Monday, January 26, 2009

Fitness: Getting Started or, Yes You Can

Yes, getting started is hard.

You are overweight and discouraged. Dieting is hard enough. And now you are menopausal on top of everything else. It's more important than ever to get an exercise program together that you can live with.

You don't have to run a marathon, or swim the English Channel, or ride a bike from Maine to Florida. Even though you already know what to do, I'll spell it out for you:

What you do have to do is move your body every day.

You can start with easy steps - literally - by simply walking more in your everyday life. Take one extra flight of stairs, get off the bus two blocks before your stop, park your car at the far end of the lot, walk around the block after lunch, walk to someone's office instead of calling.

Once you start doing these things, you'll find that it seems ridiculous to wait for the elevator for a few flights of stairs, to wait for the local bus when you can walk, to fight for a close parking spot at the store, to eat a meal without moving afterward, or to waste time on the phone when you can get your questions answered quickly with the added benefit of personal interaction.

Every little bit helps in getting you started to the more fit, more healthy you.

As a certain athletic apparel company notes: Just Do It.

My Menopause Symptoms - and Yours

I'm like a walking textbook of menopause symptoms. *sigh* But here's the thing, and it's really important - why didn't I know what the symptoms were before they started? Because no one talks about it, that's why.

Here is a basic list of symptoms, culled from various places around the web:

  • A change in the pattern of periods. Shorter or longer, lighter or heavier, more or less time between periods - you know your body and when there is a change. You may still be able to get pregnant at this time, due to the irregularities
  • Hot flashes and/or night sweats. Sometimes these can be followed by a chill
  • Trouble sleeping through the night, with or without night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Mood swings, feeling crabby and crying spells, which may be caused by lack of sleep
  • Quick, unreasonable anger
  • Feeling mixed-up, confused or unfocused
  • Short term memory problems
  • Hair loss or thinning on your head
  • Hair growth on your face
  • Racing heart
  • Low energy
  • Breast tenderness
  • Headaches
  • Dry eyes
  • Itching
  • Joint and muscle aches and pains, especially in the morning
  • Change in sex drive
  • Bladder control problems

I'm not a medical professional, but I think it's reasonable that if you are experiencing any one symptom that is interfering with your life; and/or at least three of the above, that you go to the doctor and begin to discuss how to handle this change in your body.

As always, our gal Oprah has compiled lots of the newest info on her website She's a lifesaver, right?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I'm Running in a Relay Marathon!

Here's my big secret - I committed to running in the Jersey Shore Relay Marathon. We have a team of five and each of us runs one leg of the 26-mile-385-yard course.

I'm running the shortest leg - 3.41 miles - and I'm terrified that I won't be able to do it and will humiliate myself. In fact, just writing this brought on a hot flash.

Our team has only two rules:

1. No walking
2. No one over 75 can pass you

That shouldn't be too hard, right? But I have seen some fast 75+ year olds, so I'm a little worried. Seriously - I don't want to have to trip a senior citizen.

I'm less nervous when I know what to expect. So here is my plan:

1. Add .25 mile every week so that I'm running 4 miles at the beginning of April.
2. Walk or bicycle whenever possible to increase endurance.
3. In early April, go down and run my part of the course.

It feels like a HUGE deal to me to be doing this. I suspect I'm being just a wee bit dramatic, but...

Every journey of 1,000 miles starts with a single step, right? (Repeat ad nauseum)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Post Surgery + Fitness Update

Wow - it's taken longer to recover from surgery that I thought. Still bleeding eight days later, but feel more like myself. I can't tell what was surgery after-effects and what's plain old hormones though!

On the fitness front, it's just too icy in NYC now for me to run. I just made an attempt, but Beloved and I had a major blowout on the corner. She thinks it's just fine; I was slipping and sliding. When I attempted walking in the street (a garbage truck was blocking ALL traffic from the street) she had a huge hissy fit.

And I just don't have the patience I used to for dealing with drama. I don't understand why SHE can't understand that if I run a couple of miles and then have to walk home for another mile over ice, that makes me uncomfortable. I am tired after running and it's also only 23 degrees, so picking my way home over the icy patches will be COLD as well as slippery. We just have to do our running separately, I guess.

And now I'm mad at her for wrecking my workout. When did I give her all that power? I think this temper thing (which is not normal for me) is one of the worst aspects of the change.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

This Is Not For The Squeamish

As if menopause has not been smacking me around enough, I'm having a D&C tomorrow. From eMedicineHealth:

The dilation and curettage procedure is called a D&C. The D stands for dilation, which means enlarging. Curettage (the C) means scraping. Together, this procedure involves expanding or enlarging the entrance of a woman's uterus so that a thin, sharp instrument can scrape or suction away the lining of the uterus and take tissue samples.

Scrape the inside of my uterus? Yuck and gross. Makes me feel like a clogged drain and you *know* what that looks like when you start pulling the gunk out.

Intellectually I know that this is a relatively simple procedure, and that it will help with excessive bleeding and cramps. But emotionally I feel sort of wrecked. I suspect it's a function of hormones running amok, but still... I'm all out of proportion nervous. The risks are not excessive, but I'm always leery of anaesthesia.

I'm also kind of pissed off at my body. I've taken pretty good care of my reproductive organs and don't understand why they are treating me so badly right now.

It doesn't help that I haven't slept for the whole night for weeks, and that I have a headache today and random hot flashes for no damn reason. I suspect I'm not alone in feeling betrayed (by my body), confused (hormone-induced fogginess), and scared (it is SURGERY after all) but why doesn't anyone ever tell you this stuff or talk about it?

UPDATE: The surgery was not really all that bad, actually. Thank goodness I feel that way since it was a giant FAIL due to an uncooperative cervix and I have to do it all again.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Happy New Year!

Just a quick post to say Happy New Year! I was so busy working at the end of the year, and figuring out what I want in 2009 that I had no time (or inclination) to post.

Lots of ups and downs with nasty menopause symptoms; they sure take an emotional toll. I'm working on taking it all in hand and developing a coping plan, but more on that later.

On the Fitness Front I'm still plugging away at fitness-building exercise. And it's still hard. But I have a plan there, too.

But for now, all the best for 2009 in health, fitness, and happiness.