Asia Kaleem, now 42, is a vivacious, gregarious mother of 3 — thrust into early menopause eleven years ago. Now, she’s happy to be in a stage where she can “Do whatever the hell she wants to do” — left her home town, moved to NYC to reinvent, and learned to “lean into the sweats.” Tell us, Asia...
MENOPAUSE AT 31? YEP.
I had five snicker sized fibroids taken out in my late 20s — I actually warned my doctor to be careful ‘cause I knew I had a son waiting to be born. I went on about my life — had that son — but obviously something happened with my uterine wall during that operation ‘cause it ruptured a few years later. Internal bleeding, no good. The doctors decided to take out my uterus. So, I was thrust into menopause at 31.
NOT EVEN A PAMPHLET
The docs prescribed opioids for pain after that monster operation. The drugs made me loopy and paranoid. Plus I was in early menopause and clueless — I was too young and naive to ask for details. Zero conversation with the surgeon — no pamphlets, nothing. There should have been a brochure that says: ‘Hey honey, you just lost your uterus — your key body parts – here’s some vital information for you.’
I call hot flashes “internal summers”— it feels like my insides are boiling. Imagine a turkey in the oven. That’s me. They became, and still are, my constant companion.
When I was first recuperating, . I was telling my next door visiting neighbors — a mother/daughter team, how I felt. And the 75-year-old spitfire mom said: “Get off those drugs, honey. You are going through the change — you’re not dying.” Wait, this is menopause? Shit.
My own mother and I were never very close. I didn’t reach out. Sex and body talks with her were, “Don’t let boys check your oil.” That was the beginning, middle, and end. But mom did not suffer in silence through her own menopause. She beat the hell out of me. She was a terror. So I thought that was what menopause was.
DOCS & DRUGS
Now, 11 years later, I’m still boiling, I’ve gained weight, and had some dark days. I’m still in early menopause, heading toward peri. No more pills for me. I don’t want hormones. I started to understand a little more about big pharma. They don’t care what they give you.
I have an OK doctor now. But my expectations are low. I understand that they have the knowledge. They took a test on it. They passed. There may be a doctor out there that was raised by a woman who truly understands and cares deeply. But I haven’t met them yet.
Now I say: Lean into it. Yes, you’re gonna be hot. Big fuckin' deal. It’s gonna pass. Keep you some cool towels in the freezer. Sit in your bedroom naked. Don’t go taking pills and taking chances.. Sweaty? Rub baking soda under your arms — keeps you nice and dry. Brain fog? Take two spoonfuls of coconut oil! I’d bathe in coconut oil if I could.
KNOW BETTER, DO BETTER
I'm glad to say that now — this is not your mother’s menopause. It’s a different game - time to gain knowledge and spreading the word to our younger sisters. At this time in our life, you are no longer used as a vessel. My daughter knows that this is her future. So when the “change” starts — wherever she is — she’ll gimme a call: “Ma, I got my internal summer.”
Asia Kaleem, now 42, was thrust into early menopause eleven years ago.