What If I Hadn’t Seen Dr Carlos?

So here we were back in Dar es Salaam in August 2015, with all my bodily parts I hasten to add.

I found that I had less brain fog BUT continued to have such sore legs – if you look up perimenopause symptoms, I couldn’t find sore legs but found this lovely category – tingling extremities.

This is where menopausal women experience the feeling of “creepy-crawlies” walking all over their skin, a burning sensation like an insect sting, or super-sensitivity in their hands, arms, legs, and feet. In most people, tingling is harmless, usually occurring due to a pinched nerve or compressed artery, which reduces blood flow through the extremity causing it to “fall asleep”. However, in menopausal women, tingling extremities is likely caused by the effect that low estrogen levels have on the central nervous system…”

I was also tired – not new obviously.

Fatigue, one of the most common menopause symptoms, is defined as an ongoing and persistent feeling of weakness, tiredness, and lowered energy levels, rather than just sleepiness or drowsiness. Other characteristics of fatigue may include apathy, irritability, and decreased attention span.

Fatigue in menopause is caused by hormonal changes; hormones such as estrogen regulate energy use at a cellular level, so when hormone levels drops during menopause, so too do energy levels. Chronic fatigue in menopause can have a drastic impact on daily life, putting a strain on relationships, work productivity, and quality of life, so treating the underlying hormonal imbalance is essential to restore energy levels. Marvellous really.

It was truly amazing that I managed to get out of bed at all, let alone every day.

So a mixed picture but I was continuing to write and after the book, there were lots of chats to friends and then friends of friends. I had my first two last September and October. With my sore legs… but I was getting sick of them so went to the doctor. She referred me to a specialist doctor to have a doppler scan. I had had one three years earlier, as they wanted to check my veins in case it wasn’t menopause but something else.

Funnily enough they were exactly the same. Love it these days when a doctor gets to see any part of the body – they always seem to go hmmmm, yes you are getting older. Yes well I KNOW that.

He found a cyst at the back of my right knee – interesting. It’s my left knee which hurts after step classes! Anyway, it doesn’t matter if you have a cyst – it is only a problem if it hurts.

Moving on from my cyst…

He asked me if I was on any medication and he told me that HRT could cause vascular constriction – that’s sore legs to you and me. Apparently it is one of the side effects of the excessive estrogen in the tablets. He then recommended that I make an appointment with a visiting gynecologist to talk about the HRT.

Now I write this one year on, I wonder quite a lot of what ifs….

What if I hadn’t seen him?
What if I hadn’t said I was on HRT?
What if he hadn’t know about HRT and veins
What if the visiting gynecologist hadn’t been visiting here but somewhere else?

But phew – I DID see him, and I DID tell him about the HRT and he DID know about HRT and veins and SHE wasn’t in Kenya or Uganda but in Tanzania – just waiting for me to make an appointment with her.​​​​​​​

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