So, from my earliest recollection of hearing the word menopause it seemed to always be associated with “hot flash”. Well, I now know that menopause is one HELL of a lot more then that, but we will cover that at another time. Back the hot flashes.
So I knew that having a complete hysterectomy would be result in surgical menopause – so I immediately started preparing for the resulting hot flash catastrophe that would ensue immediately after my girlie bits were removed. I can not be positive since I was fairly mediated at the beginning, but I believe that I did not have my first hot flash until about 5 weeks into my recovery – and it was SO not what I was expecting.
It was shortly after my Four Little Words (when are you due) incident and I was out shopping at the Mall. It had been a great morning. I was out and feeling pretty good though still obviously healing. I had a coffee and a long over due visit to one my favorite stores (Yankee Candle – one of my little addictions). I shouldn’t push it – it was time to get out of the mall and back to being horizontal.
I had planned my parking to be the closet to the stores I wanted to visit and my escape route was directly through a large department store. I had just entered the store and realized they were getting their Christmas merchandise out (keep in mind this is early October). Let me warn you now, I really LOVE Christmas – it just instills visions of baked goods, joy and happiness into my little Grinch heart. So, I obviously need to find the strength to wander through what they have out for 5 minutes.
I quickly found this sweet little goat stuffed animal that sings “The Lonely Goatherd”… and it was 25% off. I had to have him. This stuffed animal was making me smile and laugh – two things I had not done in a very long time. I made my selection of the absolute best little goat and made my was through the holiday glitter to the check out stand. As the kind, older lady was ringing up my new little fella, I had the weirdest, most uncomfortable sensation start to swept through me. All of the sudden, I was freezing cold and had goose bumps all over – but – at the same time there was a smoldering inferno inside my chest and brain that burned so completely it make me cold.
I didn’t know what to do!
My internal monologue = Am I having heart attack or a stroke? Did I get some kind of Merca like infection I picked up at the hospital that is raging through my body? Did all my organs just suddenly flip out and change places?
As you can imagine, this entire internal monologue was running across my face. I realized that the kind, older lady was asking if I was ok – and I hadn’t answered. Finally I found some words and got out that I had just had a hysterectomy the month before and I thought something was wrong because I was freezing cold (I showed her my goose bumps) but I had this fire in my chest. By this point, she has walked around the stand and was slowly steering me to a little bench to sit down. Once she had me settled, she knelt in front of mewithher hand on my knee and said “You are just going through the change – and that is a hot flash”. Of course I knew she was wrong – I was supposed to be just really, really hot and sweating, right? Right? I voiced as much and she just calmly said:
“Your hormones don’t know what to do and now you just can’t regulate our temperature. Sometimes you are hot – sometimes you are cold. You had the cold one just now.”
Me internally = HOLY SHIT THIS SUCKS! Me out loud to the kind older lady = “Thank you, that wasn’t in any of my research”
She smiled and shook her head witha half laugh. She was on her way back to the cash register. I silently followed her and we finished up my silly goat purchase. Instead of the “Thank you and come back” – she said “It gets better honey”.
This was the beginning of realizing that there are a lot of things They don’t tell you.