Menopause usually happens around early autumn of a woman’s life. Erin Kaiser’s guest post gives us a glimpse of menopause in the spring of her life. Her story is inspiring – she embraces change with all the verve in her being. I’ve often said that wise women come in all ages – please enjoy Erin’s wisdom and encouragement.
MenoPower: Menopause at Twenty Six Never Looked Better
By Erin Kaiser
In August 2013, I was a twenty five year old Austin, TX transplant, wildly reveling in freedom, madly in love, and newly diagnosed with ovarian cancer. After months of severe symptoms, ranging from constant vomiting, weight loss, fatigue, and abdominal distention, I was finally given the medical attention I needed in order to receive an accurate diagnosis. Without health insurance, I tried to go about finding medical help without expensive measures, such as ultrasounds and CT scans, which inevitably prolonged and worsened my condition. After finding a team of doctors to work with, we decided to remove the tumors, while leaving as much of the ovarian tissue as possible in hopes of preserving my youthful fertility. Little did we know, this decision would lead to the gradual removal of my entire reproductive system over the course of the next two years.
Fast forward to March 2015. While at the beginnings of a month long Costa Rican backpacking trip, I began to have symptoms, yet again. By this point I still had my uterus and right ovary intact; the left ovary had been removed during my second surgery 7 months prior to the Costa Rica trip. I was fortunate to have family in Costa Rica who got me into a private hospital, where I received the scans to detect the tumors, and was urged to have emergency surgery to remove them, along with my remaining ovary as soon as possible. My month long adventure of spiritual healing in the rainforest quickly morphed into a much more immediate and physical path to wellness. While in the midst of the surgery, the doctors found many lesions throughout the abdominal cavity, including the uterus. It had to be removed, without my consent.
I awoke from surgery in a foreign country, with just my parents by my side. I knew as soon as I came to that my uterus was no longer with me. I was heartbroken. My beloved fiancé had to hear the news over the phone before I even awoke from surgery. Worst of all, I had not been afforded a proper goodbye to a part of myself that I very much respected.
I’m a Licensed Massage Therapist with specialty training in fertility and pregnancy massage. Over the past four years, I have formed a profoundly deep connection with my feminine essence. I’d been giving myself regular uterine massages and keeping herbal tincture and supplemental regimens just for my reproductive cycle. I literally had conversations with my uterus, and then she was gone. Sure, I had already come to terms with the imminent possibility of infertility, but I had not prepared myself for (gulp) menopause. What were my options? Freak out in hysterics, flail my arms around and scream over something that cannot be taken back? No, I knew all I could do was accept and grow. Of course, there are still tears shed. Tears will be shed for years to come, but with all that has been taken from me, much has been given.
So, here I stand! Twenty six years old, still madly in love with an endlessly supportive partner, thriving in a loving and fully accepting community, and enjoying the freedom that comes with a life centered around the potential of each new day. Indeed, I am just now starting to feel the pulse of menopause as its presence becomes more apparent. The hot flashes are REAL. I thought that term would always be some sort of fictional character looming in the latest chapters of my life story. No, it’s a truly daunting feeling, like I’m temporarily morphed into a tea kettle 5 times a day.
My tumors have proven to be estrogen sensitive, so any kind of HRT is out of the question. This brings on quite a challenge both physically and mentally. However, I see this dilemma as yet another opportunity to break the mold of the great doom of menopause that society has held over our heads. I have become the only regular with dreadlocked hair at the local University athletic facility where my fiancé attends graduate school. My physical upkeep focus has shifted from animal friendly eating and leisurely activities such as yoga, biking, and hiking to weight lifting, paleo/alkaline diet, and strict supplemental intake.
I started incorporating the color red into my earth tone privy wardrobe to increase a subconscious focus on my vibrant sexual nature. I continue to thoroughly enjoy my sex life, no way that’s going anywhere. I refuse to read anything negative or self loathing about menopause because I absolutely believe in the power I hold as a woman; in ALL stages of my womanhood. I connect with the ancient beliefs that the end of fertility in a woman’s life marks a time of greater wisdom and elevated state of consciousness. I feel my womanhood more now than ever before, because I’ve fought for it.
I am elated and filled with excitement for my future and the opportunities now afforded to me. I can’t wait to keep learning about myself and my feminine power as my journey continues. I hope to share a message of pride and empowerment brought with this stage of the feminine nature. This is not a time of mourning, but of celebration! Please join me, as our journeys are surely not ending. If we move through this passageway with a step of ambition and wonder, we have only beautiful beginnings ahead.