MENOPAUSE. AN INTERESTING WORD...CONSIDERING ITS A CONDITION EXPERIENCED ONLY BY WOMEN.
Menopause: The End of Femininity, The Death of Youth, The Loss of Sexual Desire---headlines that cause dread in forty and fifty year old women, every day. When undeniable symptoms strike, some women are so fearful, they put everyday living--- on hold.
Age never dictated my agenda and birthdays are just another day so imagine my surprise when a Houston doctor focused on my age during my last routine physical before beginning my Great Wall Adventure. He kept repeating the number, 49, trying to remind me of my age. Then, very slowly, as if speaking to a child, he said “You are menopausal. I want to prepare you for almost-certain physical
discomforts like...bloating, night sweats, fatigue, heart palpitations, mood swings, insomnia, and sexual apathy.
Some, if not all, these symptoms will be present for quite some time.” Aware that I was leaving for China in three days, the medical expert added, “You
won’t have access to medical assistance on your Great Wall journey and you could face some life-threatening health issues. As your doctor, I am advising you to postpone your China trip for another two years.”
Fve months later: The sun was directly overhead so, after spending the morning in a constant run/walk for almost 23 miles, I took a much-needed break. Swallowing my daily estrogen tablet—America’s latest miracle drug for menopausal women--I reflected on the Houston doctor’s advice and chose to address him, out-loud:
“Doctor-friend, I wish you could see me now, averaging 35 miles a day...on foot...over some of Asia’s most difficult mountain ranges, carrying more than 30 pounds of supplies. Sorry to disappoint you but….I haven’t had one symptom of menopause. I hope you’ll share this information with your buddies in the medical profession. Also, tell Doctors to stop scaring women about Menopause. Rather than pills, bed rest, and warnings, Doctors should prescribe exercise, vitamins, estrogen if necessary.....but-- most importantly, encourage women to be strong, to believe in themselves and their abilities. If not for you, I would never have known I was menopausal."
For two years, an intense training program in Houston consumed my life. Every day, I ran 12 miles in Houston’s heat and humidity while three days a week, I trained in Rice University’s weight room. My work-outs were closely supervised and monitored by a team of football coaches and physical fitness experts. I felt great and confident in my ability to travel “All The Wall”. I didn’t need a Doctor’s warning to cancel the adventure of a lifetime.
After traveling the length of The Great Wall of China, I’m completely confident in everyone’s ability-- regardless of age-- to accomplish dreams, reach goals, and achieve success.
It’s only when we allow others to limit us-- we limit ourselves.