When I was forty-one, my brother, mom,  and I went on a birthday road trip.
Our birthdays fall within two weeks of one another.
We had gotten onto the highway: mom driving, the brother sprawled out in the back seat (as he does not drive), and I in the passenger seat.
As always, we were yammering away, laughing and talking about road trips taken when we were kids when I began to realize I was getting warmer.
It began slowly: a noticeable increase in my temperature and I was shifting around in my seat when mom noticed.
She asked me what was wrong and I told her I was on fire.
Mom laughed and teased me that I was having a hot flash.
I was shifting forward on the seat. My butt was getting hotter and hotter, and I was desperate to figure out the air conditioner when my eyes alit upon the seat-warmer button.
And it was lit up.
Me (screeching): Why the hell is the seat warmer on???
Mom (laughing): Oh yeah! Yesterday, your niece was cold she put the seat warmer on. I guess we forgot to turn it off.
Me (turning button off and immediately feeling relief in my posterior): Ya think?
I began having mini hot flashes in 2018.
It is also when my periods began stopping for a few months and then came back.
Those hot flashes were easy to handle.
I warmed up and would kick off the blanket.
In a minute it was over, and I was back to being cold again.
This continued for several years.
That is, until now.
What I thought I knew about hot flashes turned out to be totally false.
Take this morning.
I had to run into work (Loki knocked over three plants, and I was replacing them) and dropped a plant behind the cooler while putting it back.
I was trying to get it out when I began to have a hot flash.
I immediately was on fire.
Sweat popping out on my forehead.
My clothes suddenly sodden.
I turn a lovely shade of pink.
Not a gentle pink where I look beautiful, but a neon pink that suffuses my face and neck, causing people to look at me in askance as I am holding my hair up and away from my neck fanning myself with anything I can find.
I have been known to jump into the freezer/cooler or run outside in the snow/rain to cool off.
I was asked by someone who has never had a hot flash what it was like.
My equating it to being hotter than hell was met with scoffing.
I had to be making it up; nothing could be that bad.
Nothing could be that bad?
Let me describe one of my hot flashes for you.
And it does not start with my rear end.
I begin to feel a little prickly.
A little bit of warmth begins to make itself known.
Oh yep. Here we go.
Off comes the sweater.
If my hair is down, I clip it up.
The fire has begun to surge through my veins, and I can begin to feel the heat rising up my chest and neck.
Ick! My body is now popping with sweat.
And yet my temperature continues to rise.
You know in the cartoons how they depict heat with little wavy lines rising upwards?
Yeah, I swear that is me.
My forehead is beading, and it is running down my cheeks. (Okay the last little bit is an over-exaggeration, but still).
And still, up goes my internal temperature.
I stand there not daring to move, because if I do, I am confident the dragon whose mouth I am standing in will in fact consume me in fire.
After a moment or so, I can begin to feel the heat slowly leave my body as I am sucking back cold water to freeze the internal beast.
Now here is the funny thing that I have noticed.
I do believe my hot flashes are coming during the time that I would normally be having my period.
I noticed this last month and this month as well. I was paying attention.
Sure enough as I was becoming more and more irritable, I was also becoming hotter and hotter.
I am now in experiment mode.
Will it happen again next month or am I full of hooey?
~ 6/26/21

Jay-lyn Doerksen

Jay-lyn is a woman who is in her late forties, who was thrilled to discover that she’s in menopause.

Tired of the bloating and emotional turmoil, the thought that it would be gone was most welcome…until she discovered that neither one goes away. They just get worse.

Jay-lyn is also the mother to a wonderful young man who is twelve going on twenty (but really only thirteen). Her son’s impending teenage years, mixed with her midlife change has her thinking she’d better prepare the fallout shelters now.

She’s also the mom to three fur babies.

Here’s to normalizing menopause as another cycle in life 🙂

Follow her blog, The Wonderful and Wacky World of One Single Mom.

The Tides of Menopause is a medical explanation for what Jay-lyn describes here.