Oh my goodness – and yes, I do feel like a 12-year-old in the middle school bathroom – after one year of running dry (thanks to both chemotherapy and Zolodex, although while Zolodex took away my ovulation . . . chemotherapy may have taken away my fertility, grrr) suddenly, this past Sunday, I woke up to the return of a long absent visitor.
Perhaps you’ve had a similar experience – or a waiting for a visitor yourself?
Well, with the steady decline of my hot flashes (essentially disappearing with the heat wave some weeks ago) followed by a bout of cramps and what I could have sworn was ‘Ovulation Catherine’ – you know that woman, Ovulation Cindy, Ovulation Grace, Ovulation Anna, Ovulation anyone who is ovulating, craves chocolate, feels emotional and is above all horny. Following these signs (plus a week of absolutely no signs, except perhaps a tender abdomen), last Sunday after a particularly happy weekend where I visited so many friends and had such a good time, well – there she was in the morning: Aunt Flow.
She arrived promptly in the AM with bagfuls of luggage. Heavy luggage. More luggage than I’d ever seen in my life, which frankly was worrying, because after a year of no luggage, to have so much was quite a shock. I was off to the pharmacy every two minutes buying bulkier and bulkier supplies to deal with the onslaught. It was a very interesting day.
All the while (as we tour the Isle of Wight with Zsolt’s parents, who kindly never asked why the heck I kept disappearing) I’m wondering to myself: “Is this normal? Is it menstruation or a sign of ovulary cancer? Am I about to bleed to death?” But then I looked at the obvious: flow with no dizziness, pain or fatigue . . . everything was normal.
Normal! After a year of menopausal mayhem in my twenties, suddenly something normal was happening. It felt weird.
So bye-bye menopause. Except, of course, for yesterday in the plane ride back from England where I was riding successive hot flashes as the plane descended for landing. “Zsolt, is it warm in here or am I having a hot flash?” Apparently my body is currently somewhere between menstruation and menopause.
So – babies, anyone? This is absolutely confusing now. If I have my period, then it must mean something ovulated. Whether it’s a usable egg is unknown . . . actually, the entire thing confuses me, which is why I’ve decided to rely on the words Zsolt’s lovely friend said to me the other day (as we sat on Margaret Island and watched the fountain rise and fall with the Mozart soundtrack). This is what she said, and I found it incredibly touching: “Catherine, you don’t have to worry about having children, because I pray for you everyday.”
And so, for now, I’ve decided not to worry. Her confidence is reassuring, and while everything can be so confusing (test results, my body, menopause, menstruation) I prefer to take refuge in faith . . . even if it isn’t always my own.
So I try not to worry as my body switches and questions come soaring into my mind. It is a constant struggle to stop the anxiety, but then I remember her kind words and suddenly life becomes calm.
Calm like the glassy turquoise ocean round the Isle of Wight, gently peaking with tips of froth and deep with that ‘swim in me now’ color. And I listen as the waves lap against the shore, and a lone seagull in the sky – calling – dives away from sight.
Calm like a moment in the sunlight, with nothing but horizon and quiet and blue.
I love me a little Calm.
And so my body tumbles forward, changing toward the normal. It’s a good thing.
(And as you can see, gets me going rather lyrically. I can’t help it – really, I can’t. Writing taps into my heart, and my heart is abundantly sentimental. I cannot help the tone. It’s a little cheesy, but then, I do love a strong slice of cheese.)