I used to be a prisoner!

Hello and greetings from planet no baby house!

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Me as a cat. Me-OW baby!

So much has happened since you were last here.  Since Joy, AKA reader extraordinaire, wanted to know about my experience with sleeping on the floor that is where I shall begin.  I started my floor slumber trial back in April and frankly it didn’t last — but not for reasons you’d easily guess.  Most people can’t get comfortable.  I could.  I slept fine.  It was like times of the past … sleepovers as a kid.  I slept just over a week on the floor.

I embarked upon the floor sleeping before I received my weighted blanket.  Sleeping on the floor was cool and refreshing which helped my hot flashes and night sweats — I have since moved on to modern medicine for that problemo.  More on that later — one thing at a time Peeps!

Ah floor sleeping … just like the native American, the homeless, those who have passed out, much of Asia, indoor campers and the like.  It went down like this: I put my old puffy quilt down as my mattress, covered myself with a sheet and my favorite kitty suckle blanket (the one my little cat loves to make biscuits with and get drooly).  I put down 2 pillows: the normal one for my head and a little one for between my knees.

cat suckle blanket

Not my cat and not our blanket … but he sure is a cutie, isn’t he!

The problem entered when I started using the weighted blanket, and more critically when I discovered a very large black spider traipsing the floor. spider meow photo The weighted blanket became a problem because it’s 15 lbs. (not that I’m a super weakling or anything) and moving it from the bed to the floor back to the bed is a problem.  I couldn’t leave the blanket on the floor because of the spider issue and stepping on a weighted blanket is akin to walking on tiny Legos.  Ouch ouch and ouch ouch.  All I can say about spiders is thankfully those buggers don’t have wings!

The floor sleeping adventure began every night with either sleeping on the bed and then moving to the floor, or the reverse.  I would wake up in the middle of the night and switch places — usually during my first night sweat.  This required HEAVY blanket moving.  I gave this up and starting staying in bed with my weighted blanket.  (I adore you my little weighted blanket of love!) NOTHING will get you up faster out of your floor bed than said spider coming to crawl in beside you — unless you have a spider fetish or are unbearably lonely.  Yes, I do know that spiders can crawl unto mattress beds — LET’S NOT GO THERE!

I used to be a prisoner to my hormones … or lack of one in particular: Ms. Estrogen!

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Yes, it’s really me. Estrogen get me out of here!

After continued hot flashes and night sweats, I gave up ALL coffee and alcohol (wine to be exact).  I did this incredible stunt for 6 weeks  … kind of like Lent and I’m not even Catholic!  Giving up said liquids helped, but wasn’t perfect.

I met with a menopause doctor. Yes, really a menopause specialist who started me on an estradiol patch 0.01 mG I change weekly, along with nightly vaginal estrogen cream (yummy, yummy!)

 

 


While the vasomotor symptoms of menopause generally improve over time, vaginal symptoms usually worsen and do not improve without treatment. Women may attribute these changes to be a part of normal aging and may not be aware of safe and simple treatments.

Before menopause, estrogen stimulates the exfoliation of vaginal cells. As these cells exfoliate and die, they release large amounts of glycogen. This glycogen is hydrolyzed to glucose and lactobacillus converts the glucose to lactic acid, which helps maintain vaginal pH between 3.5 and 4.5. After menopause, with declining levels of estrogen, this pathway is less active, which may allow postmenopausal pH to increase to the range of 5.0–7.5.

Vaginal atrophy is a chronic condition resulting from a decline in estrogen in the urogenital tissues that affects up to 45% of postmenopausal women.

Source: Reviewing the options for local estrogen treatment of vaginal atrophy The International Journal of Women’s Health: March 2014.

I am now up to 0.05 mG estrogen transdermal patch and also using the vaginal cream 4-5 nights.  And I’m sleeping so soundly.  Sleep with estrogen is way better than Ambien, Benadryl, Sominex, any alcohol, melatonin, chamomile tea, Kava, passion flower, or anything else I’ve tried!

I need to send that menopause doc some flowers! tumblr_inline_nflqf7Wa6Z1qchwzp

As far as the hot flashes and night sweaties, nothing works better than estrogen.  I’ve tried Effexor, Gabapentin (neurontin), black cohosh, Kava, evening primose oil, living on a prayer, and wishful thinking — *NONE of these have been scientifically statistical to work for vasomotor symptoms (VMS).

*Disclaimer: if they work for you, woo hoo!  Count yourself lucky! But you may want to read more here: Natural Remedies for Hot Flashes The North American Menopause Society.

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Wishful thinking … feline style!


Vasomotor symptoms (VMS) associated with menopause can cause significant discomfort and decrease the quality of life for women in the peri-menopausal and post-menopausal stages of life. Hormone therapy (HT) is the mainstay of treatment for menopausal symptoms and is currently the only therapy proven effective for VMS. [my emphasis]

VMS are the most commonly experienced effects of the menopausal transition and include both hot flashes and night sweats. Long-term estrogen depletion can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis as well as cause vaginal and vulvar atrophy. … VMS affect an estimated 60% to 80% of post-menopausal women, but may be experienced by up to 90% of women during the peri-menopausal stage.

Source: Transdermal hormone therapy in postmenopausal women Drug Design, Development & Theory: February 2009.

I learned something else by going to the menopause specialist: estrogen replacement therapy may be a good osteoporosis treatment or preventative measure.  I had no idea!  I’m at high risk for osteoporosis.  Are YOU?

Uncontrollable Risk Factors:

  • Being over age 50 (almost there!)
  • Female sex (last I checked … husband hasn’t told me otherwise!)
  • Menopause (yep, I took the dead ovary test .. my FSH is high!)
  • Family history of osteoporosis (Thanks a lot MOM!)
  • Low body weight / being small or thin (I was thin until perimenopause and I started eating buckets of ice cream … OK pints — quality not quantity) 
  • Broken bones or height loss (I chipped a tooth when I was 9, does that count?)
  • Being white or of Asian or Latino heritage (I’m white and my first boyfriend was from Mexico!)

Controllable Risk Factors:

  • Not getting enough calcium and / or Vitamin D
  • Not eating enough fruits & veggies
  • Getting too much protein, sodium and caffeine  (But NOT coffee specifically) 
  • Having an inactive lifestyle
  • Smoking
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Losing weight
  • Taking certain medications like steroids

If you’re approaching menopause, your body will likely alert you to the sudden drop in estrogen with physical signs (such as hot flashes) and psychological changes (including mood swings). The effect on your bones won’t be as obvious, but the loss of estrogen will certainly affect them [my emphasis]. If you have a high risk for osteoporosis and are approaching or have already reached menopause, estrogen replacement therapy may be a good osteoporosis treatment or preventative measure.

Source: Estrogen Replacement Therapy for Osteoporosis Endocrine Web: May 2017.

Osteoporosis Infographic Poster


 

 

 

Do people REALLY think this?

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Apparently some people, some women think that your other internal parts fall out of you after a hysterectomy.

Say what?!   I can understand how we have … some of us have such misconceptions about the human body because we don’t teach much about human physiology and anatomy in the U.S. school system.  THIS BLOWS MY MIND!

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We learn about history, pretty much I’ve forgotten about, nearly 99% to be sure, but I wasn’t so hot at math and probably have forgotten about 110% of that … but my body, I’m still living with my body and grades K (is Kindergarten a grade?) through 12 didn’t teach me much about my body, except for 4th grade where we learned about penises, vaginas, sperm, periods and fertilization.

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There was science where we learned about how many calories a peanut has when burned, the anatomy of worms and frogs, tectonic plate shifting (is this even the correct terminology for this theory?) and a bit about electricity.

BUT WHY THE HELL DID WE NOT LEARN ABOUT THE HUMAN BODY?!  I could go on a rant about this, but I will spare you because well, I just finished reading all the posts I follow and I’ve got to get dressed to go out to lunch.  Yes, a rough life, I know.

education importance

We take our bodies with us wherever we go.  We live with our bodies until we die.  We live with other bodies (some smelling better than others).  I’m not sure why academic curricula (in the U.S.) doesn’t spend more time on the human body.  I’m very confused by this.  And this, of course, is one of the reasons why we have old white men who have degrees in history or political science making laws about the health and reproductive choices (and limitations) of women.  THIS DOESN’T EVEN MAKE ANY SENSE!  OK, obviously another potential rant that I will avoid … but how the hell do women think their parts are going to fall out of their body after a hysterectomy?  Who tells them this?

WE NEED TO HELP SCHOOL SYSTEMS EVOLVE AND PUT MORE SCIENCE IN OUR TEACHING!  (this includes the BEAUTIFUL & INTERESTING human body)

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P.S.  I realize what I’m about to reveal is anecdotal and NOT SCIENCE, but I swear on my word that since my hysterectomy of almost two years ago, nothing, and I mean nothing has fallen, crawled or dangled from my vagina — no intestinal loop, no bladder bulge, no gold coins (or silver) … NOTHING has fallen from my vagina since my hysterectomy … not even tiny cute little kittens!  I’m intact and everything DOWN THERE is working well.

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AND this type of information is why we have people who don’t know how the human body works!

Just so you know TOTAL hysterectomy is …

Many times while talking to people and patients I will hear them talk about total hysterectomy.  When I ask them what their definition of total hysterectomy is many of them tell me, “It’s when the uterus, tubes and ovaries get taken out — everything.”

Before we go any further NO NO NO NO NO NO and more NO.

Total hysterectomy is when the uterus — ALL of the uterus is taken out — the total uterus which includes the cervix; this does NOT include the ovaries or the tubes.  The ovaries and the tubes are NOT part of the uterus.  The cervix is part of the uterus.  They may all be friends, or in some cases enemies, but they are different things … and although the uterus and friends may all be removed at one time, like a package deal, they are individuals.

If you are talking about EVERYTHING being removed it is called: total hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy … abbreviated Total Hyst BSO.  Bilateral = both sides.  Salpingo = tube.  Oophorectomy = ovary removal.

On the other hand, a partial or subtotal hysterectomy is when the body of the uterus is removed but the cervix is left in place.  And yes, this means you will STILL have to have pap smears!

total hysterectomy

And also just so you know vulva is not a car you drive but a part of a woman’s body.  So far, I haven’t come across anyone confused about this though.

Volvo vulva

QUIZ:

What is a TOTAL hysterectomy?

A) When the ovaries, tubes and uterus are removed.

B) When the uterus is so messed up it’s “totaled”.

C) When the entire female reproductive system is removed and the Volvo is repossessed.

D)  When the uterus to include the cervix is removed.

SCROLL DOWN FOR ANSWER …

THE LETTER "D"

THE LETTER “D”

CHOICE D.