Chapter 1: No Pain, No Perimenopause
Hormones are Horrific
Not Tonight, Dear, I Really Do Have a Headache
Period and Questions
Tender, Traveling Titties
Chapter 2: Over 40 and Looking Fabulous!
Oh, My Achin’ Stomach
I Can’t See Clearly Now
Vexing Vaginal Dryness
Cramp Your Style
My Achy’ Breaky Heart
Coping With Constipation
Chapter 3: The Only Thing Constant is “The Change”
Home Sweat Home
Sleepless in the Saddle
A Weighty Issue
If Beauty is Only Skin Deep, I’m in Deep Doo-Doo
The Triple Threat of Perimenopause
Why is Hair There?
Hysterectomies and Early Menopause
For the Lucky Few Who Walk Among Us
Chapter 3: From G-String to Gee I Wish You Would Go Away
The Mid-Life Birds and Bees
What to do When Your Libido Goes Limp
Talking Sex to Talking Dirty
You Ain’t Nothin’ But a Horn Dog!
Toys, Tapes, and Other Temptations
Sex and the Single Woman
Continuing Sex Education
Chapter 4: Emotional Volleyball
Mood Swings Through the Ages
Serotonin and a Smile
Pick Your NO’s
Jumping Off Your Mood Swing
Massage Your Mind
A Write Way to Feel Better
How to Keep Children and Friends from Running Far, Far Away
How to Channel Wild Energy into Positive Results
How to Milk Your Emotions to Get What You Want
Chapter 5: Mental Issues are Important—If You Can Remember Them
A Fantastic Voyage
Why is Your Brain Out to Lunch?
Boot Camp for Your Brain
Foods to Help You Focus
How to Find Your Mind and Make it Work Again
Imagination and Hallucinations
How New Shoes Can Prevent Brain Atrophy
Your Brain on Toxins
Stupid Questions that Hurt Your Brain
How to Tell if You’re Forgetful or Headed for the Looney Bin
Serious Mental Issues are No Laughing Matter
Chapter 6: Healthy Living for Your Changing Body
Hormone Replacement Therapy—Facts and Fiction
Risks and Rewards of HRT
Customized Bioidentical HRT
Homeopathic Herbs and Other Natural Stuff
Mammograms and Other Necessary Tortures
A Healthy Weight is Good for Your Body
Strengthen Your Bones
Have a Healthy Heart
Notes on Nutrition
Menopause is Not a Disease
Chapter 7: From Puberty to Powerful
Personal Reflections—Assess and Appreciate
How to Enjoy Your Transition to Peace and Wisdom
Accept the Fabulous Woman that You Are
Balancing Adult Children and Aging Parents
How to Set Future Goals
Make the Second Half More User-Friendly
From Empty Nest to a Nest Egg
Dress for Your Age
Chapter 8: Next Stop, Post Menopause!
Burn the Birth Control Pills and Toss the Tampons
A Burning Yearn to Learn
Volunteer and Save the World
Love is Still Lovely in the Afternoon of Life
Traveling the Road Alone
Your Emergency Survival Bag
Celebrate the New You!
I remember my first episode of perimenopause as clearly as the first time I saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show. I was sweating, crying, clawing at my hair, and ripping off my clothes. Unfortunately, I was 46 years old and there was no Fab Four in sight. In fact, this horrific event happened during an important business meeting.
Wearing my sassy yet sophisticated power suit with the appropriate accessories and ladder-climbing shoes, I was speaking to a group of Very Important Personnel. Suddenly some unknown force of evil invaded my body and mind, rendering me a breathless mass of confusion. I swear that it was similar to having a mammogram, a root canal, and a colonoscopy in a sauna while watching reruns of the shower scene from the movie Psycho. Only worse.
A wave of intense heat rolled over my belly to my head. Styrofoam lined my mouth, I forgot how to speak English, and my tongue rolled out just like the camel at the zoo. Then my brain slipped into neutral. Who were these people staring at me? Why was I standing in front of them sweating like a heavyweight boxer in the ninth round?
I feared death was imminent as my chaotic mind ratcheted from neutral into panic mode. Who would care for my children? Had I paid the electric bill? Crap, if this is the end, why didn’t I have that donut after all?
The sudden urge to urinate and pass gas added to the discomfort. I removed my jacket, a serious no-no in a corporate world that frowned on such informality. I grabbed the water pitcher and rubbed it on my forehead. Definitely another no-no. I took a swig from the pitcher as my last defiant act before I could explode into a ferocious fireball and take all those fools down with me. Burn and destroy the evil business people!
Suddenly, after an excruciating 40 seconds, the internal torture ended. I stood there like a ravaged survivor who was had just surfed a live volcano flow. Only no one in the room knew or appreciated the fact that I was alive, yes alive to face another day! I quietly sponged the sweat from my brow and blotted my notes.
After stammering through the presentation, I gathered the leftover donuts and retreated to the women’s lounge to sob uncontrollably between bites of maple bars and cinnamon rolls. Was I going crazy? Were these strange feelings just signs of early dementia? Wow, these donuts are heavenly!
Later that night, after I remembered where I lived, I began to research possible causes for the symptoms of my new malady.
Yup, it was perimenopause. I assumed that peri was the Latin word for “dangerous” and menopause was the word for “crazy lady.” I learned that these symptoms were only part of the total menu of midlife maladies that could occur as I transitioned into the real mother of all body betrayals. Menopause. Wasn’t I too young, too busy, and just too perky to deal with the “M” word? I decided right then and there that, yes, Menopause Sucks!
I found my reading glasses and began to write down the basic facts. I searched the Internet and studied my vast library of books on women’s health. There wasn’t enough information. After a sleepless night (yet another symptom of perimenopause), I visited the local bookstore to read about this mysterious condition. Unfortunately, most of the facts were very clinical and resigned. So, I asked my mother, and she said to just take it quietly, dear, and why don’t you call more often? I asked my women friends, and they all said they were way too young to “go through the change” and “why was it so damn hot in here?”
I wanted more. I wanted to hear about women who refused to go passively down that lonesome highway. I wanted humor, and defiance, and road-rage emotion. So I jotted down a few thousand words to provide a more balanced look at menopause. After a few more sleepless months, I had about 70,000 words of wisdom to help women deal with this physical and emotional phenomenon. This book is the result of my research, and I hope you read it and reap the nuggets of my newfound knowledge.