I think I’ve just had an ocular migraine for the first time in my life. Here’s what happened:
A small smear appeared in my vision, like a tiny thumb-print on a pane of glass, which then started slowly expanding. Wherever I looked, it was there to the left side of my vision, but I had the impression it originated in the centre (and moved away every time I tried to look at it). Then it developed flashing rainbow edges, very bright and jagged, which expanded outwards more and more, until, after about 10 or 15 minutes it disappeared. I got the impression it expanded so far that it went outside my field of vision.
It was terrifying. I thought I might be about to have a stroke! But later, when I texted my friend and happened to mention it, she was able to tell me what it was straight away. It’s migraine with aura. And this is the aura. Migraines I’ve had for years and years, but this vision disturbance is brand new to me.
My friend also told me I shouldn’t be on oestrogen HRT if I have aura because there is an increased risk of stroke. All I can say is thank God I’m already almost weaned off the HRT. I’m just doing half a pump of Estradiol gel now (and taking progesterone tablets to protect my womb). I can’t wait to be off all this artificial hormone stuff and go back to my natural state. Hot flushes are far preferable to strokes.
Another major issue I have to contend with at the age of fifty is the menopause. My poor body is so confused. The other day I went outside to admire the natural wildlife meadow that is my back garden, when I sneezed and slightly wet myself. Sometimes I put on a jumper because I’m feeling cold then immediately break out into an intense sweat all over my body – I’m cold enough to need a jumper, then literally one second later so hot I can barely stand to be just in my bare skin!
The menopause is a constant irritation, a battleground of extreme temperatures, a never-ending reminder of my stage of life and bodily misfortune. I never feel comfortable. I’m twitchy all the time with a niggling, perpetual aggravation, whatever I’m doing, wherever I am. If I’m not sweating and wetting myself, my back is aching, my knees and hips are giving way, or I have a hideous, painful migraine. And I’m rapidly putting on weight in the middle of my body.
Recently, I got so fed up with all this, that I made a doctor’s appointment to try hormone replacement therapy, hoping that perhaps it’ll stabilise the migraines and sweating. I’d try most things if there was a chance of living without this continual discomfort.
I thought I’d use natural remedies as well, alongside the medical solution, so I did some research into the most helpful supplements to take. Apparently all of these can all help:
Oil of Evening Primrose (for omega 6)
Fish oil (for Omega 3 to balance out the omega 6s)
What does it feel like to have a hot flush when you’re in the menopause? Well, I write about this in 50:
Everything is normal, then suddenly it begins with a mini explosion of heat originating around the ears and neck, before swiftly radiating out over the shoulders. The heat then expands in all directions over the head and down into the body in pulsating waves of such extreme heat that it demands immediate adjustment of clothing. Perspiration breaks out everywhere, including in places I’ve never sweated before: on my chin, shins, stomach, back, and inner arms. The back of my neck becomes moist, and hair clings to the skin as if I’ve just done a work-out at the gym. Rivulets of sweat run down my chest between my breasts. Sweat breaks out on my face and forehead, which shines and glints in the light, even if it’s an overcast, gloomy day. The temperature remains at an unbearably hot intensity for about three minutes, pulsating in slow waves from extreme, to impossibly extreme, before it suddenly, rapidly dissipates and I start to feel a magnificent relief. Sadly, this is instantly followed by being unpleasantly cold as my body instantly cools, the sweat useless on my body, my clothes hanging in chilly wet patches. This happens about twenty-five times per day and every time I wake at night, which can be up to five or six times. Bed sheets, pillow cases, and pyjamas have to be changed every few days. I need to wash frequently, especially under the arms. The need for antibacterial soap is paramount. Everything about this is tedious and irritating. It’s not painful, but it’s deeply unsettling and exasperating.
The menopause induces a raging internal climate change. But why? What is the point of this suffering? I don’t think anyone knows. Mother nature has not revealed her reasons.