Menopause: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

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May 10, 2013 · 6 comments

in Aging and Life

The weather has been outstanding here in the Pacific Northwest over the past week or so. The sun has been shining and the temperature has been in the mid to high 70s and even reached over 80 on a few days. I’ve been in my element and spent as much time as possible outside soaking it up. Color me happy in capri pants, barefoot, and sipping iced tea on the patio!

Last Saturday I met a couple of friends for coffee at Starbucks and in honor of the great weather I ordered a Caramel Frappuccino. As I stood waiting for my drink I realized that it was the first cold Starbucks drink I’d enjoyed for quite some time because, over the course of the winter months, I switched my “go to” drink from a Frappuccino to a plain soy latte.

For the past few years I’ve taken solace in cool things: the big fan beside my bed, the fans in my offices, sleeveless tops, and cold coffee drinks, all in an attempt to counter relentless hot flashes and the warmer temperature I felt in general.

I pondered the fact that I no longer made it a habit to drink icy drinks; I realized that that my fans had been relatively silent in recent months, and I had even felt cold on occasion during the winter months.

Good news all of this!

With all the benefits menopause brought into my life a few years ago–and there have been many–it also heralded in some lesser known and talked about symptoms that I’m still learning about. I’ve read that after menopause, without the unpredictability of hormones affecting our moods, women become more like who they were at about eleven-years-old before hormones kicked in. I like the idea of returning to my self; the concept matches my experience.

Recently I read a post at Friend for the Ride: Encouraging Words for the Menopause and Midlife Roller Coaster that talked about how the skin on the soles of our feet thins after menopause causing some women to experience discomfort. The post referenced a Q&A with Dr Patricia Yarberry Allen in which the doctor says:

Aging results in loss of fat below the bottom of the foot, even as unwanted fat is gained in most other parts of the body. This fat once provided cushioning, and we now find ourselves walking on the foot bones and skin.

Sounds uncomfortable, even painful, doesn’t it? It definitely sounds like bad news for a barefoot girl like me.

A couple of years ago I gave up wearing shoes with heels due to an undiagnosed Morton’s neuroma that caused me, once too often, to remove my shoes in the parking lot as I walked toward my office and continue in bare feet. I was okay with that; I even welcomed a reason to go out and buy a few pair of cute flats at Aerosoles.

To mess with going barefoot just seems wrong though. What could be better than the feeling of bare feet buried in warm sand or walking across a velvety green lawn? What better way of pampering oneself than to go for a pedi and then go barefoot to show off the latest color? What says “freedom” more than going barefoot?

So yes, menopause has its benefits. This, I’m sad to say, isn’t one of them.

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