Friday, 18 November 2011

To HRT or not HRT

This morning my lounge looked like a jumble sale! Sweaters were scattered around the room, t-shirts hung over backs of chairs, jeans almost standing on their own in the middle of the room, socks stuffed under cushions and bras hanging off the book shelves. It was a hot date - the aftermath of a hot flush attack while trying to relax of an I used to in front of TV with a film or while listening to the radio. I miss being able to lie down without ripping all my clothes once or twice an hour. I miss sleeping. Sleep used to be my most favourite past time. I used to love going to my bed and drifting off into a deep peaceful sleep. This is not happening anymore and I am in yearning for that most simple thing. It is all I want. I do not want money or fame. I just want to be able to sleep through the night and awake rested and calm.
Hot flushes are the main reason I keep visiting the GP.  So far I have made five separate visits to four different GP's, spoken to Gynaecological consultants who I sometimes work with. I've been told not to go onto HRT because I am under 50 and still in peri-menopause , I have been told I can go on HRT. I have confessed to a female consultant that I am scared of HRT. She said simply:"don't be! Your risk of breast cancer is only slightly more than that of someone on HRT" and when I said:"Well what if I get Breast cancer?" She said: " Don't worry, we'll manage it!"

I have been given two prescriptions on seperate occasions for HRT - one for pills, the other for patches and not filled them out. I want there to be some other reason for the heat and the migraines and the sleeplessness so I have insisted I have a blood test to check my thyroid and also asked to be checked for a brain tumour! But it all boils down to this - I do not dare or care to put horse urine derived oestrogen or any other kind of oestrogen into my system when my own oestrogen is dropping off.

Many of my female friends cannot understand this and positively worship the HRT manufacturers i.e. pharmaceutical companies who make £billions from HRT. They pop the pills like sweeties and gleefully glue on the patches without batting an eyelid.  One even said:" I know when it is my time, I will just go straight onto it without a thought". Another one told me: "It's the best thing that was ever invented. Take it!"

Maybe I am too untrustworthy of modern drugs and can't get away from this notion that putting hormones into my body especially ones derived from horses urine, when my body is naturally shedding them is kind of like trying to put water back into the tap while it's running out. It just feels wrong. I also do not think it is fair to keep horses in oestrus just so we can suffer less. But the reality of HRT really hit home when the GP said : "You will have a bleed on the 2nd month". This happens because the oestrogen thickens the uterine wall and so progesterone is added to make sure it sheds. My periods have not been regular, I have not had one for 4 months but you're not declared 'in menopause' until your periods have been absent for one year. So if I start HRT I will start periods again and then we don't know when my periods should have stopped. GP says:"Well we leave you on for two years after your 50th birthday or you can wait until your 50 before taking it and take them for only a year. Or just take them now!" Confusing! Also I kind of wonder if anyone knows what they are doing with HRT?

Back in the pre-HRT day, women just got through it with a fan and a Gin and tonic. I don't even recall my mother having the menopause. She never ever mentioned it but she didn't have HRT and died very young. I believe our bodies are designed to go through the menopause without it killing us, and you just have to look around at all the elderly post 70 and 80 year old women running about in the world. They did it without HRT.  I  want to be strong enough to get through this 'heat'  phase but as the GP said on my most recent visit, if you are having such a miserable time and you have to get up every day to work, have a social life, and all these things we have to do in the modern world, sleeplessness, headaches, mood swings, stress, heat, can all be detrimental to your health and your relationships and freindships too and sometimes can render you quite ill.  HRT can make it all go away... for awhile at least. So as I write I am giving it another few days to see if anything changes, maybe the symptoms will subside and I will plateau out for awhile. Then try and hold out for the next phase. You see to me HRT = High Risk Therapy for increased chances of Breast cancer, uterine cancer stroke and ...well the jury is out on Osteoporosis. We shall see.

A  few years have passed now and I am stable on herbal medicine - it took awhile and a bit of money and some experimentation but key ingredients for me are Red clover tincture, Starflower oil and other multi vitamins and minerals.  However the journey was rough and there were causlties, freindships, relationships and now I have to face another big challenge. Loneliness. To sleep per chance to wake up and it all be over.......