My mission with this post is two-fold. I want to preview a book new to the market (I have yet to read, have skimmed a few (more than a few) pages but found it VERY readable) as well as submit my entry to win the FLOW book by Elissa Stein and Susan Kim per The BookLady’s Blog which if you don’t yet know about, you can click HERE to enter. But you have to hurry – deadline is tomorrow. (sorry)
First, let’s highlight Menopause Matters: Your Guide to a Long and Healthy Life, a nonfiction book by MY doctor, Julia Schlam Edelman, MD, published 2009 by Johns Hopkins University Press and available in many many places. DO seek it out.
In fact, I just had a followup visit TODAY* where Dr. Edelman and I discussed my satisfaction and my uterus’ (uterus’s?) healing from the endometrial ablation procedure performed last December.
I’ll start from the beginning…
You could say it all began around a summer campfire when one friend was sharing (laughing at with) a story about how our friend C___ called and asked, “Can you tell me again about the Appaloosa?” when she was really trying to say ABLATION. Come to find out that three of the five of the women present had happily experienced the solution of an endometrial ablation to problems of heavy erratic bleeding aka menorrhagia.
I thought to myself, “Self, I have heavy bleeding and its ANNOYING (need I repeat how annoying) habit of not coming when the calendar said it ‘should’.” I not only had an irregularity of periods but I would spot when I was least prepared AND I would have one day of cramps so bad that I couldn’t sleep or worse and was changing tampons every hour.
Yet, on the other hand, I knew I didn’t have it that bad. Did I? I knew people suffered worse, didnt’ I? Still. What did I really have to put up with? HOWEVER… these friends of mine (the Appaloosa friend eventually had it done as well) kept saying “It has been the BEST THING I’VE EVER DONE.”
I asked around, found a doctor that was highly recommended, was coached by my friends on what symptoms to say I had, and made the appointment.
Frankly, I admitted that I had heard about the wonder of ablation and caved to peer pressure, “I WANT ONE!” Dr. Edelman was sympathetic. Then she submitted me to a barrage of tests to make sure I was worthy.
By that I mean that we proved and disproved a few things to see if an ablation would be the best option for me. It was. I found out I was anemic; all this crazy blood loss was draining necessary iron from my system. I found out I had troublesome fibroids which were disruptive and not normal for female monthly cycling; I found out I did not have cancerous cells that needed attention (whew).
What I want to convey is that the situation was NOT one that I went in to see a doc, asked for an ablation and they said, “yes.” It took a few months and more than a few tests to find out that I was indeed suffering and that an ablation could offer me relief.
I must note that when I told my mother what I was doing, she shared that she wished such things were available to her… Maybe they were and her doctors didn’t share? What I hope to offer here is that if anyone thinks they must suffer premenopausal annoyance as a matter of course, ASK the questions! Don’t assume all is ‘normal’ because we expect things to go out of whack with our systems as we enter this certain age! Oh, and don’t assume you have to have a hysterectomy.
I had the Novasure procedure. It is a brand, a specific procedure of many a variety of different ablation techniques. Don’t let one person’s experience determine your opinion because there are MANY types of ablations.
Dr. Edelman’s book discusses and explains ALL types and the history of endometrial ablation and shares personal anecdotes from real people. This is an easy to read and helpful guide.
When I first heard my friends talking about ‘ablation’, I couldn’t find much when I googled. I even bought a menopause book and was shocked and saddened that it only had one paragraph out of 600+ pages (and the index didn’t list it under “A” for ablation but under “E” for endometrial ablation. YOU AND I know that discussions even in informal conversation DO NOT use correct medical terminology!!! One more reason I LOVE Dr. Edelman’s book – the index is impressive and user-friendly.)
It’s now three months since my ablation; my followup appointment confirms it a success – I’m very VERY happy. I have had extremely small barely-mentionable spotting on that day I would have had my period if the calendar could be trusted and only a few days of back pain that I always wonder if I lifted something wrong. “Oh yea, it’s my monthly cycle – take an Advil.” And I’m good.
I do not feel sad about no longer having my period; truly, I’m ecstatic. I didn’t really have any problems or issues with it overall when I did have Aunt-Flo visit – well, at least up until it got long and drawn out and unpredictable and spotty. I just figured it was because I was over 40. THANK YOU my DEAR friends for sharing and laughing about that appaloosa confusion so that I could learn about something new, realize that I had similar problems and that a solution was available.
A solution that was not that big of a deal to get through. The procedure took all of 90 seconds – not that I remember, of course, because I was put under anesthesia but still only spent a morning at the out-patient clinic, home by noon, and told to ‘take it easy’ for the weekend. (There’s other specific stuff but not all that restrictive – do your own research and respect doctor advice.)
Also, I was not aware how anemic I was and will be taking iron pills for awhile yet. Not a big deal; it’s ALL GOOD.
Back to the issue of Flow and the discussion of menstruation. Lots of the posts are about “the first one”. I only remember that I was told to consider that to be a man, you had to shave EVERY DAY and that a woman only had to deal with one week a month. (I didn’t buy that argument.) I was also MORTIFIED that my Dad was told and felt it necessary to bring up that I was lucky that I wasn’t an American Indian woman from the Old West Days who had to go spend a week in a tent away from the camp when it was ‘my time of the moon.” Yea, thanks Dad. I still wasn’t comforted.
I also remember being shocked to find out that men worked at the companies that sold tampons and pads. I guess I assumed that only women would run and operate such a business. I don’t know exactly how old I was then, but it really baffled me!
* Dr. Edelman is just starting her marketing campaign for her book and I was telling her all about my book blog. I told her I would be honored to read her book (I had read about 10 pages while waiting for the appointment – it’s so readable AND informative). She seemed eager to learn more about the book blogging community and I told her all about this FLOW discussion. A book signing opportunity is in the works and believe-you-me, I will be there to cheer her on. I hope anyone who has concerns about menopause will consider her book as a terrific source of reference and not just base credibility on my little hick blog – – Dr. Edelman is VERY impressive, knowledgable and caring. The goodreads.com description is here. CLICK!
And no, she’s not giving me anything (I was too shy to ASK for the book! – not too shy to ask if I could be hired to work on her in-the-works blog, but then, I’m a goofball) for giving this plug. I just like and admire her. and I THANK her.