{Health} Menopause at 40 ... sucks

I never really thought much about menopause. It always seemed to be so far away. Like eons away. Seriously. Like something really, really old women have to deal with. I sort of thought about menopause as something my mom goes through, not me. And then I had to have a complete hysterectomy and ovaries removed ... and bam, I was in menopause. No slow transition, instead I was dropped right into the middle of a physical change I wasn't planning on tackling for a good 10 more years. Surgical menopause is what they call my situation. It wasn't the natural, steady transition most women go through. I was yanked into a place I wasn't ready for.

So what's the worst part? The hot flashes. When everyone else is freezing, I'm sweating. I can rip off all my clothes and still be dripping with sweat. This makes my life complicated since it's winter right now.  The heater is running at our house and extra blankets have been added to the bed I share with my very sweet and understanding husband. I jerk the covers off me and he quickly tugs the covers back up. Last night I retreated to our guest room downstairs where I could turn off the heat (we have two heating and cooling systems, one for each floor) and sleep without covers — I was pretty desperate and Mike was sick, so I didn't want to make him suffer any more than he had to.

The thing is, overall, I feel pretty good. Aside from my constant temperature issues, I feel pretty much like myself. I "almost" feel bad for complaining about menopause, since I've heard it can be super horrible for some woman. I might be lucky, or it might just be too early to really know how bad things are going to get. But at the moment, it's not the worst thing ever, though it does suck (a bit).

The one positive aspect of surgical menopause is that I never have to wonder "when is it going to start." I'll never ask myself,  "Is this menopause?" All my reproductive bits are gone, so it's menopause. Pretty cut and dry, which is actually somewhat comforting. I know what's going on and why.

I really want to know how long this will all last. No one can tell me for certain. I'm hoping it's quick, but if not, I guess I need to figure out how I'm gonna get through it without making myself and everyone around me miserable (Mike tells me air conditioning in December isn't an option). From what I've read:

  • I need to avoid caffeine and alcohol (I don't drink much, but I do consume a lot of caffeine)
  • Sleep 7 to 8 hours per night (I already do this)
  • Up my intake vitamins B, C, D, and E (I'm the queen of supplements)
  • Practice breathing exercises (Totally trying to make this happen)
  • Eat a balanced diet (This is going to be my focus for 2015)
  • Exercise regularly (I already do this)
  • Stay hydrated (I already do this)

Sure ... that all sounds like great advice, but I want to know what other people are doing to make the transition less bumpy. I want to know what real people are doing to cope. How long does the "change" really take?

The truth is, I'm pretty much stuck dealing with this. I can't go back, I can only move forward, right. Unless someone would like to loan me their healthy ovaries and uterus for a decade or so. Anyone? Yeah, I didn't think so.