ovarian cancer

Menopause in your 30s

You don’t expect to go through the menopause in your 30s. No, you expect to have at least a decade or so before you even need to think about it. Yet that’s exactly what happened to me this year….

In January when I was first diagnosed with ovarian cancer I was told that my chemotherapy, which started in the following few weeks, would ‘likely’ cause an early menopause and infertility.

There was brief discussion around harvesting eggs followed by the news that this wasn’t really a sensible option for me…phrases like ‘not enough time’ and ‘we need to start treatment asap’ filled the room and it became clear that parenthood was no longer an option.

Despite what many people think, this wasn’t completely devastating. Would I have liked kids? Yes of course!…but, let’s be honest, I had more important things to worry about! Reflecting now, almost 11 months later, and I’m still not upset by chemotherapy (and surgery) inducing my early infertility. I mean it takes all the ifs, buts and maybes women (and couple face) off of the agenda. I know I can’t have children and so also know I can focus my attention on other things to do with my time – something I’m sure avid readers will agree I’ve been doing plenty off…

But anyway, I digress from the point, this post is meant to be about early menopause, and that’s more than just infertility…(which, incidentally, I’ve written about in a previous post)…

As predicted, chemotherapy did start to put me through the menopause (hence the associated infertility I mention) and with it the forgetfulness, hot flushes, mood swings and night sweats we’ve all heard of. At first it wasn’t that bad. I mean I was kind of distracted by chemotherapy side affects anyway so it was hard to distinguish them from one another…

The side affects after my surgery was another story…

I remember the surgeon warning my husband before surgery that a hysterectomy would mean I would wake up with no hormones. No more going through the menapause with gentle ease (even if a few decades early). No, now I’d wake from theatre slap bang in the middle of it and all whilst recovering from massive surgery. Oh joy – lucky me! The surgeon joked to my husband that I’d be moody, sore and sleep deprived and that he best be super nice to me.

“Do I have to visit?” My husband joked

As it happened, it wasn’t that bad in the first weeks post surgery. My temperature was up and down and I was constantly switching between an ice pillow and a heated pad but, reflecting now, I’m not sure if this was the sudden lack of hormones or the ragging infection on my liver that was discovered shortly after.

My husband, of course, may reflect differently but this is my story and I’m sticking to it…

Now, however, it’s a few months since surgery and I can identify what are menopause symptoms and what are treatment symptoms. And, I’m going to be super honest with you now…are you ready?…

It’s not that bad!

Yes, when I have a hot flush I feel like I could happily rip my own flesh off just to get some relief from the ragging heat coursing through my body AND I am so forgetful I have on more than one occasion found I’ve put things in random places…like the time I put salad in the drawer under the sink….

BUT that is really the worst of it.

Other than that though, I have nothing to report in terms of symptoms!…again I may have symptoms that I think are treatment related (like mood swings) but I don’t think so…

I get asked a lot if I can take HRT and the answer is a simple “no”. This is because my cancer was hormone dependent so the last thing we want to do is fill my body with chemical hormones. Cue happy cancer!

Despite the forgetfulness, hot flushes and infertility I don’t mind the menopause. In fact I’m grateful for it…hold on…let me explain…

As with my colostomy bag, my hysterectomy is a reminder of how lucky I am to have recieived life saving surgery and if given the choice would you honestly choose cancer being left in your body over the ‘possibility‘ of children and/or no hot flushes. It’s not really much of a decision is it?

Also, and here comes my dark sense of humour (sorry), in the words of this meme…

Since my hysterectomy, I walk down the tampon aisle and laugh!

There is always something to be grateful for…

Love and light, Fi xxx

7 thoughts on “Menopause in your 30s”

  1. Thank you for this. This is so pertinent to me just now, it has made a decision I have to make much easier. x

  2. I am OK, thank you for asking. As far as I am aware I am cancer free – but have been on the radar for over 10 years now after my mum had both ovarian and breast cancer. I am classed as High risk, but not mega mega high risk as my mum was 47/62 respectively, with each diagnosis. She had been on HRT since her hysterectomy up until her breast cancer diagnosis, for over 10 years!! The cancer was caught early with each and she is still with us 🙂 She’s 72 now, a right proper fighter!! I have annual check ups, annual mammograms (when pregnancy/breastfeeding allowed) and scans on my ovaries – altho i am very aware re the research re ovarian scans viz-a-viz success rates. The long term recommendation for me has been to go for a surgery to remove ovaries etc, therefore have a surgically induced menopause. This has been delayed until now while i have very luckily had 3 children, breast fed each – as i was told that being pregnant and breast feeding are ace preventors (!) of such cancers – not that this was a reason to have children!!! But i am so bloody determined and breast fed for nearly 6 years!! Anyway, now the hormones have stopped flying about in my body, it is fast approaching the time when i really should have this surgery. I have delayed until now out of fear of the overnight menapause. But I know my Dr would like me to consider surgery before i am 45. I am now 42. I have to do this, for me and my family. Especially my 3 girls. Who may have to face up to similar decisions over their life time. I have to be here for them. In every way.
    so in answers to your question….. yes, thanks to you… and this quote “how lucky I am to have recieived life saving surgery and if given the choice would you honestly choose cancer being left in your body over the ‘possibility‘ of children and/or no hot flushes. It’s not really much of a decision is it?”
    I have just called my Dr to make the appt to discuss going for surgery.
    I can’t risk getting cancer over my concern over what a surgical menopause may bring me. There are no certainties in life, but we can make choices to help steer us in the right direction. I am very very very lucky to have been given this option – the NHS have been amazingly supportive to me. Not everyone is so lucky to have had this support/awareness. I’ve been on their radar for a reason. It would be crazy to not take action, because of all the ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ which surround this…..
    I have followed your FB/Blog daily. You are such an inspiration. I bet the decision I face would be a no brainer for you! 🙂 xx

    (ps I may not even be high risk… gene testing has come up with no definitives for me, as they couldn’t identify the gene in my mum…there is just the assumption that I have it) Where is that crystal ball…!! xx

  3. Not an easy decision for you to make – I understand. You will make the right one tho…just trust your instinct. I’m so glad that your mum is still here 💕and also so glad that you have three lovely children. Keep me posted.xxx

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