team of doctors, I decided to have the (strongly) recommended prophylactic hysterectomy and oophorectomy in order to eliminate my chances of ever getting uterine, ovarian, and cervical cancers. Considering my odds, the choice seemed simple but nothing ever truly is. Like most procedure, mine would have its own baggage. Obvious ones like initial pain, soreness, and the need to take it easy for 6 weeks were not unexpected. Not being able to sleep on my tummy for a while would be annoying but i could be patient
My surgery was nearly two weeks ago and I'm slowly getting better each day. The worst baggage for me was being told that at the age of 44 I would go into menopause. I was also warned that because my menopause was brought on surgically, it would be immediate. Due to the Lynch Syndrome, my doctors agreed that I would not be a Good candidate for hormone replacement therapy.
So I've been waiting for it. Would I know when it started? Would I have mood swings? Get hot flashes or cold flashes? I thought it started last week. I felt a little warm for a few minutes. Perhaps my menopause would be mild. I had asked friends to describe it. Most just said I'd feel really uncomfortable for brief periods. I even asked my doctor how I would know when it started. I remember her touching my hand and assuring me that I would "just know."
Last night I was pretty exhausted and was looking forward to a good night's rest. My incisions are healing nicely so now I can comfortably sleep on my side. Unfortunately my hormones had other plans. I will admit that last night's experience threw me for a loop. For me, menopause was more than "really uncomfortable." This is how I came face-to-face with my Lynch Syndrome baggage:
The doctor told me I would be in menopause
And I nodded my head in acknowledgement
But what did this mean?
would I even know?
"one day" she said, "you just will"
And so I waited ...
I was completely exhausted as I settled into bed
Hoping for a good night's sleep
When suddenly I felt it's presence
It's warm breath at first
Whispered in my ears
Then like a desert storm
It's intense heat coursed through my veins
Sending me to a tropical hell
I languished with my blanket
Kicking it off like a petulant child
in the throws of a mad tantrum
I reached for my coolest pillow
In hopes that this fiery dragon would soon be slayed
An hour ticked by sluggishly
But soon I would rest ...
... Or would I?
A few hours later I was jolted from my slumber
The chill of Arctic air now pulsing inside me
I tossed the chilly pillow to the floor
And grasped for a heated blanket and comforter
To envelop me
I laid shivering in the bed
My mind transporting me to a dark winter's night
When an icy nor'easter had knocked out the heat
I once again watched the clock
Waiting for this frosty demon to leave
Two hours ticked by as I felt myself thaw
Now I could rest ...
... Or could I?
As the sun rose I awoke once again
Feeling as if I had just been baking in my kitchen
Inside me, the gush of warm oven-like air
flowed softly from head to toe
Before quietly fading away
And now I knew
This is menopause
I hope it doesn't last for long but no one really knows for sure. At least now I know what to expect. And, even though it pretty much SUCKS to have to deal with it many years earlier than is typical, the alternative (not having the surgery and waiting for a probable cancer) still seems worse.