Phases of menopause?

I’ve read what the clinical stages of menopause are – perimenopausal, premenopausal, menopausal, and post menopausal.  When this happens naturally for a woman varies based upon when she started her first menstrual cycle or based upon when her mother went through it.

For me, it’s unknown.  My mother had her hysterectomy at age 41 due to a rather large benign cyst that overtook her uterus.  They recommended taking everything – ovaries and all, so she did.  She was immediately went through physical menopause as they adjusted her artificial hormone replacement therapy.

No one thought to ask her mother when she went through menopause before she died at the age 82.

I had my hysterectomy last year – less than ten days before my 40th birthday.  Long story behind it, but I also had two other surgeries at the same time to repair some damage from having children.  The doctor recommended that I keep my ovaries and I did.  He assured me that this surgery would not trigger menopause and has run blood work that seems to indicate that my hormone levels are fine.

Then why the hot flashes?  Night sweats?  Super-inhuman mood swings?  Either total insomnia or nearly falling asleep in the restroom stall at work when I get a few moments to myself? And other symptoms that are unexplainable and remind me of being pregnant again?  Severe lower back pain?  Charlie horses in my calves?  Tender breasts?

WTF?!

Clinical stages verified by specific blood work results my ass!  Keeping your ovaries a sure-fire way to avoid early menopause due to a hysterectomy – bite me!

Let’s not forget the rage against the machinations of my own brain.  And the lingering ache from one of my surgeries that does not seem to want to go away.  And the entirely new way I had to learn to pee from the other one.

TMI?  Maybe, but dump all of that in a blender, pour in a dose of children being angry for not taking them out to dinner on a Friday night, a handful or two of happy Christmas versus new air conditioner, drop in some chopped up pieces of whatever the dog has chewed up today and pack in some not-so-random emotional angst until full.  Sprinkle with overflowing laundry, dishes, unscooped poop, and any minor misstep made from throughout the day.  Flip the switch to liquefy and let run from 6 a.m. to about 10 p.m. and if it hasn’t blown itself to bits by then, transfer contents to air tight ziploc bag and hide in the deep freeze until there is a free day to thaw it out and pour down the drain.

Or buy yourself a great handbag on e-bay that you neither need or can afford.

It is my currently preferred form of HRT – Handbag Replacement Therapy.

As for whether or not I’m actually in a phase of menopause – I wonder how many HRTs it will take before I am sure?

What does “cool” really mean?

I’ve looked it up and it is officially an adjective ranging from the obvious of “moderately cold” to “calm” and “under control” to “disinterested” and “unaffected by emotions”.  It makes a slang reference to meaning being “socially adept” and “highly clever.”

Most of us cannot define cool into words such as these – we just know “cool” when we see “cool.”  For example, Matt Damon in the Bourne movie series, walking around all brooding and mysterious – COOL.  A guy throwing shoes at our President – not cool, even if you didn’t vote for the man or cannot wait until the new President’s inauguration day.  Michael Phelps winning eight gold medals in one Olympics – awesomely cool, whereas the previous record holder, Mark Spitz, not even showing up to congratulate or cheer him on – unequivocally not.   Parachute pants and black checkered vans in 1980ish- very cool.  Try wearing the same thing today and it would very UNcool.  Ed Hardy t-shirts or perfume – cool; Ed Hardy purses – not so much.  Linus’ speech in A Charlie Brown Christmas is sincerely cool in a sentimental way.  TV preachers hacking their wares heavily in order to make their mansions larger off true believers, wretchedly opposite of cool.

I’ve always attributed the word to something deeply existential within that cannot be specifically delineated into a tried and true formula for determination.  It is a either cool or it is not.

As far as my generation is concerned, the word can no longer be classified as slang.  It is part of our vocabulary when describing almost anything or even for simple interactions between folks.

“Wow – that’s a cool car,” the mother of two said as she walked past a Mini Cooper convertible.

“I’m going to order pizza tonight – cool with you?”

“Hey, please don’t take my kid’s bike – that’s uncool!”

The trick tends to be that in most cases, one needs to be cool in order to differentiate cool.

I’ve always wanted to be cool.  I have had times in my life where I think I’ve come to the precipice of cool and almost crossed into it for a time being.  Unfortunately, something usually snaps in my psyche and I lose all ability to allow myself the misconceived honor of being cool.

Believe it or not, I do feel as though I am getting closer to this mercurial veil of comfort in my own skin the older I get.  I am intimidated less, not nearly as afraid as I was even as recently as a few years ago and I find myself worthy to wear a leopard print faux fur coat even if someone laughed at me while I was wearing it.  I don’t care – I find it to be wonderfully cool.  I love writing haikus and know that if Bascho’s spirit is wandering around somewhere, he would declare them ultimately cool concise flashes to whisper inward expressions.

My whole point to today’s blog is that I am still unable, in some areas of my life, to adequately know whether or not I am “cool” or down right “goofy.”  In many cases, I still check with my friend and fashion expert (IMO) on what I can and cannot wear together as an ensemble.  I give my kids’ teachers space so as not to appear like I’m one of “those kinds of parents.”  And I am not able to respond if someone by chance asks me if “I’m cool” with something if the question’s base resides in one of the few remaining areas of anxiety for my brain.  I might be “okay” without reaching the same level of “enthusiasm” that someone else might.  But does that serve as an equal to “being cool?”

This is the question that has haunted me today and nearly brought me to my proverbial knees…fun, huh?

P.S.  Blogging on the human condition with an honest attempt to connect with others and include a bit of humor – hopefully cool.  Unable to answer a simple question without taking the entire day to ponder it and then end up vaguely responding under a pseudonym in a blog read by about three people tops – not necessarily.

Money, gifts and OCD

I tried to research the origins of money within the human race.  Not because I am that lame to google something so random on a Friday night as opposed to doing something more exciting like, oh, I don’t know, um, um – seriously, I don’t know – but because every year at this time my tenuous relationship with money gets pushed to the limit and beyond.  It then drags me down into a deep crevasse full of a murky blend of soiled cotton and linen that adheres to my skin and eats away at my flesh until I become nothing more than a grovelling, whining mass of cells only capable of weeping and scratching out angst-ridden haikus with a broken pencil.

I tried to research it so that I can make some sense of why money has become so bleeping important to nearly every human on our planet – including me.  I say “nearly” because I have a the desirous hope that out there, somewhere exists humans for whom money is of no consequence and not just because they have tons of it.

At what point did we, as a people, decide what was valuable and what wasn’t?  And when did that value begin to supersede all others to where literally no one can live without at least some of it?  There must have been a point in our evolution when we simply lived and shared our abundance together, right?  If I had slain a great mammoth, surely I would have offered its sustenance to my whole clan without requesting something in return, right?  I wouldn’t have tried to apportion out the heat from a communal fire to only those with shiny objects as a trade, would I?

I am not trying to express my hidden desire to be a bleeding heart socialist or hypocritically deny my materialistic leanings when it comes to handbags, laptops, and all things glittery.  I am attempting to rid myself of the shame-filled connection I seem to have between money, lack of money and my o-c-diferous paralysis around gifting to those I love with whatever amount of money I do have.

It takes me hours, days or even weeks to search and discover just the perfect gift that is both economical and exemplifies the right amount of intuitive sentiment that declares that not only do I know you well enough to get you exactly what your heart desires, but also that I love you to the moon and back.  Imagine how difficult my life becomes when I haven’t even begun to shop for the most important gift giving holiday of the year until two weeks prior to the event!  Couple that with the very real constraints on our family budget due to the previous summer’s fence purchase and impending a/c unit replacement before warm weather returns to North Texas and we have all the components necessary to ignite a fireball within my belly hot enough to melt tiles off of the space shuttle.  Let’s not forget my horrific ability to horde anything from baby food jars to empty toilet paper rolls thereby making the thought of purchasing cheap ass toys that will only break or become too boring for play within weeks and end up having to be given away or worse yet, thrown out, much-too-much for me to bear.

So, I bemoan the human race for evolving the concept of money into our DNA, curl up in a fetal position under mounds of blankets and put off Christmas shopping for one more day.