Menopause Calling…We’re Through!

Michelle Combs

Menopause calling? In a post post post modern world I learned it was over in a phone call, and there’s something about being “post”…


I hated turning forty.

I hated it.

When I was younger, forty sounded ancient to me. Everything about it sounded saggy and tired and falling backward into an existence where fun was no more. And the footwear would be horrible.

I didn’t make my peace with my age until I neared the end of my forties. I realized a few years before turning 50 that aging was not only not so bad, but that I was having more fun than I had in a long time. Maybe ever.

I not only didn’t mind entering my fifties, I looked forward to them. I like this age. I like who I am. And that is very nearly true


I am beyond new wave. I am past post modern. I did the math, I am post post post modern.

At least that is what I’ve been telling myself after hearing the word “post” used to describe me earlier.

My doctor’s office called with results of my recent blood work.

Nurse: The doctor wanted to let you know that your thyroid levels are normal. And that your (insert some combination of letters here) levels show that you are post menopausal.

Me: Wait, what? I’m…what…like in menopause right now, right?

Nurse: I said post.

Me: What levels say that?

Nurse, who apparently had stuffed her mouth with lemon rinds: Garble garble whisper.

Me: What?

She answered again in what I assumed was Klingon. If the Klingon was from Mobile, Alabama.

I didn’t say anything for a moment and tried to wrap my head around it. Post menopausal? Post?

Nurse: The doctor says to follow up with your OB/GYN and talk to them about hormone replacement therapy.

Post menopausal? That’s not even possible. I mean, I just started this shit.

Okay, I didn’t just start, but it wasn’t that long ago. I mean, when my uterus started acting up a few years ago, I had it burned out. I haven’t had periods in forever, so it I knew it wouldn’t be easy to tell when I was menopausal, but I didn’t think I would be done and finished this fast.

For fuck’s sake, I was still battening down the hatches for when the hormones drove me completely insane. I am just now getting regular hot flashes. Isn’t that the shit that happens during menopause? Isn’t that shit supposed to take years?

I didn’t mind turning fifty, but hearing the words “You’re post menopausal” hit me like a ton of denture cream.

Post menopause just sounds old to me. I wasn’t expecting it.

I mean, if I am finished with it, then it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I’m not saying it’s been a day at the goddamn beach, but I thought the hot flashes would feel like I was being consumed by holy fire or something. I thought I was building up to that. I thought my night sweats would become epic and my crying jags would be, well, more jaggy.

I suppose instead of being bummed, I could just be grateful. I guess if I’m bypassing all that bullshit, then I should be breathing a sigh of relief and not throwing an internal hissy fit over being post menopausal. I mean, seriously, choosing between going through menopause and not going through menopause is like choosing between boiling puppies and kissing Norman Reedus.

I’m not entirely convinced the blood work was accurate. I have no reason to doubt the doctor, nurses, and trained lab professionals other than I wasn’t prepared to hear that and therefore they must be wrong.

Now excuse me, I have to go shop for some sensible shoes.

Editors Note: This essay first appeared on Michelle Comb’s blog Rubber Shoes In Hell as Post Post Post Modern on March 22, 2016.


About Michelle Combs

Michelle Poston Combs writes humorous and serious observations on life, menopause, anxiety, and marriage on her site, Rubber Shoes In Hell.

She lives in Ohio with her husband and youngest son. She stands at the precipice of empty nest syndrome which she finds both terrifying and exhilarating.

Michelle programs computers to pay the bills. She counters this soul sucking endeavor by contributing to Jen Mann’s anthology I Still Just Want To Pee Alone, Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Better Homes and Garden, Grand, Vibrant Nation, Erma Bombeck's Writers Workshop, New Jersey Family Magazine, and Listen To Your Mother.

3 thoughts on “Menopause Calling…We’re Through!”

  1. Pam says:

    I hated turning 40 as well and can’t wait to leave this decade behind. The media gives this narrative that you are supposed to feel your most confident and vibrant in your 40s, but it has been the total opposite for me. All of the self-assurandness I had in my 30’s seemed to vanish overnight and I became someone I didn’t recognize, both physically and emotionally. I wish someone would have prepared me for the awful mood swings and the feelings of sadness I have at realizing that despite what I do, nothing will hold back the aging process. And perhaps that what your 40’s is about: a ten-year phasethat allows you to celebrate your youth, but make peace with the inevitable. Who knows. I would be questioning those lab results as well. I don’t know how you felt growing up, but the fear of pregnancy was so drilled into my head from a young age, that I will STILL be taking birth control when I’m 60 🙂

    1. Your comment is filled with such honesty, thank you! It’s truly why we started Fiftiness. We keep referring to it as the secret about turning fifty – it’s actually full of great surprises. Freedom probably tops my list as I move into the second semester of empty nesting. But what is most important to understand is that the freedom of being in your fifties does involve some letting go. Facing the facts. I mean we are turning a corner, heading into the second half. Now is the moment to feel the best you can and get started on the projects or passions we kept putting off because our “youth” got in the way. I like to say that on the day you turn fifty, you have been some places, you have done some things, you have something to say – so say it! Whether it’s getting fit, or starting a new career or writing a book! And the other secret, sex! Take a look at the video we posted back in September, you’ll hear a bunch of women over fifty talking about how good it gets!

    2. Michelle says:

      I have made my peace with post menopausal as well. Kind of. A little. My experience with 40 was different from yours in a way. I wasn’t self assure in my 30s, I never had confidence. Until 50. I still have my wavery moments (a lot of them) but I am way more confident now than I have ever been. Except for when I was 5 of 6. I think I was more confident then.

      Anyway, you are right, the aging process is inevitable. I dig it. Other than the aching hips, but I know if I start doing yoga again it will help. That cuts into my Netflix time, though.

      Sending my peaceful thoughts your way. xo

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