“You don’t stop laughing when you grow old, you grow old when you stop laughing.” ― George Bernard Shaw
What a wacky couple of months it has been! From flu angst through to menopause and MS mayhem, the waters have been a bit rough at times.
Why, you ask? Well, lemme tell ya!
Back in early April, I came down with a bad flu, running fevers for a week straight recurrently. Being the over-achieving driven person that I am, I figured that as long as I was not comatose, I could continue to work since I work primarily from home…but I would concede that swimming should be taken off my plate for a short while until my lungs came back. You see, one of the down sides of working from home is that even when you are really sick, you just don’t rest enough!!! So I proceeded to try to keep up, when I should have been shutting down and letting my body heal. I proceeded instead to get sicker, develop lung infections along with sinus infections and the fevers. Then this apparently triggered what they called an estrogen crisis. (I seem to have a penchant for learning the hard way.)
I had never heard of this estrogen crisis thing before. What it meant for me was that I had all of a sudden gone into “hot flash hyperdrive”…literally dripping and crying and weeping and dripping, with hot flashes every 3-5 minutes round the clock. Seriously, folks…I thought I was going absolutely MS nuts!! I even wore this funky necklace I found online (Hot girl pearls) for when I needed to be cool the most…and I looked like I had borrowed Wilma Flinstone’s necklace!! But continual dripping in a board meeting or during presentations was just not appealing.
See that cat in the pic above? That is how I felt and looked the past number of weeks. Sad. Wet. Out of her element.
When by June my hot flashes got even worse, keeping me from sleeping, keeping me on the weepy side, and threatening my seizure control, …I saw the doc on the advice of friends who assured me that what I was experiencing was far from normal. He prescribed Gabapentin to stop the “heat”, as he put it. Within 2 days, the difference was noticeable to me and all those around me. I was sleeping, my hotflashes reduced from 15 per hour to 2-3…and I felt like “me” again. Not only did it help the hot flashes, but it helped the restless legs and pain, so that I actually got quality sleep for the first time in months.
Whew. My mental marbles were still intact!
Fast forward 2 weeks…and my body went in full rejection mode on the gabapentin. I ended up in emergency with my legs swollen twice their usual size, and being tested for blood clots or cardiac issues!!! Now, only 2% of people usually have such side effects to that med according to medical stats – but as we know, when it comes to the medical side effect lottery…I always seem to “win”. So I started off my summer vacation in the emergency room, then spent the next 3 days in full “withdrawal” from the med because they wanted me off cold turkey. (Thankfully my seizure meds “covered” for me in the chance of such a withdrawal triggering a seizure.)
On the plus side, the hot flashes are not back…and I am still sleeping well. So a switch may have been flipped “back” to the “normal” position! Is that typical? I dunno. Is that due to MS? My doc says “I dunno”. Yay for happy mysteries! As my doc says: “You are a very complex woman!” He doesn’t know the half of it.
In the meantime, I did manage to get back in the water, and even perform my first synchronized swimming duet for the spring season year-end close. (I would show you that…but my hubby’s technical difficulties with the camera ky-boshed that option. Not to fear! There will be more performing and competing to come however, and we will overcome our technical troubles!)
I am starting to look into how and/or if MS and menopause interact in women. I always have been my own case-study, eh?
As we head into summer…I offer this: Stay hydrated, stay cool. Swim. Walk. Have fun. Find your passion. And go with the flow when you can!
“Keeping up the appearance of having all your marbles is hard work, but important.”
― Sara Gruen
- Weight Gain, Hot Flashes, Depression: The Tight Rope Walk When Treating Menopause (medicaldaily.com)
- It’s Not You, and It’s Not Your Jeans: It’s Menopause (sys-con.com)
- Hot flashes and Night Sweats (genrelhealth1.wordpress.com)