Leather Spinsters Newsletter February 2000 Edition

Leather Spinsters Newsletter February 2000 Edition

Inside this Newsletter

1. Article

    A. (Response to)Menopause and The Spinster
2. Spinster Letters
3. Inspiration Corner
4. Advertisements
5. Helpful Products
6. Spinster-Friendly Newsletters and Ezines

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Response to: Menopause and The Spinster

Menopause, who would have thought a topic on menopause would generate the writing of so many emails from women. Most certainly not me but that is exactly what happened. For about a week I had received between 50-100 emails a day on the subject. I could not believe the warm sharing of letters were stimulated by the need to write about a subscriber who sought comfort and knowledge with menopause.

I decided to include as many of the letters as possible in this edition of the newsletter. Women for generations have treated menopause like an attack on their womanhood. Worst yet like a badge of shame careful to not share their experiences with their non-menopausal counterparts. For more information there is a site on the net that answers questions regarding menopause and perimenopause entitled Hot Flash Peri-Menopause located at http://families-first.com/hotflash/index.htm .

    "I went" through menopause after I had been misdiagnosed as having Chrone's Disease because I developed major scar tissue(adhesions) from the C-section birth of my son. The hysterectomy was complete and had to be done through the abdomen. It was horribly painful and I wouldn't recommend it be done that way to anyone.

    They gave me an estrogen shot in the hospital and I tried taking it for three more months, but it made my joints so painful and stiff that I felt like I was 90. It was the estrogen because I experimented with it several more times with the same result. I only had hot flashes for the first year, but I got a vaginal problem that all my hysterectomized friends came down with too, a discharge or leakage that is colorless, but causes itching, especially at night and in hot rooms.

    We have all been to our doctors several times for this and they don't know what to do. They say it isn't a yeast infection, even though I got relief from a herbal yeast fighting homeopathic medicine. I also got better from the Dr. Atkins all protein diet, but only while I stopped eating any sugar. My final help has been to reduce the acid in my stomach. Shouldn't work, I know, but it has for a few weeks. Otherwise I have to wear a Kleenix between my pleats every night and cover my labia with baby powder. This is annoying, but it beats the heck out of having a period every month.

    Every time I see ads for sanitary napkins I get a thrill. I would like to see some information on all the menopausal problems that women have, not just the mood swings, weight gain, hot flashes... usual stuff. Doctors act like those are all that happens and, I can tell you it aint so. Menopause has much more effect on our bodies than is being said. Especially than what is being said to hysterectomy candidates.

    My moods swings didn't kick in badly until two years after the operation and then it went into panic attacks. Major changes in my lifestyle bumped those mood swings into a major crisis. These have also happened as a side effect of hysterectomies to many of my friends. We have all had children, so it isn't a mother wanna be symptom. With a psychologist's help, my friends and some anti-depressents, I got through it. I'm glad to read how some of your members feel freed by it, but I'm still at the point where I hate getting older. 48,Roxanne

    "Anger is what I felt when I read your comments on the subject of menopause being shrouded in secrecy. I became angry because that is exactly how it seemed to me when I first started getting my menopause symptoms. Why do women do that to each other? My mother and grandmother never spoke of menustration or menopause which helped create the mentality they are shameful changes.

    Those changes are apart of being women. Western society instill shame in women for natural processes. How we can claim to be more civilized than the most primitive cultures is beyond me. they know how to celebrate their womanhood whereas we shy away from our changes as something bad. I will not be a party to this attitude any longer the females in my family will know all those changes in their bodies are wonderful."56, Nikki

    "When I saw the topic was menopause I deleted the newsletter. I sure as hell didn't want to recall my experiences as a menopausal woman. Why I went to the website yesterday I can only sum up to being curiosity. I read the article and had a change of heart about the topic. Why did I feel so uncomfortable with seeing the word menopause? I don't know the answer to that question yet but now I'm not running when I see the word menopause.Katherine

    "Boy can I remember when my mom went through the change of life. No one would have called her a barrel of fun. She was holy terror from sun up to sun down. She never sat me down and spoke freely on any of the feminine changes I had to discover them on my own. I don't blame her it was the way society saw a "bleeding woman". Didn't matter if she was beginning or ending her cycle of blood letting it was taboo.

    I had heavy duty sweats all day long. I invested in a daily supply of sweat guards for my clothes. My body odor was attrocious. I had to bath on some days three times to combat that smell. One of the women you asked said she had hot-flashes for six years. I had body odor for about that long and there was nothing my doctor could prescribe to get rid of it. I don't know which is worse hot-flashes or body odors. Delores

    "Menopause gave me little patience for female doctors. My doctor thought it was a good idea for me to be on hormone therapy her cure all for menopause. Would you believe the ninny told me to stop complaining I was fortunate enough to have hormone therapy to ease me through the change. She didn't want me to stop taking the hormones when I couldn't handle the pain another day. I was having panic attacks, sever leg cramps, back aches, and dangerously low blood pressure, things I didn't suffer from until the hormonal therapy. In the newsletter you were curious if all women in menopause cried over not having children. No, I cried everyday from the symptoms of hormonal therapy. I wouldn't wish my experience or that doctor on any woman. Caroline Nichols

    " I could relate to Debbie not being able to go out on some days because of her mood swings. I have days when it is best I stay home if I want to keep my friends. Working at home is a plus for me as a menopausal gal. No direct interactions with people who could inadvertly tick me off on my hot temper days. Hot flashes are not a problem for me. I get them but I can not set my clock by them like a friend of mine. It is wonderful to see women talking about menopause. Yall realize we have an advantage over our mothers and their mothers. We can talk about what we are experiencing without the hush from the past. Thank you editor for choosing menopause to write about. 55,Laramie

    "I read the comments about menopause and thought how bless I really am. I've been menopausal for two years without a slight moment of discomfort. I don't know when my cycle will start is the only drawback so I keep protection on me at all times. My breast became larger once I enter menopause other than that no real external changes. Glad you wrote about menopause.51,Stacie

    "I feel like an old woman. My leg joints creak and pop when I get up to move. I grunt and groan just to do the simpliest of tasks. My doctor told me my bone density was like a woman half my age but couldn't explain physical reason why the creaks and groans. He attribute my symptoms to being all in my head and not real. I've had tests on top of tests to see if there was a physical reason for the the new noises in my body. Nothing was found. Am I suppose to feel like someone thirty years older?55,Miss Lavern Simpson

    "My sex drive is none existent. My celibacy has lasted 36 years but I always wanted it. Now since menopause I can care less if it never cross my mind again. So much for the theory of increasing my sex drive like one of the women you interviewed. I know everyone is thinking, she was not active so why should it be important to not have a sex drive? A sex drive is another way of knowing you are alive and it is not reliant on sexual activity. No I didn't cry over not having babies or for not marrying. I'm with the person who said they were happy with their life decisions.Vale

    "No one warned me about menopause. Women were tight lipped when it came to menopause. Almost like it was a nasty little joke only they were privy. My nightmares were the vaginal drying and the constant migrains. I wish I was the woman who sailed through menopause without as much as a bead of sweat. Your remarks about your vision as a menopausal woman standing in the grocery store fanning yourself with a freezer door was funny. The summer of 83 was a hot one imagine having hot flashes too. My home air conditioner was malfunctioning and my car didn't have one so the store was my only refuge. Maybe you saw me, the sweaty woman in awful flowered sundresses fanning herself with freezer doors in Lubbock stores".66,Special

    "Menopause awoke the fighter in me. I had a husband who dominated me physically. He would grab my wrists and hold them very tight till they felt numb.Afterwards I would cry and do what he wanted. He made me hate being alive. I would be feeling terrible and out of control from menopause when he would come along and add to my misery. The day came when I said enough is enough and gave him some physical pain from his head down to his toes. He left me after I tortured him for awhile. I don't care how many horror stories you print about menopause I will always see it as a miracle that took place in my life.Ella

    "I laughed when I read some of those comments. I saw myself in everyone of those ladies. I had every side effect of menopause noted in medical books. There were days I felt like Sybil. Happy, sad, confused, calm, frantic, wise, dumb, hot, cold, where am I, boy oh boy I was a mess. I was so glad my family and friends were sympathetic and had already been through it themselves. They overlooked my craziness and did not patronize or fearfully tip toe around me. I've been on natural supplements for three years. Menopause is like people, it varies from person to person as you can see in the stories. Too bad I was not the symptom-free woman!" Reba

    "When I was twenty-eight years old I had a fibroid tumor the size of a large grapefruit in my uterus. The only treatment my doctor offered me was a hysterectomy. Back in those days women didn't get second opinions the doctor's diagnosis was IT. My doctor reassured me my life would be like normal just without the cramps and heavy bleeding. He didn't tell me I would be facing menopause or years of complications associated with the hysterectomy. It was pure HELL.

    The hysterectomy was thirty years ago and I'm still reeling from it's after effects. Just this morning my physical showed I had some hairline fractures in my legs. Osteoporosis is the cause. No I can't chalk my menopause up to a happy orgasmic ending like one of your interview subjects in January. Menopause has been anything but a walk in the park. "anonymous

    "My mother had the worst case of menopause I had ever seen. She stayed sick and weak. She had been a strong woman who would go out in the fields and help my dad farm. Until menopause. Menopause hit her like a brick wall. What is it with doctors who play down the woman's symptoms? Her doctor told her it was all in her head and if she wanted to do all those things she did in the past he couldn't see why she couldn't. I don't believe it was all in her head because the estrogen pills made matters worse. She had to be helped to clean herself for years. She's pretty much back to normal now but it was a long time in coming. I'm scared to death of menopause after seeing her suffer."Darla

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The footsteps of those proud spinsters that have gone before and those that are soon to follow.

Spinster Letters

A fellow spinster showed me an article she printed from the net by a psychotherapist who said women who chose lives without love interests are women suffering from mentally disorders. I've been a subscriber of this newsletter for a long time and so far I've yet to read anything from a deranged woman. Women on this list seem to be well-adjusted and happy. Again according to this doctor happiness can not be achieve without an intimate companion. It appears women on this list are proving her wrong. She never said whether she was married or single. Single or not she sounded like an unhappy person trying to discourage happiness of any kind. The article you wrote "are women afraid of singleness" addressed women like her. Bitter women who can't stand the idea they may spend their lives as single women. I applaud you for creation a forum for happy single women proving doctors like her wrong.33, Lisa

Dear Regena,
I am a happy, asexual, celibate, nearly-44-year-old ever single woman. My ever- singleness was, at first, involuntary. But, having reconciled myself to the fact that I was forever a square peg trying to fit into the round hole of male-female romantic relationships and probably always would be, I am now ever-single by choice. There was a long period–nearly a decade–of transition, of dilemma, of bereavement. On one hand, I knew I had little tolerance for stress, and relationships routinely pushed me over the threshold and made me crazy. On the other hand, I didn’t know how to be financially secure without a man. In fact, I was so inept at handling money–I had one bodacious credit-card spending habit!--that I declared bankruptcy in 1987. But I certainly did not want to prostitute myself by marrying for security.

Finally, the transition ended when I began educating myself about personal finance and long-term financial planning. Although I don’t dwell on my regrets (or try not to, anyway), if I had known in my twenties what I know now about the subject of money, the transition would have been shorter and less painful.

And that’s my reason for writing to you now. Surely I’m not the only ever-single woman to have discovered the link between financial security and happy singlehood. Yet, you and I can probably name many other women who perceive the link between emotional independence and financial security but don’t know how to build the bridge connecting them in their lives. I know you briefly addressed this question in your July, 1999, newsletter, but it might be worth revisiting on a larger scale in your e-zine, which is a perfect vehicle for such a story! My money management “bible” is “How to Turn Your Money Life Around: The Money Book for Women,” by Ruth L. Hayden, a St. Paul personal financial consultant from whom I’ve taken classes as well. I also learned from and enjoyed “Your Money or Your Life,” “From Paycheck to Power,” and most recently, “Smart Women Finish Rich.” These books showed me I *can* “do” my money myself. I am free and independent because I control my money. It doesn’t control me.

I hope you’ll run a story on this subject by either writing it yourself or farming it out to someone who’s learned the hard way like . . . me! Or perhaps you know a certified financial planner–perhaps someone with a particular affinity for working with women–who would be willing to write it.

May I suggest another story idea or two? I know your current newsletter item on menopause touched on the issue of depression and the ever-single woman, but how about a whole story devoted to it? I’m a happily spinstered woman now, but I went through a time of depression when I was meeting no one’s expectations, least of all mine, because I was so torn as to where I fit in. I owe a lot to St. John’s Wort. I would love to see how others have coped.

Also, how about a feature on fending off unwanted advances from men? I like men just fine and wouldn’t mind going out for a cup of coffee with a new male acquaintance just to stretch my horizons a bit, but I am not interested in the possibility of a relationship. Unfortunately, men don’t believe me when I tell them I’m happy not dating. Honesty and truth just aren’t good enough for them. How do other ever-single women communicate effectively with men on this topic?

Thank you for establishing the organization and the Web site. I can hardly tell you what a relief it and pleasure it is to know I have so many "sisters" out there but it sure make me giddy! Lynne in St. Paul

I really enjoyed my copy of the newsletter keep up the good work! 38, Devan

I applaud you for writing about menopause. I had not been told what to expect before I went through menopause it caught me off guard. I am happy to see women exchanging dialogue on this natural process. There is nothing worse than not understanding what is going on with your body. 62, Eunice

Some of you poor damsels really catch hell. I apologize in advance for insulting anyone but the article on menopause made me cringe. It sure explained alot about what some of the women in my life had to go through.Peter

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Inspiration Corner

A widow at the age of 36 Aunt Eloise changed how I thought about older women living alone. A happy go lucky woman with her dogs and cats she was very happy. One day when I was a teenager I asked her why she was still single and her answer shaped how I thought of single women. She said," when a woman is happy as a lamb with life she don't need to look for anyone else to make her happy". Isn't that the message this newsletter is trying to promote? Women seeking happiness from themselves rather than someone else.

She lived a long joy filled life. Everything she did she did it with love and care. How many of us can say that? I married for a short time in the early seventies but it didn't last. Divorce can be scary for the woman that need others to be happy. It wasn't scary for me because of my Aunt Eloise showing me by example a single woman don't need to feel shortchanged. Aunt Eloise and I shared more than just our names we shared a life attitude of happiness and NO REGRETS. 59,Eloise


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