Thursday, February 01, 2007

since I was diagnosed, I've been participating in a university study titled "health and wellbeing after breast cancer". all I have to do is fill out a survey once a year. yesterday I filled out the third; it was full of questions about menopause, about how tired I was, how anxious, irritable and sleepless I was. yes, yes, yes, yes.

but I wanted to shout at the form: it's not menopause. it's my circumstances. my nonexistent (literally, non-) sex life, my stress levels, they are all explicable by reference to my husband, to complications with real estate deals, to being a single mum and working while dh was overseas. whether I was menstruating or not wouldn't make any difference.

I kind of worry that they will just note that this particular participant is suffering extreme consequences of the medically induced menopause without knowing why. and then there were endless questions about drying skin, weight gain and bone fractures which just depressed me.

I tried reading Germaine Greer's The Change the other day. I won't sit down and read it properly. it struck me overall as being a combination of denial and wise-woman style justifications. the stuff about how women are OK with being awake half the night because it helps them get their housework done was just laughable.

I refuse to accept that menopause means I have to get fat and unfit. I don't see why I should just settle into being middle aged, doing crossword puzzles and wearing frumpy clothes, as it seems some of my friends - not even 40 - are happy to do. that's unfair, of course, they have intellectual pursuits. but it's always intrigued me how intellectual young people lose faith, lose excitement, lose passion. there has to be something worth living for.

Middle age isn't all bad, hon. I'm quiite enjoing it. Nothing wrong with not focussing on opnes suitability for objectification.

Of course, if that's not how you feel, go for it! Be as young as you feel! Just remember that very few people were laughing *with* the Gabor sisters. ;)
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