Natural Hormone Replacement —
"From puberty through menopause, most women are well aware of their reproductive systems. At various points along the way, they may be battling PMS (premenstrual syndrome), enduring the ailments of menstruation, going through pregnancy, or trying to segue gracefully into menopause. Simply put, being a woman is not for the faint of heart.
"I come from a precarious gene pool, with my mother succumbing to ovarian cancer at the age of 68 and my only sibling diagnosed with the same disease at the age of 45. My sister survived her ordeal, with massive chemotherapy and good luck – but she was clearly in the minority. Ovarian cancer is silent, and most do not survive the swift and silent disease.
"Now, it was my turn. Last December, at the age of 48, I was strongly advised by my beloved OBGYN to have a hysterectomy. Closely monitored every six months, my sonogram looked suspicious, and my pap smear results were questionable. Due to my family history of ovarian cancer, I begrudgingly and methodically persevered and had a total hysterectomy that same month.
"The surgery went without incident, and pathology read like a dream: No cancer. While I was elated over the good news, I knew that my body was being thrown into the shock of menopause. Was I now doomed for elastic-waisted pants, hot flashes, and thinning hair?
"Of course not. I wouldn’t hear of it. So I had to do something to counteract all the perils of instant menopause. I had a lot of life left to live, and I wanted to do it gracefully.
"Concerned with all the findings of FDA approved Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), I consulted with my beloved OBGYN, who is a wonderful doctor and listener. His posture was: “You only need estrogen, since your uterus is gone; progesterone is not necessary.” I told him not to even think of giving me the HRT made from horse urine (Premarin): for some reason, that just didn’t appeal to me. Instead, I started with an estrogen pill. He assured me I would be fine.
"I am neither a rocket scientist nor a doctor, but I deduced that since my body just had estrogen, progesterone, and all those fun hormones, it made good sense that my body would miss progesterone. Sure enough, my body ached from head to toe. Whatever sports injury or dental work I had previously, the pain came back. Simply put, I felt like a bus had run me over.
"Feeling only 70% like my old self, I started doing research on bioidentical hormones, and I soon discovered Village Green Apothecary in Bethesda, Md. My internal radar knew my body was starved for something, and my best guess was progesterone. I inquired with their knowledgeable staff, who gave me a list of medical doctors in our area who practice holistic medicine, and specifically bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT). William McCawley, Village Green Apothecary's practitioner liaison, took many hours of his time to speak with me about my options. He recommended that I take a saliva test in order to fine-tune my BHRT needs. I felt hope, and I felt as if he truly cared for my well-being.
"After blood, urine, and saliva testing, my doctor called Village Green for my compounded BHRT to be made. I have been using the compounded BHRT for three months, and have never felt better. The entire staff is knowledgeable, polite, and very customer-service oriented. I have enhanced my BHRT with additional vitamins, herbs, and supplements suggested by the Village Green’s knowledgeable staff.
"I am presently training for my sixth Marathon. I feel 16 again.
"Women should not have to suffer in the last biological phase of their lives. I find it preposterous that women are being prescribed a “once size fits all” hormone replacement therapy. Women have to learn to be knowledgeable and proactive about their health, and understand that their physicians merely “practice” medicine: they are not gods. To sit silently and not question or research what you are ingesting is ludicrous.
"I highly recommend BHRT and am now at peace with the decision I had to make. Menopause does not have to be difficult, but rather the start of a wonderful phase in a woman’s life. Village Green will never lose me as a client, nor as a friend."