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.

{ 6 comments }

Barbara Younger May 10, 2013 at 8:40 am

And what’s even worse for me is that something happened a few years ago that if I walk barefoot at the beach, the sand makes cuts on my toes. Thinning skin, I guess? So I have to wear my walking shoes, which is fine off season but a bit much in August.

Linda Hoye May 10, 2013 at 8:50 am

Oh my goodness! I keep telling myself that the benefits of having reached this age far outweigh any negatives and that’s true, but this foot thing has me quite annoyed.

Dee Ready May 10, 2013 at 9:03 am

Dear Linda, thanks for this posting. I never knew about the skin thinning on the bottom of our feet. I’m 77 now and have gotten used to this, but your posting has made me aware that walking barefoot–as I do all around the ouse and in the yard–is different now from what it was when I was younger. Life, indeed, is full of change. Peace.

Linda Hoye May 11, 2013 at 8:13 am

I’m encouraged to hear that you’ve grown accustomed to this “feature” of menopause, Dee. That gives me hope!

Sherrey Meyer May 11, 2013 at 7:23 am

Oh, Linda, I giggled at the site of your title! And the feet thing? Yes, it’s a negative for girls our age. In addition to the thinning skin and the diminishing fat on the soles of the feet, I underwent a major reconstructive surgery on my left foot a few years back which took this Southern girl’s barefoot days away from her, inside or out, and eliminated the joy of cute sandals (because I now require orthotics!) from my summer wardrobe. Sigh . . . definitely a negative accompanied by some pluses.

Blessings,
Sherrey

Linda Hoye May 11, 2013 at 8:11 am

I suppose the upside is that there are things, surgical or otherwise, that can aid us in our foot woes. Message to young women: enjoy every barefoot moment you can while you can!

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