Sunday, January 11, 2015

The pause

There are things a girls gets asked in her second life that seem not-so-horrifying as they did when she was a sweet-smelling first-time cancer lily.

Back when I was all shy and nervous about leaving the protective arms of the Agency (like the Beygency, but fewer wind machines), I had one of my last appointments with Dr. A and she wondered if I was interested in becoming post-menopausal. Like ending my post-nasal drip or emerging from post-partum depression. At the time, I felt a bit post-traumatic stress disorder and just wanted my always-on-time German train of a cycle back in my arms. I already felt so stripped of anything soft and girly that this was one more thing the Agency was trying to take away in their scorched earth policy.

There were trials! she said.

Estrogen is the enemy! she said.

It'll strip your bones of calcium and sap your sex drive, but it'll be one more weapon in your arsenal! she said.

Thanks for the offer, but no. I'll risk it.

I leapt through my life for the next three years, blissfully aligning my body with the moon and avoiding the phytoestrogens in soy and flax. I kept an eye on the research and laughed occasionally at the idea that I could have been saddled with a monthly shot and daily pills to keep the estrogen monster away.

Last September, as the Agency was once again preparing to loosen it's grip on my life and I was still reeling from having to dance amongst the sickos every three weeks for the foreseeable future, donning my very best "I'm not sick like you" face in the chemo hallway, Dr. A made the offer again.

Um, do you see estrogen is the enemy now, at least for you? she said.

Yes. Yes I do.

I still went away to think about it, staring lovingly at my stash of OB and imagining how I'd dress a dowager's hump.

I'll do it.

So in October, I had my first shot of Zoladex. This is how big the needle is that shoots a little pellet into my stomach every four weeks (Zoladex is on the left, a regular old needle on the right):

It feels like a garden tool going into my fatty middle bits. For the first two months I had a nurse from the Agency do it, so I benefited from a few years of experience.

After that, my Czech GP with the failing eyesight had to do it. The fact that she's Czech means nothing, other than the heavy accent, coupled with the hilarity of her peevish and laborious reading of the instructions and constant apologies that "this is a big needle, I'm sorry", makes it that much more surreal.

Because I am a cyborg built by two different scientists (the drunk one got to build the upper half of my body), it took a few months for the enforced menopause to kick in. My little alien parts put up a very good fight, but alas, lost to more modern science by the time December rolled around.

So now I'm on a little daily pill, just like the old, wild days of birth control madness, and I am officially without the power of baby-making.

I'm less sad about this than I thought I would be. In October, I went through a fair amount of days when I imagined myself transforming quickly into something more like this:

Than this:

I teared up on the regular about the possibility that Pete could soon be living with an emotional eunuch. Marriage contract in breach.

It hasn't been nearly as awful. And with this new high-intensity/low-intensity program I've now been doing for a week (so I'm obvs already in great shape and it's taken hold forever), I hope I'm tricking my muscles and bones into thinking I'm actually 26 and virile as shit.

Truthfully, I like old broads and there's nothing more I want in this world than to be a bona fide old lady in my 80s one day. 

From now on, I've decided to imagine my GP is DDL in the Unbearable Lightness of Being, with his giant forehead and perfectly studied Czech accent, demanding I take off my clothes.



  1. Since I have been post menopausal I tear up way more easily ... How does that fit in with your idea of emotional eunuch.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.