“Are you going to grab this bull by the horns or not? Well, are you?”
“Yes,” I said. I looked up from my fumbling fingers on my lap. I see he was unconvinced. Perhaps, if he could look into my eyes, he’d know I meant it. I’ll do my very best. Buck it up.
It wasn’t quite the bedside manner I had hoped for with my doctor, suffice it to say, especially considering our topic was menopause or possible menopause. Since we met in his office and not in the clinic room, he left the white coat behind. He appeared casual in a baby blue jogging outfit, energized as if, in fact, he’d jogged to work or perhaps jogged in the clinic hallways between appointments. Someone got enough shut-eye. Hint: it wasn’t me. No white lab coat meant no awkward, intimate check-up. Just the straight talk.
“If you want to eat a piece of pie with some ice cream you need to run a seven-minute mile to earn that.”
“I can’t do a seven-minute mile. Did I tell you about my aching back?”
“That’s not my department,” he said. “Motrin up.”
I half expected a bird to fly through the window and perch on his bushy eyebrows that were likely to sprout wildflowers at any moment or perhaps something less nurturing. He’d just as easily lead a marching band, swinging a baton, with that happy frown of a grey mustache; or else take part in the generous drinking of ale on a hillside, pausing to twirl an inevitably soaked beer-foamed mustache.
“Are you drinking?” He must have read my mind. “A glass of wine is just empty calories. Two or three of those a week and that’s an extra thousand calories a month. An extra pound a month. Think about that.” A delightful thought. “You decide. The choice is to work out twice as much or eat half as less.”
It occurred to me that my steady fitness regime of dancing, running, swimming, and the boot camping I had endured my whole life had been thwarted in a matter of months. Canceled out. So it goes, in the search for missing estrogen our bodies think they’re helping by producing more fat, gently coaxing the estrogen like it really deserves it. In discovering this fat, the body is fooled into thinking it has found its missing estrogen.
What a load of crap is this? Hormones are wicked and stupid. That’s what they are. And mean. This bears repeating. Hormones are wicked, stupid and mean. And unaccommodating and dishonest and confused. Deep down, they’re tricksters. If I could pull their hairs, I would. Hard. So there. That would probably hurt me though and I suppose they don’t have hair anyway. I’m at their mercy. Dammit, Jim!
Doc went on to tell a rich tale about his stay in Brussels when he was a med student there. I spaced his big reveal, you know, the whole purpose to his story. Having trouble concentrating again? Another point for menopause.
“Seven percent of women hit menopause before the age of forty,” he said, checking something on his computer.
This affects me how? “Before forty, you say?” I’m on the other side of the tracks now, doc, and further down. If I do the basic math and round my number, I get 50 AND 40 ≠ 50. We’re definitely not talking anything before 40. All of a sudden, forty seems so…young.
We agree to a full panel of labs before I hear a light tapping on his door. Our time together was up.
On an unrelated point, but vital to any conversation, have you heard of the new gene-editing technology called CRIPSR? Here’s the fascinating article all about it. It’s said that it will change medicine forever. I hope they find the cure to cancer because they should definitely concentrate on that. Fingers crossed. Please find the cure to cancer. But after they figure out cancer, they really should figure out a way to rewire women’s hormones. We really got the short end of the stick here. Yeah? I think so. I’m sure it would be a simple task, right?
Note: Please don’t rely on this for medical advice. I’m exaggerating and leaving out whole chunks of our conversation. I’m poking a little fun at my doctor because I can’t help myself. He would get a kick out of it.