Month one of Lupron: I kind of love menopause

I had my second shot of Lupron today, which means month one is officially over. And I’m actually looking forward to month two.

But it wasn’t a smooth sailing month by any means. It started, as you know, with a week of elevated estrogen and therefore elevated pain. Five days in I had my first hot flash in the middle of the night –which actually wasn’t too terrible, but other menopausal symptoms followed –including indigestion that was almost as painful as the endometriosis cramping (and made me question at first if the Lupron was even working). It didn’t matter what I ate; even a handful of almonds for breakfast or salad at lunch left me doubled over with gas pain 20 minutes later.

A couple weeks in, I started to notice the endometriosis pain subsiding (if my original pain was at a 6, and my pain the first week on Lupron was at a 10, then I was coming down to about a 4). I therefore walked into my appointment with the specialist hopeful about the treatment.

The specialist thought that maybe my c section scar was giving me trouble as well, saying sometimes scar tissue can form around nerves and constrict them. So they wanted to try an injection of lidocaine into the edges of my scar to try and loosen up the nerves in hopes that it would help some of my pain. I was willing to try anything, so I agreed without hesitation. They warned me that they would be trying to get the injection directly at the nerve –so I could absolutely expect pain. Well, they were VERY successful in getting the nerve. It was the same kind of pain as getting an epidural, when you feel like you’re getting paralyzed or something. On the left side the pain shot all the way down my leg into my feet. If I could remember anything from human anatomy I would tell you which nerve that is, haha. On my right side the pain shot into my groin along my inner thigh. They said it might hurt more for a couple days, but then the pain should subside. But instead I got the week and a half from hell.

The worst part was I had finally tasted some relief. I was hopeful. And then these injections set me so far back. It wasn’t the cramping pain of endometriosis though, it was sharp, stabbing points of pain on either side of my c section scar, precisely where they had administered the injections. I would show you a picture of the nasty bruise I got from the needle, but no one really wants to see that.

I do not know why the pain lasted so long for me. I have not had my follow up appointment yet to get the specialist’s thoughts on it. But I suspect that because it takes a long time for any anesthesia to wear off on me, perhaps the anesthesia in the injection took extra time to wear off. I don’t know.

But finally it did wear off. And when it did I discovered that my endometriosis pain had gone down to a 1, sometimes even a 0. It was essentially gone. And hope filled me again.

But the strangest thing about this past week is that I am kinda loving menopause. The indigestion has gotten better, the hot flashes less frequent, and the fatigue manageable. The crazy thing though, is despite the fatigue, I have so much more energy. Which I know sounds backwards. I wake up with energy in my muscles and organs. I can feel my body working well. I can feel it growing stronger as I can push it harder than I’ve been able to in two years. There’s a new strength in my limbs that I couldn’t feel before. And then around noon, I get very sleepy. But after lunch and a short nap, my energy returns. Anyone with a chronic illness knows how big of a deal that is –to actually have your energy return after a rest. This is a fatigue I can deal with.

Not only have I found more energy in menopause, but it feels as though a fog has been lifted from my mind. A fog I blamed on RA, but now I’m wondering if estrogen was the culprit. My mind is clear and steady, and despite occasional waves of strong emotion, stable. I have had some of the classic “mood swings” of menopause, but I have not felt depressed, anxious, or manic. And when I do have mood swings, I can recognize them and cope with them in healthy ways.

Honestly, I haven’t felt this good since I was 18. Of course I still have RA and I still have to pace myself. I still have joint pain and that still limits me. But as far as energy, mind, and mood go –I am being reborn.

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