Yep. Today was that day. I had to get naked, put on a gown that never really closes, and “relax” on the examination table like a plucked turkey ready to be stuffed for Thanksgiving.
I like my doctor. She’s incredibly sensitive to the indignity of Pap Smears and the accompanying prodding that only should be done on a third date. Fourth, of you’re a good girl. By then the guy should have…well, never mind. I’m just saying there’s a fair amount of intimacy between a doctor and patient.
Each year my doctor and I discuss my current menopausal phase and whether I want to stay on the bio-identical hormones. Each year the research offers new worries and new hope. It gets exhausting trying to keep up, and even more exhausting trying to make the right choices based on my lifestyle and genetics. I’m not trying to look or act like I’m twenty. But I do want to be the best woman I can be at my age.
I always ask to get my hormonal blood levels checked to gauge where I’m at as I get older. My goal is to take the least amount of bio-identical estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone possible to feel good and keep symptoms at bay.
I know something has changed because my hot flashes are increasing and I wake at 2 a.m. each morning feeling like I’m in a sauna. I throw the blankets off of me and onto my husband (who usually has most of them anyway. Have I ever mentioned he is an only child and has sharing issues? Maybe another time.), and lie in the cool of early morning until the heat passes. I know this has to do with circadian rhythms, but can’t remember what the timing is telling me about my lifestyle. I’ll have to research that again, unless any of you are aware and care to share?
For now my doctor is suggesting I limit testosterone because it ultimately turns into estrogen and can be a factor in increasing the risk of breast cancer. However, she feels I’m in a good place with the small amount of supplemental estrogen and progesterone I’m taking at this point. She mentioned the researched benefits, but always wants it to be my decision.
After my exam—for which she gave me a gold star, by the way—we decided to continue with the estrogen and progesterone until I get through my Master’s program. Once I reduce the stress in my life (insert laughter here) I’m thinking of slowing changing over to Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture treatments to ease my menopausal symptoms.
Until then, the research and learning continue. It was a good day. My doctor says I’m doing most things right, I’m healthy, I’m happy, and I’ve decided a warm speculum is a good speculum. Thank you Dr. Aspen.