Feet Together, and relax…

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I had my smear test this week.

“Put your feet together and relax your legs out,”

Why do they say that when your left leg hits the wall as the bed is always butted up against a wall?

Always a joy.

It used to be appropriately straightforward. Back when I was first called up for smears, they were every five years. No idea if that was a regional thing or pre Jade Goody era. Anyhoo my last successful smear was back in 2013. I had two more failed tries, the last one before lockdown (December 2019).

Before 2016, I’d had four smear tests, and all were negative. In 2016, when it switched to three-year rotation, the nurse couldn’t find my cervix. It hurt a lot this time when she expanded the instrument.

“Really?” I said.

“I just can’t see it,” she replied.

“It’s not the Channel Tunnel down there. Surely you get to the dead-end and scrape?”

I was super annoyed at the blasé shrug she did when she snapped off her latex gloves.

“What happens now?” I asked.

“You’ll need to see a specialist.”

“How soon?”

“Make an appointment with the doctor, and he can refer you.”

I was summarily dismissed.

I was bounced back and forth between nurse and doctor a few times and got nowhere. So I left it. I KNOW what you’re thinking. Do not leave a smear test.

In 2019, I had a free company physical. They did every test and did the cholesterol and diabetes ones twice because they couldn’t believe the sizeable assed person sitting in front of them had normal cholesterol and normal bloodwork and didn’t even hint at diabetes.

She didn’t take kindly to my comment, but I got frustrated she saw an overweight woman and assumed I was at death’s door.

That’s another blog.

Part of the physical included a smear test.

This is 2019. The doctor couldn’t find my cervix either. She wanted me to see a gynaecologist. Seriously. Did the neck of my woman pack its bags? Now, it did hurt quite a bit, so maybe she got nervous, who knows. I asked to drive the equipment, but she wasn’t happy about me operating the equipment. Gloves snapped off, and no offer of tissues.

Ghastly experience.

Lockdown happened before I could get an appointment. So I left it.

I KNOW what you’re thinking, and I am sorry to all those men and women who say do not put it off.

In one of my HRT phone appointments, the doctor wanted a more recent blood pressure test done—this comment was on the back of me telling her my weight.

The nurse took my blood pressure, and it was regular and in a healthy range. I asked her about getting a smear test as I’d put it off for lockdown, and now everything was lifting. Could I get one?

She is passionate about getting them done. When I said two others said they wouldn’t find my cervix, she immediately said, “I’ll find it.”

Total confidence.

This week, I went along. I’ll admit I wasn’t expecting to get it done.

I got on the bed. Feet together and relax.

Relax. My ass!

For me, the pain happens when they expand the instrument, so I figured I could deep breathe through it. I got her to narrate everything she did, so I knew I could prepare when the pinch point was. I got her to slow down, expanding when the pain started. Then there was no pain when she expanded because she found my cervix!

Apparently, things change as you get older, and the cervix can change position. I was given directions to where my cervix now is. Should I not have her next time. I explained that I would find out which surgery she had moved to and make an appointment now that she had found the holy grail of the cervix.

Five scrapes later, she was done and shoving the stick in a pot and mixing it like she was making a paste.

I have four to six weeks to wait for the results.

I couldn’t understand why smear numbers 5 and 6 hurt. It could be down to me being nervous or a mutual lack of communication. But, my nurse at my doctor’s is the bomb! She talked through everything she did, showed me everything that was going inside my body. Then, talked me through the subsequent possible outcomes, and I went away filled with optimism and worry-free for my next smear.

Salt!

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I was making meatball madness the other day in the slow cooker. I’d tasted the sauce and it needed some salt. I couldn’t find any in the spice cupboard next to the cooker hob. We have pinch pots on our dining table for salt and pepper, with twisty tops. As I entered the living room, my husband was playing an online game with his mates. (I appreciate I sound like I’m married to a fifteen-year-old gamer). He’s not, for the record.

Fifteen, that is.

He had his headphones on. I crept in, past where he was lounging in his chair, and reached for the salt pot.

Off come his headphones.

“Are you making coffee?” he asked hopefully.

“No, I’m making meatball madness,” I replied.

“Oh, amazing. What film was that from?” he asked.

“I can’t remember what I had for breakfast. I am not going to remember the film you got jealous over the size of the meatballs.”

“Do you know what goes well with making meatballs?” he said with doe eyes.

“Don’t tell me,” I said, standing back, palms up, with a shocked expression. “Coffee?”

After giving him an evil smile to his smug expression, I took his empty coffee cup and got three steps away.

“Pete says you need to google snickerdoodles.”

Pete is one of his gaming mates.

Before I could reply, his headphones were snapped back in place, and the bad guys were being eliminated.

I came out of the living room.

My kitchen is three steps forward, my office is three steps to the right. With his empty coffee cup, I turn right and search IMDb for movies starring Charlize Theron as that was the only actor I could remember was in it. When I found the film is Hancock, I nod at the laptop, satisfying my curiosity. Then I searched for snickerdoodles and discovered, to my disappointment, there were no snickers involved. I rechecked the ingredients and see it needs salt.

Salt!

I go back into the living room, stretch my hand past his chair and off come to his headphones.

“Coffee?” he askd me hopefully.

“Sorry, yes, I was just going to make it. Hancock, by the way.”

He looks at me like I have two heads, gives me the curious side-eye, and snaps his headphones back on. I pull one hear off and say, “the meatballs you got jealous over, it was the film, Hancock.”

I let the cushion headphones drop back into place while he registered what I was saying.

Heading to the kitchen this time, I checked the cupboards for the ingredients for snickerdoodles because they sounded good to make and only took ten minutes in the oven. So I pulled out what I needed.

I couldn’t remember what temperature the oven should be at. Moving to the office again, I brought the laptop to life, saw Charlize Theron’s advert for Dior, and clicked. It took me to YouTube.

My husband came into my office.

“Did you have a sneaky coffee?”

“No,” I replied indignantly.

“But there is a second empty cup?”

“That’s yours I picked up.”

“An hour ago?”

“No, it can’t be an hour,” I said, looking at the clock in the bottom left corner of the laptop.

It was an hour. I’d got stuck in a realm of thirty-second videos because YouTube took me to TikTok.

“Are the meatballs on?” he asked.

“Yeah, they’re in the slow cooker.”

Salt!

“I need salt for the sauce. That’s what I came in for a while ago.”

My husband gave me an eye roll and left my office. To make sure I knew what I was supposed to be doing, I followed him out. He went left, back to his game, and I went right into the kitchen. Checked the meatballs in the slow cooker, took the teaspoon sitting in the dish and dipped it into the sauce.

“Could do with some salt,” I muttered.

Going off on tangents, getting distracted, finding something shinier to look at is my forte these days. If I have to do something, like get the washing out, I chant washing while I walk out of my office, and I allow nothing else to enter my head.

Washing, washing, washing.

I work from home, and my husband goes out to work. But when he has a day off, he follows me, sometimes trying to listen to what I’m saying. I hadn’t realized I started chanting aloud.

Much to his amusement.

The problem is, I’ll get the washing out, then go back for the pegs, which are in my cleaning bucket, and realized I need to buy washing up liquid. Then, sometime later, I’ll go back into the living room to find the washing from a few hours ago, balance in the washing basket precariously on the doorstep to outside.

Menopause life is never dull, that’s for sure.

The meatballs never got any added salt because I’d gone back into the living room, and my husband had said, “coffee?”.

Hunt the Patch

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I’ve been fiddling around with my HRT, finding the right combo. I’m not under any illusion this won’t happen again, but this particular combo involves patches.

Easy.

Well, easy for some, not so much for me.

I’m larger than your average, with folds and flaps and BOOBS.

The patches the doc prescribed are teeny tiny, about the size of a postage stamp.

I have to stick them on twice a week, the same days each week. That was the first hurdle. Which days and will I remember. There are seven days in a week. How can it be the same day each week and be equally spaced?

I got over my need to follow the rules and chose Sunday and Thursday. Now, where to put the patch, as it has to be below the waist. I decided on my thigh, the right one.

All good, great even. It didn’t come off when I showered, toweled dry, or yanked up my jeans that seem to have shrunk over the last twelve months.

On to patch number two.

Where is patch number one?

I can’t remember where I stuck it. It’s a see-through postage stamp. So I’m lifting one boob, peering down at my thighs, then the other boob and still can’t see it. I feel myself up and then find it.

Success.

Note to self, I need a mirror that isn’t a vanity one stuck to the wall.

Let’s move to patch number eight.

I can never remember where the last patch was stuck because I vary locations.

Why?

Because my stupidly sensitive skin doesn’t like the sticky stuff. I have postage stamped sticky square over my belly and thighs. I look ridiculous because unless I want to use nail polish remover, nothing gets the stickiness off without scratching my skin raw.

In short, I now have to lift my belly, each boob, get my fingers onto sticky residue to find the right tab on my body. There is bound to be a better way to accomplish this twice-weekly exercise, but I can’t like it this way now.

It’s fun!

Take care

Torwell

The Meno Lady

I only learned the word Perimenopause six months ago. I’m 49 and knee deep in the Meno symptoms. I find it astounding I was never taught about menopause in school. I find even more frustrating that my doctor refused to give me HRT. Telling me antidepressants were a better option.

I want the education for women and men more accessible, at any age.

How am I going to do this?

One laugh at a time!

I’m at the beginning of my campaign to remove the stigma of menopause. I’m not the first, won’t be the last. My hope is, with many voices, menopause will become normalised.

Each Friday, I’m posting my thoughts on any of the symptoms for Menopause. My observations, how I overcome them or how I’m not and need help.