It is most excellent weather for menopausal women. While others moan and bring phrases like ‘brass monkeys’ and ‘stone jug’ out of hibernation, I am enjoying blessed relief from the hot flushes and night sweats. I walked down the Euston Road the other day, surrounded by people in woolly hats, scarves, mittens and puffer jackets, wearing lightweight trousers and a T-shirt and yet strangely tempted to take even these off. I am beginning to envy my friend Satu, who had her menopause when it was minus-twenty degrees in her home country of Finland.
My faimly is playing dial tennis with the central heating thermostat. They turn it up, I turn it down. They say, ‘But Mum, it’s freezing!’. I say, ‘Put a jumper on! Wear gloves! Drink some hot chocolate!’ I reckon that heating and aircon systems could usefully be calibrated with settings of boiling, hot, warm, cool, cold, freezing, ice age, and menopausal woman.
Very rarely will you find me indulging in advertising on this blog, but I must make a product recommendation. Invest in a chill pillow. They are so, erm, cool. Goodness knows how it works, but the gel carries away your body heat to goodness knows where, and your cheek transmits the glorious cold around your grateful body. And when I say ‘cheek’, please infer that it can be used in either a lying or a seated position.
If you are a woman of a certain age, and can choose when to have your menopause, choose winter. Before you scold me that it is not possible to choose when to have your menopause, it is if you take the radical step of choosing to have a hysterectomy. I guess you may not be inclined to do this unless, like me, you have had breast cancer, are taking hormone therapy, and figure out that having your bits out significantly reduces your odds of the cancer coming back. And the benefits of having it in time for winter will only come if you can get your surgery date at the right time of year. And if your menopause lasts just the one season. That would probably be too much luck for one person.
I got one of those nice letters from the hospital today (my copy of their letter to my GP), beginning with the words, ‘I saw this pleasant lady in the Breast Clinic.’ It informed the GP, and therefore me, that I had undergone a hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. This is not the first time that a letter from the hospital has propelled me to Google, which, to my relief, tells me that the double-barrelled word means that I had both my ovaries out – which, of course, I already knew. I am now determined to use this newly-learned word in a poem, especially as it is too long for Scrabble. Perhaps I’ll rhyme it with mastectomy.