I know that the sun sets later now that we turned our clocks forward an hour, but at this point in the school year I prefer my light in the morning, when I'm getting ready, when I'm driving to work.
It has been black as night in the morning when my alarm goes off for school. Even yesterday when I woke up on my own at 6:30, an hour later than my alarm goes off during the week, I looked up through my skylight and would have thought it was still the middle of the night.
Eventually I'll get around to taking advantage of the light evenings, but getting up in the dark again leaves me too fatigued to enjoy them for now.
If there has been another week that in the past I have dubbed exhausting, I assure you it was a walk in the park compared to this week.
But it is over and I am okay. It is 5 pm. I'm home in my pajamas with my feet up and with take out sushi in the refrigerator while I enjoy an apple martini and wonder why I wasn't prepared for middle age to be this way.
WARNING: This post contains candid conversation about lady bits and their (failing) functions. I will definitely use the word menopause. And maywill mention "menstrual periods." But I will also do my best to make you laugh while wincing.
So I have not yet gotten around to telling you about my cataracts (yes, I said cataracts), but this newest middle age woe cannot wait on the post list (because we know how well that's been going lately) (and by that I mean not well at all).
For several years, per my doctor's orders, I managed dysmenorrhea (that's Biology teacher/teen counselor speak for "really awful periods") with birth control pills. Also per her prescription, I skipped placebo weeks and went back to back with pill packs so that I only had to have 4 not-so-bad periods a year. It was nothing short of a wonder drug.
But a little over a year ago, I struggled with a decision to stop taking the pill. I was closer to 50 than 40 and wondered if maybe I could go au naturel. I knew my mom went through menopause early; maybe I would, too. Sweating episodes (see Hot Mess Redefined) certainly suggested that other hormonal sh*t was already underway.
So I stopped taking the pill. As expected I had a period right after. But barely.
Months went by. No sign of Hideous Awful Periods (HAPs).
More months went by. No HAPs. Not even any normal ones.
Could it be?
Should I talk about it? But I'm not even 50!
So I decided to keep it to myself...mostly. (Meaning I told Jill and Deanna, Tamara and Amy, and Mandy.)
Then last weekend, I got to thinking it had been a whole year, which according to most sources makes it official. So I looked it up in my journal. Yep! Exactly a year! Done. Finito! Menopause! Bu-bye, HAPs!
When I met Mandy out for lunch later that afternoon we toasted to the end of menses (Bio teacher word for "periods".) Woo hoo! Right?!
Yeah, we'll, this isn't a happy ending.
Because the very next day my uterus decided to gasp for air and come to life again.
AAAAAUGHHH! What is that?! And why is it on my panty liner????
Please let this be a joke, Mother Nature, one last hoorah. And I promise never to toast to the demise of my endometrium again.
My memory could be failing me (why should my vision and bladder have all the fun?) but I can't remember the last time we had a winter this cold. Yes, this is New England, and I am a native New Englander, ergo I am prepared for snow and cold, but it seems this year it is one cold snap after another cold snap. Multi-day, back-to-back cold snaps. It has been so cold that when it was a freakish 50 over the weekend, it felt balmy.
So call it Arctic blast, or Polar Vortex; it feels friggin' cold.
Thursday night I went to sleep worried that I would not be able to drag myself out of bed in the morning. Bur when my alarm went off, I was already wake, playing back the details of a disturbing dream...
In my dream I was at school and I needed to leave my classroom. I looked out into the hallway a couple of times while my students were working in small groups, but saw no one who could come in and cover for me. And then I couldn't wait any more. I really needed to go to the bathroom, so I told my students I'd be right back. I even told them I was going to the bathroom.
When I returned to my room, a few boys were in the lab area of my classroom, Bunsen burners ablaze, burning things in them. There were fireballs in the back of my room while the rest of my class remained working quietly where they were supposed to be.
I freaked out, shut off the gas, grabbed the fire blanket and put out the fires, and then the bell rang.
The rest of my dream was me talking to colleagues, seeking moral support and advice. I was afraid to write up the boys because I thought if I did, I would get fired and the boys would go unpunished.
I am a forty-something woman navigating my way through midlife.
I have both a Bachelor and a Masters degree from Simmons College and have enjoyed careers briefly in higher education, not-for-profit health and science education, and in textbook publishing. Currently I am in my seventeenth year of teaching high school Biology; it is the longest I have ever had the same job. More than work, I love to travel, cook and entertain, and dine out. I also like to photograph my adventures and write about them all.