My feet felt like I was walking on needles. My knees were protesting with all their might. I had just taken my last gel. The drums of the band tried to elevate my mood. And then I saw the gate of Chinatown. This meant I was at the 35k point of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. The pain in my feet didn’t seem that important anymore. With only 7k to go I knew: I will finish 4 marathons this year. I could smell that finish line in Grant park, Chicago.
Has it ever happened to you? Walking to the fridge, but as soon as you open the door you’ve forgotten what you needed. Opening Google, but your eye catches a quick Facebook update and you completely forget the question you wanted answers to. You know a 100% sure you put your glasses on the table, but now you need it, you can’t find it anywhere. You desperately get your spare glasses, the ones that don’t fit well, because you sat on them. When you put them on, you notice your regular ones are on your head. Sounds familiar? Lucky me! This means I’m not the only one questioning my wits.
The source for hot flashes, depression and night sweats can be found in our brain.
It’s not going well. I have trouble concentrating. I’ve lost every wish to take on new stuff. I can’t hold my thought even for a second. My whole body is prickly. If ants are partying under my skin. I’m forgetful. Other small aches are troubling me, not alarming enough to go to a doctor. But it makes it hard to function normally. “Don’t forget your moodyness”, my husband calls helpfully from the couch.
“Tell me, what can I do for you?”. My GP looks at me expectantly. Again. Since I passed 50, I’ve seen her more times than in the 20 years before. If not for periods that never end, it is for infections that keep flaring up, breasts that are killing me with pain or cramping that can’t be averted with a overdose of Feminax. This time my reason to visit is that my period isn’t coming at all. For once I am glad: could it be that I’m finally released of this monthly returning flood. I wouldn’t mind that all!
No reason to be shy about it: Anything is possible when it comes to menopause.
It’s just, my body doesn’t seem to get it and won’t agree with my ovaries. Continue reading
500 Meters to go. 400 Meters to go. I’m 2,5 hours on my feet and I feel fantastic. A lot of people are cheering us on: “Allez! Courage! You made it! ” I have to say, Disneyland Paris truly is a magical place to run a half marathon. The enthusiasm of the cast members along the whole route is overwhelming. It’s 7am for crying out loud!
“Allez! Courage! You made it! “
They had to get up really early to be costumed and be en route. On certain points you can stop to get a picture with Disney characters. To see the sun rise to put the Disney castle in the spotlight has to be the most monumental view I had this year. I’m passing Mickey and Minnie at 200 meter from the finish. They are appropriately dressed in a training outfit. I couldn’t have imagined a better training run. Triumphantly I throw my arms up. I did it. Again. A half marathon. And this time, I feel fresh. Do you know what that means? I now, finally, have the confidence I can run that marathon in November. I have the confidence my body can take it. Continue reading
The road to NYC is rough. As positive as I was at the beginning of my marathon training, I hadn’t counted on my body not delivering. And it all started out so great. My schedule proved to be the right one for me. Increasing mileage went smoothly. I had fun in running. I felt great. Strong. And then I got cocky. And I broke the number one rule: always listen to your body. Well, I did listen, of course I noticed the signs, I just didn’t act on it. Rest? I don’t need that! I’m stronger than that. Yeah, you can call me stupid. It all started with a minor infection. One that asked for an antibiotic. It helped. Of course it helped. That’s what antibiotics are for. But it asked a lot of my body. I felt better after a week. The fever broke. The pain was gone. I felt good. So, what’s the harm in running 27 kilometers. No matter that I didn’t run in a week. That my body had to work extra hard to beat the infection. Be strong. You can do this! Well, I soon found out my body didn’t agree with that assessment. Continue reading
It’s a mess, isn’t it, the menopause. It feels like there will be no end to it. After my battle with the Mirena I gave my body 1,5 year to clean itself of added hormones. Mentally I felt great during that time. But physically? Every period again I had enormous abdominal pains. They only lasted two days, so it was manageable, but the pain! Continue reading
“Let’s just say, this is the last thing I expected. ” My doctor watches me with an understanding look on her face: “Indeed, you tend to think about hot flashes, mood swings or a short fuse. And the skipping of periods. But not this. Still, it is all part of that final stretch into menopause.” “Well,” I try to joke, “that short fuse is getting shorter by the day, let me tell you.” She probably understands my need to keep the conversation light, to prevent the tears from falling, but that doesn’t stop her from warning me: “Don’t forget: if the situation doesn’t change in two weeks time, we have to take other steps! Keep me updated and I expect to see you in two weeks.” Continue reading
In the Netherlands we have a very good Cervical Cancer screening program. Once every five years, women between 30 and 60 years are invited for a ‘smear test’. The aim of the screening is the early detection of cervical cancer and the conditions that lead to cervical cancer. I always felt a higher frequency was preferable. I mean, a lot can happen in our body in five years. The pill, pregnancies, IUD’s, hormonal changes. It all influences the female body. And not all in a positive sense. That’s why it is so important for us, women, to participate in these screenings. Because with cervical cancer it is as with all cancers: the sooner detected, the better chance on survival. Continue reading
Of all the articles I’ve written this past year, there is one that still attracts the most readers: the article about the Mirena. It is not exactly the article I had in mind when I started this blog. Meisjes van vijftig had to be a light read. Bring a bit of distraction in the busy life of a menopausing woman. Some with raging hormones share the house with teenagers. Talking about a generation clash! So, this blog was meant to be light hearted. And then I posted that Mirena blog. A bit on the heavy side. But no less honest. And very indicative of the fases I go through during the menopause. Continue reading
Dr Jerilynn C. Prior, MD and founder of The Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research (CeMCOR), has identified 5 phases of perimenopause. Very instructive if you want to know where you’re at with the menopausal hickups. I mean, my doctor just asked me one question: are you still regular. On my yes, he stated: “Then you’re not in menopause just yet!”. Okay. Thank you for that quick assessment, doctor, but haven’t you seen the list of complaints that accompany the perimenopause. Isn’t it just plausible I’m in peri? If you’re curious about the phases or like to know which one you’re at, please read on. Dr. Prior work did clarify more than my own doctor could. Continue reading
It is time! I ended the Spring Fitness Challenge. Remember? Six weeks ago I declared war to the kilos I gained after I quit smoking. On May 5th I had a check in with the local gym and we -my coach and me – set a goal: shake of some fat and get stronger to run better. If I’d loose some weight in the process that would be a huge bonus. Because the 14 extra kilos that steadfastly clung to my body, really started to bug me. Big time! My coach and I worked out a schedule in which I ran two times a week and did some strength training two times a week. The same time I started to participate in the highly motivating A year of Running challenge that Mark Zuckerberg started. #werun365 ends in December 2016. And now the six weeks of the spring challenge are up. Results? Continue reading
A growing number of people accepted the challenge of Mark Zuckerberg. It didn’t took me long to accept. What I’m talking about? The running challenge Mark Zuckerberg started through Facebook: A Year of Running. Mark challenges everyone this year to run 365 miles with the hashtag #werun365. That equals 587 kilometer. It’s a sportive thought with a positive result. Not only for me. A lot of people are infected with the running fever. There are people just lurking in the group. And reading. And then, suddenly they are motivated enough to go out there and run. Not 10 kilometer at once of course. Continue reading
I am so proud of myself! Finally, after years of battling the nicotine monster I quit smoking. I am 250 days smoke free today and I feel good! But, but….. Last month I noticed my pants were a bit tight. I had those ugly little rolls around my bra. And my knees. Don’t talk about my knees. They were protesting very loudly every time I had to climb the stairs. Of course I could blame the menopause. Everyone knows that you gain weight during menopause. Right? The hormones are raging, the ovaries want to retire badly. That could be a well enough reason I gained some weight the last six month. It could. It could also be my metabolism slowed significantly after I quit smoking. It really could be the reason. But who am I kidding? If I am honest I know that quitting smoking is no reason to gain weight. Continue reading
I honestly believe I finally did it. After years trying to beat the habit, I finally am convinced that I made it. How I know? I passed a small group of smokers on my bike earlier today and I was disgusted with the smell. Me! I actually was relieved to know I don’t smoke anymore. As of today I quit 240 days ago and now I can’t even imagine myself being a smoker. And I was a chain smoker. I started smoking at 18. First twenty a day, then forty. During the days one was still allowed to smoke at work, I used to smoke 60 a day. Continue reading