Caregiving and gender can challenge more than can be imagined. MS progression both physically and cerebrally impaired and prevented Patti’s ability to 'manage' the personal related aspects of her menstrual cycle several years ago.
MS emotional lability inflamed by PMS is not conducive to rational ‘manly man’ problem solving and assistance. For example, it does no good to point out to a PMS enraged woman that you "have efficiently marked the calendar and it is not 28 days". They stare at you as if you have grown multiple heads and seem suddenly unable to understand English yet begin to curse you ‘in tongues’.
Shortly our daughter became of age and with Mom unable, this became another father daughter passage unique to “living with MS” in our family.
For a guy I’ve gotten to know more about the menstrual cycle than I ever wanted to know. Except now I find myself confounded by its logical extension - menopause.
The overwhelming majority of people with MS are women. How is the following and often dated and in conflict information acceptable?
“…In a 1992 study of women with MS during menopause, women reported feeling worse with menopause and better with hormone replacement therapy. But these changes in subjective symptoms may or may not be related to MS…”
2005 National MS Society
“…These findings have all come from small, uncontrolled studies, and much more research is needed to characterize the relationship between MS and the menstrual cycle….”
MS Information Sourcebook, NMSS, March 2003
“…No problem, said my neurologist, and for me, the advice was right. … Since we already have a chronic illness filled with vague symptoms, it can be difficult to separate out the menopausal ones ...When I became menopausal, I was unprepared and ignorant about it. I researched the topic for myself. My research revealed that there were not a lot of answers …there isn't any research yet on women with MS going through menopause"
from Inside MS Magazine, 1998
Over half the population of the earth is women. Why aren’t women kicking down doors and demanding answers?
Patti’s MS progression both physically and cerebrally prevents her managing and even properly communicating changes and needs. Recently noticing an unusual pattern of MS symptoms over the last half year and some probable menopause indicators, I’ve discussed this with her doctor and she has agreed with hormone level testing which will begin next week. This in turn has lead me to such above futile research on MS and menopause. Why as the ONLY male involved in Patti’s healthcare am I the one taking a proactive look at hormones? Am I risking getting cursed in tongues again? <grin>
Perhaps I should learn a lesson from this scientific insight:
“…studies of the MS model in male mice, whereby castration clearly makes the disease worse in males…”OUCH! and DUH, what wouldn't castration make worse!!!! <grin>