Monday, 12 November 2012

Blue Note Boogie: The Week (On Progesterone) That Was

And now that the roller-coaster has come to a complete standstill, I can look back and laugh ... sort of.

This "week" actually began on October 30 when, at my latest medical check-up, decided to start taking progesterone. I had done my research and knew what to expect, but had heard about many who had had good results (physical of course) from it. My doctor decided to prescribe three months worth; I would try it to see if I got any of the benefits and would stop if the side-effects (radical mood swings, depression) were too much.

The following evening, Halloween, I spent handing out candy to trick-or-treaters upstairs with my landladies. Two evenings later, November 2, I had my electrolysis appointment (now every three weeks). I worked the following day and then, on the way home, picked up my prescription. I started taking it the following day, Sunday, November 3: a very somber day, with relentless, pouring rain. Later that afternoon, my father called (our regular, alternate week calls) and he updated me about my grandmother's burial arrangements; I already knew that there was not going to be a funeral and that she was going to be cremated. A melancholy conversation nonetheless. We also spoke about other things. I remember talking about how lucky I felt to be living fairly well, having lots of friends, living in an ideal neighbourhood with house owners who are also friends, being healthy, having a stable job and career, writing and creating, dancing, transitioning well. I did/do feel lucky; but, sometimes, I take things and people for granted.

The following morning, before work, and right after my second dose of progesterone, I was confronted by one of my landladies about something (actually, a couple of things) that had completely escaped me over the previous several days. It was regarding our backyard garden, I had left some of my plant scraps in the wrong  bin, with dry leaves. I recalled leaving them there previous to being advised not to, but had forgotten to remove them. But, it was clear from the degree of her upstate, that there was more to this than the garden. Regardless, I apologized profusely before rushing out to clear things up. On progesterone things were magnified (I had woken up very drowsy and nauseous that morning); within minutes after coming back in from the garden, I was in a crying fit. All the old negative self-talk came back with a vengeance. I sobbed while doing the morning dishes and then, while putting my coat on for work. At work for the next few days, I felt sheepish, ashamed and very vulnerable. I was paranoid that I would slip up somewhere and get yelled at.

By mid-week, I had spoken to a few friends and asked a few online what to expect. I was ready to throw in the towel on those capsules any day. A few friends, having gone through this  in some form themselves assured that the depressive state lasted a few days only. The nail-biter presidential election in the US preoccupied me on Tuesday evening. When Obama won, I breathed a sigh of relief, although not without some anxiety about the bumpy road ahead politically speaking. I cried tears of joy during his victory speech. The clouds were beginning to part. Indeed, by Wednesday evening, November 7, I was starting to feel lighter. At a meeting for The Switch that evening, I was even feeling a little more like my creative self again. The next night brought a small set-back, however. DJing for a swing dance was something I had been doing for sometime, on monthly basis. Mere minutes before I was set to start playing, my laptop electrical cord burned out; its battery was also low with only twelve minutes of power left. Some quick maneuvering  by the dance organizers got a replacement, but the guilt I felt and the pressure of all of those sympathetic eyes. I realized how vulnerable I still felt in the local swing scene, the community that had lifted me up several times when I was down. Now, I felt that I had let them down. As I danced that night, it was likely that no one knew how bad I felt ... but, I did.

I woke up Friday morning somewhat refreshed (I had gotten home to bed earlier than expected the previous night) and went to work. At work, all of us were working on getting our new library branch open the following week (tomorrow), and I spent the morning at the new location getting acquainted before going to the main branch to work on the desk. But, it was the weekend that I was looking forward to.

I had registered for the annual Vancouver Jazz Dance Festival towards the end of the summer. I had also sampled last year's inaugural weekend festival and thoroughly enjoyed it. Each night had a theme: 1920s Prohibition Era on Friday night, 1930s Savoy Ballroom swing era Saturday night, and the early 1940s Sunday afternoon and evening for Remembrance Day on Sunday. After work Friday, I raced downtown to get the finishing touches to my flapper outfit (tights and eye makeup), grab a bite to eat and then, raced back home to feed my cat before showering, dressing, putting on my makeup and rushing out the door and over to the Russian Hall in Strathcona for the last 2-3 hours of the dance.

I missed the Saturday afternoon portion of the festival as I had a midday meeting for The Switch. I dressed late 1960s during the day, black mini dress and beret with stained-glass tights and then, after the meeting rushed over to a vintage clothing store in my neighbourhood to get an outfit for Sunday. Then I picked up a black skirt for the Saturday dance. That night, my dancing energy came back full force. The band cooked and so did the dancers ... the auditorium was broiling with heat. I slept well that evening.

On the final day, I dressed in a sailors jacket and high-waisted pants and tight sleeveless sweater with nautical stripes and had my hair in pig-tails. The whole look came together. I was proud. Sunday was a dizzying mix of film clips, laughing, dancing and shouting. I danced until I could no more and left satiated from all the fun, friends and festive jazz music. Hungry, I went for a fried chicken dinner on the Drive before going home.

Today, I slept in good and late while it rained outside. My cat Tatum couldn't have been happier. I felt tired and exercise sore both emotionally and physically. I talked things over with my landlady this afternoon. In one week, I had grown and it had hurt at times. I realized that I do sometimes take friends for granted and that I over-compensate by coming down too hard on myself. I do not blame progesterone for creating my issues nor do I credit it for teaching me the lessons that come from them. Transition is not an escape from your problems, but, like many other life challenges, it does provide you with opportunities to grow up and out.

1 comment:

  1. You are a very wise and capable woman. Glad to hear things are starting to feel a little better.