Friday, September 30, 2005

My Menopause Blog: Nouns

I have to do some public speaking this evening at the launch of the Breast of Canada calendar which I publish.

Public speaking rates at the top of this list: Things That Rack My Nerves.

And yet I continue to put myself in situations that involve being on the stage.

I've noticed that besides my missing period, I seem to have lost or perhaps misplaced my stash of nouns. Normally, I just bash around the bush, searching for the word that escapes me until I find it, describe the item well enough for someone to guess what I'm talking about or simply change the subject. This works well enough in conversation. But in the arena of public speaking, depending on the audience, a missing noun can be death.

Take this for example: "Thanks for joining me this evening as we launch the paper thing I publish that is used to keep track of time and your dentist appointments."

See what I mean? Very nerve racking.

Sue Richards

Thursday, September 29, 2005

My Menopause Blog: Life Expectancy

Erin posted a sobering comment about the life expectancy of women living in a number of third world countries. Many will never make it to their menopause due to the harsh conditions of life in their countries.

I have 3 obituaries posted on my fridge. Girlfriends. One 38, one 42, one 44. All died suddenly, from various diseases.

My own mother died at 51.

Apparently, while pregnant with me, at the ripe age of 45, she misunderstood the weight gain and exhaustion for menopause.

In her seventh month, my mom and dad decided it was time to see their doctor. Imagine if you will, two middle aged parents with a 25 year old daughter and a 10 year old son being told the following.

"Edna, George. You are going to have a baby in 6 weeks."

Sue Richards

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

My Menopause Blog: Dolly Stage

I've just learned something.

I thought I was going to instantly turn into a pear shape...Artistically known as a Rubenesque Woman, shown here in this painting and thus named after the 1577-1640 Flemish painter, Peter Paul Ruben.

But no...not so quick. The pear stage comes later, much later.

First, my breasts are going to get very, very tender and then there's a good chance they will get bigger. So Dolly first. Pear second.

All this without medical intervention. Tell this to the implant makers.

Sue Richards

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

My Menopause Blog: I Am Menopausal, Hear Me Roar

Currently, over 40 million women, more than 1/3 of the women in the United States, are experiencing menopausal symptoms.

I couldn't find any current Canadian stats but I'm sure it's safe to say that 1/3 of us are following suit. Bloodiless hell, 1/3 of the women of the world are in the Meno Club.

As much as it may feel like you are 'the only one feeling like this', it simply isn't so. And, yah know, there's strength in numbers.

Sue Richards

Monday, September 26, 2005

My Menopause Blog: Night Sweats Wanted

June had on a sleeveless, low cut summer top.

Counting my fleece scarf, leather jacket, sweater, undershirt and mitts, my top half was clad in five layers.

Smiling, we looked each other up and down while standing in the garden at our friends 50th Birthday Party.

"I'm cold", I claimed.

"I'm menopausal", said June.

Where are those night sweats when you need them?

Sue Richards

Saturday, September 24, 2005

My Menopause Blog: Memory Length

Judy at the post office was shocked when I told her that menopause messes with your memory. This after measuring the same sized parcel three times in three minutes.

Sarah claims she can feign ignorance of knowledge she had at one time. "It's gone", she tells me laughing.

My menopausal memory is fleeting. Like the wing of a bird. Sometimes a seagull. Often a hummingbird.

When I measure my memory against time, I can come in under a minute. If I gauge it against distance, going from one room to the next, upstairs, into my backyard...too close for a list, far enough for me to stare blankly, wondering what the hell I was on route to, for.

Seize the day? Bloody hell, seize the moment.

Sue Richards

Friday, September 23, 2005

My Menopause Blog: Gone

It was dark. The wee hours in fact. A time when I'm usually sawing logs. But for some reason, I woke up.

Did the front door just shut? Was someone, something leaving? The cat perhaps. Wait, I don't have a cat.

I turned on the light, blinking at its rudeness. Then this thought crossed my sleepy mind.

Bet My Period's gone again.

I won't know for sure until loose lipped October rolls around.

Sue Richards

Thursday, September 22, 2005

My Menopause Blog: Fruit Salad

Yes it is true.

The menopausal woman's body will slowly but surely turn into a form of fruit salad.

Body the shape of a Bartlett pear, face wrinkled like an apple doll, dried prunes for breasts.

Canada's Food Guide suggests eating 4 - 5 servings of fruit a day.

I wonder if you get credit for being fruit.

Sue Richards

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

My Menopause Blog: Shape Shifting

I like to wear loose clothes. Stretchy loose. But every now and then, an occasion beckons and I find myself shoe horning myself into something more restrictive.

Such was the case on Saturday. An outdoor wedding in the country, attended by a couple hundred of Guelph's most creative, seemed the perfect venue for one of my vintage dress.

Specifically, my 1950's, Lucy Ball, black and white polka-dotted number. Very form fitting up top with a big swishy skirt.

I've owned and worn this dress for 15 years. It's a beauty. And it seemed perfect for the occasion.


There was no way in hell that I could crush my boobs enough to:

  1. Get the zipper up.
  2. Breath.
  3. Move.
My understanding of the shape shifting peri-menopausal body did not include becoming more top heavy. In fact, I've been told that I will slowly become a pear. Or rather the shape of a pear.

With sadness, I hung Lucy back in the closet. Instead, I chose my 1970's stretchy, Polly-Ester full length gown with the GIANT GREEN FLOWER applique. Purchased at good ole Value Village while on a wild ice berg hunting expedition in Newfoundland.

But Lucy. I loved Lucy.

Sue Richards

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

My Menopause Blog: Hair Raking

Earlier, I was sharing some morning sun with my neighbour's Gareth and Sarah when Gareth commented on my persistent hair raking.

DEFINITION; Hair Raking: the act of running ones fingers through ones hair and removing loose strands, of which I have a shocking number, thanks to peri-menopause.
Before I could explain my actions, Sarah, chirped in. "She's weeding".

Sue Richards

My Menopause Blog: Selling Sickness

Beware my friends.

There is much selling of snake oil going on in the world today.

Authors of new book, Selling Sickness, warn that drug company marketing techniques are turning us all into patients.

This from the book review. "Everyday sexual difficulties are seen as sexual dysfunctions, the natural change of life is a disease of hormone deficiency called menopause, and distracted office workers now have adult ADD."

I have said this before. But fortunately I'm prone to repeating myself.

Menopause is not a disease.

Sue Richards

Monday, September 19, 2005

My Menopause Blog: Hot Flash and the Night Sweats

The set list for Hot Flash and the Night Sweats is growing.

  • Saturday Night Fever
  • Fire
  • I Will Survive
Forget about dry ice. The stage will be covered in mounds of the real thing.

Sue Richards

Friday, September 16, 2005

My Menopause Blog: Musical Menopause

I've just posted my first audio blog on my Calendar Girl Blog. The clip is a mini disc recording of the Breast Friends Choir who are booked to play at the 5th Annual Breast of Canada Calendar Launch on September 30th.

All this audio stuff got me thinking.

I know there's a stage presentation called Menopause the Musical.

But what about a rock band?

I'd like to suggest starting: Hot Flash and the Night Sweats. We could all wear damp nighties and belt out a red faced version of She Gives Me Fever.

Sue Richards

Thursday, September 15, 2005

My Menopause Blog: Changing Your Attitude

Here's some good news for you.

Changing your attitude is as easy as changing your socks.

Here's how it's done.

Try out a new attitude and if it appears to be worse than your previous attitude, then you can always change it back. If your new head space makes life easier, bonus.

Either way, you're in charge.

Women have been accused of 'changing their minds' for if this were bad. In reality, the ability and willingness to change our mind shows great wisdom.

The world is a dynamic place. Keeping our minds flexible rather than rigid is the path of least heartbreak.

Sue Richards

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

My Menopause Blog: Aging Out Loud

Connie Stevens, film star of days gone by, has been appointed national chairwoman of the Aging Out Loud campaign and the national tour of "Menopause the Musical" both designed to benefit women's health. Entertainer chosen to lead health crusade

From my vantage point, up here in Canada, peering at 50, wondering if I'm going bald, loosing my mind, and doomed to groaning everytime I change elevation, I'm thrilled that the negative approach to aging is being challenged and discussed.

For reasons that are shallow and monetary, our culture, that being North American, have wrapped aging in a dark cloak of shame. And yet other cultures, like Japan, place high value on the wisdom gained from life experience. It's interesting to note that Japanese women report significantly lower menopausal symptoms than women in the west. No doubt diet plays a role. But what about attitude?

It's crazy feeling shame over something that is part of a normal life lived. In my mind, the immense energy wasted trying to avoid an inevitable and natural life process is where the real shame lies.

There's so much need in the world. We the priviledged (and yes, if you are reading this you are very priviledged simply because you can read) could do with shifting our gaze toward the greater good.

The various stages of your menopause will last about a decade. That's a long time to be stuck in the victim stage of 'what the hell is going on'?

Instead, let's try Aging Out Loud. Much more empowering.

Sue Richards

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

My Menopause Blog: The Map

I found the map. It was exactly where I looked. Six times. At least.

Would that be a case of selective seeing? Or is the Black Triangle of Menopause an arrangement of smoke and mirrors?

Sue Richards

Monday, September 12, 2005

My Menopause Blog: Hot Food, Hot Flash

The Mapleton Organic Ice Cream line was finally short enough for me to want to join it. In front of me was my friend Pat, beat red and wild eyed.

Here's our conversation...more or less.

Pat turns and looks at me. There's no polite preamble. She just launches right in.

I'm having a hot flash. I don't even want ice cream. I just need to cool down. I just ate some curry. Thought I was going to explode. The woman beside me told me that hot, spicy food can bring on hot flashes. I've been in peri-menopause for 6 years now and I didn't know that. For Gawd sake, why didn't I know that?

Me: Did you know that it's Menopause Awareness Month?

Pat: No. I didn't know that either. Geez, why don't I know these things? Are they telling women that hot foods trigger hot flashes? They should be telling women that hot foods trigger hot flashes.

Just in case 'they' don't mention the hot spicy food correlation, I will. Your hot flashes may be triggered by eating spicy, hot food and drinking caffeine (coffee/tea/soft drinks) and booze.

Remedy: Apply ice cream.

Sue Richards

Saturday, September 10, 2005

My Menopause Blog: The Seven Dwarves of Menopause

I found this on the I Knew That Blog by way of For Crying Out Loud Blog. Great postings!

Sue Richards

My Menopause Blog: Menopause Awareness Month; designed for ??

I'm in the throes of an informal survey.

The question: Are you aware that September is Menopause Awareness Month?

The answer seems to be consistent. The reason for the answers, somewhat different.

Here goes. First the answer: No.

Now the reasons:

  • I'm menopausal. What do I need with more awareness?
  • I'm menopausal and have been for 5 years. A month? Is this a joke?
  • I'm not menopausal. What do I need with awareness? Is this a joke?
  • I'm a man.
So there you go.

Sue Richards

Friday, September 09, 2005

My Menopause Blog: Global Warming

Hot Flash.

Global Warming.



Sue Richards

My Menopause Blog: Menopause Awareness Month?

Apparently, September is Menopause Awareness Month.

How ironic that My Menopause decided to succumb to My Periods whiney ways after three months of holding firm.

My first official Menopause Awareness Month.


And I had a new dress and everything.

Sue Richards

Thursday, September 08, 2005

My Menopause Blog: Ovarian Cancer

This morning, following a torrential downpour, I was saddened to find a somewhat soggy Globe and Mail newspaper sitting in my front yard. After yet another night of roaming my house and muttering to my poodle lamp, I was looking forward to my normal morning ritual.

But no. When it rains, indeed it does tend to pour.

Right now, I have sheaves of newspaper draped throughout my house, drying out and getting puffy.

I'm no fan of puffy newspapers. But this is not my posts point.

Despite the mess, one story in the front section caught my eye as I lay it over my kitchen chair. In fact, so tuned into the menopause experience am I, this particular line jumped right out at me.

"Too often, she said, symptoms of ovarian cancer are mistaken for other conditions, such as menopause."

Read the full story at the link below to find out who 'she' is and more about yet another 'cancer' with a female signature.
Most women don't know ovarian cancer symptoms.

Sue Richards

P.S. My blog has moved to

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

My Menopause Blog: Feminine Protection

Peri-menopause is a notorious time. Kind of like the wild west, all 'shoot 'em up' and 'circle the wagons' sort of energy. Hard to know if I'm under siege or safe as a bug in a rug.

Feminine protection come hither! You're absorbent ways are requested by the lady of the house.

I'm sure I've mentioned this but things change instantly during peri time. Drop of the hat quick like. One minute I'm good to go. The next.....

BINGO. We have a wiener.

I had a boyfriend like this once.

Sue Richards

My Menopause Blog: Bootstrapping Menopause

Maybe I'm paying more attention than usual. Or maybe something's absence makes its presence more noticeable.

My sleep was fitful. Eventually, I roamed my house, looking for a silver bullet, a distraction, some surefire way of putting myself to sleeping. My insides seemed to want out. There was dissension in the ranks of my guts and my period was reeking havoc like a surly teenager defying parental guidance.

This is what I've been missing?? "Good Gawd woman", I muttered to my poodle lamp."I want My Menopause back"!

One of my business books, The Bootstrappers Bible finally did the trick. Not that it's boring. More because I dig business from this perspective; I AM this perspective.

The effect was calming.

As I slowly drifted off, I wondered if I could bootstrap My Menopause?

Sue Richards

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

My Menopause Blog: Look What The Cat Dragged In

Today is the first day of school and for many, the end of summer as they know it. For me, it is neither.

Instead, today is the day that My Period decided to show it's bedraggled self after no sign, no hint, not a single postcard for the entire summer.

Just like that.

It's back.

And I'm suppose to roll out the welcome mat. Which of course, My Period will gladly stain red.

Sue Richards

Saturday, September 03, 2005

My Menopause Blog: Knees

My knees are aching. At first, it was just my right one. But today, they are both singing the same sad, ole tune.

My knees are fine when I sit.

I have no problem walking.

It's going from one dimension to the other that stimulates my grimace and audible groan.

I'm told that the peri-menopause slow down in estrogen production leads to stiff joints. In medical speak, this would be a menopause symptom.

So I'm sitting more. This would be my menopause treatment.

Didn't some country dude write a song about this....Achy, Breaky Joints.

Sue Richards
Menopause the Country Song

Friday, September 02, 2005

My Menopause Blog: Menopause Treatment

Treatment means many different things to many different people. We can complain about the treatment we get from other people. If you suffer from an addiction, you may find yourself in a treatment program. And of course there are all sorts of fluffy treatments we apply to our bodies...nail treatments, hair treatments, yadda yadda yo.

In my very dog eared dictionary, two definitions for treatment stand out.

1. the systematic effort to cure illness and relieve symptoms.
2. the act or manner of treating.

Given that we all know that menopause is NOT an illness but rather a natural state of your bodies affair, the idea of menopause treatment could easily be a hybrid of the two definitions.

If I may be so bold as to add to the's my take on treatment as it applies to menopause.
3. treating oneself in an ongoing manner that supports the changes associated with the natural evolution in a woman's life cycle.
I want to be kind and respectful to ALL of myself, including my body, especially during a time of change. I'm a team contained in a human being, with everything working together. The more integrated I approach My Menopause, the more positive and empowered I will feel.

Sue Richards

Thursday, September 01, 2005

My Menopause Blog: Molting

Historically, I've referred to my home as "The House of Hair." Yah see, there was a time when this roof sheltered 3 long maned, big haired artsy type adults, a long shaggy black cat and 2 large a husky, the other a constantly shedding lab.

Eventually my room mates fell in love and moved out, with their pets to set up house elsewhere. Then my dog died. And so the "House of Hair" kind of toned down. Hair balls almost became extinct. And except for the shower drain, the hair factor was quite manageable.

Until now.

Unless these long Arctic Blond hairs belong to someone who took up residence while I've been camping, it appears that "The House of Hair" status has resumed. With a vengeance.

Fortunately for me, I have quite a head of hair. So baldness does not seem to be lurking around the corner. But GEE WHIZ, the hair on the floor, on the counter, in my food, on my clothes, in my car and any other 'in and on' place you can imagine does leave me wondering how much hair a person can loose before...before....???

Is this part of 'known hair change clues' for women on the cusp of menopause?

Or is this presumed molting more about my lax housekeeping habits?

There's only one thing I can do under the circumstances.


Sue Richards
Menopause....the solution, or the problem?