“Listen to your body. Your body knows best.” This is a mantra I have used over and over with my kids and myself. Age though has shown me that for women, listening to our bodies takes a lot of work. Physically our bodies are changing week by week, day by day. Depending on where we are in a cycle, we may feel fit and thin and a day later, exhausted and chubby. Our hormones are of course our friends, but sometimes they like to mess around with us physically and emotionally.
I have definitely entered perimenopause, the years before menopause actually occurs. When I last asked my PCP to run tests on my hormones, everything of course looked “perfect”. Blah! Sometimes lab work makes me angry. As an intrapersonal individual, I spend a lot of time listening to my body. I know things are off. My body is on fire in the morning and my makeup has usually sweated off before entering the classroom. I wake up thinking I am going to burn to death during the night if I have had foods that don’t agree with my body. I’ve gained 30 pounds despite continuing to eat mostly healthy foods. My energy levels have gone down. I no longer enjoy high intensity activities. My body now asks me to do more yoga, Pilates, and walking. When I don’t honor it, it throws a tantrum and workouts cease. By listening to my body, I am aware of so many things that lab work is not able to detect. I know my body is changing. Sometimes I struggle not knowing if these changes are RA related, hormonal, or my guess, both. I wake up at night with eyes so dry I am afraid to close them. I told my class the other day, “unfortunately, my brain sometimes likes to take little breaks in the middle of conversations.” Are the dry eyes and brain fog due to rheumatoid arthritis or perimenopause? I have several other symptoms that could be RA or perimenopause or maybe worsened by the other. My rheumy says, “they are still treated in the same way.”
Having now gone through puberty, pregnancy, RA changes, and currently perimenopause, I can say with certainty that our bodies are never mundane. I gained a lot of weight with both pregnancies and lost the weight quickly. I was actually surprised at how my body bounced back after giving birth. I was happy with the outcome. With perimenopause, I struggle. I practice a lot of self-love and my inner self feels happy and complete. It’s the outside that needs more of that self-love. I have started adding supplements that support a woman’s body during perimenopause. Mid-life is a beautiful time. There are so many things I love about it and I want to round out the bliss that comes with age by figuring out why my physical body is not in balance with my emotional/mental state. I have made it the last 12 years with rheumatoid arthritis, surely I can make it through perimenopause too, right?