I feel like I have won the lottery...

I know I still may have a year of fluctuating hormone levels to go. And I may yet have more severe symptoms. But my doctor's office just called to tell me that my bloodwork shows I am menopausal, not perimenopausal. And I couldn't be happier.

This is exciting news to me because I have been four weeks without any hormones in my body and I feel great! The only symptom I have had is mild hot flashes. And they have been very tolerable. For what I've experienced thus far, I wouldn't even think of taking HRT. I have had no mood swings, irritability or weeping. I've even lost weight since stopping the birth control pills. I feel more in control of my eating than I was before, which is exactly the opposite of what I was expecting. I have always feared that I would reach this stage of my life and just blow up like a balloon. (I've heard horror stories from a lot of women!) I feared I would start crying all the time and be impossible to live with. But none of my fears are happening.

I have friends who suffered with symptoms for ten years. So the fact that I am turning 52 in May and I am menopausal with a lack of emotional symptoms thus far (except when my stress level is really high) is cause for celebration in my book! My maternal grandmother told me she had no symptoms other than the obvious end of her cycles. And I always hoped I would take after her. But since I'm an emotional person by nature, I was concerned that I would not be like her (she was quite unemotional and stoic).

My hot flashes may get worse. But I am just amazed at how good I feel considering my new status. No matter what happens in the next couple of years, the years leading up to this point have been really uneventful. And for that I am so incredibly thankful. Because I know a lot of women have a very difficult time. I wanted to share my experience on the Internet because there is a lot of "here's what you can expect" that apparently isn't the case for everyone.

Now, the not so good news about my bloodwork is my cholesterol. I'm really going to have to get more serious about what I eat and not letting exercise cover up for my poor choices. My total cholesterol is 278. My LDL is 198. And my HDL is 64. My ratio is average (with the good HDL), but I want the numbers to be better. I have no other risk factors. My BP is always perfect. I don't smoke. I maintain a healthy weight. And I exercise religiously.

At this point in my life, I can't begin to tell you how glad I am that I started working out at 31 and never stopped. It's the best investment I've made in my health (besides never smoking). At this age, you really cannot take your health for granted. I've read that women who exercise have an easier time going through menopause and have milder hot flashes. I am proof of that. And I don't even want to think about what my cholesterol would be if I had not been working out for the last twenty years. Not to mention, I could not have controlled my weight without it.

My CBC is normal. My Vitamin D is a little low and I'm going to take prescription strength Vitamin D for eight weeks to raise it. But at the end of a month full of screenings, my only real challenge is to lower my cholesterol. I feel blessed. However, I do know that I cannot ignore my high cholesterol as I get older. And I don't want to take a statin. So I have to work on this! And this will be a challenge for someone who lives to eat, as I do!

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