Though I haven’t wanted to complain — I’m a subscriber to the “mustn’t grumble” school of thought — I have to admit that the last six months have been physically distressing. I’ve had to deal with ever more widespread and more intense joint pain, which keeps me from sleeping well, makes doing exercise nearly impossible (even gentle exercise like yoga), and generally leaves me worn-out. I’ve felt almost nothing like myself.

I’ve always been very active, with legendary endurance levels when I’m fit, so this change has been very hard to deal with. I knew that it wasn’t unusual for people with ulcerative colitis to have associated joint pain, but I didn’t know that it’s also a fairly common occurrence for women in menopause to find their joints are creaking and crunching. A conversation with MamaRubi, some searching on the Internet, and an appointment with my dear doctor* have led me to believe that this is in fact what’s going on for me. After some research and consultation, Dr. H and I have decided that HRT is the way to go, and since I’m not in a risk group for any of the more serious side effects, we’re confident that it’s going to be a change for the better.

I took my first tablet today, then went grocery shopping. Dragging, and I mean that literally, home from the store, I thought to myself, “I hope I don’t feel like when I go shopping next week!”

Fingers crossed.

(*I adore my gynecologist! A down-to-earth German, she’s also sweet and empathetic — and easy to reach via email or phone when you need her. When I complained that my usual Coke-bottle figure was starting to look a little more barrel-shaped, she said, “It’s not unusual for women your age. Besides, it’s not so bad to go from Coke to wine, is it?” I also really, really like that she calls me Ms. Tonta, and not Rubi. After all, I call her Dr. H.)