Tag Archives | menopause

An Affair of the … Body

Abbots Lagoon

Connected © Ashley Jeanne Ross

Yesterday I found myself diving into the depths of the earth – down, down, down into the fathomless, bottomless, infinite earth. Around me were other meditators diving down their own chutes. Yes, this is San Francisco, the land of the experimental. And yes, we’ve been know to explore some interesting landscapes. Only this time we were taking a journey with, and into, our bodies.

The idea of this body-focused meditation is this: by imagining you’re falling, you leave behind your regular or habitual thoughts, and discover who you are – when you’ve just got your body for company. It’s quite an eyeopener really. You’re forced into an intimate relationship with this one and only familiar ‘friend’, way down there.

Similarities with the journey of menopause abound. There’s that falling feeling when the bottom drops out, flailing in the dark depths, coming face-to-face with each ache and pain in your joints, in your heart, in your temperament.  It’s in the dark that your body begins to talk to you. 

Bodies talk really, really quietly and really, really slowly. So you have to tune in to hear it, especially if you’re doing a lot of running around.  If you ignore it – like when you don’t get enough sleep or when you hang out with that person who doesn’t treat you kindly – it has to start raising its voice so you pay attention. Then one day you begin to notice … 

The Language of Symptoms

The message is simple: tune in, learn to speak the language and the symptoms will show you what you need to change to regain balance in your life. Since you’re in The Change, your body is inviting you to join it – by changing the things that are no longer good for you.

Wait, why can’t you just find the things to fix your body so you can carry on with your life? Yes, by all means partake of the ingenious array of rubs and potions and modalities that we clever humans come up with (my recommendation is to stick with the natural solutions).  So then what’s all this about cultivating a relationship with your body? Isn’t it enough that you feed it, bathe it and use it for pleasure?

Let’s look at all this from your body’s point of view for a moment.  Day in and day out, you live mostly in your head.  Your life is made up of a pretty constant stream of thinking, talking, watching screens, reading, more thinking, more talking, more screens, etc, right? All the while, your attention is in your head. In fact you can get through your day without needing to be aware of your body at all. If your body was another ‘person’, we could reasonably call this relationship a tad negligent. 

You might go on this way, ignoring your body – until it rebels. Menopause is an open invitation for rebellion. Hello, hormonal flux. Hello, brain dissolution and restructuring. Hello, chronic aches and pains, weight gain, insomnia, constipation, vanishing libido, etc, etc.  These are the sounds of anarchy, right? 

Wanna know what to do about all this?  Throw in the towel? Kinda. Seek out help? Absolutely (and the best kind is from other women who are going through it too).  Tell everyone you’re no longer who you were? Pretty much. Learn a new language? Bingo!! It’s called the language of symptoms.  When you decode it, the clouds part and you’re on your way to a healthier, more appropriate life.

Appropriate life, huh? 

If you’re in peri/menopause, you have a decision to make. Either you can continue ignoring your body’s needs, or … you can enter into a conversation with it. If you choose to talk to it, here’s what happens: instead of blaming your body for your symptoms, you decide to collaborate. You support each other, you work together, you become curious about what’s really happening and why, and you look for solutions that address the cause instead of tending only to the symptom.  This close collaboration is what allows you to not only learn the language of symptoms but to begin to trust what you hear.

Here’s the good news: coming into your body is like coming home. Sure, the route home may be unfamiliar and the obstacles on the way may be uncomfortable or even downright excruciating.  But the gift of finding refuge in your self becomes yours when you tend to your most intimate and life-long relationship with love and respect – the one between you and your body. 

Adapted from Ashley’s upcoming book, The Conscious Menopause Survival Guide

I’m so curious to hear what you hear when you listen to your body? Or is it hard to hear what’s going on? And what are some of the ways you’ve cultivated your relationship with your body?  Let’s talk about it: as dear Lynette always says, it’s in sharing this crazy, fascinating, soul-wretching journey that we come through intact …

Ashley offers Conscious Menopause coaching in San Rafael and via Skype. Join Ashley and women from around the world for the live Conscious Menopause Circles Series online. You can read more on her website ashleyjeanneross.com.

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Menopause Goddess Blog Part Deux

Vibrant Amaryllis © lynette sheppard

Vibrant Amaryllis © lynette sheppard

Back in early December, I wrote that Menopause Goddess Blog would be going through some changes. I had hoped to introduce our new addition, fabulous Menopause Coach Ashley Ross,  by the end of December. The holidays and such got in the way, like they do, so we will be starting the new format in February.

Ashley will write on the Menopause transition and I will write about Living Our Second Act from my postmenopausal perspective. Many of our original goddesses have thankfully seen the worst of the changes recede in their rear view mirror, yet we remain committed to our sisters just beginning this rocky ride.

We will continue to showcase products in our Menopause Marketplace and keep up with the latest on the Big M. And I am very excited to embark together on our journey into Second Adulthood. Stay tuned! And if you have specific questions, thoughts, offerings; be sure to let us know by clicking on Contact Us in the left sidebar.

Menopause may be an ending but it is also a beginning. Most important is that we travel these roads together. That will take us from merely surviving to outright thriving.

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Four Ways to Sleep Better with Night Sweats

me in bed2

Enjoy this guest post by Renae Farley – and be sure and read to the end for the discount code for Keep the Peace Bedding.

Four Ways to Sleep Better with Night Sweats
By Renae Farley, founder of Keep the Peace Bedding

For women going through menopause, or for people battling cancer or who simply have a different internal thermostat from their partner, night sweats can often be an uncomfortable barrier to getting a good night’s rest – something most of you know all too well!

This problem rang true for me after I got married. My husband would sleep with the door open and just a sheet, but I would need a down comforter to keep me warm. That comforter usually ended up doubled on my side of the bed, and then I would roast and not be able to sleep. Years later, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer, the night sweats got worse when my doctors put me on estrogen suppressants. Enter the incessant cycle of throwing off the comforter, only to wake up freezing cold a little while later.

I have interviewed dozens of people over the last seven years, and nearly 85 percent have had the same sleeping issues. One partner sleeps warm and one sleeps cold, and the issues only get worse as women age. One report of more than 2,000 primary care patients found that 40 percent of adults get night sweats at least once a month, a rate that increases in both women and men between 41 and 55.

If you (or your partner) are battling this nocturnal enemy, here are my top tips for coping with night sweats – you’ll note some top docs support my philosophy as well!

Avoid caffeine and alcohol at night: Indulging in a “night cap” can actually make it more difficult to sleep. Drinking alcohol or caffeine before bed has been shown to worsen nocturnal hot flashes and night sweats. Swap your nightly glass of red wine for ice water. Also, skip the Sriracha or other hot sauce with dinner. Spicy foods heat up your internal temperature, contributing to night sweats.

Find custom bedding: Invest in linens that provide options for you and your partner. For example, Keep the Peace Bedding offers several different bedding materials, such as lightweight goose down or bamboo matelassé, that can easily be zipped together so each person is comfortable, or unzipped to make a personal blanket that won’t disturb your partner if you have to flip it on and off. It is used under your regular decorative coverlet. Also consider sheets and sleepwear that are made from special fabrics – I’ll again recommend bamboo –  that wick moisture away from your body.

Make friends with fans: I cannot rest without my celling fan! Cranking the air conditioning might make the room too cold, but a ceiling fan provides just the right amount of cooling and air circulation. I also discovered a great product called the “Portable Cooler,” which is a mini AC fan. I have used it for months, and it really works! You simply wet a sponge, place it inside the unit and say, “ahhhh.” I keep it on my nightstand, and when I wake up to a night sweat, I use it on my face for instant relief.

Tap into your breath: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) says “slow, rhythmic deep breathing” can help calm hot flashes and night sweats.

There is no silver bullet that will completely eradicate nocturnal night sweats, but with these strategies, I have managed to get better shut-eye and keep the peace in the process.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I am offering a special “shop for a cause” promotion on all Keep the Peace Bedding products for the month of October. When you give the gift of tranquil, restorative sleep to yourself or a loved one, you’ll save 10% on your order. That 10% will then be donated to help patients currently battling breast cancer. Simply customize your order and use code “bcawareness” at checkout.

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Feel Fab After 40: A Webinar for Menopause Goddesses

Flame On © lynette sheppard

Flame On © lynette sheppard

Health and wellness company Root Fitness across the pond is offering a free webinar with help for menopause goddesses on Wednesday 22nd Oct. at 13:30  (1:30 pm) Pacfic Time.  To sign up, just click here.

This ‘Feel Fab after 40’ webinar gives ladies the opportunity to understand what causes and exacerbates menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes, weight gain around the middle, poor sleep and irritability.   They then follow up with NATURAL solutions to keep these exhausting symptoms at bay so that women can go back to gliding through life with energy, vitality and confidence!

For more information about their program, Hot Flush Free  visit https://www.facebook.com/hotflushfree or www.hotflushfree.wordpress.com

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Menopause Goddesses: Be Beautiful Naturally

Love Potion #9 © lynette sheppard

Love Potion #9 © lynette sheppard

Lisa Liguori of Simple Beauty Minerals contacted me a couple of months ago to let me know about her company’s mineral makeup and moisturizers. Actually, Simple Beauty has many natural products for face, eyes, lips, and skincare.

She sent me a few samples to try. After two months of using them, all I can say is wow. And it is time for me to reorder. And I need to try some of the other products.

Years ago when I was a sweet young thing, I tried a mineral makeup (powder and blusher) and I liked it fine, as best I can remember. But I went right back to the department store brand I had used previously – probably for no other reason than I happened to be in Macy’s.

These days, I’m a lot pickier about what I use, probably because it matters so much as I age. I don’t want estrogenic substances in my makeup or skin care products, my skin is more sensitive than it was when I was younger, and living in the High Sierra half the year means that all the moisture in my skin is sucked out by the dry mountain air.

Naturally, I was intrigued by the natural minerals and lack of allergens in the Simple Beauty line. I tried three products: a moisturizer, Whipped Olive Oil Creme; a powder, Silk Splendor Finish; and a blusher, Warm Pink Shimmer Cheek Color.

I really like the makeup. It has sun protection, naturally occurring from the minerals. It’s waterproof and anti-acne. It feels so light that it is not like wearing makeup and it looks great.

I LOVE the whipped Olive Oil creme moisturizer. I will admit to using a fairly pricy department store brand prior to this, but I swear that this is better, at a fraction of the price. (I was always a little nervous about what might be in the fancy (ok Lancome) jar, but because I did not want to turn into an apple doll, I kept using it.)

Oh, one more very cool thing – their model photos are NOT photoshopped. Truth in beauty – and I so appreciate that.

You can be sure that I will be trying other products by Simple Beauty. And Lisa was so sweet that she sent me a link for a 20% off coupon for us Menopause Goddesses. Check out their website for more info and testimonials.

Try Before You Buy – and get a 20% off coupon right here: https://simplebeautyminerals.com/mineral-makeup-newsletter-2/

 

simple beauty samples

You know, your self esteem is important to us! No photo editing on our models. https://simplebeautyminerals.com/real-beauty/

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Menopause: Fact and Fiction

Turmoil © lynette sheppard

Turmoil © lynette sheppard

Menopause facts abound now on the internet. Menopause myths are prevalent as well. And now, drumroll, there is menopause fiction.

I confess to suffering (read enjoying) a full-on fiction addiction. So when I was lucky enough to read two books recently where the heroine was afflicted by the Big M, my two passions came together in perfect synergy.

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In Hot Flash Woman by Adrianne Ambrose, menopause bestows superpowers on an unsuspecting woman of midlife vintage.  It’s not enough that the Big M has reared its ugly head, but  Barbara’s job sucks, her husband is not working, except as a couch potato, and she is dealing with teenagers at home.  Her hot flashes cause actual fires and a government agency whisks her away to study or use her power. Hilariously funny and a great take on menopause (I WISH I could have had superpowers with my hot flashes), my only complaint is that I want more. Book 1 is short enough to read at one sitting – now I want to know what happens next. While I will have to wait for book 2, you can get book 1 by clicking here: Hot Flash Woman.

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Shelly Hickman’s Menopause to Matrimony is a wonderful story of high school acquaintances who rediscover one another later in life and fall in love.  Anna and Kiran plant to marry. Still, love is complicated by midlife issues. Kiran suffers health problems and undergoes a personality change. Was there residual damage, a midlife crisis, or does she not know the real Kiran? Anna goes through her own set of traumas that we menopause goddesses know all too well: moodiness, hot flashes, and ugh, facial hair. Menopause to Matrimony is a great read and Anna’s afflictions are our own. Funny and poignant, this is great therapy and entertainment for all women facing or coping with menopause. Get it on Amazon here: Menopause to Matrimony.

Shelly also wrote a prequel to this book called Vegas to Varanasi. I’ve downloaded it, but haven’t had a chance to read it yet. I’m saving it for a treat for a rainy, spa day at home.

 

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A Menopause Goddess Poem

White Ginger Blossoms © lynette sheppard

White Ginger Blossoms © lynette sheppard


Menopause Goddess and talented metalsmith artist and poet Nancy Lee shares this humorous vignette with us. Enjoy!

Over 50 Fan Club
By Nancy Lee

The molecules
in my room
are being whipped about
by a tiny small fan
for the pleasure
of my skin.
The insistent frequency
whispers its promises
and fools me
into a greater comfort
than this Lothario fan
can actually provide.
Yet, nightly, my sentinel
is faithfully summoned
to purr fake comfort
into my ear
and imperceptible coolness
onto my menopause skin.

Check out Nancy’s website – click here. Her tagline is Bringing Dreams to Life in Metal. Love that!

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Giveaway: Cooling Sleepwear Can Be Yours

Daisy Chain © lynette sheppard

Daisy Chain © lynette sheppard

Earlier this month, we had a guest post about the innovative “cool” new sleepwear from Lusome. I got to try it – and it’s an absolute winner in my book. With a feeling of soft brushed cotton along with its wicking ability, we can be dry and cool all night long. Which is heaven, as those of us who have been hot, wet, then cold in rapid succession can attest.

Anne sleepwear © Lusome

Anne sleepwear © Lusome

The Lusome folks want to give away one of their lovely cool gowns or jammies to a lucky Menopause Goddess. And because we goddesses don’t have a lot of time or energy thanks to this transition, we will make it super easy.

Just “Like” Lusome’s Facebook page (click here) and then “Like” Menopause Goddess Blog Facebook page (click here.) Once you have “liked” both pages, send your mailing address and email to me at lynette@9points.com. We will draw a lucky winner from the contestants in one week – on Monday, August 4. (BTW, I only need your address, etc. to facilitate getting you your prize, should you win. I won’t use it for any other purpose.)

Check out the Lusome website for all the beautiful styles and start thinking about the one you want! I chose the Anne gown – and I love it.

Oh, and if you have already “liked” Menopause Goddess Blog FB page in the past? Then just “like” Lusome’s FB page and send me your info. You don’t get left out just because you are an early adopter or loyal follower.

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Red Hat Sisters Embrace Menopause and More

© dewitt jones

© dewitt jones

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the most important Menopause help is not a prescription or book, not a fan or linen sheets, not even chocolate (although it is very important in many ways.) The sisterhood and support of other women is the lifesaving grace for every perimenopausal, pausal, and post menopausal woman. Literally, the goddesses don’t know how they’d have survived this transition, let alone thrived. And ladies, we have thrived!

We had our annual meeting in early September. This slumber party with a focus was our best one yet, we all declared. And in the coming blog posts, we will explore the topics uppermost in our minds at this latest gathering. Hint: we talked about Health with a capital H, our vision for five, ten, fifteen years down the pike, weight gain and loss (some really amazing things), best new products we’ve found, and brain training.

We also talked about aging/ailing parents and how to be proactive in our own eventual changes, including death. Yeah, I know. Heavy topic, but our folks are a preview of coming attractions and we’d best have a plan.

Stay tuned, and be thinking about these issues. We’d love to know your thoughts as well. Women sharing wisdom – that’s what keeps us going. We have a huge community – and we are growing all the time. You never know when you might run into a “sister”. Or a bunch of them.

Case in point: after our gathering, I took off for Colorado to meet hubby Dewitt for some golf therapy. (Considering my scores sometimes, maybe I need therapy to help recover from my golf.) Still, wide open spaces, fresh air, natural beauty as far as the eye can see – Ballyneal Golf Club definitely qualifies as therapy in my book.

I was relaxing one evening on the restaurant patio, awaiting yet another glorious sunset, when I looked up to find several spunky, gorgeous women. Wearing red hats! And purple! Now I’m not a Menopause Goddess for nothing – I recognized a group of sisters right away.

© dewitt jones

© dewitt jones

Clearly these ladies belonged to the Red Hat Society, a global group of women that connects, supports and encourages women in their pursuit of fun, friendship, freedom, fulfillment, and fitness.  They are dedicated to reshaping the way women are viewed in today’s culture. Oh, and when they go out together, they wear red hats and purple everything. They make a statement.

Before I knew it, we were chattering away about all the things women of a certain maturity (and style) talk about: hot flashes, travel, getting together with other women, hobbies, Menopause Goddess Blog, etc. We ladies even had a group portrait taken by my Dewitt (before he escaped to the room.)

© dewitt jones

© dewitt jones

Lucky me! I went from one sisterhood to another and there is nothing more interesting or rejuvenating. Here’s a shout out to my Red Hat friends from Holyoke, CO, Lamar, NE, and Imperial, NE. You go, girls! Love ya all!

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This Is Just Menopause, Right?

Femininity © lynette sheppard

Femininity © lynette sheppard

September is ovarian cancer awareness month. This week’s guest post  by Karen Ingalls illuminates the symptoms and how they can be confused with the signs of Menopause.  She tells us how to be proactive in our own reproductive system health.

This Is Just Menopause, Right?

In the spring of 2008 I believed that my bloating stomach was because I was post-menopausal. I had started menopause in my late 40’s and even though I was now 68, I felt confident that I was gaining weight due to hormonal changes. I decided I just needed to exercise more and eat less. Every morning I faithfully did 30-45 minutes of aerobics and abdominal sit-ups. I have never had a weight problem and always ate nutritiously, so I just decreased my caloric and fat intake.

Three months later I had increased a full pant size and was beginning to see I might soon have to go up one more. I was scheduled for my annual PAP test and mammogram in a couple of weeks, and decided I would talk to my gynecologist then about what I still thought was post-menopausal symptoms. Four days prior to my appointment I started to see a change in the form of my bowel movements. I was sharing these concerns while I had my legs up in the stirrups when suddenly I was aware of unusual pain. The doctor could not get the speculum in despite a couple of attempts and maneuvers. She palpated my abdomen and felt a mass.

My bloating and bowel changes were due to a mass the size of a Honeydew sized melon sitting on my left ovary. Two weeks later I was given the diagnosis of ovarian cancer, Stage IIC; had a hysterectomy and colon resection; and then 6 rounds of chemotherapy.

The typical symptoms of ovarian cancer are:
*pelvic or abdominal bloating,
*pelvic or abdominal pain,
*difficulty eating or feeling full quickly,
*frequent need to urinate, increased fatigue,
*or painful intercourse.

Are these not symptoms that a female can experience from adolescence and into adulthood? Do not some of these occur during ovulation, days before and during menstruation, and the years of menopause? Can these also be symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Urinary Infection, Back Pain, Gallbladder Issues, and many other ailments? The answer is yes, which means ovarian cancer is often misdiagnosed.

I am grateful that I am now a 5-year survivor with no recurrence and the message I want to leave is the following:

1. Ladies, be proactive when such symptoms continue on a daily basis for 2 weeks.
2. Write on a chart or calendar, or in a diary of any body changes.
3. Know and write down your family’s health history.
4. Seek out a gynecologist for initial evaluation,
5. And then a gynecologic-oncologist if cancer might be suspected.

6. Know, listen, and respond to your body’s warning signs.

Karen Ingalls is the author of the award winning book, Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir, which provides information about this lesser known disease, and offers hope and inspiration to women and their families. Proceeds go to ovarian cancer research. She writes a weekly blog about health/wellness, relationships, spirituality, and cancer at: www.outshineovariancancer.blogspot.com.

Her book is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and her own website: Outshine. Follow Karen on Facebook.

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