About Sara Purves

Sara attended the Claude Watson School for the Arts, a prestigious Toronto based high school for gifted creative students. She then moved on to the Ontario College of Art and Design for 4 years where she majored in Environmental Design. After graduation in 1993, Sara pursued many creative arenas including: retail store design, fashion design, had gallery exhibitions of her paintings, and volunteered in many areas of the arts before settling into a career in graphic design. Sara was employed as art director and graphic designer at several well known advertising agencies and creative design shops where she worked with a variety of clients. Sara is also someone who's unwillingly entered early perimenopause and muddles her way through frustrations and solutions.

Au Natural

After months on bitching and moaning about my perimenopausal symptoms – which are killing me – have I mention that lately – anyway…. I’ve finally moved into action mode.

I spent the last week – an entire 7 days! – with an incredible headache. Worse than any I’ve ever had. These are more and more frequent now and even come with dizziness and blurry vision. So enough I say. Time to get my butt in gear and work this %#@* out.

I have an appointment with a naturopathic doctor. She’s given me a 16 page questionnaire to fill out prior to the first appointment. Isn’t that interesting? Why don’t GP’s ask more background questions? Hmm. Sort of annoying huh?

Anyway, I think I’ll start with the naturopathic doc and see where that goes. Then I’ll try my luck with accupuncture along with attempting to get a grip on a better diet. I’m not sure I’m ready to jump into HRT yet, but I won’t rule it out as an option.

Anyone have any luck with natural medicines out there? I’d love to hear what they prescribed to you and if it worked.

Until next time,

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Todays perimenopausal weather forecast: foggy with a chance of showers

Today, I’m talking about my inability to concentrate the way I used to.

Frankly I hard hardly string two thoughts together. This is partially why I haven’t posted in a little while. I think of things I’d like to say to you and then when it’s time to sit at the computer, I’ve totally lost it.

This disturbs me because I’m one of those multi-tasking mommas. I generally have many projects going at once. Like a typical momma, I’ve also got the child and household related details in my brain too – doctors appointments, my daughters camps, play dates etc. I also work full time at a hospital and generally juggle about 15 to 20 projects at once there too.

So by the time I get home, I desperately need to delete some info from my brain, otherwise there is just no room for more. I wish I could buy more RAM for my brain. I’ll check Best Buy.

Anyway… train of though got off track again… see how easy it is?

The point I finally getting to is this – this freakin perimenopause is clouding my thoughts! I find my head in the fog so often now. Is this just aging? I don’t know. I need the fog to lift! Do I have to wait until menopause is totally over for this to happen? I’m only 38, so that’s a long freakin wait!

Apart from the fog, there are the occasional showers. I have burst out crying a few times lately and it’s never at the right moment (of course not! why would it be?). I have triggers that set me off and once I start, there’s no stopping the water works.

I’ve never been opposed to a good cry. Actually I think it’s healthy to let it out. But not when I’m in the bosses office!!!

I just feel like the perimenopause is causing my sharpness to become dull. I can’t deal with this. Is this just a natural transition? If it is, I’m not down with it.

Who’s with me on this? Am I alone?


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Perimenopause Symptoms

A little refresher for you newbies.

Did you know that menopause is not just what happens in your 50s when you get hot flashes and stop getting your period? Oh no, my friends, it starts waaaay earlier… like after 30. Friggin hell!

Now, I’m so upset by this, that I can’t possibly think clearly enough to give you an accurate description of perimenopause. So I’m going to quote the Mayo Clinic here:

“Perimenopause marks the interval in which your body begins its transition into menopause. Perimenopause encompasses the years leading up to menopause — anywhere from two to eight years — plus the first year after your final period. It’s a natural part of aging that signals the ending of your reproductive years.

Your estrogen level rises and falls unevenly during perimenopause. Your menstrual cycles may lengthen or shorten, and you begin having menstrual cycles in which you don’t ovulate. It’s only during cycles when you do ovulate that you can become pregnant.

When perimenopause starts and how long it lasts varies. You’ll probably notice signs of impending menopause, such as menstrual irregularity, sometime in your 40s. But some women notice changes as early as their mid-30s.”

Ok, so I’m 38 now and I have to admit the onset of the symptoms has set in already. I also have a close friend who’s going through the same thing. We talk about it regularly now and to me it seems a worthy subject for a blog.

Here’s a run-down of the symptoms: (I got this from www.womenshealth.gov

* Changes in pattern of periods (can be shorter or longer, lighter or heavier, more or less time between periods)
* Hot flashes
* Night sweats, often followed by a chill
* Trouble sleeping through the night
* Vaginal dryness
* Mood changes, feeling crabby
* Trouble focusing, feeling mixed-up or confused
* Hair loss or thinning on your head, more hair growth on your face

I’m not going to tell you which symptoms I have. That’s none of your beeswax!
However, if anyone out there feels like sharing with the class, I might start to open up a bit more.

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Never make important decisions while you have PMS

Top ten list of things never to do while you have PMS.

Here we go:

10. Never decide to radically change your hair! (I did this yesterday.. I could cry!)

9. Never prompt a discussion with your husband/boyfriend about ANYTHING relationship oriented. And for Gods sake if you feel like leaving him – wait a week and see if you feel the same way.

8. Never decide that it’s a good time to talk to your boss about your job.

7. Never go to a family function.

6. Never offer to babysit for anyone. (if you have kids already- you’ll hear me on that one).

5. Never get into a car accident. There will definitely be news coverage of the brawl too!

4. Never start a chocolate-free diet when you are PMSing. You’re just asking for failure.

3. Do not talk to your kid’s coach about why she sat on the bench all game and you drove an hour to the game to watch her sit.

2. Never go shopping with your spouse or significant other.

1. Never go shopping for a bathing suit when you have PMS! Depending on what’s puffy, probably not a good time to go shopping for anything

Thanks to everyone who helped finish the list for me!!!

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When will peri-menopause be accepted as a regular stage of life?

Besides the hormonal imbalance, the array of emotions and other side effects of peri-menopause, the one thing that I think bothers me most is the lack of acceptance and understanding of it as a legit condition. I have a fruit allergy…I’m allergic to “tree fruit”… so apples, peaches, pears etc. When I tell people that they automatically don’t want to believe this is possible. For the life of me, I don’t know why this is so hard to believe. It’s especially predominant in older generations. “In my day we ate what we were given and we liked it!” They proceed to try to feed me fruit because the allergy must be all in my head…. Whatever! Tell it to my Epi-Pen. Anyway, where am I going with this you say… the reaction of disbelief in my fruit allergy is the same one I get when I say that I am going through peri-menopause. Total disbelief, the assumption that I am making it up or looking for a reason for my symptoms. Why is this concept so hard to believe? Medical science backs it up. Doctors are aware of it. All the symptoms are there. So why the mental obstacle? Folks should take a minute to reflect back on their mothers between the ages of 40 and 60. Do you think she could have benefited from some hormone therapy or some doctor’s advice or any other help to get her sanely through that time? Come on, I bet if you thought hard about it, you’d notice that she may have been a little “off”. It’s also funny that we have to convince our own family doctors to explore this as a possibility. I’m slightly annoyed that I have to go to the doctor armed with print outs and books to back up my conviction in this. One day the stage of peri-menopause will be as common place as adolescence and menopause. It will just be a regular, accepted stage that we’re all aware of and we’re be ready for it rather than confused for years and years before finally sorting it out. Until next time.

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