Before entering menopause what did I know about it? Apparently nothing. I’d heard that unbalanced hormones would make me sweat and act weird and even frighten people. I didn’t hear that clothing itself would be a daunting challenge from that point on.
So why has clothing been a problem for me since entering menopause, two words: surgical menopause. Hitting it from the other side: undiagnosed endometriosis.
When I reached the conclusion, with less help from one of the AMA’s gynecological narcissists than you could begin to imagine, that a hysterectomy was in the cards, my family balked at having the same unhelpful Neanderthal who tortured me (physically and emotionally) in the decision-making process perform the surgery. Thank goodness they cared enough to fight for change!
My husband did some research and found me a superstar and I am so thankful that he did! I will spare you the gory details, but this surgeon may well have saved my life! He very carefully worked his way through all of the complications, side-by-side with a bowel surgeon to ensure that no perforations occurred. So after 5 ½ hours of surgery (which was supposed to be two hours) I was as good as new – right?
Not quite! Once the internal tissue healed and the stitches dissolved, the scar tissue began to form. If you have surgery you have scar tissue. If you have surgery that virtually disembowels and then re-embowels you – you have a whole freakin’ lot of scar tissue. And the funny thing about scar tissue – it has a life of its own!
Some scar tissue just hurts. Some interferes with your organs and their motility and function. Some scar tissue bridges together to cause a pulling pain. After years of massage and therapy for scar tissue I know one thing. I will always be dealing with scar tissue. And surgery to address the scar tissue will just form what? Yes, more scar tissue!
Sometimes I wear a certain pair of slacks or a skirt and I’m pleased with the look. Two weeks later I will pull the same thing out of the closet, only to find that it hurts so much I can’t possibly wear it. Curses! Scar tissue has struck again! Some days the barest hint of elastic is enough to send me screaming back to change!
So net net, what does that mean in terms of clothing – and bras in particular? I have to select what I wear very carefully – and know that it might not always work. I can usually tell within the first 10 – 15 minutes whether or not something is going to work. I can never wear very tight clothing and I can never wear things that suck you in – OUCH!
Bras with a middle section that is low enough to skim the top of my stomach are deadly. Forget bamboo shoots under the fingernails – just force me into an ill-fitting or low-middle bridge bra and I’d tell my deepest darkest secret – or yours! When I recently went to purchase new bras and found that my tried and true model had been discontinued I started to hyperventilate. Luckily for me, the saleswoman understood and found a workable replacement before I drove myself into total cardiac arrest!
How does my love/hate relationship with clothing affect my life in general? A couple of years ago we sponsored a student from France. She saw me dressed in jeans and commented “those jeans are too big for you, you should go out and buy the next size smaller.” I responded, I have the smaller size, they’re in my dresser drawer.” She replied “then you must wear them, they will fit you better.” Then I watched her face droop in sadness as I responded, “I can’t, they hurt.”
Are bras important? Take it from me – they can make you or break you! But then, for me, that’s true of pretty much any garment these days!