Is it hot in here?

July 2, 2008

Don’t you just love menopause? The night sweats. The unpredictable and indefensible mood swings. Global warming on an up-close-and-personal level. And all a decade or so earlier than your peers. Who doesn’t like to be the first one on the block with the hottest item? Even if it’s you…

I listen to other women talk about alternatives to Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). Wild yam cream. Black cohosh. I could go on and on. During my chemotherapy I pleaded with my oncologist for something that would relieve the night sweats and flashes. She asked how often I was flushing. Once or twice a day?

Flushing. That is such a delicate way to put it. Similar to glowing, I guess. Well, let me tell you, there was nothing delicate about what I was going through! I was basically spontaneously combusting every hour or so. Being bald at the time (and a notorious head-sweater) I could feel the beads of sweat popping out all over my head like some form of liquid popcorn. Pop! Pop! Pop, pop, pop!!! There wasn’t a glow or a flush anywhere in the vicinity.

She prescribed Effexor. It’s a mild anti-depressant with the happy side effect of reducing hot flashes. It works too. And the anti-depressant aspect must help regulate my moods because my head hasn’t split in two at the neck and spewed vile epitaphs at my family in months. I’ve been taking Effexor for over 2 years now. But lately it’s not doing such a great job of keeping me cool. I’ve been flashing / flushing / glowing like a branding iron all over town.

I tell you, I’m getting pretty disgusted with the whole deal. And I’m not overly pleased with the tongue clucking and disbelieving hairy eyeballs that are being thrown at my by the older set, either. As if I’m making fun of those other women. I’m tired of hearing how I am too young to be having hot flashes yet. Ha! I’ll put my internal fire starter against theirs any day.

So, I am searching for alternatives – that my doctor will approve. What do you take in place of HRT? And does it work?