Monday, May 10, 2010

Goodbye Ovaries - Hello Menopause!

Three years ago I started having pelvic pain and a routine ultrasound revealed a tumor had surrounded my right ovary. The doctor took one look at the ultrasound and said "surgery for you my dear."
I'm no stranger to surgery. I usually have one a year because something goes haywire, but I was getting ready to head out for the firefighter training academy and I really didn't have time for surgery. "I'll be back from the academy in four weeks doc" I said. "I'll have the surgery then." He looked at me, shook his head and said very firmly "no, you need surgery now and we will schedule it for tomorrow." Well that scared the crap out of me, so I hastily signed the paperwork, trotted over to the hospital for pre-op and raced home to take anti-anxiety medication until I was a slobbering mess as I chewed my fingernails down to the nubs.
The next day I had the tumor removed and woke up with the doctor leaning over me. "No cancer" he said. I really wasn't worried about cancer, but after he said "no cancer" it made me realize he thought the tumor was freaky enough that it needed to be removed ASAP and he was concerned. Little did I know at the time it was actually a dermoid cyst and I was so ticked he didn't tell me. Those suckers are creepy. They can have bone, teeth, hair and even eyes inside them. If I would have known what they were yanking out I would have asked him to put it in a jar so I could take it home. Yes I am weird like that.
I recovered like a champ. I was walking around pretty well the next day, but I had to put off the fire academy for two months because of lifting restrictions.
Fast forward to February 2010. Another freaking ovary issue. Another surgery. Everything went well, but they had to remove the ovary because it was on its last leg. Once again I rallied and was feeling pretty well except I started freezing my arse off. I stayed huddled under a huge, heavy blanket for a week straight with a portable heater pointing right at me. I was miserably cold and hence my family was miserably hot because I was cranking the heat up until our skin was so dry that we started to look mummified. My partner and son were walking around in their underwear while I was bundled up like I was getting ready to trek up Mount Everest.
After a week the freezing feeling went away and I felt wonderful for about 15 seconds. Then I started getting hot flashes. Incredible, surging internal heat waves that felt like I would spontaneously combust. Also my demeanor changed. I started having uncontrollable utterances. A car would cut me off in traffic and I would lean my head out of my unmarked police unit and scream " BALL HAIR!" I started to feel out of control because one minute I would feel fine, the next I would be crying, then I would feel depressed and then I would have an occurrence of turret’s that would have made Joan Rivers blush.
I finally dragged myself back to the doctor and told him that I was over the edge and I needed some assistance before I totally went nuts. He put me on hormones (Thank God) and virtually saved me from unemployment, becoming single, and probably being knocked upside the head from someone who took offense at my verbal abuse.
It took a while for the hormones to kick in, but once they did I was back to normal (which is a relative term when you talk to those who know me).
I have to say though; menopause for me was no joke. I didn't even get to break into menopause slowly. No menopause training wheels to get me ready for the real thing. I was thrown on a two wheeler and shoved into menopause. I surfed the web and researched everything about it, just like I do about everything else. Some of the stories from other women going through menopause scared me to death. Some reported significant weight gain, loss of head hair and growth of body hair where it didn't belong, specifically the face. I had visions of being deep in thought as I stroked my beard.
Finally I realized that everyone's situation is different in all things and I am happy to report that I have not suffered from any of the scary things other than some depression that left me feeling like I didn't want to do anything. I didn't want to write on my blog or even get out of the house for a while. But I'm back in the saddle and glad to be back!


  1. My mom did it the same way. A hysterectomy and Slam, instant menopause. One day she stood at the sink and broke every dish. This was a long time ago and I think they just didn't do hormones because she was in her 50's. You described the hot flashes perfectly. I've been trying to explain it to my husband but he just doesn't get it.

  2. tell him it's like he has plans for the super bowl, but you end up with the flu (but not bad enough to be hospitalized, just bad enough to be pathetic) and insist you can't be alone because you are feeling like crap.
    Suddenly a storm rolls in and lightning knocks out the cable. Though the storm lasts 30 mintues, the cable is out all night. Tell him that's what's menopause is like. Just getting furious and having no control and not being able to do what you want because your wiring (cable) has gone haywire.
    Men...God love em'