I was in a parking lot this morning, head between my legs. I don’t actually think this is supposed to help with fainting, but I think I saw it on the Brady Bunch, or watched my mother do it at some point. I had to pull the car over. I was on the phone with my doctor; blood results were in and I felt the prickling sweat, my stomach rising, head light.
“Well the good news is that your cholesterol is excellent. 186. But.” Here it is. “But your FSH levels are still in the menopausal range. With polycystic ovaries, which is what we thought you had, the FSH levels usually return to normal when treated with birth control. But you’ve been on birth control for the past three months, and your FSH is still in the menopausal range, which isn’t good. Because once menopause happens your bone density goes down hill from there. So, I’m suggesting that you come in for a bone density test, which we normally don’t give until 45 or 50. You’re 36, and we need to see if you’re already…” Then he mentioned something related to osteoporosis. “You told me you’re not trying to have more kids, which is good. Because if you wanted to, you’d probably have to use a donor egg.” What is happening? Why is my body breaking down while I’m so young? My mother didn’t go into menopause until she was 52. “So, we’ll do a bone density test and then likely do hormone replacement therapy, because you really don’t want things going down hill at 36.” No?
May 15, bone density test scheduled followed by a consult, where he’ll likely talk to me about hormone replacement therapy. I am beyond. I don’t even know how to go from there. I am beyond. I’m just trying to breathe, to not faint, to remind myself that it can always be worse. But what I really want to know is what’s causing this? I didn’t realize quite how blessed I was to have these precious children, from my own eggs. I mean, I did, but not in this context.
I call my mother, head still between my knees. The kids in the back seat carrying on, harping out tunes, pushing, hitting, laughing. I tell her. She tells me she wouldn’t do hormone replacement therapy. “I hear it can cause cancer, and you’d be taking it for YEARS. Your grandmother had breast cancer, it’s in your family history; you can’t discount that. I would get a second opinion.”
A second opinion won’t change my FSH levels. “No, but a different doctor might have other suggestions, maybe a change in diet or exercise. I don’t know. Look, people get estimates on their houses, second and third opinions. You should at least do that with your own body.” I hate this.
To top it all off, Lucas is sick with a cough that hacks away until he vomits on the table (just happened again this morning). He can’t go to school like that, even though he has all the energy and wants desperately to play. Worse still, I’ve caught his cold and feel sick and irritable, short tempered, and want to get the fuck away from everyone. But I can’t. Phil is in New York. I have no relief. I want to hide under my covers and pretend this away. Instead, I’ll take Lucas back to the doctor because I can’t take this, hearing him suffer and cough all day. But I know this, at least, is temporary. Menopause at 36 isn’t. How is this happening?
I will also add this. Why, for the love of gravy, do they have to call it ovary FAILURE? I mean how totally negative. No one wants the word FAILURE attached to their identity. Why isn’t it called ovary GRADUATION? And I will try an endocrinologist. As I just said to Dulce over the phone, “I doubt they’re going to tell me anything worse than what I’m now being told, so really, what do I have to lose? It’s like taking the SAT twice. Where only your best score is revealed to schools. So here’s hoping to a better score. I never thought I’d say this, but here’s hoping I become “completely dense” from here on out.