Lisa M. Griffith-Fleming, a 56-year-old frank, hilarious hair stylist and actor, has been experiencing menopause transition for the last 11 years. Now, post-menopausal, she's got a lot of life lessons, remedies and better than ever sex stories to share.
“Whooo woo barbecue — that’s what it has felt like every day with this menopause I’ve been going through since I was 45 —more than 11 years now. I’ve got tenure!”
I’ve been living in post-menopause for 4 years now. The hot flashes are still ferocious. But now I only get them 5 times a day. In peri? Easily, 10 times a day. If I drink water, I get a hot flash. If I eat anything salty, sweet, caffeine, alcohol, forget about it. But I do NOT refrain from wine — I drink more and say — this too shall pass. And it does. Good news? The bleeding stopped all together. Hallelujah, praise the Lord! I’ve been partying since. And sex? No problem. Still wet, nipples still goin’ — I could do it every day. It didn’t slow down in peri — and it damn sure picked up in menopause.
AN HERB FOR EVERY SYMPTOM
These days I'm depleted by 8:30 at night — that’s right — in bed before the kids. And I’m up and at ‘em at 3:35 in the morning. My eye balls just pop open. I’m taking B-12 for that energy. In fact, I’ve got a closet full of remedies. Black cohosh is my go-to if I’m getting irritable — or if I think my boyfriend is not appreciating me enough. I’ve had some brain fog and took ginkgo for a minute. But it didn’t do that much.
At first my doctor prescribed a pill for hot flashes — the same pill is used to treat psychosis! I said: “What the fuck are you trying to say?” She assured me it was a lower dose, but I got home and read the side effects —no no no — and haven’t taken it since. So I’m all about the herbs. I move: Swim 3 days a week, walking, I take care of myself to ward off the demons. I do have this big beer belly now — and I can’t stand beer. It’s that muffin fat I cannot get rid of.
MOOD SWINGING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION
Some of the mood shifts have been liberating. I’m at the point in my life, I don’t give a damn. I say what is on my mind now. No time for nonsense. And my face does not hide how I feel. So, if my mouth and face could shut up, I’ll be alright. But they can’t.
I’ve definitely been more fearless since menopause. I have always been a beautician and an actor/writer. I think sometimes I was a little too cautious with my salon schedule as back up. But that’s a changin’ — now I’m putting more time into my theatre and weaning off days at the salon. I’ve written plays, done a lot of things for black history month. It’s an exciting time.
COMMUNICATION IS KEY
My mother would laugh and say: Menopause is just part of life. You wanted big boobs like mama — well, you’ll get this too. But I come from an old-school family. Growing up it was — stay out of grown folks’ conversations. This was a hindrance. My mother died at 56 from a massive coronary. If my mother only knew that my grandmother had heart problems — she could have been more pro-active about her health. I live with my aunt now, who is 91, and I’m close with my younger sister and niece. We talk about our health, our menopause, our health, everything. No shame. We paid the price for not being communicative.
My mantra: Pay attention to my body. Your body can tell you more than anyone, including your doctor. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. And oh, read those prescription labels!
Lisa M. Griffith-Fleming, a 56-year-old hair stylist and actor, has been post-menopausal for 4 years