Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Hormone War

I'm at war with my GYN. He doesn't know it yet, but I'm gearing up for a fresh assault come September, and I'm loaded with evidence. The very fact that I'm wide awake and restless (and hot) at 2:38 am ought to be enough evidence for anyone. But I have a list of evidence, a litany of complaints, and a zinger closing argument.

This is a different woman than the one he saw about a year ago. That woman was pitiful and compliant; oh, please don't take away my HRT. I've needed it since that hysterectomy when I was a baby of 36 years. I was told then I could stay on it forever...and don't you know that until we got it balanced at that time, I was a maniac...a lunatic...a woman who prior to that had never had a single instance of PMS, and was transformed into a shrieking, door-slamming, crying-with-snot-running-down-my-face (listen to this) employee? That's right, I wasn't doing this at home, I was doing this in the office. An office full of suited, sophisticated, driven, stock market types. See, now I'm married to the love of my life, and I don't want to go back to that, so please don't take me off the HRT, I don't care if I'm the "normal" age for menopause.

He relented, he gave me the absolute lowest dose possible, and told me that I'd have to be weaned eventually, but he could put me on anti-depressants. Why is that better, I rage mentally. But being compliant, and not wanting the doc to take away my prescription, (what power he has over this hormone junkie!) I nod.

The thing is isn't enough. In the past year, my skin has gone dry and crepe-like. Over the winter, with the furnace running, I itched so badly I was scratching and rubbing like a bear on a tree. Then I noticed my finger nails have gone dry and ridgey. Then it started affecting my, I'm not slamming doors. Let's just say other things have gone dry and ridgey, and maybe leave it at that. My beloved contact lenses, the things that have saved me from peering through mere little portals of good vision, providing perfect vision even when I open the steaming dishwasher, or come in to the warm house from shoveling snow, have also betrayed me. My eyes are dry enough now to feel like I always have a layer of grit under the lids. Oh, and hair! Not just the stuff on my head (which used to get colored for fun, and body, and texture and now gets colored for gray), but the stuff growing where it never grew before! Who gets a rogue whisker in the middle of their eyebrow? And forget a soft fuzz over the lip, the kind that makes those "Got Milk" commercials so appealing. I'm plucking and trimming in places I never DREAMED could grow hair.

But this is the worst - the waking in the middle of the night, the tossing and fidgeting and inability to cool down. If I do drift off again, I wake groggy and ornery and moving slowly, dreading the day at the office, and wondering if anyone will notice that at 2 PM, I need a nap. Me, Sue, the person who napped only during pregnancies and no other time in her LIFE, now needs her little old lady nap at 2 PM, and the doggone desk is giving my forehead bruises when I nod off.

So, I'm loaded for bear; I have a litany of complaints and supporting arguments that include everything from "it's my body" to "you give 76 year old men Viagra, what's natural about that?" The problem is, I know his answers, and I know that he's being more reasonable with me than the other doctors in his group (including my first doc there...the lovely young, 30-something pregnant female doc who denied me my hormones completely. Her turn is coming.) So...this hormone junkie, this woman who is not willing to age gracefully, is probably going doctor shopping. It is not reasonable to expect me to function without a good night's sleep. Too bad I can't get an appointment at 4 AM...then I'd win.

(And before you ask...I've already been to the endocrinologist and it's not my thyroid. But he did give me a couple of really good book recommendations via his wife. No, no...novels, not medical self-help.)


Linda Fleming said...

Good luck with your doctor- but I have found doctors very difficult to deal with overall for a variety of conditions. If you can't get your HRT meds, you might want to try Ambien. I have been taking it for over a year and it has saved my sanity. The chronic insomnia was driving me crazy and making me miserable. And no, unlike some of the stories people have reported, I have not gone driving around after taking it-LOL! I simply get a good 7 hours of sleep.

Manastash said...

Sister, that does NOT sound like "aging gracefully". Hopefully you can get mad enough to slam things in the doctor's office. Maybe you can get a nice big syringe of HRT before you go!

Kai said...

I WISH I could blame this deep depression I'M experiencing on menopause. Not the case tho'. Fact is, I went through menopause and didn't feel a thing. WHY? Because I saw two doctors simultaneously for over 8 years to get birth control pills. Did either ask me if I could get pregnant? No. And I COULDN'T have. My tubes were tied. Duh. But I took those pills every single day - no breaks - and at age 50 when I stopped, I never had a problem. I don't LIKE doctors and I don't TRUST them. So I do my own thing when it feels right to me. Have your tantrum, my friend! A rip-roaring scare that doctor out of his MALE wits tantrum! Hope you get your HRT!

Judi Wellnitz said...

Have you tried those HRT replacement creams? I hear they are pretty good.

Diane said...

Well, I'm just glad I'm older than you are. I'm past caring on many of those battles. And I don't have hot flashes anymore. Been there, done that.
Good luck to you on your search for the perfect doctor. (smile)
On the contact lens... I was using the drops for dry eyes and it was not helping. Changed eye doctors, got disposable daily contacts that are about 80 percent water and boy am I one happy camper. Still have to wear cheaters to read, though.
PS I mailed a package to you this morning.

Lily White said...

I hope you go in with your rifle ready for firing and an evil grin on your face! I hate that all this been so easy for me and difficult for you? My doctor has no qualms with continuing me on HRT, and recently also increased my anti-d to 40 mg. I feel like a younger version of me (except for the flab!! Yuck!).

JudiA said...

You go lady! I don't usually wish trouble on anyone, but it really IS too bad that men don't go through menopause... I hope you feel better SOON!