My experience though Menopause can best be described as horrendous.
I wish the Australian Menopause Centre was around to help me back then.
It all started when my periods stopped at around 47 years of age and seemed to continue on and off for another ten years or more.
Here are three of my worst memories;
- At one point, my night sweats were so bad that I would have to stack piles of towels and cotton t-shirts beside my bed and every hour or two throughout the night I would wake up saturated with sopping wet bed sheets and pillowcases.
I’d change my t-shirt and lay fresh towels down and exhaustedly fall back to sleep, only to wake up an hour or two later to do it all again. This went on for months and months on end, night after night after night.
Each morning I’d have to strip the bed and air it all day, wash all the bed linen, towels and t-shirts, then make the bed just before I went to sleep.
Lucky I was single at the time, I’d hate to have put a partner through all that too.
- I’m amazed at how much my body shape changed during and after menopause and not for the better. No matter how much excess weight I’ve carried on and off throughout my younger life, I always had a defined waistline but now that’s filled out.
The change to my body I dislike the most is the thickening of my upper waist between my bust and my belly button. It protrudes out in the shape of a turtle shell.
- My most embarrassing moment during Menopause happened when I was live on national TV hosting a jewellery show on TVSN, the Shopping Network.
To set the scene; like the majority of shows you host on TVSN, this one went for 1 hour and I was presenting it on my own. The cameras are all robotic and there is no floor manager, so all your instructions come from the control room through your ear piece and the only way you can communicate back to them is verbally but that means everyone watching hears it too.
The only person with me in the studio is the stage manager, who is very busy setting up and bringing you in each new product and product card and taking away the one you’ve just featured.
The camera was on a close-up of my hand when I had an enormous hot flush and suddenly it turned into a mini waterfall with beads of sweat pouring out of each and every pore then dripping down my hand around the jewellery.
The crew in the control room saw it happening and they switched from a close up of my hand to a wider mid-shot of me only to find that the same thing was happening throughout my entire body. You could see I was sweating profusely through every pore as it was starting to run down my face, neck and arms.
The director quickly went to a still photograph of the item I was talking about, so I could grab a bundle of tissues from nearby and quickly mop up my face and hands, while all the time continuing to talk glowingly about that piece of jewellery and I’m proud to say that I didn’t miss a beat. I’m sure very few people watching would have known what I was going through.
My hot flushes happened several times more throughout that live television show, which, at the time, felt like it was going for much longer than its scheduled hour.
The hot flushes continued relentlessly during many other live TV shows after that, but we soon worked out a signal that I could give to the crew in the control room, whenever I could feel another hot flush coming on, so they could quickly go to other vision while I kept mopping up the flood of perspiration.
You’d think with me losing what felt like bucket loads of sweat that I’d have lost weight in the process…sadly no!
Luckily, AMC is around now to provide relief from these sorts of debilitating symptoms.
Susie Elelman AM
Author, TV & Radio Broadcaster