Chemotherapy for breast cancer back in 2012 knocked the periods right out of me. I was 49. One minute I was menstruating, and the next minute I wasn’t. I’ve been told this happens to a lot of women who undergo chemo.
So, I missed out on night sweats, saturating the sheets and having to get up in the middle of the night and change my nightgown. I never experienced swimming in my own sweat!
And I never got to have hot flashes and be obnoxious and tell people, “I’m having a hot one.”
Women going through menopause often have to urinate frequently. What the hell? I wanted to be a part of that club, to be one of the millions of menopausal women running to the toilet.
Osteoporosis—why wasn’t I blessed with that? That’s part of the menopausal package, and my chemo took it away from me. Mood swings, sudden bursts of hostility, anxiety—I didn’t even get to experience these.
Menopause is a rite of passage from youth to seniority. I missed it. I feel gipped.
But cancer and its treatments do that to you—deprive you of your energy, time, happiness and natural body processes.
You could say that with cancer, “deprivation” is the name of the game.
You might claim I should be grateful or appreciative that I didn’t have to endure menopause. You might say, “Menopause is hell. You’re lucky!” But I want my body rituals to occur as usual. I want my “money” back!
You might also say, “Be glad your periods are over.”
But they didn’t bother me. I had a gentle, non-crampy, 37-year run, starting at 12 and finishing, unfortunately, at 49. I wanted to be fertile at 60, but this didn’t happen.
One of my dearest friends is still menstruating at 57. She’s youthful-looking and dewy—just like a teenager.
It’s hard when someone so close to you is going to have a normal menopausal experience while you had an abnormal one. I’m jealous, to say the least.
And this friend was blessed with good health, while I was cursed with bad. Despite it all, we remain friends, as close as sisters.