A few years ago I joined the ranks of women who live with the menopause. Having heard many a story, I was unsure what to expect. I was bombarded by the endless articles, a mind boggling array of information, advertisements and old wives tales offering remedies to ease the symptoms, in particular the infamous hot flushes. There are so many myths surrounding menopause, it's hard to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Who would have thought it possible to turn into a human volcano? I seem to defy the laws of nature; Mount Vesuvius eat your heart out! I have become a human heater, and whilst my poor husband who is nightly tormented by my malfunctioning internal thermostat, he kindly never complains. Mind you, looking at the up-side, my hot blood has saved us a fortune on heating, for I keep the bedroom so toasty warm at night, and despite some really cold weather this past winter, we barely had to turn on the heating.
I've never been a fan of electric blankets, having heard some horrific stories of iffy electrics resulting in devastating house fires that end in tragedy. Therefore I was quite happy to discard my electric blanket which has been made redundant by the menopause, and now resides permanently in the cupboard. My snuggly fleecy pyjamas (the original passion killers no woman should admit to owning) that would keep any climber on the Himalayas warm during the night, have been relegated to the bottom drawer that is filled with items I no longer wear, but am loathe to part with. If Trinny and Susannah were to come to my house, they'd have a field day, throwing out half my wardrobe. I am terribly tidy, but being ruthless when sorting out clothes, I am not.
Coming to terms with hot flushes, I have learnt to dress appropriately in layers, so that at a moment's notice I can shed a layer or two to accommodate a sudden rise in temperature. I had just got used to dressing in layers and resigned myself to putting up with this annoyance, when I began to realise that fellow Parkinson's sufferers, not only women, but also men, were suffering from night sweats, which has nothing to do with the menopause. There appears no solution to night sweats caused by Parkinson's, and so my search for a remedy came abruptly to an end.
I never do things by halves, but must I always have to do things so thoroughly? It's not enough that I received a double whammy and live with Gaucher and Parkinson's disease, I also have to endure a double bout of hot flushes / night sweats, which are possibly due to the menopause, Parkinson's or maybe both! So who turned up the heat? I guess it will remain an unsolved mystery. The phrase: "if you can't stand the heat get out of the kitchen" comes to mind. Despite living with two chronic diseases I remain positive, believe I'm a lucky woman and have an awful lot to be thankful for. Clearly my beloved husband can stand the heat, for when the temperature rises, he always seems to stay calm, cool and collected, which is more than I can say for yours truly. Where will you find me? I'll be sitting on the kitchen stool next to the open fridge door cooling down with a scoop of my favourite vanilla ice-cream!