If you do not have a menstrual period or have not experienced menstrual periods in the past, turn back now. You can only be scarred by what is to follow. Go read the comics or sports page and thank your lucky stars that there are some experiences you have lived without.
For those of you who are still with me, I think it only fair to advise you that I will be bringing up the “P” word – yes, perimenopause will once again be the subject of a focused rant. I provide the additional warning as I know there are many of you that have not reached the stage of your life where perimenopause is even a point of discussion and hearing about it may make you a bit apprehensive about the “change of life” – albeit, I really find it to be a full-on assault on my dignity, patience, and sanity. But hey, I am not bitter. I am informed…armed with information that allows me to understand what is going on in this special life stage.
As you are likely aware, perimenopause is the time period in which your body transitions to a shift in hormones and ultimately no more periods. You are considered to have reached the golden gates of menopause after you have gone 12 consecutive months without a period. The perimenopause process can last as long as ten years or can be blissfully over in mere months. The average length of time women experience the plethora of perimenopause symptoms is four years (per WebMD). This whole joy ride typically starts in a woman’s forties, but as an example of someone three years in on the new forty it can vary greatly.
I have been anxiously awaiting the end of my period phase for about a decade now. When I first missed a couple of periods in a row (and was sure it wasn’t due to a OMG pregnancy), I clapped, smiled, and ecstatically exclaimed, “Yippee!” I was excited to be in the 12 month countdown. Then a handful of months later it came back with a vengeance and stuck around for a few months before it took another hiatus. This psyche out process – the part where I am counting the months thinking this time I will make it all the way to 12 only to get brought right back to the monthly regimen – got old quick. I no longer get excited when I am breezing past a few months without incident because I know it is futile to get my hopes up.
However, after many false starts over the past couple of years I am now hopeful that I am finally nearing the last period. I say this because my body now seems to shedding stuff that it has apparently been storing for decades. It reminds me of when retail stores go out of business and sell everything down to the studs – including fixtures. I do believe the good old body is diggin’ deep to purge any semblance of a menstruation cycle – I do believe this is my “Everything Must Go!” sale of sorts. Finally it seems as if the body is shutting the door on this whole reproductive shop, and in my mind it won’t be a minute too soon. Of course, this going out of business sale will take at least 12 months before the doors are officially closed forever; but, the end is in sight.
Day one thousand two hundred and eighty of the new forty – obla di obla da