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.

Even Oprah went through it!

This morning I got an email from my friend. She told me that Oprah had talked about Perimenopause on her show. Apparently, like me, she realized that this is something important for women 35 and up.

Here is a bit of info from Oprah’s website. She talked about Perimenopause hitting her years ago and describes how she realized what was happening to her.

Oprah’s Own Story

My body sent me its first wake-up call more than a year ago, on an evening I’ll never forget. One night last June, I—someone who has had every heart test known to womankind and has been repeatedly reassured that I have no blockages—awoke with my heart palpitating so intensely that it felt like it was going to beat right out of my chest. Pound! Pound! Pound! For the first time in my life, I thought I was about to die.

A doctor’s visit confirmed what I’d already been told: I don’t have heart disease. Over the next six months, my attempts to figure out what I did have led me to four more doctors—and not one could explain the palpitations. Then one morning when I was out running, I mentioned the palpitations to my trainer, Bob Greene.

“I think it’s the big M,” he said.

“The big M what?” I shot back.

“I think it’s menopause,” he said.

I stopped and stared at him. “Of course it’s not menopause!” I said. “I’m still having my periods. Regular as rain!”

Like nearly every other woman in America, I believed that menopause would hit when my periods ended—that I’d suddenly wake up one day during my fifties in a fit of hot flashing. Yet over the next few days, Bob’s words stayed with me: Could he be right? Of the five doctors I’d visited, two were female. Neither had asked whether I, then age 47, might be nearing one of the major markers of a woman’s life. I finally put the question directly to my fifth doctor, a heart specialist: Could I be entering menopause? “Well, if it’s menopause, ma’am,” he said, chuckling, “you’re definitely in the wrong place! I don’t know a thing about that.”

What happened next can only be called a miracle. A few days later, I was walking around the Harpo offices when I noticed a book called The Wisdom of Menopause. I opened it right to page 456, where I saw a subtitle that seemed to shout directly at me: “Palpitations: Your Heart’s Wake-Up Call.” I spotted a woman’s story that sounded exactly like my own: “I am a 48-year-old female with no major health problems.” Check. “My periods are still fairly regular.” Check. “About a month ago…I started experiencing heart irregularities. I felt like my heart was skipping a beat and was going to beat out of my chest!” Double check. Then I saw the line that clarified everything: “There’s no question that heart palpitations at menopause are related to changing hormones.”

(Before you declare yourself perimenopausal—peri means near or around—hear this: A racing heart could be a symptom of a life-threatening condition, like heart disease. If you experience irregular heart rhythm, please get to a doctor right away.)

Shortly after my revelation, I made a call to the woman who wrote The Wisdom of Menopause—Christiane Northrup, M.D., an expert on holistic healing and women’s health. Dr. Northrup says that perimenopause begins years before a woman’s last period. It can start as early as 35 (yes, 35) and last anywhere from 5 to 13 years. In this country, the average age at which a woman has her final menstrual cycle is 51. And here’s a kicker that’ll keep you using birth control into your fifties: An entire year must pass after your final period before you can be certain that you’ve absolutely stopped producing eggs.

Here’s what I realized after reading all 498 pages of The Wisdom of Menopause: Everything you’ve always known about taking care of yourself—getting adequate sleep, balancing your diet, drinking water, exercising regularly—comes into sharp focus during this phase. Perimenopause is your body’s way of shifting your full attention back onto your well-being. “When you don’t take care of your body in your twenties,” Northrup says, “you can get away with it. But as you move toward your forties, your body says, ‘If you keep this up, I’m gonna make you old—but if you stop now, you’ll get a second chance.’”

At Dr. Northrup’s suggestion, I cut out what I call the white stuff—high-glycemic-index foods such as potatoes, white rice, refined sugar and bread that throw my insulin level out of whack, cause weight gain, and trigger palpitations. I’d already cut out salt months before, believing that my racing heart might have been a symptom of high blood pressure. After just four days of swearing off the white stuff, my palpitations completely ended.

So many women I’ve talked to see menopause as an ending—a loss of youth, autonomy and vitality. But I’ve discovered that the approach of menopause is a knock at the door that can prompt you to finally create the life you’ve always wanted. This is your moment to reinvent yourself after years of focusing on the needs of everyone else—your mate, your children, your boss. It’s your opportunity to get clear about what matters to you, and then to pursue that with all of your energy, time and talent.

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I can’t flippin sleep anymore

One of the annoying side effects of my perimenopause is that I wake up at night now. I used to sleep for a good 8 hours or so… and now…. forget it. I wake up a couple of times during the night and I’m totally wide awake and can’t turn my brain off.

I Googled this and I found some tips to share with the class:

Get To Sleep More Easily:

1. Clear your mind – make a list of the things you need to do tomorrow so you don’t lie in bed thinking about it (ya right! Easier said than done!)

2. Prepare yourself – have a ritual and a routine that signals your mind that it’s time to go to sleep

3. Prepare your environment – only sleep and sex in the bedroom! Take the TV out… (umm, that’s not happenning!)

4. Avoid caffeine after 3pm

5. Avoid alcohol consumption 2 hours prior to going to bed

6. Avoid nicotine before bed time

7. Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time each morning

8. Get some exercise during the day

9. Avoid activities that stimulate your mind (watching the news, etc)

10. Incorporate a white noise machine or something similar

Anyone have any advice or anything to share on the topic? Feedback is always welcome.

Nighty night.

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The Bearded Lady

This totally cracked me up. Now I’m not saying I relate or anything…. I’m just saying… have a read…

The Bearded Lady

Posted by anniegirl1138 on April 1, 2009

I pluck my chin hairs. It started out innocently enough. One tiny whisker that only I could see apparently, but over the past several years it has mushroomed to a dozen, freak show long or as bristly as my husband’s vacation stubble.

Recently, the overgrowth has migrated to my nostrils.

“What are you looking at? And why do you have those tweezers?” I asked my husband last night as he came at me like I was a game of Operation.

“That nose hair is back again.”

Long and greying no less, it’s made even less attractive by the constant nasal drip of my recent allergy woes.

“Hold still,” he told me.

I started to laugh. Laughing does not make nose hair plucking any easier but there is something too intimate in a non-romantic comedy way really about a couple that plucks each other’s straying hairs.

My mother has chin whiskers. Every so often she reminds my sister and I that our only real job once she is in a nursing home (she is 76 and has delusions of nursing homes sometimes) is that we remember to inspect her chin periodically and pull any offending hairs.

Overgrowth of hair in places most unattractive is just one more mark on the black list against growing old.

“Do I have hair growing out of my ears?” My husband asked me after he’d attacked my nostril grass.

“Um, no,” I said. “Is this something else I should keep an eye on?”

I already scan his scalp and back for stress blemishes.

Men are just as prone to the wild hair phase of aging which manifests as mad scientist eyebrows and back hair, so I guess I should be grateful for a few chin whiskers and a hair in my nose.

“Do you think all couples pick at each like monkeys at the zoo?”

“No, and please don’t blog about this.”

The good Sisters of the Presentation did not mention hair beyond the pubic area really when they showed us that filmstrip and sent us home with the Kotex propaganda filled gift box. As I passed each sexual milestone, and was treated to information about the gift of femaleness that would have prompted a man to head off to the return desk, no one mentioned beards, or even five o’clock shadow, and yet this is part of the journey.

This was an original 50 Something Moms piece.

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Menopause, Perimenopause, Induced Menopause

watch City Line whenever I can. It’s a talk show here in Toronto. They deal with a lot of women’s issues. On there website they describe the differences between Menopause, Perimenopause and Induced menopause in a nice, straight forward, easy to understand way:

Menopause is a natural process that happens to every woman. It is neither an illness nor medical condition, basically a rite of passage for women alike. Menopause is the end of menstruation. Simply put menopause officially occurs when a women has not had her period for one full year. This is a natural aging process that occurs in women once her ovaries start to produce lower levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Furthermore she is no longer able to become pregnant. While menopause is different for every woman, the age range for experiencing it is between 42 years old and 56 years old. The average age is 52 years old.

Perimenopause, a less familiar term actually refers to the numerous years prior to menopause when a woman starts feeling the symptoms of the menopausal changeover. Most people use the term menopause to relate to the entire transition prior, during and after menopause has occurred.

While not every woman will experience all the signs of menopause, most will experience some of the signs. The most noticeable sign is the start of irregular periods. Other signs and symptoms may include:
Hot flashes
Night sweats
Mood swings
Vaginal dryness
Short-term memory problems
Urinary tract infections
The majority of the symptoms do disappear once menopause has completed.
It is interesting to note that women in different parts of the world experience different symptoms, perhaps induced by their diet, climate or simply genetics.

Induced Menopause is when a woman undergoes an immediate and premature menopause. This happens when her ovaries no longer produce the estrogen and progesterone hormones. Induced menopause can be caused by surgery removing your ovaries, chemotherapy, radiation treatment or ovarian malfunction. Often, women experiencing induced menopause have more severe menopausal symptoms. The truth of the matter is that it will affect all of us women at some point or another, and knowledge of course is the best defense to this natural phenomenon.

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