Back in April…
Two days ago, I cleaned out my bathroom drawer and found sanitary napkins, tampons, etc. And I was like, oh my goodness, I will never use these again! A part of me was relieved to be rid of my monthly bouts with endometriosis pain.
However, another part of me remembered that my uterus, ovaries, and cervix were all gone. Then I wanted to cry.
I have been forced into menopause at an early age. Since my ovaries couldn’t be saved, that means severely reduced female-y hormones. Plus, I was injected with GNRH (for my endometriosis), which fast-forwarded me into the menopause state.
Lord, I want to have estrogen! I want to have all those reproductive parts that are part of being a woman!
The vain person in me was like, I don’t want to look like an older-than-my-husband kind of wife. I don’t want to deal with hot flashes, dry skin, osteoporosis, intimacy issues with Edric, and whatever else comes with menopause.
When I first opened up to my doctor about the depression I was struggling with, shortly after my surgery, I asked her if this was normal, to feel so down and sad. She was kind enough to be understanding but she also reminded me not to wallow in self-pity (in a nice way):
Edric also told me, “Babe, this is our new normal. We have to embrace it.”
At times, I really struggle with wanting the old normal. And it’s hard to accept that I have lost a part of me that can’t be returned. At the same time, I know that God has allowed this in my life, and I trust His heart and His love for me.
It’s been three months since then and I am enjoying being a mom again to Caylee, even as a menopausal woman. How cool is that?! I get to breastfeed even if I am in menopause!
Edric also reassured me, “I will always love you, no matter what.” Even if I look like a Lola beside him? He he he. Praise God my husband is committed to me, for better or for worse!
My mom, who always manages to see the bright side of things, also reminds me that joy is a choice. I can wallow in self-pity and sadness, or I can choose to rejoice.
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)
We can rejoice when we are “in the Lord,” when we focus on Him. Otherwise, circumstances can feel overwhelming, and we tend to lose a correct perspective on the issues we face. God is dealing with me in the area of choosing joy over sadness. I can blame the change in my hormones and use that as an excuse to give in to the depressive thoughts, or I can do my part and choose joy.
Depression is a real problem, and I don’t want to minimize it for those who are struggling with it, who need professional expertise because it’s clinical. At the same time, I know that God is a miracle-maker. He can help us to overcome depression and feelings of loss, sadness, and hopelessness.
What I continue to learn in this season of going through the valley is that we are responsible for what’s within our control, and we must surrender our anxiety to the Lord. We do not know the future, but He holds it. We may face similar or graver problems, but He will supply the grace over and over again!
As I went on a jog this morning, I thanked the Lord for bringing me this far. When I jog, I feel creaky and my joints kind of hurt from being unused, and I can feel the menopausal fat that has collected around my tummy jiggling (ew), but the fact that I can finish a nearly 4 K run is a miracle in itself. I am going to push and work hard to age gracefully, but I am also going to tell myself that this body is temporal. I get to trade it in, missing parts and all, for a new and perfect one when I get to heaven!