I’m sitting here in Tropical Mauritius in 90-degree heat and sweating like it’s nobody’s business. We decided to head here for a short mini break to visit friends. When I imagined myself here I thought of romantic balmy nights and long swims on a deserted beach. So far it’s almost perfect. I say almost because of the two friends I take with me everywhere I go.
Type 1 diabetes and Menopause.
I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as an adult and started insulin two years ago so managing it with my cycle was a challenge. Just when I’d worked out the right amount of insulin for the right time of the month, my period would come and then I’d have to add more insulin and start again.
By the age of 49, I had finally established a rhythm and then… MENOPAUSE! You know how everyone says nothing can prepare you for childbirth? Well, that's how I feel about menopause. A lot of women share that when it comes to preparing for menopause they rely on the experience of the women in their family.
My mother died when I was 11 and both my maternal aunts had early menopause due to operations so I had absolutely no compass to navigate by. Perimenopause was either feast or famine, barely cracking a bleed or flooding like a burst dam. My blood sugar levels followed suit and became even more unreliable. No matter what I did to try and control them. Forget about it!
Then a year ago my period vanished and the hot flashes began. Waves of heat that travel from my feet to my head at absolutely the worst times. You can’t strip bare in a Japanese subway in the middle of winter, or in an uber fashionable restaurant in Berlin. My blood sugars, on the other hand, have become more reliable which is a real positive.
And there are other positives too.
- I have a built in CGM. The hot flashes wake me up 4 times a night, perfect for making sure I avoid a night time low.
- My iron stores have built up which means I can stop guzzling floradix like it’s nobody’s business.
- I’m happy to be by myself, eat by myself, walk by myself, whatever by myself.
- No more mood swings! That is except for the frustration that comes with a hot flash in a crowded, overheated place.
- I dress in layers, which I’ve heard is tres chic. It also means I can easily disrobe or re-robe depending on the circumstance.
- Oh and this one I love! I’m never cold.
- I finally have seniority, even though my older female friends tell me 50 is still young!
- I’m saving money, no more monthly tampons, sanitary pads, wemoon pads, cups or whatever else we women use to catch our monthly flow.
- I can enjoy making love worry free, that is if I ever feel like it.
- I can finally let go the idea that I have to be something I’m not.
And another positive is how I have relaxed my need to achieve in my yoga practice. The hot flashes and my growing disinterest in goal oriented practice mean I trust my body more and choose opening and releasing postures. I’m also more sensitive to my emotional needs choosing soothing breathing exercises and calming meditations instead of trying to breathe like a cat on steroids!
I’m convinced that passing through the gateway of menopause has helped me to come to terms with diabetes too.
If I can handle letting go of having more children, accept the changes in my body, and face growing older, then living with diabetes and all it dishes up is just another flavor on my ever changing palate.