Over the next few days, we’ll be featuring guest posts by one of my patients, who was thrown into surgical menopause at a relatively young age. Many women may recognize the signs and symptoms Erin experienced. Like Angelina Jolie, she is sharing her story in hopes of helping others.
One of the most interesting (and sometimes distressing) things about aging is gaining a perspective on your own personal metamorphosis. From child to student to adult to senior – but at all these times, we are hopefully students of life’s lessons. Some are simple, and quickly learned. Fire burns. Touch a hot stove, and the pain sears it into your memory, and you’re unlikely to forget it. Others are better understood from a distance with a bit more life experience under your belt. You can take time to peel back the layers, examine them from all angles and begin to see the connections.
But a funny thing happens to us along the way. The everyday tasks of life get in the way of living. You can get so focused on the everyday world or stuck in the past, that you stop seeing yourself. You put aside the care you need in order to focus on getting the job done, and then it becomes a habit. You forget to take joy from little things, and push away the bigger things, waiting for the perfect time to get married. Or to have a child. To get healthier, stop smoking, cut down drinking or lose weight. To make a career change.
We try not to let life’s setbacks and transitions wear us down, even though at times it’s the most difficult battle one can imagine. Most of us remain hopeful. But one day, you look in the mirror and start seeing the signs of age set in – wrinkles, weight gain, skin and hair changes. Insomnia and fatigue are constant companions. And you’re just tired. Too tired to care.
Usually, it takes a crisis to jolt us out of our stagnation. In my case, it was a tumor on my left ovary the size of an orange. I was fine until I wasn’t. The pain was like being run through with a sword. I wonder how I know what that would feel like. But there is no other way for me to describe its sharpness.
From the start of my first period, I’d had problems that were collectively lumped together into the category of “women’s troubles”, and no doctor had ever been able to satisfactorily address them. I saw patterns; and believed there was some bigger issue in play, but I had no proof other than how I felt, which wasn’t great. Without some glaring abnormal test result, it was just the way it was, and I was told that I had to accept it as my normal state of being. I had a hard time with that idea.
I’d always been in pretty good health and was on the skinny side, but then my women’s troubles were combined with years of intense and extended periods of physical and emotional stress. By age 40, my body’s metabolic function was locked in a terrible downward spiral and it was taking me along with it. And it had just spectacularly manifested itself in the form of a giant ovarian tumor with unknown ramifications.
As I sat in the doctors office, in pain and struggling to hold back my tears, I was left wondering how I got there. It was time to start peeling back the layers and looking for connections.
Recognize any of these signs or symptoms? Call our office for an appointment: 480.619.4097