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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?

Kitchen Therapy

After a 9-hour day of classes and lectures and personal wellness coaching, sometimes one must go home, crank up the music, and cook a full meal.

How novel is a meal composed of an entree and two sides?!

Very novel.

Not every night is like this.

Spicy porkchops, spicy roasted acorn squash, and braised kale with red bell pepper and 3-pepper goat cheese.

I felt like a real person after the meal.

Did I ask you for attention when affection is what I need?

For music, I listened to a lot of Metric, particularly this song:

Keep doing it wrong, keep singing along.

Today I’m off to a nursing home for data collection. Three of the four of us going readily admit that we’re not suited for working in geriatrics.

It should be a fun morning.

The bright spot is that the little town in Illinois has an awesome frozen custard stand, and I made the group promise that we stop there after every trip to the nursing home.

A New Chapter

Dear Friends,

As one chapter of my life draws to a close with great finality, I am also bringing this blog to a close. A new one will spring up elsewhere soon, and will be updated much more often!

Please leave a comment if you’d like me to email the URL to you when the new one is up.

Forks and Needles had a good run, but like many other things, this blog is done.

Best wishes to you all, and I do hope you’ll leave a comment.

Yours,
Carrie

Breaking Thoughts

It’s hard to be the one left behind.

The one who is no longer wanted or needed. And to not know why really, or what exactly changed.

And it’s even harder to know this for four months, yet be told otherwise. To keep trying and failing because what you’re trying for is no longer there. To feel like something must be obviously wrong with you.

It’s hard to watch another begin building a different life, and to not understand why you aren’t included. To draw the conclusion that something must be wrong with you, but not knowing what.

I know some will think it poor form to write about such things on my blog, that it isn’t very fair to Porkchop. But my blog documents my life and feelings. If you feel uneasy, don’t read it.

Porkchop and I are officially no longer partners.

I feel lost and sad, but relieved to have closure to these past months.

I know that nothing is wrong with me as a person, but I also know it will be a while until I feel right again.

Whereas

Whereas I was previously anxious with nervousness, I am now anxious with excitement.

Whereas possibilities previously seemed closed, they now seem to be opening.

I am ready for change and new growth. Let us toss these tired, old habits to the wind!

Still Sad

This is only my fifth day on an SSRI, and I wish it would hurry the fuck up and make me not sad.

I wish it would also help me sleep. Sleep is pretty much impossible. I’m crazy anxious with churning thoughts. When I do sleep, it’s for but a few hours. Tomorrow, I shall try to get a prescription for a sleep aid. Lack of sleep makes me even sadder than I am already.

It doesn’t help that I’m sleeping in an unfamiliar house.

I’m currently living with a friend of a friend. Porkchop and I were stuck cycling through the same unhelpful emotions, and something needed to change. This is supposed to be a time of growth. I need to make more friends and get me back, but it’s difficult with this depression thing.

My heart and soul ache so much. My life is currently so weird and unfamiliar. I miss old times, and even if I weren’t depressed, I don’t think anything will ever be the same.

I just want to cry and tear open my skin and shriek with anger. It’s a terrible feeling. Instead, I lie in this strange bed, unable to sleep and wishing desperately for time to pass quickly so that I don’t have to endure the slow pace of change.

They

While thinking more about the Wild Flag concert, I remembered a conversation snippet between Porkchop and me that still makes me giggle.

We were having a snack in a diner after the concert. I was stoked about the concert, and Porkchop was stoked about the Cardinals winning their game…

Me: Well, I guess they’re probably already on their bus, making their way to the next city.

Porkchop: What? I bet they’re still in the locker room celebrating with champagne. They probably don’t fly out until tomorrow.

Obviously, we had different theys in mind!

Thanks and Some Good Things

Many thanks to everyone who commented on my last post or emailed me with encouragement. I appreciate it all very much.

With an eye on trying to feel like me again, I am stoked to see Wild Flag tonight in Champaign, Illinois (about 3 hours from here). I didn’t think I would be able to go, but then other plans changed. The earth shifted on its axis and finally something is happening in my favor.

The sounds of Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss as Sleater-Kinney were a huge part of my late teens/early twenties, and I’m happy that they’re back together (and that they’ve picked up a couple of equally awesome bandmates). After I downloaded the album a few weeks ago, I nearly cried from happiness. The music offered something familiar exactly when I needed such a thing.

How can one feel bad at a concert like this:

 

I love you Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss (and the other two women who are equally important but I can’t remember their names):

 

The other good thing is that I started week 5 of my Couch to 5K program. Today’s schedule included two 5-minute runs and one 6-minute run. The next day features an 8-minute run segment. How does one go from 6 minutes to 8 minutes? What happened to 7 minutes??

I enjoy the progress, but sometimes I think, whoa whoa whoa, what’s happening? I’m actually running for more than 10 seconds at a time? It kind of blows my mind.

And if I’m not careful, it also blows out my hip. I constantly have to concentrate on not letting my left leg rotate medially. Part of my motivation for running is to tighten the muscles around my hip. Note that my physical therapist did not suggest this; it is my own scheme. I think the combination of PT exercises and running is strengthening my little hip muscles tremendously. While they’re sore after running, it’s more of a growing-stronger sore.

Thanks for reading and listening!

Absence

Dear friends,

I apologize for my recent absence from this blog. Writing here is something of which I think often, but have done little.

I’ve had a cloud of sadness around me of late, and it makes writing difficult. Where I once had sunshine and laughter and dreams, I now have tears. The sadness hangs around like ill-fitting clothes. It fills my lungs until I can’t breathe, and its dark edges black out the day.

This is not how I want to be at all. Please know that I’m trying to get back to who I am, and to how I want my life. It might be a while, and I do appreciate your thoughts.

I want to be back before too long and to write of good, sunshine-y things. In the meantime, keep knitting, eating good food, and laughing.

All my best,
Carrie

Journeys

We’ve been away this week to Wisconsin, and it has been a great trip. Beautiful weather, beautiful lakes, and beautiful friends.

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