Hormones Gone Rogue

When I say the word “menopause”, for most of us it elicits images of our mothers and an age that is definitely 50 and over.  Its really not something we give much thought space to because in reality we all feel like we have a long time before we have to give it much consideration.  So imagine my complete and utter shock (and my doctor’s!) when I left a February GYN appointment with the news that I literally had no hormones left and they had hit menopausal levels.  A good cry was in order but how had I arrived here at only 42 years old!?  

Let me back up a bit and say that I had been battling my sideways hormones (and uterus) for years by the time we arrived at that shocking February appointment.  I’m sure many of you can commiserate with that.  For the vast majority of my life I had very healthy and uneventful hormone levels.  I never had hormonal acne as a teenager, my cycles were always quite normal, getting pregnant and sustaining pregnancy was never a problem either.  But things really took a turn for my reproductive world when my 4th baby was about 3-ish years old.  I would have been about 34 years old when I started to see some pivots. Now here’s where things get tricky right mama?   By the time those babies are about 3, our hormones have had a minute, we’ve recovered from the pregnancy and the breastfeeding if you did that and the stress of not sleeping well for a few years.  For me, I was also recovering from a million extra large life changes as well.  I went through a divorce, moved states, entered into the workforce full time, and adapted to single motherhood.  To say that my body and hormones had taken a beating at that point in my life is probably an understatement.  So it was really no surprise that I was seeing some changes and having some struggles with my cycles but I felt like I could get things back on track.  I think as women its really so easy for us to always say, well its just life stress and we are all juggling so much because we know those things impact our hormones but we march on and maybe make a doctor appointment when we become annoyed enough with whatever symptoms are showing up. What I could not have predicted was that getting back on track would never really happen because what we know now, that was not apparent at that time, was that I was in peri-menopause!  The mold didn’t fit but gosh darn it, the medical field needs to do a better job at remembering that it doesn’t always fit!  The next several years would consist of many doctor appointments.  Switching doctors.  Biopsies, ultrasounds, blood work, medications, anti-inflammatory diets, naturopathic doctors with expensive treatment plans, mainstream medications, procedures, etc.  I’m glad I don’t have a running tally of all the money I have spent on trying to get my hormones to behave themselves over the years, ha!  Guys.  Perry could not be tamed (perry = peri-menopause).  

Fast forward again to February’s grand reveal.  I had started to wonder if I was in perimenopause (joke was on me, haha!) as I had rapidly started showing many of the symptoms. I still felt too young for that business but it still led me back to the doctor’s office.  Heres the TMI so proceed at your own risk.  I was having so many issues with my cycles at this point.  It had worn me down.  I had always been one to go about things in the most natural way possible but I was at the point of IUD’s and birth control pills.  And still Perry could not be tamed and I was exhausted.   And anemic.  And had developed high blood pressure.  And so over it all.  Yet the doctors were STILL telling me I was too young for perimenopause/menopause despite everything pointing in that direction. My overall health felt out of control, and even my healthy lifestyle was no match for whatever was happening.  This is when my doctor decided to run some blood work as it had been about a year since my last panel.  As you know, the results looked like someone had opened the drain and let all my hormones out. This happened in less than one year.  Less than 12 months prior I had very normal estrogen/progesterone/FSH levels.   I was now picturing my ovaries as droopy, mostly dead houseplants, ha!  There was still a major remaining mystery though.  If my hormones had hit menopause, why was my uterus behaving like an angry dragon?  Medically it didn’t add up…it doesn’t add up.  After a lot of discussion and a lot of tears (on my part), my doctor and I decided the kindest, and most medically appropriate thing to do was a hysterectomy.  This has been a very difficult thing to accept even though I know its what is best.  Its hard for us to admit, what feels like defeat.  To admit that something about our health is not within our control is hard and that feels scary.  This has been especially difficult because I feel like I do “all the things right”.  And its hard to accept that sometimes we don’t have every answer we would like to have.  In my case we have exhausted every test and treatment option available and we will not have the answer to why things are the way they are until all of my reproductive organs are removed and studied by the pathologists.  Part of me is excited to have the answers revealed.  Part of me wants to see the organs when they take them out! Hahaha.  Thats super weird I know.  If you’ve read this far, don’t worry, I will update you on what they find!

I think it can be so helpful for us to share our stories with each other because there’s probably someone else struggling as well and it can feel like a lonely long road sometimes!  We also now know that there is a huge gap in research regarding women’s health and specifically women’s health and hormones! There are some really great doctors doing the hard work or putting a spot light on the gaps and the needs in this area of healthcare. I have since learned that there is also a massive gap in the knowledge a lot of women’s health doctors hold regarding menopause. Apparently they receive very little training in medical school (much like their nutritional training) so it can sometimes be a challenge to find a doctor who has the experience and current, up to date knowledge to treat and guide us in this phase of our hormone journey.   I’m going to list some amazing resources that I have followed for a while on Instagram and have learned so much from.  We have to do the work of educating and advocating for ourselves.  

I am scheduled for a full hysterectomy in April and I will immediately start on HRT following the surgery. I have a lovely, compassionate surgeon.  We will share the journey with you and will hopefully be able to share things that are helpful and life giving as we figure it all out.  Its hard to navigate big changes in our health that we didn’t see coming.  I’m so thankful for Kimberly’s support and encouragement and that of all my sweet friends.  I am so blessed and thankful.

Stay tuned!


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Hormones Gone Rogue

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