Mary Panza

Housewife Tuesday: 51 and Done

I knew a few years ago that the time was coming.  I was that age and things were beginning to change.  I was getting crazier, fatter, more fatigued and things were not running on schedule.  My eyelashes and eyebrows were thinning while my mustache and beard were coming in thick and quick.  Now, I’ve had some talks with my girl about how her body will change and asked her if she wanted me to get her books to help her understand.  She reminded me of this thing called the internet and stated that she would, “rather be surprised than talk to me.” That’s fair. Thank God for her Aunt (MSjr) and stepmom who are nurses and can take the emotion out of everything and make it technical.  My girl likes technical. Although, truth be told, step mom and I have had crying conversations about our girl growing up. Moms are allowed. Anyways, back to me.

Now with the internet, you can get info on anything.  The trouble is there is too much info out there. When you type in “menopause” about a million things show up and most of them are trying to sell you something.  Since most of my symptoms were normal, I just complained. I wasn’t really going to be proactive in anything because that required me taking care of myself, and let’s face it, I wasn’t going to do that.  Until I had to do it.

2018 was a shit year all around.  I was glad to see it go. By September I was about 36 days with a period, severely anemic and at my wit’s end.  I couldn’t think. I had no energy and my house was becoming a disgusting mess. I didn’t to cook or write. All I could do is work and sleep and everything else I faked.  I am terrible at faking, well, most things. The thing that bothered me the most is that I couldn’t put into words what was bothering me other than exhaustion and that “menopause”.  I was even sick of it. MSjr. kept telling me that our mother and her were “51 and done” and she promised me I would follow suit. Well I sort of did.

I have always had the utmost respect for the medical community.  MSjr., my oldest niece, my girl’s Dad and Stepmom are all nurses.  I was taught how to respect the people at the front desk, the nurses aids, the nurses, the nurse practitioners, the PA’s and the doctors.  Respect. Always. Even if they are nasty or arrogant. I have been fortunate, I never have lost my shit in a doctors office. I stay persistent and calm.  It is the only place where I really mind my manners. When I went through last August I was referred to the doc that changed everything for me.

He is highly regarded in his field.  I went to him and told him to “take it all out and make a lamp out of it.”  He laughed and told me we don’t go from point A straight through to Z. Fine, we do step A.  A minor procedure to end the endless period. Within months I felt some of my energy back. I was no longer considered anemic.  All was not well. I saw Doc a couple more times and had some tests. Nothing. All looked fine. Then the pain started. Sharp, take your breath away pain on both sides where the ovaries are.  Constant steady pain. At this point, I am sure that Doc thinks I am nuts. I politely persist and we both agree that removal is the best option. Not everything, just a couple of things. We do it and as it turns out I endometriosis on the ovaries and that one ovary was attached to my uterus causing my pain and further proving that everything in my body overeats.

I am grateful to him.  So very grateful. My head is clear.  I want to thank everyone at Samaritan Hospital in Troy from the front desk to the surgical staff, post op and everyone in between.  I am grateful that I was heard. My Doc listened. I am so grateful for that. I am pleased with myself that I was my own avocate and that I kept speaking up.  It is something we are not really taught to do but need to learn. I was taught to plow through. It isn’t always the best option.

I want to thank MSjr.  She was there every step of the way.  She told me not to embarrass her, let me stay with her overnight and most of the next day, make me homemade soup and got me involved in yet another show.  I binged watched Claws for the next three days and have it set to record for Sunday’s season premier.  Thanks to all my friends that checked in on me while I was binge watching Claws.

I do want to thank my female parts for all they have done for me.  They gave me my girl. Let me experience childbirth and the best legal high I have ever had.  They have gotten me out of endless gym classes and social events. They have given me an excuse for most of my bad behavior and temper tantrums.  They have shut up many boyfriends and an ex husband with the phrase, “I am getting my period.” They have given me my sisterhood with other women and my endless affair with overeating.  Thank you ovaires. Thank you very much for all you have done. A special thank you to my new excuse, “old age.” Thank you for all the future situations you will get me out of. It is a good life, after all.

I am 51 and done.  I am planning my future beginning with laser hair removal.  I am shooting for the moon as you all can see. Hey, I’m never going to be Hemingway, but I don’t have to be the bearded lady at the circus sideshow.  Bye bye estrogen. Hello future.