So … when I was at my last check-up (last May) my female and much younger doctor reminded me that I should really wean off the HRT that I’ve been on since my hysterectomy 10 years ago. I wasn’t menopausal at the time of my hysterectomy, but somehow surgery kicked me right into it. I did not have a full hysterectomy either, which has puzzled me as to why this phenomenon affected me. But it did. And I was told after-the-fact that this is common.
Almost immediately I started to experience hot flashes and night sweats; sleep disturbance; brain fog; irritability; joint and muscle pain. All the fibromyalgia symptoms I had seemed to be exacerbated. I was prescribed estrogen without progesterone despite having retained my cervix. I later asked for progesterone to balance the estrogen and to help prevent cervical cancer. I seemed to have to explain over and over why I thought I needed estrogen PLUS progesterone. Finally, I prevailed.
My body seemed to settle down. No more hot flashes. No more sleeplessness. No more rages and irritability. Fibro-like symptoms also subsided. All seemed good except for the annual lecture from my doctor about the risks of HRT which included breast cancer and heart attack. I felt pretty darn good though, so I argued to stay on HRT. My doc told me that once I hit 65 no MD would be willing to prescribe HRT for me.
Here’s a fun little story: I was with my daughter one day at an appointment with a specialist for some hormone/endocrine related issues she was having, and her doctor was super amazed at my clear, youthful looking skin. He even pointed this out to the female nurse when she walked in making the comment that he’d like some of what I was taking because it seemed like it was the fountain of youth for me. Ironically, I had not mentioned, nor did I subsequently mention that it was the ESTROGEN!
Estrogen preserves the elasticity of skin and, also preserves bone density. Those two things alone are important factors in staying healthy as we age; in preserving good self-esteem in our youth obsessed culture; in continuing to be physically active and safe doing so. I’ve been pretty darn active my whole life. Not in the sense of being committed to visiting a gym (although I have done that), but in the sense of doing things that require me to move. I’ve had horses, sheep, cattle, hogs, chickens, dogs, cats, and even birds. Living on hobby farms has required that I get up and work my body daily. There’s been a lot of heavy lifting, and lots of work involved in animal care. Not to mention the gardening and upkeep on a very large yard.
Last August I was informed that my husband wanted a divorce. Fine. I started to worry that I might be without health care for a couple years until I was able to go on Medicare and started to examine which medications I might be able to do without. You got it: estrogen and progesterone. So, I began to wean myself off.
7 months later I am completely off HRT and have been since January. So that’s 3 full months.
And I am NOT happy.
I am again subject to hot flashes and night sweats, brain fog, irritability and rages, joint and muscle pain that is debilitating. I’ve aged on a fast track. I don’t feel good. I’m tired. I hurt. I’m profoundly resentful.
My whole life has been regulated by estrogen supplements for birth control, migraines, uterine fibroids and excessive bleeding. Now I’m being told that it’s a life-time of cumulative exposure to estrogen that now threatens my health. The medical cartel is responsible for that one. And now that I really want and need estrogen, the medical mafia says I’m too old for it. Well, isn’t that just dandy? I guess it’s more important to (supposedly) keep me alive with a low quality of life than it is to allow me a high quality of live with a risk of (supposed premature) death.
They also said that butter and eggs were bad for you and that margarine was good for you.
The medical industrial complex also has 28% of people in the USA on statins. Never mind WHY our cholesterol is so high. Take a pill!
That same medical profit machine also has us inundated with infomercials on the newest drug they are pushing. Again, pay no attention to that man behind the curtain of cheeriness talking about side effects!
I also pay $400 per month for medical insurance through Minnesota (ACA) which supplements about the same amount so that I can have a deductible of over $6K.
Something is really wrong here. I’m not the only one who doesn’t trust our health care delivery system. No one that I’ve talked to has EVER said it was even an adequate system. It’s a for-profit system which ensures that our illnesses and conditions are CAPITALIZED UPON FOR PROFIT. We are delivering money to big insurance, pharma and medical business with our ailments and needs—many which I suspect are contrived and/or caused by the same system that is supposed to be healing us. I feel like a rat in a cage with millions just like me serving as experimental subjects, objects of entertainment and sources of easily extractable wealth.
Do you suppose the lack of estrogen has made me prone to conspiracy theories?
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think we should throw the baby out with the bath water either. Medications can save lives. Vaccinations save lives. And they should all be available to everyone no matter your socio-economic status. I know someone right now who is rationing their insulin and I’m mad!
It’s an absolute abomination the way we are used and abused by big pharma and the medical mafia.
Go ahead. Make my day. Blame it on my hormones.