Post Post Post Modern

I hated turning 40.

I hated it.

When I was younger, forty sounded ancient to me. Everything about it sounded saggy and tired and falling backward into an existence where fun was no more. And the footwear would be horrible.

I didn’t make my peace with my age until I neared the end of my forties. I realized a few years before turning 50 that aging was not only not so bad, but that I was having more fun than I had in a long time. Maybe ever.

I not only didn’t mind entering my fifties, I looked forward to them. I like this age. I like who I am. And that is very nearly true. 

I am beyond new wave. I am past post modern. I did the math, I am post post post modern.

At least that is what I’ve been telling myself after hearing the word “post” used to describe me earlier.

My doctor’s office called with results of my recent blood work.

Nurse: The doctor wanted to let you know that your thyroid levels are normal. And that your (insert some combination of letters here) levels show that you are post menopausal.

Me: Wait, what? I’m..what..like in menopause right now, right?post menopausal

Nurse: I said post. 

Me: What levels say that?

Nurse, who apparently had stuffed her mouth with lemon rinds: Garble garble whisper.

Me: What?

She answered again in what I assume was Klingon. If the Klingon was from Mobile, Alabama.

I didn’t say anything for a moment and tried to wrap my head around it. Post menopausal? Post?

Nurse: The doctor says to follow up with your OB/GYN and talk to them about hormone replacement therapy.

Post menopausal? That’s not even possible. I mean, I just started this shit.

Okay, I didn’t just start, but it wasn’t that long ago. I mean, when my uterus started acting up a few years ago, I had it burned out. I haven’t had periods in forever, so it I knew it wouldn’t be easy to tell when I was menopausal, but I didn’t think I would be done and finished this fast.

For fuck’s sake, I was still battening down the hatches for when the hormones drove me completely insane. I am just now getting regular hot flashes. Isn’t that the shit that happens during menopause? Isn’t that shit supposed to take years?

I didn’t mind turning fifty, but hearing the words “You’re post menopausal” hit me like a ton of denture cream.

Post menopause just sounds old to me. I wasn’t expecting it.

I mean, if I am finished with it, then it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I’m not saying it’s been a day at the goddamn beach, but I thought the hot flashes would feel like I was being consumed by holy fire or something. I thought I was building up to that. I thought my night sweats would become epic and my crying jags would be, well, more jaggy.

I suppose instead of being bummed, I could just be grateful. I guess if I’m by passing all that bullshit, then I should be breathing a sigh of relief and not throwing an internal hissy fit over being post menopausal. I mean, seriously, choosing between going through menopause and not going through menopause is like choosing between boiling puppies and kissing Norman Reedus.

I’m not entirely convinced the blood work was accurate. I have no reason to doubt the doctor, nurses, and trained lab professionals other than I wasn’t prepared to hear that and therefore they must be wrong.

Now excuse me, I have to go shop for some sensible shoes.

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Add your comments below. Profanity is encouraged, but not required. ;)
  1. KK says:

    Ouch, yep that would sting me too.
    Stuff it, are you any different to who you were yesterday? Nope, so what the hell, if they are right then hopefully you’re done with the worst of it.
    I have that joy to look forward to, unless I’ve just bypassed the whole lot and gone straight to the post part.

    Reply
    • Michelle says:

      It did sting. More than I thought it would. But, you are right…I am the same as I was yesterday. I’m hoping it (and me) just keeps getting better.

      Reply
  2. Troll says:

    Post, post, post,… blew my wind. I’m glad you got through menopause so easily. That’s one more thing off of your back.

    I have a money on my back. You know about it. Never going away. I have a pile of cuss words for it but I can’t help but think it’d be a piece of cake if my tinnitus goes away.

    Sucks to be me this morning. They’re shooting and blowing up innocents in Brussels. We’re going to the VA in A2. Always a prime target and of course you can’t carry firearms. Ridiculous, veterans not trusted with weapons. Ugh.

    We’ll probably be okay. Can’t fight a damn bomb.

    Wow, I’m depressing myself. See you here later.

    Great post, as usual.

    Reply
  3. jo(e) says:

    This whole menopause thing was very anti-climatic for me. Nothing really happened — I just noticed one day that I hadn’t had a period in a long time and didn’t need to buy tampons any more. That was it.

    But here’s the benefit of being post-menopausal: my risk of dying of cancer went down by a whole lot.

    What’s startling for me is when I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror unexpectedly and think, “Who is that middle-aged woman with all the grey hair?”

    Reply
  4. Gretchen says:

    So here’s my story. (I’m telling every woman I know because I think it’s kind of crazy.) I had my hormone levels checked recently. The best way to check is either a saliva test or urine test- where you take your saliva or urine throughout the day and collect it. I knew something was “off” about me for a while but my OB/GYN just shrugged it off. Turns out my estrogen is sky high and progesterone is low. Like, crazy high. I had to do a 9 day liver detox and am starting on Progesterone (bio-identical). I’m only telling you this because I think a lot of Ob/Gyns and regular docs aren’t really well versed in the hormone thing. I have a friend who’s doc was just going to put here on Estrogen because he assumed she was low. He didn’t even test her! I have no idea if this is relevant or helpful. All I’m saying is if something doesn’t feel right, go to a doc who really knows about hormones.

    Reply
  5. Lisa K says:

    I never know if it’s the menopause or the serotonin re-uppers, but the hot flashes and night sweats are a real treat.

    Grateful and pissed are a normal combination for me 🙂

    Reply
  6. Cassandra says:

    I’m in my late 40s (I still try to get away with calling it “mid”40s, but Momus won’t let me). I live in fear of menopause. I just know it is not going to go well for me. So good for you for getting through it! I think that calls for a party.

    Reply
  7. Terri Lee aka George says:

    Welcome to my world, Michelle! HAHA! I did a double-take when my doctor called me “post menopausal”, too! The first thing I thought was, “Uh, no. That was my late MOTHER! You can’t possibly be calling ME that name.” My perimenopausal years—those 5-10 years where you begin experiencing all the “best” symptoms your fluctuating hormones care to give—were not so great. Both my anxiety and migraines increased and my periods were so unpredictable, I began wearing “feminine protection” (that sounds like a suit of armor with ruffles–haha!) constantly. The year I stopped having any more periods was also the same year every joint and muscle in my body began hurting so bad and stiffening up, to where I ended up practically crippled. I wanted to punch the crap out of Dr. Christiane Northtrup, that new-age doctor, who wrote in one of her books that once you reach actual menopause, you will feel better than you have in years. You will regain your energy, your vitality and your moods will run on a steadier course. You will be a NEW WOMAN—REBORN!!! Yeah, I was reborn alright, As a fucking cripple! Who the hell did I piss off in a former life? Fortunately, I finally regained much of my range of motion in all of my joints, although, not to where they were previously. So, that was a couple of years ago. I’m finally feeling better and then, my husband passes away. So, you know, I’m just left sitting here, scratching my head, wondering WTF is going on half the time. If I were you, I would grab this opportunity to be that reborn woman and start twirling in slow motion in the first field of wildflowers you come across! Like the tampon commercials, only this time without them and their “blue liquid as period”.

    There is so much controversy about the whole hormone situation. I would tend to lean toward bio-identicals, if I was going to go that way. But, you do need someone who is familiar with that and who knows exactly how to test your hormone levels. My Primary Care guy mentioned my estrogen and testosterone levels, but did not say a word about my progesterone. So I have to wonder if he even has the complete picture. Guess I’d need my OB/GYN for that, but I haven’t been in the few years that I was hurting physically. (At one point, I never would have been able to make it up onto the table and into the stirrups! I still can’t lie flat without my neck and shoulders hurting. So, you know—-whatever! I do the best I can. Isn’t that all any of us can do?)

    Hey there, Lisa K!!! I saw your response on Michelle’s previous post and I believe you are right. I will try the female therapist and see how it goes. I will e-mail you soon!

    Reply
    • Michelle says:

      Oh man..that sounds horrible. My worst symptoms are a constantly changing body temperature and anxiety. I’m going to step up (start) working out. And change my diet. Why the fuck can’t chocolate cake be good for you?

      Reply
      • Terri Lee says:

        Um…..chocolate cake IS good for you. Just for the record, so are brownies. At least that’s what I keep telling myself. Haha! Seriously, I’m trying to change my diet, too. First, I’m decreasing my caffeine intake. You gotta start somewhere! 🙂 I’m also getting back into doing some kind of workout. I’m trying to walk when I can and I’d really love to get back into some form of dancing. Dancing is my passion and was my saving grace through much of my younger years with anxiety, I used to dance every other day for a couple of hours at a time. It gave me a way to express myself creatively and to channel all the extra adrenaline my body produced. If my joints cooperate, that’s what I miss the most and want to return to. Let’s say “fuck off!!!” to being labeled “post menopausal” and label ourselves as being in the puberty of our Goddess-hood! ! Does that even make sense? I’ll blame it on the hormones! Haha!!!

        Reply
  8. Terri Lee says:

    I see your comments section did not recognize my “aka George”, because my comment is awaiting moderation! HAHA!!!! Sorry about that! I’m the same nut, comments section, I promise. I was just joking around! 🙂

    Reply
  9. Bradley says:

    The only year that bothered me was when I turned 25. All I could think was that I’m a quarter of a century old. Turning 50 was the best. I can’t say I was thrilled to turn 50 was great, but life seems to be coming together much more nicely nowadays.

    Not sure I know what to say about the menopausal thing, other than I’m glad I’m a man. I’m the first to admit that women got the short end of the stick.

    Reply
  10. 40 sounds young now. I was just thinking that very thought this morning. Then I felt sad. Anyway, I think it’s great you’re post meno. Maybe if the nurse had said “congratulations, this is your meno warrior badge. Wear it with honor.” it would be good news (because it really is good news). If I can get through the hot flashes…then I’ll be happy.

    Reply
    • Michelle says:

      I’m still having them like crazy. My OB/GYN said that the blood work can show post..but the process waxes and wanes and I’ve still got some time to put in.

      Reply
  11. Nancy says:

    I just got off bio-identical hormone therapy (was on it for 5 years). It helped me tremendously as I was having hot flashes, irritability, depression, loss of sex drive and high anxiety. I went to OB/GYN specialist in hormone therapy (my family practice doctor wouldn’t discuss it). I was put on Vivelle dot estrogen patch (slap a sticky patch on your lower abdomen) along with a progesterone pill. I felt great after that but it could also have been due to getting rid of the wrong person in my life! Your hormone specialist will know how to test you and make recommendations and you can decide from there. Don’t try to figure it out by yourself. Help is out there. After 5 years of replacement therapy, I slowed weaned off last year (I am 59) and continue to feel great post menopausal! Sometimes, we just need a little help to get over the bumps.

    Reply
  12. Mary-Anne says:

    And buy something purple to wear. I think us post menopausal types are supposed to be wearing purple.

    Just sayin!

    Reply
  13. Kate says:

    It’s a though you are a fly on the wall of my brain.

    I am cultivating a feeling of liberation when it comes to being post menopausal. I will let you know how that goes.

    Is it too soon to wear purple and sit on the curb eating bacon? When do I let my hair just go gray? When do I get the short, chic cut? Do I get a face lift or go full on hippie crone? Should I get a cat?

    So many decisions.

    Reply
  14. Doug in Oakland says:

    Post post post modern? Does that mean we get three posts instead of of one?
    I have had really good luck with doctors telling me what’s what: Everything they told me would happen after my stroke has happened. I just had to learn to recognize what those things looked like and update a few of the definitions I was assuming were true…
    Good luck with the post menopause phase of things, I do know better than to pretend to have anything knowledgeable to say about it, being male and all…

    Reply
    • Michelle says:

      dude..I’m still learning about it. It’s kind of a drag, actually. At least so far. Stupid ovaries, fucking my shit up..

      Reply
      • Doug in Oakland says:

        My friend Trevor has an old Cadillac the same colors as the one in your picture. I think his is a ’56? The last time I was up there visiting, Sara told me there were chipmunks living in it…

        Reply
  15. I’ve loved my 50’s, but I turn 59 next month and the reality of being on the eve of my 60’s is kinda fearing me out. I know that I’m going to obsess over it for the next year.

    Reply
  16. The urge for sensible shoes comes naturally–when your feet get all weird and your toes twist and your toenails turn into horse hooves. Don’t rush it.

    Reply
  17. Haralee says:

    I am happy for you but don’t do the happy dance too quickly. You know Mother Nature can be a BiTCH and get back at you with torrential Night Sweats or Hot Flashes! Tread Lightly!!

    Reply
  18. Leslie says:

    I love this, because I had a very similar experience a few years ago…

    NEW MEDICAL ASSISTANT: I’m calling with your test results from your (insert alphabet gobbledygook here) tests. Your range was menopausal in one, and post-menopausal in the other.
    ME (at work, in my all-male office): WHAT did you just say?
    N.M.A.: repeats herself, but more tentatively
    ME: I am 41 years old! What do you mean, post-menopausal?
    MEN IN MY OFFICE: (sound of chairs rolling back from desks as they retreat)

    I was totally stunned. My mother had me at 41, for pete’s sake! (I apologized to the N.M.A. the next time I was in the doctor’s office) I then went to my OB-GYN, who gave me an infomercial spiel about a certain hormone supplement and told me I would start looking older if I didn’t take it. I now have an OB-GYN who specializes in post-menopausal women, and she is awesome. I still have hot flashes now and then, and I do use a topical hormone, but it’s really, I think, better than the period years!

    Reply
  19. Katnap says:

    When I was still young, maybe late teens, I thought I’d really have my shit together by the time I hit early 40’s. Silly wabbit! I figured I’d adopt a kid cuz I didn’t want to give birth or get married. At 27 I gave birth and got married. Then I had 2 more kids. I’m a terrible planner. I’m still unclear what constitutes menopause and post-menopause. I haven’t had a period in a couple of years. Where does that leave me? I took HRT for about a year, and even on very low estrogen and progesterone, I bled each month, sometimes tsunami-like, despite my gyno’s assurance I’d have a light, slight 2 day bleed. He never checked my hormone levels before prescribing. I’ve been off HRT since October and I feel ok. It did help me stay asleep and motivate me to get my ass off the couch, but never helped me fall asleep faster. I still thrash about like an angry prisoner. Pre-HRT I also had crazy aches and pains; felt like an octogenarian. I’m still battling the anxiety, but most days I can beat that bastard to the ground (except at bedtime). Overall, I felt pretty “normal” on HRT, apart from my fake periods (wicked cramps as well). Had the endo-vag scan and haven’t heard any bad news. So now I’m only taking vitamins and trying to exercise and staying off caffeine. Give HRT a try, it might help you. Am I post-menopausal?? When does that happen? In menopause, pre, post…fuck. Just plowing ahead, trying to live. Trying to keep it together. Trying to manage life. Why are women always labeled? Why can’t we just roll along until we’re called “old farts” like men? I’m having a check-up in 2 days. If my gyno tells me I’m post-mentalpausal, I’ll just shrug. Whatever, dude. (btw, “hit me like a ton…” very nearly made me spit lasagna into my keyboard – that woulda been a bitch to clean)

    Reply
    • Michelle says:

      I’m going to give the HRT a shot. But what she prescribed was 180.00 for month supply. Fuck that. She’s going to have to give me the bargain basement hormones.

      Reply
  20. Well lucky you! I am at that awkward stage, like during puberty, where I’m peri-menopausal and waiting for things to “happen”, but they aren’t. It’s like waiting for my boobs to show up, only unlike you I can’t look forward to HRT because I’m allergic to all that (?!) so I’m a little anxious.

    Reply
    • Michelle says:

      I went to pick up the new drugs yesterday and they were so expensive that I told them no thanks. I’ll just sweat and cry. I can’t afford nearly 200.00 per month for this shit.

      Reply
  21. Me says:

    I can’t wait for that phone call although things are a bit more ‘normal’ so life isn’t too bad at the moment but I can understand how it would have caught you unawares. Sometimes life is like that ! I’ll be following your post menopausal journey with great interest to see what I have waiting in store for me !
    Take care xox

    Reply
  22. Jan Weiss says:

    I’m 52. I have periods every three weeks. I’m so sick of them I can’t stand it. I buy panti liners in bulk. I should do the math and figure out how many periods I have had since I was 13.
    Come on menopause…please…just a little! Though I have heard hot flashes are a nightmare!

    Reply
    • Michelle says:

      The hot flashes suck..but the anxiety is worse. But I wouldn’t worry yet because everyone is different. Also, can you talk to your doctor about an ablation? I had one 4 years ago (they burn out the lining of your uterus) and I haven’t had a period since. It was glorious. Very little discomfort…2 days of cramping was about it.

      Reply
  23. My wife refers to me as the only man to know what hot flashes are like. I’m sure there are others but I guess most of us are too stupid to talk about it. Anyway I’m hoping you did make it through menopause easily.
    It’s one thing that should live up to its name and be an actual pause since you deserve at least a momentary break.

    Reply
  24. Jana says:

    When I had my ovary removed, it threw me into menopause. It also immediately made me crazy. I wasn’t sure if the craziness stemmed from my hormones, my depression, or the fact that I had just walked in on Doc moving all of his stuff out of the house – but I was a MESS with the crying and anxiety. I told my doc that I needed to figure out what was causing all of the emotion because I had to keep it together while all the shit was going down. He tested me and saw that, indeed, I was in menopause (and really, once you are IN menopause, you are POST-menopausal, according to the docs in the OB/GYN office where I work. Post doesn’t mean your symptoms are over – it just means that you are not NOT in menopause, capiche?) He prescribed a low dose of hormones and it was like a fucking miracle cure! I was still upset over my marriage ending – but I wasn’t the basket case I had been and I was able to function again. Absolutely go see your OB/GYN and talk to them about hormone replacement – and don’t be scared off by all the naysayers who tell you that you will die of heart disease if you take hormones – it’s just not true (plus there are all sorts of fancy bio-identical hormones now that are very user friendly). Even if that were the case, I would rather drop dead of a heart attack than be a crazy, anxious woman for who knows how many more years.

    Reply
  25. I’m in the beginning stages over here and can’t wait till i hear post menopausal come out of my nurses mouth!

    Reply