Posted in Family life, Happiness, Health and fitness, Women's issues

I’m a totally hot over 50 – thanks to hot flashes

Warning: Cringe-worthy zone for men (especially my sons) so do not read unless your a woman. You’ve been warned, but there’s no discrimination here so go head if you dare.

On Wednesday I was at a Punch Fit class held by Hammer Fit. During this class my boxing partner had to go grab a towel to wipe the sweat and take a moment. When she came back she said, ‘Hot flush”. I just nodded in sympathy, knowing all too well when this internal incinerator can hit.

If it’s not during an exercise class, it will be while I’m sitting at my desk at work. Suddenly the aircon’ isn’t high enough and I’m reaching for my can of cucumber spray mist and taking off a layer of clothes or two. I am seriously tempted to sit at my desk naked (just for a bit). Or mostly it hits of a night.

hot flashes, menopause
Hot flashes feel like a bushfire raging through your body.

Through winter there’s sheets, and two blankets, a warm body (my husband) and another warm body (no not a ménage à trois) the dog. I start nicely snuggled, then an hour in to a deep sleep I wake and feel the flush rising through my body like a bushfire fanned by wind heading up a ridge. I kick a leg out of the blankets and it hangs over the edge. Apparently that can help regulate temperature but that’s not enough to cool my body, so I toss the covers off and lay there, arms outstretched, until the heat slowly leaves. Then the cold hits me like an esky of ice has been tipped over me. Blindly I grab for the blankets and try to snuggle again. If the 20kg dog is resting on the thrown blankets I don’t have the energy to pull them off her and suffer all night between boiling and freezing. Suffice to say – torture.

I remember being about fifteen or sixteen and my friend Caryn and I were discussing her mum’s struggle with menopause and how she was getting depressed by it. At the time I had no idea what it was just that it was something that would happen to us one day. That day is more than here and I now understand the frustration, though I don’t think mine is as chronic as some.

Back to the hot flashes (they are technically that not the more commonly said flushes) that reduce our sleep during menopause. Which in turn makes our minds sloppy during waking hours. Here’s some of my menopause-brain moments:

  • I walk into a room to get something, get in the room and totally forget what I went in there for.
  • I’m constantly searching for stuff I’ve lost or misplaced.
  • I sleep through my alarm and don’t care. Sleep, sleep blissful sleep (I wish).
  • I leave the hot plate on (more than once) and get reminded to turn it off by my scoffing son. That night I wake from a hot flash after a nightmare of my house on fire.
  • I forget to take the handbrake off when driving and wonder what the screeching whistle is until my son points it out (my neighbours are across the road laughing).
  • I can’t count sequences in boxing class, that are really, really simple. My co-ordination is shot.
  • I find myself scoping buildings for open windows, air conditioners, fans or breezeways – somewhere to run to get cool.
  • I watch someone talking and should be listening but my mind’s either blank or thinking of something totally unrelated (as in the time I’d offered a friend a lift and didn’t know anything about it, sorry Bec).
  • I forget the name of someone I know really well – and I definitely do know their name (what the hell is it?).
  • I call the dog by my son’s name (confession I’ve done that before menopause, so maybe that doesn’t count).
  • I go to the fridge for a healthy snack like a carrot and walk away eating chocolate, cheese or peanut butter (what came over me?).
  • I try any remedy to alleviate the flashes and other menopause problems like puffy eyes. (I refuse to take hormone replacements). The best so far (for my ugly puffy eyes) from 360 Degree Wellness is to boil water and soak fennel seeds for 10-15 minutes. Once cool soak cotton balls and place on eyes 2-3 times a day (tea bags can work too). Fennel seeds in a cup of tea also seem to ease my flashes.

I look in the mirror and see a fifty-two-year-old woman. Ignoring the wrinkles, sunspot skin and sags I look closer to see that there’s still a twenty-two-year-old brain in between those ears because I still feel young and know these menopause symptoms will soon be a thing of the past (fingers crossed here!).

And if the hot flashes weren’t enough I’m still getting the night itches too. It’s like a million ants are crawling under my skin. They make my thighs itchy, then they move to my arms, my shoulder, my neck and then my face. It’s my face that’s gets the itchiest, particularly my nose. Who needs dermabrasion when you can do that yourself of a night. Our skin thins as we age, so I think I may run out soon and have no face if I keep scratching every night. Repeat after me hot, scratch, cold, hot, scratch cold. Hot, scratch, cold, I sometimes feel old. Then I cheer myself up with the phrase: I’m a totally hot over 50 (tongue firmly in cheek).




Posted in Family life

My Dysfunctional Relationship with Money

I’ve figured out that I have a dysfunctional relationship with money. This hasn’t come about because I’m inept or unsuccessful, it’s apparently come about because I’m a woman. According to recent studies most women tend to deal with every other hurdle in their lives other than finances. I’ve got to agree that I must be one of those women.

It dates back to our grandfathers not letting our grandmothers have control of the family finances and even though this generation have more control they’ve never been taught how to deal with it. What’s an option? Is it the same as a share? I honestly have no idea. Do you?

It’s embarrassing to admit this but many women don’t let on that they don’t know. They want to be seen to be coping, to be the super woman and one little flaw (like not understanding finance) will undermine the image of today’s coping-with-anything woman.

I only did my tax last week (and I still haven’t posted it). I did my businesses whole accounts over one week instead of the whole year. I only check my bank balance when I know I’ll be struggling to pay a bill. Yes, the last thing on my mind is my money. Or is it truer that it’s always on my mind but I keep putting it into the too-hard basket? Whatever the case the more I read about women not taking control of their finances the more I believed they were talking about me.

I’ve run a successful business. I’ve kept a happy home and fed two healthy sons. I’ve owned homes and paid out mortgages. I’ve volunteered. I’ve held down corporate jobs. I’ve written four book-length manuscripts and countless short stories and articles. I’ve made time for friends and family, sport and fitness. Let’s just say I’ve been as busy as the average woman. How in the hell am I meant to bother with finances at the end of all that?

The one thing I realise is that I need to make time for it. If I don’t take control no one will. My husband is like an ostrich with his head in the sand. He believes a bill will miraculously get paid if you just ignore it. For this reason we find ourselves struggling with money and I’m sick of it.

So I’m taking control. I’m getting in charge of my own destiny. I have a bit more reading to find out how but I’m on the right track. Instead of putting money last (as much of a chore as it seems) I’m going to put it higher on my list. It won’t come first because my family will always come first but it’s got to come close because doesn’t it link to them anyway. Without money how can I protect them? How can I keep a roof over their head and feed them? How can I safeguard their future?

I don’t want to sound materialistic. I’m far from that. I just need to be less scared of money and then, hopefully the result will be I don’t have to worry about it any more.

Happiness is easier to attain with less stress and one major stress seems to be money. If we could get rid off this one problem would it help us find happiness? I don’t believe it always would but it’s gotta make things easier.

Wish me luck and any suggestions would be gratefully appreciated.