What’s to like about Menopause? I’m no longer allergic to cats.

What’s to like about Menopause? Honestly? Not a cotton picking thing. Well… there is one thing. I am no longer allergic to cats. My allergy to cats has been something I have had to contend with all my life, and, since I absolutely adore the little fur balls, I have simply learned not to put my face in, or even near, their fur. But all that has changed.

I have always wanted to have a cat as a pet, but lifestyle has never allowed for it ~ until now. And as allergies are something, in my mind, to ignore, at worst medicate, the first opportunity I had to get a cat, I did. Having duly doped myself up for the drive in May when we went to collect our kitten, Gigi (and no I wasn’t the one driving, I was the one trying to calm a car sick kitten), it took awhile to register that no medication was needed. You cannot fathom my amazement. And thereafter I cannot get enough of burying my face in her fur, all with nary a sniffle, watery eye or itch. Absolutely Amazing.

Now the flip side, as there always is one. I am allergic now, it seems to me, to everything else. I really noticed a little over a year ago, as spring was springing and consequently my normal hay fever season was showing its head, that I was constantly sneezing and blowing my nose. And I mean constantly. The recycling bin was filled with empty tissue boxes. This was way beyond my normal hay fever.

We set about trying to figure out what to do as otherwise I seemed to have to constantly be in a doped stupor just to get my nose to stop. In the end it funnelled down to 2 primary things; food and menopause. And, in consequence, both myself and Pumpjack have ended up healthier, thinner and with more energy than we ever had before. And almost no allergy symptoms*.

Pumpjack had been researching foods and their impact on brain functions (hey, what can I say he is a mad scientist geek extraordinaire) and as he learned more this branched into how food affects the body in general. That old adage, you are what you eat. I meanwhile had found that menopause is supposed to heighten and exacerbate allergies – oh goody gumdrops. Somewhere in between our various researches met. Actually, I think it had more to do with self-preservation for Pumpjack. By helping me find a solution, he (we) would find some much needed peace.

We eliminated foods, then added them in slowly seeing what affects they had. And found some very specific culprits… coffee, sugars, carbohydrates and nightshades topping the list. Coffee was my sure trigger for hot flushes, but if I limited my coffee consumption to the morning I only had the odd warm moment right after drinking it. No night sweats, and slept soundly. But added to this for the sleeping part was no sugar in the evening. It gave me the heeby jeebies and I couldn’t lie still. (If I was desperate for something sweet, I had it before dinner, which in itself felt a wondrous decadence).  As for the lack of carbs, which for me was more about glutens, one of those magnanimous things about menopause is it exaggerates issues you already have. Gluten and I had never really gotten on, but for the sake of carrot cake we managed to get by.

By seriously limiting my gluten intake I gained a huge amount of energy. I still treat myself to the odd baguette or pastry (hey, when in France) and now notice the sleepy, draggy feeling almost immediately after, but that’s a good excuse for a nap. So I plan it that way.  A treat all around. And as for nightshades, that’s about arthritis. Again, menopause (bless) has heightened this awareness. I was waking up in the mornings and hobbling about until my body got going, and couldn’t figure out what was going on. Until we eliminated nightshades (e.g. tomatoes, potatoes, peppers…) and then re-introduced slowly. And, oh my goodness, did I notice the difference. Now, as someone who loves, and I mean loves, spaghetti bolognaise this is a double whammy. This is probably the one thing I find the hardest, but when I do treat myself, and I do, oh my, it is so, so good. That, and ‘Pizza a la David’ (aka Pumpjack). And by limiting these, and other culprits, to now and then, not only are they real treats and savoured, they also now have less detrimental impact.

So although menopause is a pain in, well, the whole body, and I wouldn’t wish it on any woman, or man, because of it, I now feel much healthier, have more energy and can bury my face in cat fur.

*I do get the odd sneeze still. Moulds. Hey, life isn’t perfect. But, I now take a carbon capsule (not gel) and that sorts me out right away. And no doped feeling.

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