When one day dear Ursula (@ursel_at_home) When I called and asked if I wanted to write a blog post for lipedema fashion about menopause, I said spontaneously: "Yes!".
Later I sat here at my laptop and thought, "What were you thinking?"
Menopause was something I didn't think about, nor wanted to think about. But now I was through with 50. Yes, through ... with 50. I would never have dreamed that. Menopause or the change had only one memory for me: my mom was bathed in sweat with a towel on her neck, standing in front of the open window and gasping for breath. Grrrrrrr, I didn't want to think about it at all and pushed my thoughts as far as possible. Now I had said yes, so I started thinking.
Let's start with a photo from 2015.
The first bang
In this photo I am 45 years round and well-fed, with a forced smile and confused and sad thoughts in my head. The photo was taken during our Thailand vacation, which we actually wanted to cancel.
Two months earlier, I learned that I had multiple lumps in both breasts.
The first blast that hit me with a full broadside. After this vacation I started horrific biopsies, punches and minor operations to get rid of these poop things. The worst, however, were the long waiting times for the results of the laboratory tests and the constant mammograms. There were tons of cysts, fibroadenomas and stuff in my breasts. Everything that doesn't belong there. Not malicious, but strange nonetheless.
After the last mammogram, a radiologist made the statement that if I wanted to have some rest, I should have the diseased breast tissue removed. Said and done in November 2016 was this operation. I fought until 2021 that the word breast reduction disappeared from my medical record, because that was it for the health insurance company by then.
The second bang
February 2017 - a whopping 20 kilos less - the hormone IUD that I had until then should be removed. Simple thing, I was told. During the previous gynecological examination it was found that all cysts and lumps etc. wandered into my womb. After long discussions with my doctor, it quickly became clear that my uterus and everything that went with it had to be removed. And here the word came for the first time menopause into the conversation.
"That can happen quickly after a total operation," said my doctor.
Menopause. There it was again, this picture of my mom. Except that my mom was 60 at the time and I am now 47. The doctor tried a little to ease my fear and offered, if it didn't work at all, that hormones could still be used to make the whole thing more bearable. She gave me a bunch of brochures and awareness sheets that I never read.
The day of the operation was approaching, now I had to go through whether I wanted to or not. I already experienced the first sweat pool in the recovery room. Terrible, I was sweating after the third sauna session, maybe a droplet of sweat formed. Great, I thought, it can be cheerful.
Sweat, let up!
After four days and 16 nightgowns later, I was allowed out of the hospital. To this day I don't know where my mother-in-law got so many nightgowns, but I needed them all! After a very sweaty weekend I went to my doctor and came home with a test bottle of foam containing hormones. I should test that for four weeks. I should take one puff in the crook of my elbow every day. For three whole days I was very meticulous and conscientious, then for reasons of time I forgot it, then suppressed it, then used it again and then forgot it again. It went on like this for a full four weeks, at the first follow-up examination I could neither say when I had last used the bottle, nor when I had the last hot flash. There was simply no time for that.
For the first time she noticed terrible bruises on my legs and said that one should watch it.
After another four weeks, she was so shocked by looking at my thighs that she turned me around and pointed silently at my legs. Her words are still ringing in my ears today: "Oh girl, you'd rather have stayed with the hot flashes". What did that mean now? Well, Aunt Lipi, that's what I called my lipedema from then on, moved in with me and spread out. Literally!
Now the menopause was gone and now this
To make matters worse, I also developed lipedema on my arms and, at the same time, lymphedema, which arose after the breast operation. I have been wearing compression tights and arm socks since 2017, thorax care since 2019 and hand compression since this year.
But I actually went through a change during that time. Because as stupid as it may sound, the lipedema has awakened my femininity again.
By wearing my compression tights, the skirt and dress moved in with me. To be honest, until then the only dress in my closet was my wedding dress. As for dressing, I still invented and reinvent myself. I've become much more open-minded and experiment a lot, also with the colors of my compression. They are no longer the old boring grandma stockings.
Looking at it from a distance, I can say for myself that life doesn't necessarily have to end with changing. And when the mood is annoying again or you have to go to the cellar to laugh, bring some wine with you and don't always take everything so seriously. Because there is one thing I did not let go of all these health issues (I had two bowel operations in the meantime) - my humor.
Get up and move on
I would like to give you a saying from my grandma, she always said to me:
"Cheat, you can cry and scream vigorously now, but then the snot will be wiped off and carried on!" And I tell you, she was right!
I packed Aunt Lipi's suitcases and chased her out the door. It doesn't mean that it doesn't torment or annoy me, but it's a disease I won't die of. It limits me in a lot of things, but it won't get the upper hand.
Do not look at the menopause quite so strictly, even if you gain weight, the skin becomes drier or the hair and hairstyle develop a life of their own from time to time. The world will not end because of this. Menopause comes and goes. Worse are the diseases they brought me with them because they stay.
Nevertheless, I am aware that many girls and women do not cope with it that well and I do not want to gloss over or downplay such a serious topic. This post is all about my experiences and how I deal with this phase of life.
Thank you dear Caro that I was allowed to be there. Thank you dear Ursula, for encouraging you and your great tips and thanks to Lipedema Mode. Maybe there is another contribution that I can make! (Editor's note: But of course!)