Hormonal Roller Coaster

Tiger & Turtle  Magic Mountain - Duisburg - Deutschland

This blog post discusses women’s health issues and other things that would make my husband squirm, gag and possibly vomit. You’ve been warned.

I met with a new family doctor who specializes in women’s health and more specifically, hormonal balance.

Amen.

Up in the great, white north (a.k.a. Canada) our health care is provided by the province and is funded, for the most part, by our taxes.  We do not usually pay to go to a family doctor or the hospital.  Nor do we usually pay for X-rays, vaccinations and the like.

Having said that, we can access certain medical tests and practitioners quicker and easier if we choose to go private and pay for these services.  This new doctor that I met is just that.  She is a family doctor but, she has chosen to open a private clinic that is not funded by the provincial government as it is outside the realm of their financial responsibility.  Apparently, hormonal balance just isn’t a provincial priority.

I opted to try the private route because I cannot continue to live in this perpetual state of chaos.  A constant state of panic, anxiety and the general sense that I am losing my fucking mind.

I scheduled an appointment a while back and it was for this week.  Leading up to my appointment, I had twelve vials of blood sucked out of me which were mostly covered under our provincial health plan. Phew!

In a nutshell, I am estrogen dominant.

This is exactly what I told my other family doctor back in November when I first started having symptoms of perimenopause.  I told her I thought this was all hormonal and she said, “It can’t be, you’re too young”.

I have gone through three and a half months of hell because my family doctor didn’t believe this could all be hormones and I didn’t believe myself.  I should have believed in myself but I didn’t.  Sigh.

This new doctor went through my family history (which is a complete gene swamp), my symptoms (good lord, it was a long conversation) and then she went over my blood test results.

Estrogen dominance.

Part of me wanted to stand up and scream “Eureka!”.

I should have.

But I didn’t.

A lost opportunity.  Oh well.

It turns out, during one’s luteal phase (the last two weeks of your cycle), estradiol should be below 790 pmol/L.

Mine was over 1,000 pmol/L.

Boom!  There it is!

Estrogen dominance.

On top of that, I have low progesterone;  I don’t have enough progesterone to balance out (lower) the estradiol.

Eureka!

I’m not losing my fucking mind after all!

Well I am, but at least we know the cause!

In addition, I have very little vitamin D (which affects mood) and also need to supplement with B Complex and magnesium (which will apparently help my anxiety).

Say it with me…

Eureka!

To balance out the estrogen, I am starting bio-identical progesterone cream.  I am starting on the lowest dose and it is a cream I will rub into my forearms the last two weeks of my cycle.

There could be side effects such as bloating and increased anxiety (God help me!), but we are talking about my quality of life and right now, it sucks so I am willing to try the progesterone cream to see what happens.

Oh, and I have a urinary tract infection. Everything else just wasn’t enough. Peeing blood is the icing on the cake.  Why not freak out the anxious, panicky girl by making her pee blood!  Someone up there is having a good laugh!  Seriously.  Please pass the antibiotics and someone fetch me a martini. Fun times.

So there you have it.

I am indeed losing my mind, but thankfully we have identified the cause.  My hormones are riding a roller coaster through hell.

When will this chaotic, nauseating, heart palpitating, panic filled ride end?

They say perimenopause can last years.

YEARS!

I said it before and I’ll say it again.

In my next life I’m coming back as a sexy man.

 

© The Flip of the Switch, February 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

Gimme Some Love

IMG_6142

Love is in the air…and on the door!

It’s the season of love so we are gearing up for Valentine’s Day!

This idea has been floating around social media for a few weeks.  I’m not sure of the original source as so many people have shared it and reposted it.  My sincere thanks to whomever the brilliant, innovative person is who thought this up.

Here’s how it works. Starting February 1st, every night while they are sleeping, you tack a heart to your child’s bedroom door professing what you love about them.  Super simple to do and the impact is huge!  Here are some example of what I have written:

You are a really good friend.

You always look after everyone and make sure they’re okay.

We are so proud of you.  Proud of who you are.  Proud of what you do.

You are so artistic!  Your art is amazing!

You are beautiful, inside and out!

My children wake up so excited to see what has been added to their doors.  A little tidbit of love to start their day off on the right foot and fill them with all of my love.  The bonus is that it delays the sibling fighting for all of five minutes! Hahaha!  But seriously, it is a little thing that warms them and reminds them how much we love them.

You could do this for your significant other too!  You could tape hearts full of love on the bathroom mirror for them to read while getting ready in the morning or maybe sneak them into their bag/purse or tape them to the dashboard of their car. That would be such a nice surprise!

How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day?  How do you show your love?

© The Flip of the Switch, February 2016.

2016 Reading List

libro antico aperto

Take me to your world.  Let me whisper among the fairies, sleep upon the moss and fall in love with a prince.  Let me fight aboard a pirate ship, soar above the clouds and rest in the arms of a gallant knight. Take me to your world.  Let me escape mine, but for a moment.
The Flip of the Switch, 2016.

In my effort to hold myself accountable, I have added a page to my website to document the books I have read in 2016.  I would very much like to read at least one book a week. I am trying to minimize my excessive binge watching of Netflix and stimulate my mind through books instead.  Quite a novel idea.

Here is the link to my 2016 Reading List.  I would love to hear your recommendations.  I am always looking for a good book to get lost in.

© The Flip of the Switch, February 2016.

 

 

Just Breathe II

Yoga woman meditating at sunset

 

I just finished a private yoga session in my home.  I have chosen to have someone come to my home so that (a) I can’t make excuses and not attend and (b) I honestly don’t think I could handle the stress and anxiety of being in a room with a lot of people.  Turns out I made the right decision; more on that in a moment.

My yoga instructor is a young woman who has the most lovely voice; serenity beyond compare.  Calmness was radiating from her as she walked through my front door.

We had talked over the telephone about my current struggles and whether yoga could play a role in helping to still my mind and calm my soul.  She had actually been drawn to yoga after a time in her life that was riddled with anxiety and panic attacks.  Thus, she could appreciate what I had been experiencing.  It was yoga that ultimately provided her with the tools to stop the anxiety in its tracks and she hasn’t had a panic attack since.

We started off with slow, deep breathing.  Yes, I know.  Complete contradiction to my earlier post, but hear me out.  There is a difference between telling someone to breathe during a panic attack and teaching someone to breathe to help deter a panic attack;  to help them focus and use their inner strength to find calmness.

We moved to some of the easier poses and about midway through the session came to warrior pose.  Now, this is a relatively easy pose.  You are in a bit of a lunge with your arms extended.  Nothing too complicated.  It was at this time however, that I started to notice sensations in my body that initiated my fight or flight switch.  My heart was beating faster, I was sweating and my legs were shaking. Logically, I knew it was natural for my heart to beat faster because I was exercising.  I knew I should have been sweating because I was moving my body.  As for my legs, well I haven’t used them in three months so my muscles were likely in shock.  Logic can be so bloody logical!

It didn’t matter how hard I tried to convince myself of this logic.  The switch had been flipped and there was no turning back!  I was sprinting down a path of sheer panic!

I told my instructor that I had to stop.  She quite firmly told me to go to child’s pose. Child’s pose is where you are curled up into a ball and your forehead is on the ground. She started speaking with her angelic voice and counting out breathing.

Inhale, 1, 2, 3, 4…exhale 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

Inhale, 1, 2, 3, 4…exhale 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

She continued for about five minutes.  Just breathing.  Focusing solely on the breath.

The relief was immediate.

As soon as my forehead was resting on the ground and I started breathing, I was bathed in serenity.  My heart slowed down.  I was no longer hot.  The shaking had subsided.

It was instantaneous.

I was in shock.  How could this pose and this breathing quite literally stop me from sprinting down the path of panic?  Me, the non-believer.  The person who quite vehemently declared that no one should ever tell me to just breathe!

Afterwards, she explained that it is the breath that is the tool that will ultimately give me the power to stop the anxiety.  She also said it is crucial that my forehead be on the ground because it will trigger my vagus nerve which in turn, will help to calm me.  She instructed me to go to child’s pose whenever I feel the first twinge of anxiety and/or panic.  She told me to leave my yoga mat in the middle of my living room and go there when I need to.

Breathe.

Count my breaths.

Our session lasted an hour and a half.  I am sitting here recalling all that she said, so angelically.  Any chance I get to breathe, I am to practice.  If I am sitting in the car, watching television or in the line at the grocery store, it is an opportunity to breathe. To focus on my well being.  Find my inner strength and peace through breathing.

I know it sounds mystical, intangible, unbelievable.  A few hours ago, I would have agreed.  But having been the fortunate recipient of the immediate relief that yoga offered me in the midst of a downward spiral, I am a believer.

Inhale.

Exhale.

Repeat.

Namaste.

 

© The Flip of the Switch, February 2016.

Announcing the Nominees for the VBA

Vintage studio mic

It is with deep gratitude that I proudly announce that Laura Lecce from Laura Lecce’s Art & Photography has nominated me for The Versatile Blogger Award. Thank you so much Laura.

Laura’s use of colour and technique in exploring her worldview is captivating.  I encourage you to visit Laura’s page to find daily inspiration and colours beyond your imagination.  Of course, if you have never seen a kookaburra, The King of the Aussie Bush, you need to go there straightaway as I had no idea this is what they looked like and I was in awe to discover their regality.  It is one of my favourite posts of Laura’s. Thank you Laura, for your nomination and for your continued contributions to making our world so much brighter with your artistic talent.

The Versatile Blogger Award asks that you tell your nominator seven things about yourself.

  1. I shoot from the hip; I tell it like it is.  Love me or hate me.
  2. My favourite foods are lasagna and chocolate.
  3. I am Canadian.
  4. I love Taylor Swift.
  5. I am currently watching The Secret Life of the American Teenager on Netflix.
  6. I love Game of Thrones and House of Cards.
  7. I was loving Scandal but could no longer tolerate all of Olivia Pope’s crying. #crybaby

There you have it.  The deep, dark secrets of The Flip of the Switch!

Upon acceptance of the Versatile Blogger Award, I must nominate other bloggers whom I follow and love.  Please visit their blogs, you won’t be disappointed.  In no particular order, I nominate:

  1. S.K. Nicholas, A Journal for Damned Lovers
    • S.K. Nicholas takes my breath away.  Go there now.  Trust me.  This is the blog that I look for every day.
  2. No Page Left Blank
    • TraceyLynnTobin recounts her experience with gastrointestinal hell in the heart of the Alberta oil sands.  Her tenacity is inspiring.  You will never look at a bus ride the same.
  3. Life After 50
    • Lynn is the brilliant author behind Life After 50.  Full of her wisdom on aging, parenting, gratitude and life’s ups and downs, I know that I can rely on Lynn to share her deepest compassion and understanding. Thank you Lynn.
  4. Smiling in the Winter
    • A versatile blog about parenting, being a mom, affluence and what to do when your husband gives you a vacuum for Christmas!
  5. In the Big Tall Pines
    • One woman’s journey through marriage, the birth of her daughter and the contemplation of divorce.  Raw, honest, heart breaking, inspiring, hopeful.
  6. The Bag of Nerves Lady
    • Sheilagh is an eighty year old trapped in a twenty three year old’s body!  She is wise beyond her years and eloquently tells her story of life with anxiety, panic and emetophobia.  Thank you for shining the light on mental illness Sheilagh.
  7. Oh My GAD
    • Miss Aligned and I are soul sisters sharing a walk down this bumpy path of anxiety and panic.  If we knew each other in the “real world”, we would share our gut wrenching turmoils while sipping martinis under a big willow tree.
  8. Perfect Panicky
    • All about how our parents influence us and how those influences can lead to anxiety.  Shining a much needed light on how relationships impact our mental health.  Total honesty, shooting from the hip.

There you have it. My nominees for the Versatile Blogger Award.

What are you waiting for?  Get reading! 🙂

 

© The Flip of the Switch, February 2016.

 

 

Time

Antique pocket watch.

Time.

The most valuable commodity ever known to mankind.

Time can be squandered.  Wasted.

Time can be valued.  Cherished.

A commonality all humans possess.

A singular guiding principle that unites us.

An undeniable reality.

We are all driven by time.

Time to work.

Time to commute.

Time to meet a deadline.

Time to get to school.

Time for hockey.

Time for dance.

Time for dinner.

Time to pray.

Time for bed.

We pray that we are blessed with time to do it all over again tomorrow.

The reality however, is that we are all running out of time.

Time is often taken for granted.

Tick tock.

Tick tock.

They say the days are long and the years go by fast.

I can attest to this.  I cannot believe the speed at which my children are growing. In the blink of an eye, they will be in high school, then university, then married, then I will hopefully be blessed with grandchildren (God willing).

They are growing at the speed of light.

Time is zooming by, I can’t catch my breath.

I want to stop time.

Cuddle my babies a little longer.

Travel a little further.

Love a little longer, a little deeper.

Make a difference; leave my footprint on this world.

Time.

Tick tock.

Tick tock.

Savour the time you have been given.

It is a blessing.

Do not squander it.

Cherish it.

For in the blink of an eye, it will all be over.

 

 

© The Flip of the Switch, January 2016.

 

 

Canadian Pride

happy friends watching hockey game on skating rink

 

I am Canadian.

As such, my son was born wearing hockey skates.

Hockey is in his blood.  He lives and breathes hockey.  When he is not on the ice, he is thinking about the next time he will be on the ice.  He could also be outside playing road hockey or mini sticks with his friends.  He could be playing NHL 16 on the Playstation with a group of neighbourhood friends.

Like I said, it is in his blood.

He dreams of becoming an NHL player and I support all of his dreams.

He is a defenceman.  A truly thankless position.  He wouldn’t change it for anything.  He loves being a defenceman.  He defends the team at all costs; protects the goalie and his crease;  and rushes the puck to score.  End to end.

I will cheer from the sidelines, so proud of my son.  So proud of our team.

I will be radiating pride.

Our team is full of boys who are passionate, dedicated and have such good hearts.  They are learning important life skills together;  as individuals and as a team.  Skills and lessons they cannot learn from their parents or in a classroom. Our coaches teach our children these lessons and for that, we are eternally grateful.

Today, the playoffs start!  It is a big deal!  The team has worked hard to get to this point. It is their time to shine!

I have to go put on my jersey and playoff scarf.  Wear the colours of our team with pride.  Pack my cowbell.  Oh yes, this is going to be a great day!  Today, wherever you are, you may indeed hear me cheering with pride for my son and our team.

Win or lose, they will do it as a team.

No one has ever won a hockey game alone.

Teamwork.

Unparalleled teamwork.

Unparalleled pride.

 

© The Flip of the Switch, January 2016.