• Nathira Salim

Am I menopausal?

Welcome back to my blog peeps.

Ever since I had cancer one of the most important things I was looking into was my diet. I was pretty sure my diet was the cause of cancer cells to breed. I may be right or wrong, not even the experts can agree on that. But I wanted to change my diet. I will focus on the diet portion here - not the supplement or nutritional because its hell lot complicated and only someone certified to talk and write about it should comment.

After reading through a couple of books, before my surgery and after I went about drinking green juice every morning, had two different servings of vegetables, protein and brown rice, ate fancy nuts, avoided dairy and I drank three mugs of green tea daily. I paid big bucks to check out a certified dietician to guide me through my food choices and also had my blood checked for food allergies. I was advised to stay off from 10 types of food - orange, strawberries, bananas, and broccoli were on the list. I mean come on! They were supposed to be good food. I have been gulping and eating broccoli as if it was a life saving serum or something! Facepalm moment!

Once chemo started with me losing my taste buds and my gut lining becoming worse I had to resort back to my normal food such as white rice and vegetables soup. I went back to drinking black tea with sugar and having white bread for breakfast. It was not possible for me to digest food that irked my lining. Period. I had to stop all my other natural supplements till I am down with chemo.

Now - being in my forties, I have been on countless diets. And in each of the diet, the food which we have to take and avoid are not the same. Broccoli is encouraged for diet against cancer, but when you already have cancer, screw it. Broccoli is to be avoided to prevent bloating and when you are on menopause. Fruits are encouraged in some and discouraged in others, especially for people with cancer and on Keto. Soy is another controversial food. Some say go ahead and take it - its is good for fight against cancer, when you have cancer and out from it. It is also good if you are fasting and on Keto Diet and when you are on menopause.My dietician tells me to stay away from it. I paid big bucks for her - so she must be right.

For the past couple of days, I noticed my belly getting bigger and I can't wear my leggings no more without feeling tight and uncomfortable. I feel such a big relief when I get dressed into my nighties I tell you. I thought my new chemo meds must be the culprit. But when I was browsing some Pinterest articles, I noted that the symptoms I have matched the ones who are going through menopause. Some title scream : "Tips to reduce menopause belly" and "What causes the menopause belly and five things you can do to avoid it" and so on. Being naturally curious and with so much free time, I checked it out and noted that there was something to it. I know for a fact that the increased belly fat I keep playing around with ( yes its kind of big enough to flap it around - eeyyeww) is called subcutaneous fat and it surrounds my other organs. If I don't do anything about it now, I have a very high chance of dying of heart failure or diabetes - as if having cancer is not enough! Goodness.

First of all - what causes the damn menopause belly? According to the website that you can search for yourself - it says that the balance of hormones are no longer the same. The oestrogen levels plummet, and body fat that used to settle around the hips, thighs or butt now tends to unpack and settle down around the middle. The progesterone also decreases, which contributes to elevated cortisol levels in the body. Elevated cortisol can cause the so called menopausal belly. Oestrogen is the one that I am focusing here.

My cancer is hormone related yes? So what happens during chemo is that my ovaries are medically shut down which will put a stop to it telling my brains to produce oestrogen. No oestrogen - will mimic peri menopause or for older women like me - menopause. In my treatment plan, I am given Zoladex ( medical name: goserelin). Another similar med is called Lupron ( medical name:leuprolide). These are LNRH agonist ( luteinizing hormone releasing hormones) and they work by telling the brains to stop making oestrogen. This medicine is given as an injection every month for several month. I have this delivered to me beginning of the month and a nurse comes to my place on the appointed date and time and helps to injects it. Once I stop taking this med, then and only the ovaries will start to function. Well not immediately but it will take some time - depending on the person. The younger you are, the faster it comes back. I am not sure for me though.

So anyway - since my oestrogen is down - the body thinks its in menopause - or so I think. Thats how I am making the connection here. Its not just the belly fat, its the sleeplessness and the hot flashes I am getting. I actually thought I was heating up due to the chemo meds and the weather. But its definitely hot flash I am getting.

I am actually just throwing my ideas and questions here and they are not medical facts. I have to surf the net too you know. From what I have gathered so far, it all boils down to eating clean and exercising and having good sleep. Thats the basic fundamental rule. Most of the websites I have seen are going into depth in to each of the basics and make it look really really detailed. I have summarised as below:

Now to lose the belly weight this is the list:

  1. Exercise - Got for a fast walk, and yoga

  2. Good nutrition and cutting down refined carbs

  3. Cut down on alcohol

  4. Get decent night sleep

  5. Try intermittent fasting

  6. Avoid caffeine and dairy

  7. Cut down on sugar

A page about Keto Diet has something similar along the diet because it is considered a better diet for menopause. So the following is good for me:

  1. Fatty Fish

  2. Iron rich food

  3. Grass Fed red meat

  4. Salmon

  5. tuna/ sardine

  6. poultry

  7. Green Tea

  8. Food with phytoestrogen

  9. Soy products - though my dietician advised against this

  10. Flax seeds, pumpkin seeds and walnut

I have issues with moving my body - but diet I have no issues with. I will attempt to clean up my diet once again. This time the changes are not that radical. I just have to add more fish and veggies, reduce rice and sugar, and drink more green tea and also try to have a good breakfast without carbs.

Next up, cut down on my devices an hour before I sleep and also to sleep and wake up the same time consistently. I tried this and failed so many times because I only have time to watch K dramas at night! I have stopped drinking milk since June, but started on my yogurt intake recently. Wonder if I should stop that as well. Anyway will look into it.

I will update if anything there - so peeps wish me luck.

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Welcome back to my blog peeps. How have you all been doing? I am a little irritated at the moment because I wrote a 7 paragraphs post just a while ago and forgot to save it and I didn't know that this