Sleepless nights (into weeks)



Hot flashes

Cold spells

Inability to concentrate

Inability to multitask

Weight gain

Uncontrollable crying

Urge to throttle those within arms’ reach (sometimes.. but without a reason)

Can’t you hear a sympathetic male voiceover touting the latest drug to cure this?  He doesn’t exist people.  I’ve turned over every rock out there trying to find him and his magical cure.

I’ve talked to my family doctor, a mental health professional and my ob/gyn.  My thyroid checked out just fine.  Ditto to all tests that have been run over the past 24 months.   I consulted with a nutritionist who suggested I take in more protein but otherwise, my diet was sound.  No one can give me an answer and all I know is that I feel awful and out of control.

For an otherwise healthy woman, I kept asking, “perhaps menopause?

You are too young for menopause was the response from the medical professionals followed by, “it can’t be that bad now can it?”

W-R-O-N-G mister.

My sister friends  nodded their heads in understanding when I explained.   Try soy.  Try Amberen.  Try exercise.   Go back to yoga.

Now into my 6th year of this unexplained craziness I have come to the conclusion that the fertility drugs injected into my body over 17 years ago have brought on the early gift of peri-menopause.

Vaguely I remember my specialist talking about potential long term side effects but quite frankly I would have ingested anything  at that time to make myself stay pregnant.

I read package inserts and in the teeny print was a simple statement suggesting that a common side effect of many fertility drugs is accelerated menopausal symptoms.

By shooting myself in the hip for a year with a magical concoction of heaven only knows what destined to make me a mother,  all I’ve truly accomplished is to confuse my body’s internal clock and convince it that my body is much older than it biologically is .  I supercharged those egg machines for almost 18 months to produce, produce, PRODUCE  for IVF and other such treatments.  No wonder my body is confused.

Quite simply,  I am living through the  slow painful death of my ovaries.

But you can’t carry around a space heater, floor fan and multiple changes of clothes every day.  I need practical solutions to keep my life on track and to make me more bearable to be around.

Now enduring year 6 of this progressively worsening condition, I have run out of traditional options.  My ob/gyn refuses to perform a hysterectomy on my pre-50 year old body not wanting me to be exposed to risks associated with hormone replacement therapy.  I did have an ablation last year but all that did was make me feel terrible for a few days.

No pills are on the market to treat extended menopausal symptoms.

So I began research alternative medicine and a homeopathic approach to managing my symptoms.   After 30 days of living as a human guinea pig, I have found a combination of supplements and dietary changes that appear to be calming the physical and mental symptoms.

Not only is what I’m taking important, but when I take these pills has influenced my body to that point where I find that the schedule is just as important as the supplement itself.

For $50, I created my own treatment of supplements, vitamins and minerals that have stemmed the tide and brought some relief.  It has taken about 30 days for my body to adjust to the change with the worst effect being slight nausea.  That however, has also abated over the weeks.


  1. Two multi-vitamins in gummy form for easy digestion with breakfast
  2. Black Cohash to help with the hot flashes and cold spells  (think naturally occurring estrogen)
  3. B12 for energy and concentration
  4. A gulp of almond milk for omega 3, magnesium and calcium


  1.  8 ounces of almond milk for the vitamin E to combat the temperature swings and  fatigue


  1.  1000 mg of calcium chews for my bones
  2. An extra B12 on those days when my mind is a little foggy


  1. Black Cohash
  2. Melotonin to help me sleep

When the hot flashes interrupt my day, I add in Primrose oil in the morning and evening as an additional supplement.  If I’m feeling extra tired I take an extra B12.

I learned that I cannot take the supplements all at once or they upset my stomach.  Spreading this plan out over the day seems to make eating a bit easier for me.  I’ve also found that the chew formulations of the vitamins and vitamin D also cause less upset to my stomach.

The last phase of my experiment is to return to the yoga mat.  Yoga has been associated with a lessening of menopausal symptoms and it certainly reduces stress.  As a yogi for most of my adult life, I realize what I have missed on my year hiatus from a regular practice.  A home practice will be embedded into my daily schedule to help keep my body under control.

I’m certainly not a doctor or a nutritionist but a woman waging combat against her body.  I tried the traditional approaches for dealing with menopause but they didn’t work for me and the circumstances of having a prolonged menopausal period induced by infertility drugs.   Don’t just take my advice but talk to your health care provider as well for options that are best for your body.    There is much discussion on the Internet, from both reputable and questionable sources,  and no true consensus appears when addressing the issue of treating menopause for women.  But for this woman and this body, I have found the secret sauce that is holding at bay some of the symptoms associated with getting older.

Here’s to Good Health!

Did you ever have a year that you knew was the year?  2013 has been a long time coming as every aspect of my life changes from being a single parent to empty nester; from divorcee to newlywed; and metropolitan city girl to rural I’m not sure.  But the one thing I do know is that I’ll be writing about it at WE Magazine!  I continue to celebrate the launch of my book Slices of Life:  The Art and Craft of Memoir Writing, blogging everywhere and writing the Happening Hero column for Bucks Happenings.  When not writing, I facilitate writing workshops both in the Pennsylvania area and virtually.  If you want to tell your life story and don’t have the time, let Cheryl help you with a customized virtual class.  Create that legacy for your family.    Mine is one crazy life but I wouldn’t have it any other way.  Visit my website at and follow along both there and on WE for some funny and practical advice on making your life a little less stressful.