A week later…

A week later I was back in her office but this time I had asked the husband to come with me… why? well because I wanted for him to be informed by a specialist as to what perimenopause is and what he, as the husband could expect; since he often feels I’m making things up as an excuse to get out of my dutiful responsibilities, etc., etc.!

We walk in into the doctor’s office and I hand her my tests along with my mammogram and ultrasound from last year, she looks them over, explains what each test looks for and what my results say…

Let me round it down as she did, “You are so healthy that if you wanted to get pregnant right now, you could and would”… “Your changes are not manifesting physically though they are emotionally and you need to get over them through pure will power, however, I could sent you to a psychiatrist and she’d give you something to pop you back to your regular self…but don’t forget, you are 42, that you forget things is very normal, make it a habit to write everything down and get used to it… that you feel tired, just sleep more, 8 hours ideally… that everything’s dry, I’ll give you something for that… that you constantly feel like crying, think of everything you’ve got to be grateful for… you need to exercise and assume the responsibilities that you were entrusted when you got married and had children: you are the pillar of that house, you can not just drop everything and succumb to your maladies, you can’t stop working or taking care of your children’s and your husband’s needs, he needs you to be at your 100%, not a bit less, he needs to know you’ve got everything under control so he can work in peace and be the sole sustenance of your family, you can’t expect any more from him, he already has it tough with the economic situation we are going through he needs to be completely dedicated to his work or another might come and take it from under him… so now, you can go and in 6 months we’ll have another ultrasound to keep monitoring those cysts.”

and we left…

Yes, I was confused, very confused… my life and everything I already did was smeared in my face… all the balls I had dropped the months before were put back in my hands. I had to keep juggling but my reflexes were very impaired, my body tired and my mind blocked…

I was very hesitant to continue the conversation with my husband, so I walked in silence to my car. As he opened the door for me he said, “Forget about the psychiatrist, you are not taking something to alter your mood, you need to consciously work on it… and I’ll try to be more present and share the errands that my work schedule permit, but you heard the doctor you are OK and life has to continue, I love you, see you at 3″…and closed the door to my car sending me off into the sunset…

Since before Christmas, I had finally accepted that my mind refused to compare and contrast ideas, I could not process pros and cons, I had to choose a mind-set, it was either drown in the cons or rejoice in the pros… I rejoiced in the pros: I had no thyroid problems, my good cholesterol was at a perfect level so were the triglycerides, pap confirmed very dry tissue (but I already knew that), glucose- great, as was everything else! yay!

I thanked God for having such positive results in his plans for me… breathed and then… my inner voice, speaking so very sweetly reminded me: all this is emotional, there’s no quick way out of that!

“Oh, sweet inner voice that I have ignored till my whole body shouted for you, please let me enjoy the fact that I am physically healthy and I promise I’ll take care of your home, my mind, and find my way back to life…”

Now, I’m back at work, with sudden realizations of what I am doing which I quickly dismiss before that self-doubt and self-sabotage kicks in, the rest of the time I go with the flow and prepare as best I can the topics and activities of the day.

I am constantly being grateful for having total freedom in the design of my class syllabus, I set my own time frames, they have most definitely slowed down, though I still need to write down everything but now I have the discipline of doing it in a teacher’s planner that I got… I have 92 students total, divided into two classes, multi-level English and Research Methodology, fortunately (remember I can’t be happy and sad at the same time, so I choose happiness) I was able to leave my Creativity Workshop in someone else’s hands, maybe now I’ll get back to painting 🙂

I am not home free yet, but now I am mindful of my emotional state and take care of making the adjustments needed before it consumes me, blinds me and makes finding my way out feel like an impossible task.

I am trying to will my way into a peaceful, balanced place, because of something I am sure: I do not want to go back to being my old self… the person that ran her body into a hole instead of stopping at the first symptom and checking in… the person that compensated for who knows what by being all and doing all… I do not want to go back to being that person again, I have decided to embrace my new self, the one that has real limits and not made up as an excuse (which I never did), I can say NO, I can say I DIDN’T HAVE TIME, I can say I’VE GOT PERSONAL STUFF TO TEND TO SO I NEED TO SEND YOUR STUFF TO THE WAITING ROOM or do it yourself…

Through all this, I’ve been grateful and faith-full.

Despite me not knowing how I got to my destination I still got there safely…

Despite me not remembering how I had done something, I managed to find a new way of achieving the same result or a better one…

I was never left to my own devices, God was always with me, seeing for me, talking for me, guiding me in the darkness that my life had become…

I am not home free yet, there are moments when I suddenly find myself among the dark but now I am carrying a flashlight and am not completely lost anymore…

My perimenopause is manifesting with emotional disarray, which under the circumstances- not being able to take any hormone replacement therapy (I had a pulmonary thrombosis caused by the pill)- is better that the alternative (glass half full mentality, humour me please!)… or maybe I have no idea what I’m talking about and have decided to work with me and not against me…

Only God knows and I am in his hands, now and always!!

featured image

Why did I share all this? because I am not ashamed of being vulnerable, of being 40+, of my imminent menopause… I want to comfort other women, let them know that we’re all going through this eventually and each in her own,very personal manner… my version will become part of the collective experience of what the second half of our lives could hold… it is not an end, really, cliché and all, it’s a beginning as long as you decide to see it that way and embrace it with tons of self-compasion! A rebirth knowing all we know but also enjoying the fact that there is still much more to learn and discover…

I am a work in progress…

“The finest works of art

were never rushed…”

via @TaurusIsMagic

8 responses to “A week later…

  1. Mame, you are who I want to reach with these posts, though you have had this in mind for a while now… Yes, having been blessed with sons makes us a key participant in the evolution of their awareness of their REAL place in a family, in community, in life… Self-care, I am realizing, has to be modeled for them, self-respect as well, hoping it will manifest towards their treatment of others (their wives in the future if they so decide).
    Now that you mention it, at home, specially afterschool when all the meltdowns happen (teenage girl in the house) I do call a time out for reflection and recovery…and I do it at school with the students that confide in me, life does get in the way sometimes and we need to reconcile with it to be able to continue.
    I was very surprised at my doctor’s reaction, it came through with a lot of resentment towards her own husband’s place and lack of action in her family, because she exemplified each recommendation with a bit of her own situation… Nonetheless, I confirmed what I already knew, compassion will not come from someone who has never experienced it, much less someone who alleviates everything with medicine and if not, dismisses it… though she did mention she had a teenage girl on medication for anxiety and stress, so I appreciated her dismissing my situation as cowardness and letting me figure my way out… However, knowing I am physically healthy does give me sure footing 🙂
    My next post, as soon as I get a chance, will be about how I am managing my same obligations under my new circumstances… let me tell you that SELF-AWARENESS/MINDFULNESS are my ‘negative emotional detectors’ that start beeping as soon as I’m approaching the edge of the downward spiral, which has a very strong pull. I’ve been keeping my creative spirit fed by making my son’s Valentine’s Day cards and his 9th B-day Invites… I’ll post them soon as a breather from so much seriousness 🙂
    Mame, you are wonderful person, a fabulous mom, an incredible lady, much younger thatn me but so ahead of your time in vision and knowledge of what it takes to make it here… Thank you for being part of my life!

  2. I’ve been pondering all of this for a few days now. I just don’t like the old fashioned sensibility of your doctor or your husband. I disapprove of how our culture (American— and Mexican too, from the sound of it) dismisses the legitimacy of mental health and emotional wellbeing. If you have a terrible head cold, you are excused for the day, but if you have anxiety, never. A broken leg will do, but never a broken heart.
    It is a shame that we have to fight so hard for our right to self care, but it seems no one will be gentle or concerned enough to do it for us.
    I am attempting to change this type of thinking in our family. When I see that one of my children is on the verge of tears, I offer them a “mental health day” — sleep in, play games, eat ice cream, relax. They call them do-nothing days, but in reality these days do MUCH for their mental wellbeing. Everyone deserves it, needs it, from time to time, and I want my boys to grow to be men (husbands!) who recognize the value of rest and self care.
    Yes, we ladies are pillars for our families, 24/7. That is a lot of pressure to perform, while the men often have it a bit easier (I don’t say easy) with only the 8 or 10 hour workday.
    Please take time to paint, to meditate, to rest, to do things you love and that bring you joy. Seek comfort in God, and grab it in this life wherever you find it. If you look, beauty and comfort are everywhere. 😊

  3. Sweetheart, me hice el mam y ultra x q traigo unas bolitas que me duelen cuando se acerca mi fecha, pero he oído muchas veces que si no hay historial familiar o algo sospechoso que ni te acerques… y si te lo haces pide POR FAVOR el protector para la tiroide, no te lo ofrecen por eso hay que pedirlo. exponemos a la glandula tiroide a mucha radiación al hacernos el çhe mam cada año… do some research y no te angusties si no lo has hecho, es x q no lo has necesitado… o hazte uno para que estes segura que no hay nada… Self-compasion PLEASE!!! I ran myself into a ditch por abusiva conmigo misma… Thank you, yes I will, I’ve got no better way to go. xo friend

  4. Oh, man! You and the rest of us ! Ale, si tu supieras las locuras que pasan por mi mente… lo que siento a veces fisicamente y la estupidez que no he ido nunca a hacerme un mamograma… You will be fine. 🙂 I promise.

  5. Be kind to yourself. Big, sudden changes aren’t easy, so I’ll cheer as long as you are gentle with yourself ☺️ xxx

  6. Safi, dear friend, thank you for cheering me on 😊… Important messages find their way through, nicely or harshly if constantly ignored. I’m seeing a pattern here, when I learned that my chronic colitis could turn into colon cancer something clicked inside me and I changed my ways, now I’m living this sudden change again, though this time I didn’t have my youthful teens pn my side, however I have managed to get myself on a better path a realistic and self-respectful path. Very grateful for your love and healing, I feel it in my soul. Ooxx, ale

  7. Oh my darling, your strength is amazing, yes, even when you hate it or feel like you’ve none at all. I am only just learning about peri menopause and all sorts of other things – all reasons to look after ourselves and yes, be grateful for the blessings when we can. Much love and healing to you, darling. You are always home. Xxx

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