“What’s happening to my body?”
I was sitting, speaking to a patient, who was having her annual Well Woman exam and I couldn’t remember if I had asked her certain questions…
“Any change in your family history?”, I asked, not knowing if I had just already asked this question. “Any new surgeries since our last visit?” Again, not knowing if I had already asked this question. My heart started beating fast and sweat beaded on the back of my neck. A sense of overwhelm crept into my mind. I took some deep breaths and told myself everything would be okay.
At check-out I realized that it was difficult for me to calculate the cost for her visit and the Vitamin D she was purchasing. Now I was really getting worried… Am I losing my mind? Why can’t I add simple numbers? Math used to come to me so easily and now a simple task was becoming a major hurdle..
Let me give you some background. Usually, I am very methodical with my questions to my patients to allow for the most comprehensive and accurate intake. On that day, my brain felt like a salt marsh – thick and foggy- without any clear sense of focus or ability to process data. I felt vulnerable and confused - not my usual confident self. A sense of anxiety came across me.
“Oh, my gosh”, I said to myself, “What’s happening to me? What’s happening to my body? What’s happening to my brain?” I feared that maybe I was showing early signs of cognitive decline which caused me even more distress given my mother had been diagnosed with dementia 5 years prior. “No, it must be just because I didn’t sleep well the past few nights.”, I said to myself trying to remain calm while my heart continued to race inside me.
And then I realized what was happening. A few days prior to this office visit, I had received the diagnosis of my breast biopsy from my general surgeon. “Atypical hyperplasia, precancerous – needs to be removed and hormone therapy needs to be discontinued immediately”, she said. I listened and followed her recommendation. I didn’t want to potentially harm myself by staying on my hormones. And, Who knew? Maybe I didn’t even need them.
Well, it was vividly apparent that I absolutely needed my hormones. Without them, my ability to process, focus and remember details was severely limited. In addition, I felt anxious, out of sorts and not my optimistic self. I realized that I couldn’t live like this – I had spent the past 25+ years building up a wonderfully fulfilling private GYN practice. I asked myself, “Now do I have to give it all up because of my diagnosis?”
Many of you are familiar with this happening to me after undergoing two surgeries and 4 weeks of radiation therapy for the ultimate diagnosis of Stage I breast cancer. I did all of this while remaining on my hormone therapy which I had restarted that evening after feeling overwhelmed in my office. Within hours of applying my estrogen cream, my brain came back alive. It was like lighting a fire which had been dampened to embers. There was a flicker still there but needed the wafts of oxygen to reignite. After a few nights restarting my progesterone, my sleep improved and I began feeling like myself again.
Now it’s been four years since my diagnosis and I’m incredibly happy to be on my hormones. Unfortunately, there is a large amount of misinformation regarding the true risks and benefits of bioidentical hormone therapy. With my years of research, I realized that the benefits of staying on hormone therapy far outweighed the small risk of recurrence.
I am a fervent advocate for personal decision making with your physician to achieve ultimate health and well-being. With accurate information about the true risks and benefits, each of us can make the best decisions for ourselves about our health, medications, lifestyle and ultimately – our quality of life.
The time of perimenopause, menopause and after can be a challenging time – believe me - it was for me too!
I encourage you to join me in my upcoming masterclass where I will delve even further into what hormones can do for us as well as lifestyle changes, and secrets to getting your BADASS life back.
Please click on the button below to join me.
Looking forward to seeing you there!
- In health and happiness