unhealthy symptoms, unhealthy humor

This post is brought to you by Menopause, a Man, and a little Miss.

For the past two weeks my boobs have itched like motherfcukers. Turn away now. Nipples. Warned you. My nipples have been peeling and itchy, sensitive and weepy. Yes, sometimes I find a dried water leak, a crust of yellow and white skin. Beyond these farm-fresh details, the two of ’em seem to be battling it out for the heavyweight title of Grand Boobah. They feel heavy, a mudslide along a peninsula. I’ve got Florida boobs.

I’m on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for menopause. I’m 37 years old. My mother was 52 when she got all hot and flashy. For over a year I’ve had to regulate my hormones with a cocktail of treats: Androgel Testosterone Gel for Men, Estradiol, Prometrium. Oh, solo mio.

I feel like crying and withdrawing from the world, I’m not motivated to write or to go to the gym, no motivation to eat healthfully. I’m impatient, not myself. At the heart of it is this: I’ve been hiding from writing about a life that’s not doing much living.

Yes, I’ve done wonderful things, family barbecues, trips to Newport, new farm stands with the kids, Hamptons luncheons and sleepovers, new friend outings, old friend gatherings, art project afternoons and lessons about Mary Cassat, but that’s all what I’m doing, not what I’m living. Where have my real emotions gone?

Usually they come here, to the best blog ever, for a rest or rant, hoping to connect, to know I’m not alone, that it’s okay. I need someone to tell me it’s a hormone imbalance, they can fix it. Not to hear the other Google Search result answers and the surprisingly unknown symptoms of breast cancer (peeling nipples, heavy breasts, itching). Fcuk off.

My gut on this is that it’s a hormonal imbalance. Having to layer up on testosterone, estradiol (estrogen) and prometrium (progesterone) is not a hat trick. It’s a cranky mother who on top of all that doesn’t know a single girl assigned to my girl’s classroom.

Add to that Phil’s health
He’s been having more episodes of V-tak and A-Fib. And he’s tired a lot lately, the way he was when his ejection fraction dipped way down. He comes home, crawls into bed and takes a nap. We’re falling apart.

I end up going there. Playing the what if game of tomorrows that may never come, thinking, “Jesus, if Phil dies, who will walk Abigail down the aisle?” Then, I think, “Don’t worry, she doesn’t have any friends in her new class, no bridesmaids… no wedding.” I go on like this in an absurd, shortsighted circle, but at least it gets me to spin and twirl.

Calling the doctor tomorrow. Dreading that she requests that I drive into the city so she may have a meeting with my leaking Grands Biscuits. Can’t she just send me for a blood test somewhere? I hate this!

At least my mommy is here with me.

“Stephanie, stop flashing me your boobies, for goodness sake!”



  1. I’m so sorry you’re mis; I hope you and your tatas feel better soon. I’m on HRT because I have no girl parts anymore due to ovarian cancer (not even a cervix, I think I may be legally a boy), but I’m only on estradiol so no havoc wreaked, thank you Jesus. That’s quite a cocktail they have you on; hope they get the recipe right soon.

  2. Plenty of women have gone batshit insane on fertility and menopause treatments. Those hormones can turn you into another person you don’t even recognize. Here’s hoping you can get all balanced out, lady, and back to living again.

  3. I feel your pain on the hormone issues, Steph! I’ve been on the hormone cocktail for many years, been through Hell and back, and it’s quite a feat of bioengineering to get them balanced. Earlier this year, when nothing seemed to be working, one of my docs recommended a pelvic ultrasound, and we discovered that my endometrium was thickened and I had a polyp. Polyps are especially sensitive to hormones and can cause unexplained bleeding. One D&C later, and I have my fingers, toes and eyes crossed that this will at least help!

    My point is, if you haven’t had a pelvic ultrasound yet, you might discuss it with your doctor.

  4. I was literally wondering what happened to you yesterday out of the blue- as I know I subscribed here but no new posts. I am very sorry to hear this. I wish I could do more but I will pray for you (no I am not a relgious nut,. I believe the more good intentions your way the better though. xo

  5. go see cristina at element natural healing in cobble hill. she’s worth the wait. i’m serious. i’ve had my life changed by comments on your blog (for real). maybe this will help you.

  6. Nothing really profound to say other than THAT SUCKS and I hope they can finally fix this for you.

    And also Phil….Good that you have your family support there and to be honest, I think it’s normal to go to THAT place. My wasband was in the military and when he would deploy I couldn’t help but think of the what ifs. No one really talks about that, but once I confided in a fellow military wife I realized that we all do it behind closed doors….whether it’s an ailment or a job, it’s human to ask what if.

  7. Have been wondering where you have been and I am sorry that it has not been somewhere fabulous. Wishing strength, peace and improved mental and physical health to you, Phil and your family. Sending you a virtual hug from Austin where it’s still 90 at 10 PM!

  8. Hi, Stephanie.

    I am sorry to hear that you are not feeling well. It sounds awful and frustrating. I have no input of my own to lend really – I don’t even have boobs. But I really hope you (and Phil) feel better soon.

    I will say that when my mom was on hormone treatment she hated it and eventually just went off all of it. I’m not sure that was the best choice but she felt it was the best choice for her.

    Sigh. I hope you feel better.

  9. I had a feeling the moaning whores were knocking you down. I could barely leave the bathtub at my worst but after a lot of experimenting with different cocktails figured out what works and am doing much better. Not a 100% but compared to how I felt before 80% feels pretty darn good. Go to your doctor – making some adjustments to what you are taking or the amount of each could make a huge difference in how you feel.

  10. Don’t you believe that if men had to go through menopause (or childbirth or monthly cramps or…), there would be all kinds of fabulous therapies to alleviate the suffering? C’mon women scientists…keep working!

    Meanwhile – so sorry to hear you’re under the weather. Courage and strength from here. Looking forward to hearing what the doc has to say, and to more updates from you. I miss ya!

  11. I’m 54 and went through menopause for 10 looong years au natural. Tried oral HRT for a week and thought I was going to hurt someone. I am now using a bio-identical hormone replacement therapy called SottoPelle with testosterone and estrogen ‘pellets’ implanted into my butt cheek every 3 months and daily oral progesterone. (I have not had a hysterectomy.) My energy level, libido, ability to SLEEP! have improved in a life-changing manner. I get labs drawn prior to the app’t with my Dr and the pellet dosage is customized for me. Somewhat expensive, ($225 every three months plus the labs) but my husband says we will do whatever it takes to budget for it! Worth checking out. Good luck.

  12. Sallie: That’s quite a cocktail they have you on.


    I know fuck-all but if it were me, I’d chuck in the lot.

    1. Author

      At age 37, I can’t scrap the drugs. I’d be in trouble without estrogen there to protect my bones. Sucks. I am giving it another month, then I’m going to see my doctor. I had planned on going but then cancelled, wondering if the Minoxidil was causing the breast stuff. I doubt it, but I’ll see. TORTURE.

  13. Stephanie, I am so sad to hear you are not doing well. With everything on your plate, of course you are overwhelmed. I too would drive myself nuts over the potential “other diagnosis”, hell yes! But with you being on HRT since a relatively short time and probably quite a bit of adjustment needed over time… how should it NOT be a hormonal imbalance?
    I understand that you don’t have the head space right now… but it might be worth looking into the link between osteoporosis and dairy consumption. Ironically, in countries where people consume no or very little dairy, osteoporosis is largely unknown – whereas in the U.S., where people are “trained” to believe dairy consumption prevents osteoporosis, it is rampant.

    As for Phil’s health… this SUCKS. SUCKS. SUCKS. He is dealing with seriously scary sh*t, and I hope so much that he will be well. I have no other words.

    Be kind and gentle with yourself. You are beautiful and perfect as you are. Sending you hugs.

  14. Do yourself a favor and google magnesium deficiency and heart arrhythmias (and Dr. Carolyn Dean or Morley Robbins) and then start taking magnesium yesterday.

    Then google iodine and Lynne Farrow. And then order some iodine.

    Classic cases, both of you.

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