That is the question I have been debating for a year or so. Finally decided to give it a whirl - and this is me been on it for about a week. I have had the prescription for months - but anxiety about all the scare stories around strokes/breast cancer etc made me hold off. But the deciding factor was the menopausal day from hell.
Before I tell you about that day... let me tell you how I envisage my days to be post HRT:
7am - bounce out of bed full of energy and grab Sweet Dog. Run round the park with her merrily wagging her tail and skipping along beside me
7.30am - throw my gym bag and carefully prepared yoghurt fruit and oats topped with chia seeds breakfast into the car
8.00am - quick swim before work. Out and apply light attractive make up and dry and straighten my hair. Will have straighteners and make up as will have laid them all out the night before and not forgotten them. Ditto clothes - will pull them on and smile ruefully when I realise my size 12 trousers are just a bit too loose and I may need to shop for 10s now.
9.00am - day starts and I run meetings without forgetting what I am saying or indeed forgetting that an actual meeting was taking place. I sip from my 2 litre bottle of water infused with cucumber and mint.
12.00pm - feeling good having laughed and joked with colleagues all day while still achieving a huge amount of productive work. Light lunch of quinoa and Kale followed by a brisk 15 minute walk round the office grounds.
5.00pm - finish work having had a productive afternoon workwise and never ever uttering the phrases 'have I already told you that?' or 'Have I already said that?' during conversatons. I have also drunk my water and a peppermint tea
6.00pm - sit with my partner and enjoy a lovely dinner of organic veg and steamed fish. Chat about politics
7.00pm - full of energy we skip out with Sweet Dog and climb up Arthurs Seat feeling full of joy at the late light nights. At the top we snack on grapes and a banana to keep our energy levels up.
10.00pm - fall into bed giggling and have fabulous sex before falling into a long deep sleep
So that's how I want the day to go - but this is how the day in question actually did go (and to be honest most days in the last year):
7am - Alarm went off - hit snooze about six times as exhausted from menopausal wakefulness which only progresses to a deep lovely sleep ten minutes before the alarm goes off
7.20am - Stagger downstairs and into kitchen - it is ROASTING!!! Sweet Dog is panting but still wagging her tail to greet me. I've left the feckin oven on. ALL NIGHT! First CRAFT (can't remember a fecking thing) moment of the day. Full of guilt that poor Sweet Dog might have heat stroke. Give her lots of biscuits and cuddles and feel guilt increase as she stares lovingly at me. Every menopausal woman should have a Sweet Dog.
8.00am - run out the door for work having piled hair up into a ponytail and pulled various bristles out of my chin. Have randomly thrown ball for Sweet Dog all over house as no time to walk her. She looks sadly through the glass door as I wave to her telling her the dog walker will be here soon. I drive and suddenly feel anxious - did I switch the feckin oven off? Did I?
8.15am - turn and go back to check bloody oven. Sweet Dog is overjoyed having zero concept of time and believing this must be me back from my days work. Give her another biscuit - oven is off so was a pointless detour from my point of view (but not from Sweet Dogs)
9.15am - arrive at work. Bypass the porridge stand in favour of sausage and tattie scone roll with ketchup.
9.30am - second CRAFT moment - what the feck is my network password. Think think...try three times get locked out and spend half an hour with IT begging them to reset it. Spill some ketchup down front of my top.
10.00am - start to feel intensely irritated by co-worker who on every third breath makes some weird pressure cooker noise out his nose
10.15am - increasingly frustrated with pressure cooker nose person. Move scissors on desk to other side of office in order to avoid impulse to stab them into co-workers nose. Do not want to go to Cornton Vale As Sweet Dog needs me to take care of her
10.30am - Hot Flush hits. Sit still willing it to go. Feel the sweat running down my back from my head
11.00am - Go to toilet and look in mirror. Cannot feckin believe I have been sitting looking like this for half an hour. Look like I have been feckin jet washed! Turn on the hand dryer and dry hair and pretend I am like Madonna in that scene in Desperately Seeking Susan. Joan from Finance comes in as I move onto my Beyonce impression - throwing my head back and let the air rush through my hair for a final dry. Feel faintly embarrassed but not too bad as Madonna didn’t care so neither do I! Stop at vending machine for chocolate to cheer me up. Have pie chips and beans for lunch to cheer me up. Buy some millionaire shortbread for the afternoon to cheer me up.
3.00pm - having spent most of the day doing all I can not to tell people to fuck off I decide to leave early. Have had 3 coffees and four diet cokes - have a headache. Have organic grass fed lamb joint I took out of the freezer last night to cook for tea. Want to cook it slow and easy and am already savouring the taste
4.30pm - home and cannot find lamb joint. I ask Sweet Dog if she ate it and she looks very hurt. I hunt the fridge, the cupboards, even inside the washing machine where once I found some beef olives that I thought I had left at the butchers. Every where. Not to be found. Give up and head to tesco for stir fry with Sweet Dog. Buy a couple of pairs of size 18 leggings to wear under my tunics as they don't mind how fat
you get - they always got you! Half way back and realise Sweet Dog is still tied up outside Tesco. CRAFT moment number 90 zillion. Run back and Sweet Dog leaps about with joy. (seriously get a dog - they adore you whatever the menopausal madness throws at you). This is not the first time this has happened but resolve it will absolutely be the last.
7.00pm - partner wakes me up - I've been asleep on sofa for about an hour. Am totally completely utterly feckin knackered. We decide to call a pizza and open the wine as we wait. We find the lamb joint inside the microwave where I remember now that I hid it to defrost to stop Sweet Dog eating it.
9.00pm - fall asleep in front of telly before staggering up into bed and falling asleep instantly.
So it was time!! I am fed up with days like this and if a patch can help me have more days like the first description then feck it - why not.
Opened up the packet - read the instructions. FFS - two different patches - one set to be used for two weeks - change on third day then on seventh day. Then other set to be used for next two weeks on third then seventh day. I had to check Google to see if it was 2018 or 2019 this morning so following these instructions may be somewhat of a challenge. But I am not to be deterred - open first patch and whack it on. The list of possible side effects is long and actually reflective of they symptoms I want to be rid of eg. flushes/mood swings. But feck it - gonna do for three months - will come off if rubbish
That night I am in the shower - can't find the patch! It has fallen off somewhere. How can that happen? They are supposed to be stuck like glue to your arse. I start hunting for it but it is see through and god knows where it is. I check the instructions and it says just whack another on. So I do then go to talk to Sweet Dog. As I stroke her I find the bloody patch. Stuck to her furry tail. How did that happen? Have massive panic - what will that do to her? I peel it off and stick it in bin. I google the patches and discover it is not as simple as just whacking it onto your arse. Nope - you have to make sure it is nowhere that clothes ie knickers might rub as that will cause it to fall off.
Sit cuddling dog and having a wee chat about our day and my phone goes. I answer and it is my aunt. She is very concerned about my HRT use and 'shoving terrible toxins in your body' and says she managed just fine with a spoonful of hemp oil every day and rubbing aloe vera into her temples and says she will send me some hemp oil and an aloe vera plant for my birthday. I am tempted to agree just to get her off the phone but I don't want a birthday present wasted on bloody hemp oil which she is convinced Doctors should give to everyone as a first line of treatment regardless of the illnessl. I try to move her towards maybe a spa day or something but this reminds her of a menopausal retreat she has heard about where women all rub each others feet with cannabis oil and share their menopausal stories and sing strong women songs. She thinks this will be uplifting and change my life. I beg to feckin differ! I make a non committal noise and mention Crieff Hydro as a possible and actually much more preferable alternative.
So far I have not noticed a huge difference in taking the patches apart from wildly vivid dreams about having children. In one I had a baby girl that I wanted to call Shirley but the registar office put Squidgy on the birth certificate and I was furious. Then I had another baby but posted it by mistake into a huge red letterbox and had to wait for the postman to come and let her out. Then I had a baby boy and left him with my mum and forgot about him for four years when I saw a photo of him going to school and was devastated I had managed to forget him. Each time i wake with a massive start and my heart beating. Mad dreams are not listed in the leaflet so maybe unrelated.
So will keep giving it a whirl - they say 3-6 months before it kicks in - will let you know how it goes....