The biggest benefit I can see to ‘the change’ is that, for lucky folk, you’ll have a decent credit score. Some folk will get this through hard work, others through inheritance or ill-gotten gains, but the chances are – if you’re menopausal – you’ll be floating around ‘middle-age’, and probably as income-rich as you’ll ever be.
This might explain why vitamin tablets, targeted at those going through menopause, are sometimes sold for upwards of £50.
Thing like that can become appealing if youre struggling with chronic symptoms. And, for financially secure women, it can put you in a position of both power and frustration: The financial power to afford over-priced 'remedies', and the frustration to consider buying into them.
That’s why being plunged into this stuff a bit earlier than normal - in my case I'm already ‘over-the-hill’, the young side of ‘over-the-hill’, but ‘over-the-hill’, even so - is frustrating. Cancer-induced menopause, premature ovarian insufficiency, surgical menopause - these are all things that lots of women struggle to manage. A condition made more frustrating by the number of over-priced products promising to help.
The problem - for me - is not to do with glorified vitamins. The problem is the huge mishmash of information out there - and the amount of time it takes to sift through it. My vertigo, for example, is something I struggled with for quite some time before finding a fix. There were plenty of healthy things that helped - eating antioxidant-rich foods, reducing stress, gentle exercise, upping my water intake - but none of these things completely stopped the dizziness.
I started to think that it was all in my head. I didn't approach my GP - thinking that I could get on top of it with lifestyle changes - and prefering to hold off until my specialist appt'. Afterall, I see the gynae consultant fairly frequently, and life after cancer is a lot about lifestyle adjustments.
It seems reasonable, therefore, to try and avoid prescription drugs. That fact is, however, hard drugs are sometimes really helpful. So, after bothering my GP, I was prescribed a short dose of Prochlorperazine and this cured my dizziness like...
It’s true that drugs aren’t always the answer, but sometimes they’re just the ticket. Admittedly, I looked at the long list of side-effects for Prochlorperazine - a fun bunch of ailments - and realised this isn't a long term thing. But my world is much less ‘spinny’ nowadays, which is brilliant.
For me, prescription drugs can be the equivalent of a retreat. Staying on these pills is not part of the plan. It is, however, a great fix when things become too much.
Before menopause, I had a healthy, med-free life, which was something I was quite pleased about. Now, the rules have changed. Life after cancer is not always about managing symptoms, but it is about getting on top of those crappy side-effects before they wear me down.
There’s something for everybody: essential oils, melatonin rich foods, breathing techniques, exercise routines, etc. What works for me, might not work for you; there’s a bit of trial and error that’s required, and an overstretched healthcare service means specialist medical input can be slow coming.
Celebrities, by extension, have sort of latched onto this - declaring the successes of their lifestyle routine as proof that their hugely expensive brand of vitamins deserve not only our respect, but our money, too.
It’s a dangerous precedent. One that I have to be careful of when my symptoms flare up and got on top of me. That's why I think that - sometimes - drugs are better than vitamins.