Monthly Archives: July 2017

Aging, Pain, Fear

So much has happened recently: I turned 39, I acquired a husband-guy, and I started having chronic migraines.

In the past 3 months of migraine-tracking, I have found that a particular headache starts at 10 pm on day 9 or 10 of my monthly menstrual cycle. In May, it was uncomfortable and lasted 3 days. In June the worst of it lasted for one day and it rattled on for a total of 8 days; it caused me to go to my neurologist to see about a medication adjustment. In July, it was completely unbearable for 2-3 days….and it’s rattling through the seventh day as I write this.

To cut to the heart of things, I think I’ve entered perimenopause, and I’ve set up an appointment with my gynecologist to discuss this matter. My symptoms:

  • Obviously, pre-ovulation headaches. And chronic migraines in general.
  • Shorter cycles and lighter bleeding. I’ve always been a lighter bleeder, but I could usually count on 1-2 days of needing to dump my menstrual cup every 4 hours. For the past 2-3 months, I don’t think I’ve even filled an entire menstrual cup for the entire uterine sloughing. I’ll take it out and expect a full cup and be like, “huh? still nothing really coming out?” And then it’s over.
  • Bladder control issues – urgency incontinence. So awesome. This started around October 2016 and freaked me out. Yeah, I’m on top of the Kegels and stuff.
  • Breast tenderness – I always had this around bleeding time, but now I get it pre-ovulation, and it’s a million times worse.
  • Nausea. So much nausea.
  • Increase in facial hair – SO MUCH MORE!!!! I had been getting by with a full face wax every month, but now I’ve bumped it up to every two weeks. All of my lip hair is now like fishing line, and I have a shit-ton more dark under-the-chin and neck hair. Not a fan.
  • Insomnia – always an issue, but now when it’s pre-ovulation….well, I just count on taking Ambien and still not being able to sleep.
  • Sore joints and muscles. You bet!
  • A new lower abdominal paunch that I can’t lose!
  • Lowered libido – of course, it’s hard to feel like sexy times when you have a migraine.
  • Increased depression and extreme fatigue at pre-ovulation. I spend a lot of time in bed. And I cry a lot. From the pain and feeling overwhelmed by the pain and worrying about pain to come.
  • Brain fog, memory lapses, and confusion – this could also be related to my migraine medications.
  • Hot flashes and night sweats? Hard to know! My engine has always run hot…I sweat A LOT at work and have been dealing with night sweats for a while.

If this is indeed perimenopause, I can live with most of it. I cannot, however, live with the headaches.

I fear the headaches so much. I’m already anxious and worried about pre-ovulation in August. This past week was horrible – the worst physical pain I have ever experienced ever, ever, ever, and I can’t go through it again.

I tried to minimize it by saying I felt like I had a cranky elf in my head driving a 3″ iron rod through my temples. But when I imagine the terror I feel about the headaches, I picture myself kneeling before an executioner who fires a bullet into my temple over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over. While I have 5 ice picks impaled/encircling each of my eye sockets (a new headache twist that started this month).

The pre-ovulation headache gives me thoughts like, “I don’t think I can make it through this pain,” and “Is this all worth it?” I REALLY don’t like those thoughts.

I want these headaches to be exterminated by August 10. And I don’t think upping my anti-seizure/migraine prevention medication is the answer. I felt like the headache/executioner just laughed at that.

Besides terror, I feel like these headaches are just so unfair. A year ago, I started prozac because the last two weeks of my menstrual cycle had become emotionally miserable. And that misery had started to hang around the rest of the month. It was out of control PMDD. Prozac made those last two weeks okay. Not super happy awesome, but okay, and sometimes even happy. Now I feel like days 1-9 of my cycle are the only safe ones. I would like more time each month to enjoy life and Being instead of being subjected to hormonal misery.

If this ISN’T perimenopause, I don’t know what to say. I’m just totally screwed up?