Confused? I sure was…confused for a year since my first diagnosis of menopause!
A year ago, I needed to understand why I was so tired and my mood so, so, so low.
With my history of anxiety and depression, I started seeing a doctor who specializes in mental health and he started me on anti-depressants and regular sessions with him.
I had a mammogram, a PAP test, blood work to test everything including my hormone levels.
Mammogram – all clear – no issue
PAP test – all clear – no issue
Blood Work – all clear except my cholesterol was a bit high -and my hormones levels indicated (according to the GP doctor who read me my results) I was in menopause.
Okay….so I had a plan….I knew why I was so moody and tired all the time….
BUT my hot flashes didn’t really feel like full blown hot flashes. It felt like sweating as a result of a strong emotional reaction to something. It felt like mini-hot flashes.
I was having night sweats. But not on a regular basis.
As the months passed, my moods stabilized from the anti-depressants. The night sweats stopped. My mini-hot flashes still happened, but not so much….
Feeling refreshed after the two month summer break, it was time to start another school year! I started a daily exercising and meditation routine with Reiki self-treatments. I stopped drinking alcohol. I started eating better, began losing weight and was overall feeling better about myself! I had bloodwork in early September to check my health as a benchmark for my new healthy lifestyle! Results returned that I was healthy, but my cholesterol was a bit high.
September passed, October then November….I started feeling exhausted. My mood swings increased, my level of interest in anything dropped. Why was I so tired when I was taking better care of myself? Is this menopause? But where are the infamous hot flashes that are hallmark to it? My mini-hot flashes had stopped but my mood swings had increased, random dizzy spells started, and my fatigue levels were exceptional – all typical symptoms of menopause!! Every bit of literature online states that women experience menopause differently…..maybe I was a lucky one who didn’t get hot flashes?????? Something didn’t make sense…..
Was I exhausted from menopause?
Maybe I needed to adjust my anti-depressant medication? But why now, a year on the same dosage – would my medication suddenly effect me this way?
Or was I exhausted from work. I work in a school – upper elementary – grade 4! I’m surrounded by kids all day, both in the classroom and one-on-one with them. It was three months into the new school year, with new administration and a more demanding schedule. Most staff were notably tired and a bit grumpy….even the students started showing signs of fatigue….
As well…..I had a new symptom that added to my anxiety of wondering why I was SO tired……. an on-again-off again mysterious ache in my left armpit, near my breast.
I reread my year-old blog on my starting menopause …… that read exactly like everything I presented to the doctors this year – except the new ache in my armpit and my moods this year were not as low as I presented last year thanks to the antidepressants doing their job!!!
So back to the doctor I went! More bloodwork was taken – this time specific to hormone levels – to re-recheck them – with a referral to the Well Woman Clinic.
My appointment at the Well Woman clinic was to get womanly specific checked from head to toe, re – review my recent comprehensive blood work done this past September and the more recent hormone blood work, and have my armpit examined. I was told that my health is great, my cholesterol is a bit high, and I’m not in menopause! I didn’t need another mammogram or PAP as I had those done a year ago and both test results were clear. The doctor examined my breasts and underarms and couldn’t find a lump or anything to worry about. She explained that my hormones levels are JUST, JUST at the start of peri-menopause and at this time phantom symptoms of menopause will begin. Therefore, this phantom on again-off again pain in my armpit is possibly a phantom symptom.
Ok. But how could I trust her opinions of my test results when a year ago another female doctor told me I was in menopause? Yes, this doctor was a Well Woman doctor – more woman specific – and the other doctor who misdiagnosed me was a GP at my clinic.
But I was still wary.
So I made another doctor appointment with another female doctor at my local clinic. This wonderful GP doctor answered ALL my questions of confusion with more comprehension and compassion than the Well Woman female doctor!!! She showed me the blood results from a year ago and this September and December. All my levels are normal (including thyroid, sugar and hemoglobin) but my cholesterol is still a bit high. My hormone levels increased a small percentage from last year…as it would for a woman of my age, just enough for me to step one foot in the door of peri-menopause (just like the other doctor explained). After she gave me a thorough breast examination as well as checking my underarm area, the doctor explained that because my thyroid levels are normal and there isn’t a history of breast cancer in my family, the on-again-off-again mysterious ache in my armpit is nothing to worry about. I’m to keep an eye on it because it is located within the breast tissue area. If the pain shifts or changes or gets worse, I will return to see her and she will refer me to a specialist, but again with reassurance not to worry.
So, what is the moral of this story? To trust myself. I always, somehow knew I wasn’t in menopause….
Why am I so tired? Well, the funny thing is, is that since I’ve gone to the doctor, I’m not so tired! Christmas Break is approaching and I’m looking forward to this last week of work before the two week break! So, if I learn to trust myself more ….I’m coming to see how draining a busy life lived is!!! With anxiety and depression managed, no more alcohol and a healthier lifestyle…there will be times when I’m exhausted just because I’m exhausted from a busy life!
This mysterious ache under my arm that comes and goes? I believe this isn’t making me tired because I’m not as tired as I was. It still comes and goes, but I think it has to do with my body fighting something that is not serious enough to show in my blood work. I will keep track of when I have the pain on a calendar to look for patterns as a way of keeping an eye on it!
Well, that’s it for now!!!!