Fifty and Fabulous

The thoughts, loves, rants, interests & inspirations for Gen X


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Blogging Hiatus

Hello my lovely followers,

I’ve been putting off making the decision to take a break from blogging but I can’t put it off any longer.

Hubby lost his job again last month for the second time in twelve months and although I’m now on HRT, as you know, my symptoms are playing havoc. I’m trying to stay me but I can’t cope and rather than helping see me through this tricky period, blogging and going to Slimming World group have become demands that stresses me out.

I need to take a break.

My SW consultant, Carol, has been brilliant and has agreed to set my PAT to whatever I weigh on Wednesday. This means that as a target member I no longer pay the weekly fee and am not obligated to attend group.

I REALLY appreciate your support and I hope to be back in a few months. X


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Menopause Monday – Baby Steps to Improve my Wellbeing

Hello Everyone,

Welcome to another Menopause Monday post, can you believe this is the final one in April!

If you are one of my nice new followers Hello! I would like to take a moment to explain to you what Menopause Mondays are all about. I feel that Mondays are typically quite a depressing day for a lot of people – we’re back to work after the weekend and the next weekend seems so far away – so one Monday evening back in January, I shared a post about being perimenopausal; my experiences, my symptoms and what I had found online about the causes and remedies. I found it quite therapeutic getting it all out there and decided to do it on a regular basis. Hey presto! Menopause Monday was born. If you are interested in reading any of my previous post, just search the tag #Menopause Monday or click here.

I have been on HRT for almost a month now and although my menopausal symptoms have seen various degrees of improvement, I’m still feeling overwhelmed, stressed and anxious all too frequently for my liking.

Last week, I re-blogged a very helpful post by the lovely Shaz about how to deal with stress and anxiety. I loved the advice that she included in her post so much that I started her Mindfulness Challenge the very next day! Shaz created a daily task check-list in the form of a calendar that can be downloaded from her blog; I downloaded it, printed off a copy and stuck it on our fridge.

What I like, is that none of the tasks are daunting – apart maybe no.8 Turn your phone off for 2 hours which I have to do tomorrow and no.26 No gadgets for at least 2 hours (and I don’t think switching it off when I’m asleep counts)- eek!!

I’m hoping that Shaz’s daily tasks will help eliminate my anxiety, stress and feelings of being overwhelmed; I will let you know if I notice a change.

Have you tried any mindfulness techniques? Have they worked for you? At school we use mindfulness colouring sheets to give the children periods of calm. I used to love colouring when I was young; perhaps I should allow myself time to do a bit of colouring down the week…

x


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Menopause Monday – The Demons of Stress and Anxiety

Hello Everyone,

Welcome to another Menopause Monday post.

If you are one of my nice new followers Hello! I would like to take a moment to explain to you what Menopause Mondays are all about. I feel that Mondays are typically quite a depressing day for a lot of people – we’re back to work after the weekend and the next weekend seems so far away – so one Monday evening back in January, I shared a post about being perimenopausal; my experiences, my symptoms and what I had found online about the causes and remedies (you can read it here). I found it quite therapeutic getting it all out there and decided to do it on a regular basis. Hey presto! Menopause Monday was born. If you are interested in reading any of my previous post, just search the tag #Menopause Monday or click here.

I have been on HRT for almost three weeks now but it hasn’t stopped my feelings of  being overwhelmed, stressed and anxious. Do you believe in fate? Well I was having a particularly bad day today – Easter goodies surrounded me while I’m trying (and failing) to stick to the Slimming World plan – but while I was checking my email and visiting some blogs I follow, I saw a wonderfully helpful post by Shaz talking about stress and anxiety. How did she know I needed this, now? I wanted to share it with you, so I’ve copied & pasted the whole thing, including her links which will open in a new tab.

I love the advice that Shaz includes and although I haven’t read all of her related posts that she mentions (yet), I’m already feeling more positive that I’ll be able to find a range of strategies to help with these blasted menopausal symptoms. I’ll let you know next week.

x

Source: How to deal with stress and anxiety – Jera’s Jamboree

 

How to deal with stress and anxiety

Stress is an important part of life.  We do need it! However, it becomes a problem if we’re continually on high alert and we perceive a threat where there isn’t one.  There are different ways to deal with stress and anxiety and, in my experience, we all have favourite activities that help us to unwind and step away, giving us time to look at a problem logically (rather than our primal instinct to survive).

My long-time favourite de-stressor is reading in bed.  I can’t just slip into bed and fall asleep straight away.  Thoughts whirl round in my head and make me restless.  I’ve tried making notes before going to bed but that just seems to focus me on the problems I want to solve!  We all know that a good night’s sleep goes a long way towards functioning appropriately the next day and reading is my panacea.  The good thing is that I step into another world.  Not so good is when I tell myself ‘one more chapter’ and before you know it you’ve lost a couple of hours of sleep 🙂

Crochet is another activity that helps me wind down.  The rhythm and movement are meditative and often a solution will just pop into my mind (even when I think I’m not focused on an issue).  Walking does that too!

Resilience is something we talk about a lot in my team at school.  We share different strategies with children helping them to build a tool kit in the hope that when life throws them challenges in the future, instead of reacting with fight or flight they can be in control of how they view the challenges and react in a different way.  Resilience is not innate, we’re not born with it but we can improve it.

April is National Stress Awareness Month so I thought I would take the opportunity of gathering together the articles I’ve already written on the blog.

A mixture of tips and resources on how to deal with stress and anxiety (mostly for adults but a couple for children too) I hope you’ll find something useful to help you.

How to deal with stress and anxiety

Articles on Jera’s Jamboree

Gratitude Challenge : Journal a positive mind

30 day Mindfulness Challenge


How to identify emotions and make a change

How to find your silver lining

How to turn a negative into a positive

How to find peace in a frantic world

How to take control of your life


Natural Mood Booster

5 tips to relieve stress and anxiety

Mindfulness Resources


Children and Emotional Health

How to help a child with anxiety


I recommend you check out the National Stress Awareness website.  It’s a fabulous resource for:

  • Explaining stress
  • Resources and guides
  • 10 step stress solution
  • Stress at work

What do you do to de-stress?

Do you have any tips to share?


Giveaway

Last summer I gave a shout out to my blogging buddy Kate’s new venture, Book Spot Box, a subscription box which has gone from strength to strength.

With reading being one of my favourite ways to de-stress, I’m giving away to one of my UK readers the April Book Spot Box.

Rivals theme from Book Spot Box giveaway in the article how to deal with stress and anxiety

The ‘Rivals’ box features some of Kate’s favourite fictional rivalries and is perfect for fans of ACOTAR, Shakespeare and The Wicked King. Each box contains 6 items (5 of which are exclusive to the April box), a paperback book, signed bookplate and a bonus item from the publisher.

The featured paperback was published in 2018 and is the first in a series. Set in a dangerous broken world, it represents the ‘Rivals’ theme beautifully with its split narrative and tension of all kinds. Kate literally could not put this book down! (Please note, this book is not suitable for younger readers)

Easy entry on the Rafflecopter below.  Please read the Terms and Conditions before entering.

Good Luck!

 


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Menopause Monday – A New Beginning

Hello Everyone,

Welcome to another Menopause Monday post.

If you are one of my nice new followers Hello! I would like to take a moment to explain to you what Menopause Mondays are all about. I feel that Mondays are typically quite a depressing day for a lot of people – we’re back to work after the weekend and the next weekend seems so far away – so one Monday evening back in January, I shared a post about being perimenopausal; my experiences, my symptoms and what I had found online about the causes and remedies (you can read it here). I found it quite therapeutic getting it all out there and decided to do it on a regular basis. Hey presto! Menopause Monday was born.

You may remember last week I told you about my adventures to get the HRT prescription that my GP had written – read about it here. My GP prescribed a daily tablet of 1mg of Femoston to help with my menopausal symptoms.

Before I started taking it, I read through the leaflet inside the box to check whether I needed to take it before or after food and whether I needed to take it at a specific time of day. You all do that, right?! Read the small print.

Anyway, I was shocked when I came to section 4 – Possible side effects.

Most of the stuff listed was what I was hoping these tablets were going to get rid of; headaches, migraines, vaginal thrush, nervousness, feeling sick, feeling unwell, weak and tired, unscheduled bleeding or spotting!! OMG! These potential side effects are confirmed on the NHS website too if you want to check them out. Could it get any worse?!

My heart sank when I read that increase in weight was also a possible common side effect (in less than 1 in 10 but more than 1 in 100 patients treated). Although in the next paragraph it warned that less than 1 in 100 but more than 1 in 1,000 patients treated experienced a decrease in weight. I’m hoping I’m one of them! Lol!

So since taking Femoston have I noticed a change in my menopausal symptoms?

Migraines have reduced but i still get headaches almost daily, some of which are painful ice-pick ones.

Hot flushes do seem to have reduced during the day and they definitely don’t go on for as long as they did but I’m still getting them regularily at night.

Mood swings have improved. I still cry at the drop of a hat but I don’t seem to get as angry.

I am still feeling completely overwhelmed and unable to cope with demands. I have a new sympathy with kids/adults with PDA (Pathological Demand Avoidance).

Menstrual symptoms haven’t improved yet, all day Friday I suffered with stomach crampIt’s and headache.

I’m going to end on a positive and say that I’m generally sleeping better. Last Wednesday night I had a glorious 6hrs of sleep for the first time in I don’t know how long. I know I’m on Easter holidays but I plan to celebrate every little success!

It’s still early days but I will continue to post my thoughts and symptoms while on this menopausal rollercoaster.


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Menopause Monday – Why Does Everything Have To Be An Epic Quest?

Hello Everyone,

Welcome to another Menopause Monday post.

You may remember a while back, I bit the bullet and made an appointment to see my GP about all the symptoms I was having; he booked me in for some blood tests and scheduled an ECG for me. Read about it here.

Last week he confirmed that I was going through the menopause. Well, I think we all knew that, right?! Lol! He prescribed HRT in the form of a daily 1mg tablet of Elleste Duet and even sent my prescription direct to the pharmacy of my choice. Now that’s service!

I elected to pick up my magic pills from the Boots in town as I was going in the next day anyway; perfect.

I paid for an hour parking and Child2 and I went around town working our way through our “to do” list. I had left picking up my Elleste from Boots till last and stood patiently in the queue waiting to be served. Imagine my disappointment when the lovely pharmacist told me that unfortunately, it was out of stock – problems at the manufacturers – and wouldn’t be available until 3rd May!

Boots kindly released my prescription back to me so that I could try another chemist. I did. They were all out. 😦

So I decided to go back to my medical practice, explain the situation to my GP and get a prescription for another brand – the pharmacist in Boots recommended Kliofem or Kliovance as a suitable alternative – as I said, she was lovely.

My GP was busy but I left a message at reception explaining what had happened. I wasn’t planning on going into town for another week, so I also asked that my replacement prescription be sent to a different pharmacy closer to my home – Tanday Pharmacy+. The receptionist said that was OK, tapped away on her computer and told me that my doctor was usually very efficient and to phone back either later that day before they closed or tomorrow to make sure it had been done. Again, another very helpful lady to assist me on, what was turning into, my epic quest to get menopause relief.

I dutifully phoned first thing the next morning and was told, sorry the doctor hasn’t written my new prescription yet. I must confess to have been rather disappointed but I am known for my patience, well, that was until the Menopause hit and now you just have to take your chances on my Russian Roulette of mood swings! Lol!

It seemed I was having a “I can be patient” moment. I left it until after lunch and called again – *phew* yes, my new prescription had been written and sent as requested. I was halfway there to getting my hands on my magic pills. I decided to give the pharmacy a few hours and phoned them while I was waiting to collect Child1 and Child2 from school.

When I phoned Tanday Pharmacy+ they confirmed that that had received my prescription and that it was ready to be collected! I almost jumped for joy, however,  I was sat in the car outside of school, so I thought better of it. 😉

Tanday Pharmacy+ is on my way home, so I parked outside and went in. I waited for less than 3 minutes before I was paying the £18.00 prescription charge for the 3 months supply of my new magic pills.

So, lovely peeps, I have my magic HRT pills and have been taking them each night before I go to sleep since I picked them up. Are they helping with my menopausal symptoms? Read my next Menopause Monday post to find out. 😉

 

 

 


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Menopause Monday – Time To See The Doctor

Hello Lovely Followers,

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that my hours at work were changing and that I would be having Mondays and Tuesdays off school. As you can imagine, although the financial implications of this are somewhat straining on the family purse-strings, it does now give me more options to see friends, visit my Mum more regularly and it’s definitely easier to make appointments without the time constraints of “school holidays only“. Not a week has gone by when I haven’t had somewhere to be or someone to see since starting my new hours!

My Mum told me recently, that she started going through The Change in her 40’s, it was tough and her migraines were off the scale during that decade but by the time she was 52 it was all done. Thinking about it now, I do remember that she seemed to always be in bed with a migraine at the weekends during my middle teenage years. Well, following advice from Mum, other family members and friends, I used my medical practice’s online system a couple of weeks ago to pre-book an appointment with my GP.  Today, I want to tell you how I got on; I think Mum and my friends were right and I’m glad I bit the bullet and saw him – I feel as though a weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

So before I went to my appointment, I had to write down all the symptoms that were bothering me otherwise I knew I’d forget to tell him one (or more of them). I felt really stupid and pathetic but apparently he told me that it’s actually really helpful when patients come in with lists like that. That made me feel better straight away. So what did I have on my list of laments?

Headaches – I can’t remember a day when I haven’t had one. Especially over the last few months. I’ve taken Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, Co-codamol (codeine/paracetamol), Migraine Relief from my local supermarket (ibuprofen/lysine). They dull the pain for a couple of hours but the pressure is back when it wears off.

Sight – white lights/flashing spots/fractured/tunnel vision. Sometimes leads to numb face. None of the above painkillers stop it or reduce the symptoms.

Heart flutters – don’t happen every day but they’re happening more frequently than they used to. Had a funny five walking back from doctors to my car.

Bleeding – even with IUD I’m spotting or light bleeding most months. In Feb it was a full period! I haven’t had one of those since before the kids were born.

Trouble getting a good night sleep – 5hrs max. Wake up frequently. Even when I took “drowsy” cough medicine I woke up feeling tired.

Temperature – keep getting high spikes. Had one when I was with the Dr so he witnessed that.

Memory – forgetful and easily distracted.

Emotional – I cry at the drop of a hat. My personality isn’t ‘happy, glass half full‘ these days.

Do any of you suffer with these too? All these health “niggles” started while I was still at my previous job, so I’ve been putting up with them for a good few years now but they’ve definitely getting more frequent over the last year. The trouble is, I always feel like such a fraud going to the doctors and moaning about anything. In the grand scheme of things I could name half a dozen friends plus my mother-in-law who are living with worse health complaints than I’m moaning about. I told him how I felt and he reassured me that pain was relative, that I shouldn’t compare myself to others and it’s his job to help me with my health issues.

During my appointment, my GP took my blood pressure – it’s low but within range – and listened to my heart while taking my pulse. Again very low resting heart rate at 52bpm; apparently I’ve got an athlete’s heart rate! Miracles can happen right, just need the athlete’s body to go with it?!

My GP sent me for blood tests on Friday; they needed to drain four vials of the red stuff to include thyroid screening and menopause screening. At the end of the month, I’m also booked in at my surgery for an ECG to check out my heart; I don’t know what to expect as I haven’t had one of those before. Feel free to leave a comment if you’ve had an ECG, I’d welcome any information or experiences that you don’t mind sharing. I didn’t come away from my appointment with any prescriptions for pain relief for my headaches, but he wanted me to complete a headache diary; which I’m doing.

My GP also talked about HRT and gave me some informational print outs to read. I don’t know how I feel about that; I wanted to keep to nature remedies but the couple of things I’ve tried – black cohosh and evening primrose oil –  didn’t magically erase any of my symptoms, in fact, I swear that while I was taking the black cohosh to reduce my hot flashes and night sweats, my high libido took a hit instead. Not the desired effects at all!!

I’ll keep you all posted in a couple of weeks after I’ve had all my results back and have discussed my options with my doctor. In the meantime, I’d love to hear about your experiences; I’ve recently joined a Facebook group for women going through the menopause and it certainly helps to talk to others in the same boat or to just vent.

Hope you have a good week.


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Menopause Monday – It’s Not Just HRT

Hello Lovely Followers,

WOW! The internet really has hundreds of hits about the menopause – causes, symptoms, magic remedies and theories.

Are any of you, my dear followers, at this well documented stage of your life too? I know some of you are years away from the menopause, hopefully by the time you get there, we will have invented a cure! Lol! But if you are soldiering on through the sweats, changes to your monthly cycle, insomnia, fatigue, anxiety, mood swings, irritability, depression, loss of confidence, feelings of being invisible and/or changes in your libido or sex drive then my Menopause Monday posts may be just what you need.

I found the article below on the Natural Health News website, I’m a great believer in natural remedies rather than man made chemicals so I was very interested in the suggested herbs to help with the hot flashes!!

faery-red-lily-bye-for-now1111

I’ve added links to some of the suggested remedies throughout the article to help make things easier if you want to buy them (opens in a new window). I would be interested to know if you’ve tried any of the alternatives to HRT and whether they worked for you.

 

 

Doctors need to brush up on alternative approaches to menopause

Herbal and complementary medicines can safely be recommended as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for treating post-menopausal symptoms says a new review.

The review published in The Obstetrician and Gynaecologist outlines the advantages and limitations of both pharmacological and herbal and complementary treatments for women with post-menopausal symptoms.

The menopause – which ‘officially’ begins when a woman has not had a menstrual period for 12 months – is associated with a significant drop in estrogen (or oestrogen) production and can cause an increase in vasomotor symptoms (hot flushes), genitourinary symptoms (vaginal dryness, sexual dysfunction, frequent urinary tract infections, urinary incontinence), and musculoskeletal symptoms (joint pain) as well as sleep and mood disturbance.

One of the most common menopausal symptoms is hot flushes; approximately two-thirds of post-menopausal women will experience them, and 20% of women can experience them for up to 15 years, states the review.

Herbs-for-hot-flashesHelp for hot flushes

Low estrogen levels can also be linked to longer-term health issues such as cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis (though this is not by any means the only cause). While conventional drugs are available to treat post-menopausal symptoms, many non-pharmacological treatment options are also available.

Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) can effectively treat hot flushes, improving symptoms in 80-90% of women, says the review. However, the author notes, that there are serious health risks associated with HRT, such as links to breast cancer, blood clots, stroke, and cardiovascular problems.

The seriousness of these risks means that many women seek safer alternatives, many of which can be equally effective, such as behaviour modification and herbal and complimentary medicines, says the author.

According to the author, between 50-75% of post-menopausal women use herbal options to treat hot flushes, and of the complimentary therapies, soya, red clover and black cohosh have been the most investigated.

Soya contains plant estrogens and previous research has shown supplements can reduce hot flush symptoms by around 20-55%. Red clover, a legume also containing phytoestrogens, and black cohosh, a plant originating from the eastern United States and Canada, have also been reported to ease post-menopausal symptoms.

No nasty side effects

The review recommends these herbal treatments as there are no significant adverse side effects associated with them, as long as they are used in women who do not have a personal history of breast cancer, are not at high risk for breast cancer, and are not taking tamoxifen.

Iris Tong, Director of Women’s Primary Care at the Women’s Medicine Collaborative, The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Rhode Island, and author of the review said:

“Up to 75% of women use herbal and complimentary medicines to treat their post-menopausal symptoms. Therefore, it is vitally important for healthcare providers to be aware of and informed about the non-pharmacological therapies available for women who are experiencing post-menopausal symptoms and who are looking for an alternative to HRT.”

The Obstetrician and Gynaecologist‘s Editor -in-Chief, Jason Waugh added:

Post-menopausal symptoms can be very distressing and it is important to review the advantages and limitations of the non-pharmacological treatments available as well as the pharmacological ones. Even simple behaviour modification can make a difference to post-menopausal symptoms, including keeping the room temperature cool, wearing layered clothing, relaxation techniques and smoking cessation.”

15 January, 2013

Source: Doctors need to brush up on alternative approaches to menopause