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Menopause from the otherside

June 4, 2009
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Over the past few years, I have had the opportunity to speak with a number of women who went through menopause prematurely due to chemotherapy.  Some of these ladies were in their early 30’s and were completely unprepared for the severe hot flashes and symptoms associated with the abrupt onset of menopause.  Many felt the medical community did not take their symptoms seriously.   Perhaps if their doctor had experienced the “change” he would have been more empathetic.
My friend Jane sent me the article below.  It is a wonderfully insightful view of menopause from a man’ s perspective.

Dana Jennings

New York Times Online, June 2, 2009, 9:37 am

My Brief Life as a Woman

Dana Jennings. (Lonnie Schlein/The New York Times)

As my wife and I sat on the couch one night this past winter, reading and half-watching the inevitable HGTV, I started sweating hard and my face got so fevered and flushed that I felt as if I were peering into an oven.

I turned to Deb and said, “Man, I’m having a wicked hot flash.” And she said, “Me, too.” Then we laughed. You laugh a lot — unless your hormones are making you cry — when you’re having menopause with your wife.

I was in the middle of treatment for an aggressive case of prostate cancer last winter, and it included a six-month course of hormone therapy. My Lupron shots suppressed testosterone, which is the fuel for prostate cancer.

When your testosterone is being throttled, there are bound to be side effects. So, with the help of Lupron, I spent a few months aboard the Good Ship Menopause with all the physical baggage that entails. It’s a trip that most men don’t expect to take.

The side effect that surprised me most were the hot flashes — not that I got them, I was expecting that, but by how intense they were. They often woke me in the middle of the night and made me sweat so much that I drenched the sheets. In midwinter I’d walk our miniature poodle, Bijou, wearing shorts and a T-shirt. I sometimes felt as if Deb could fry eggs on my chest. (It’s also a bit disconcerting when your hot flashes are fiercer than your wife’s.)

Read full article here: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/02/my-brief-life-as-a-woman/

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