Sunday, September 25, 2011

MS + Perimenopause = A New Kind of Crazy

Perimenopause.  MS.  Which do I blame for...what?

My friends at the MS Foundation had some info that I wanted to share with you.  Ya know, in case you're wondering as well...

By: MSF Staff and reviewed by the MSF Medical Advisory Board

If you find yourself attributing every physical and emotional symptom you experience to MS, you are in good company. (whew!)  But if you are in your early-to mid-40s, (or, in my case, late 30s) some symptoms, such as weight gain, sleep disturbances, or volatile mood swings, may have nothing to do with MS. You may be among the 80 percent of all women who will experience perimenopause.  (oh thank gawwwd!)

Allow me to break this down into a confession of sorts:

Weight Gain:  I haven't actually gained weight, per se.  It's more of a "weight shifting", if you will.  In other words?  Gravity has not been kind to me.  And not just in the way it messes over you after you have your children.  No no.  This time, gravity was non-specific and equal opportunity.  It's a total body extravaganza.

Sleep Disturbance:  Oh you betcha.  Add the "ms potty breaks" to the "waking up in sweat" to the "waking up freezing" to the "vivid dreams" and what you've got by 6am is a very tired me.  A very tired me with paraesthesia who can't get down those steps fast enough to the coffee maker.

Volatile Mood Swings:       :::crickets chirp:::

So what do they suggest over at the MSF?  Well, several things that I simply can't get with - like reducing caffeine intake.  MSF!  It's as if I never knew you!  NO. CAN. DO.

I do like this comment, however:

"Attitude - A positive attitude can make all the difference. If you need support, seek counseling or join an online support group. Talk on the phone or have lunch with your friends more often. Nothing lifts your spirits more than sharing mid-life stories with a good friend! Rather than falling into the “I’m too old,” mindset, why not try, “I’ll never be younger than I am today?”

My Mom went off by herself a lot.  Now that I'm experiencing these feelings, I can see why.  Yet as similar as we are in so many things?  Is as differently as we are wired.  Secluding myself is not good for me.  Sharing a time of fellowship with a friend is so precious and uplifting.  I can't so much have a mutual sharing of perimenopause stories with them, because they're not experiencing it.  They'd be mesmerized if I shared that I've traded the knock down, drag out, monthly migraines and heart palpitations for "let the body hit the floor" + "monthly sweaty, freezing, dizzy, tingling, fughhhtigued, extra deodorant needing, Big Ball of Hate" - ness.  TMI?  There are other things I'm holding myself back from disclosing.  Trust me ;-)

Mom says I've got another 10-11 years, tops.  Lord willing, I'll be able to start some form of an exercise program that puts the brakes on gravity's pull...and my friends will continue to bless me with their fellowship...and my husband will be given an extra serving of patience.  Because living with ms is challenging enough.  Perimenopause?  That's a new kind of crazy!

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