Menopause Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Just Make Jokes about Hot Flashes

One might say there’s nothing funny about a 28-year-old going through menopause. Or, one could be honest and say it’s not funny, it’s freakin’ hilarious.

I just finished three rounds of my current cancer treatment, Lupron shots, which has caused me to go into early menopause. Temporarily (I’m told.) Little did I know that mother-daughter bonding would shift from shopping for clothes to perusing vitamin and natural food stores for menopause remedies, specifically for hot flashes and night sweats. Mom, at first I thought the only benefit of your menopause was that you finally would turn the AC below 76 degrees. Going through it with you has given me a newfound respect for you. Dearest friends of mine, please, please surprise your mothers with something special. They deserve it.

The weather we’ve all been enduring over the last week has tested me a bit. There really does seem to be a positive correlation between internal body temperature and external personal rage. Luckily, I have a fiance who’s learned to recognize the signs and will proceed to blow cool air over me to the brink of passing out, fan me, bring me cold water, or indulge my desires for frozen concoctions. And James, thanks for thinking I’m still sexy and cute even when I’ve completely sweat through my third shirt of the day.

Here are some of my favorite stay-cool tools:

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Evian (naive backwards– was that intentional?) Mineral Water Spray – Yes, it’s pompous. Yes, it’s overpriced. But it’s made of metal and, when placed in the fridge, becomes so cold it’s worth every darn penny.

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James’s t-shirts that are older than some of my current students – The ones that are so thin, so threadbare, so soft, and full of holes or cut-off on the side. Baby, thank you for ignoring me when I asked you to throw them away.

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My green smoothies – Kale, spinach, cucumber, broccoli, avocado, celery, a splash of OJ, and ice. Our garbage constantly smells like vegetables, and James gagged after trying just a sip, but I just love ’em. Try it! I get more energy from these than a cup of coffee!

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Chia seeds and flaxseeds – Throw them in your smoothies, add to yogurt, or make your own pudding/oatmeal by adding them to hot water (usually with granola, too). Throw some fruit on top like strawberries, bananas, or dried cranberries.Flaxseeds are said to help with hot flashes. Chia seeds (yes, as in the same seeds that produce a Chia pet) are have lots of fiber, antioxidants, and Omega-3s.

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Red Mango with lots of mochi and boba – Supposedly it’s pretty good/not awful for you, but I have a feeling it’s like the frozen yogurt Seinfeld episode. Ignorance is bliss.

Bing soo and bubble tea – Delicious Korean treats, available at Coffee Haus in Schaumburg. Bing soo has shaved ice, milk or ice cream, mochi, fruit, red bean, and cereal all mixed together. Bubble tea is a smoothie (mango is my favorite!) with small, chewy tapioca balls. Don’t knock it ’till you try it.

So what’s next?

In terms of doctors and treatment plans, there are a lot of cooks in the kitchen. Sometimes too many, but when you have something that doesn’t have studies or tried-and-true methods, the more brains you have collaborating, the better. I may soon meet with an academic/research doctor who may want to go in another direction for treatment (as far as I know, that is not chemo or radiation– the surgery still got the bulk of the nasty, evil cancer out). More to come.

What else is going on?

-I finished all my course work for Master’s #2 in school counseling. Today I took my certification exam (in a building with no AC…). I complete my internship this fall and spring, and then I am done!

-I get to pilot an initiative with my students and I all having iPads next year!

-I get to see the wonderful ladies in my life at the shower my fantastic mother is throwing for us next month!

-I get married in less that 100 days to the love of my life and best friend! (Anyone happened to be ordained…?)

I promise to write more (I’m always saying that, aren’t I? wink, wink to Tony, Gary, Russ, Sabra, Amy, Emily, Gina, and all my fabulous colleagues and fellow writers), and I can’t wait for this blog to someday evolve beyond cancer to my teaching, healthy living, shopping, technology, babies…. who knows?

Life is good! Even the sweaty life. 🙂

Love,

Jaclyn

Finally, I want to give a little private shout-out to a fabulous, strong woman who’s in the process of kicking cancer’s ass right now, too. Much love to you!

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9 thoughts on “Menopause Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Just Make Jokes about Hot Flashes

  1. Jaclyn, I love what a fantastic sense of humor you have, not just about your treatment but about everything. I totally laughed at the Seinfeld yogurt reference because I feel the same way. We are Yogurtland fans over here, and while I know the piles of Reese’s and Butterfinger I put on top are doing me no good, I want to believe I cancel it out with the healthy probiotic yogurt! I can’t even imagine what this weather has been doing to you and all the other fabulous women dealing with menopause. Thank goodness for the “cold front” coming in tomorrow! Congrats on finishing grad classes! I need to start looking into taking some tests myself, but based on your experience, I will avoid doing it in the summer!

  2. Thanks for continuing your blog! You have a unique experience to share with so many! Your insight continues to help us support those in adverse situations! I’m so proud of you! Who knew? … my girl would be sharing tips with her Mom! And, I of course continue to learn from my girl!

    Very proud Momma!

  3. Jaclyn,
    I love reading your posts. You are an amazing, young, strong woman! It takes a special person to overcome these challenges. You will definitely come out of this even stronger than before! Congrats on finishing your second masters. I look forward to reading more about your incredible journey!
    {renee}

  4. Jaclyn,

    Your honesty and authorial voice in this post is extremely refreshing. Thanks for the insights into your world, both the good and the not as good. I get excited every time I see a post from you because I know I’m going to learn something.

    Congrats on Master’s #2 (holy cow!). I’m excited to work with you on the 1:1 next year. Keep up the fantastic writing!

  5. If you were just a raging biatch all the time, no one would think any less of you. No one has earned irrational rants more than you. But no. You do this. You look for the humor and share it. You acknowledge the contributions of others to your progress. You promise to do more.

    This is why we all need more people like you in our lives. Keep going.

  6. I was on Lupron, too, when I was only a year older than you. The Personal Summers are really something when you have a class of middle school kiddos and you’re teaching with the window open in January just to keep from passing out! I realized too late that they more make pajamas out of that moisture wicking material that they use for athletic wear. They also make nice shirts and pants that you could wear to work in it. It helps. Someone at school told me about these reusable cooling packs at school. Let me find out more for you. Above all – keep your sense of humor (which appears to be more than intact)!

  7. Jaclyn,
    I had no idea you were going through this right now–and I’ve seen you a few times this past semester! You look amazing, by the way!
    I know you will kick cancer’s ass and I can’t wait to hear about the babies you will one day raise. I was 26 when I was diagnosed with a chronic illness that prohibited me from ever carrying a child. Now here I am, the mother of beautiful 13 year-old twins. I will never forget how loving and supportive and just plain wonderful my colleagues at FHS were. Lean on your faith and your friends! You are in my prayers. 🙂
    Mirty

  8. Jaclyn,
    Thank you for sharing your amazing, courageous spirit with us. I stumbled upon your blog via Twitter and I am so glad that I read this post. You have a special gift of finding the positive and the humor to keep going and thrive.
    I look forward to hearing more about your journey. Go get ’em!
    Take care,
    Joan

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