At the onset of menopause I felt like a mack truck had hit me. It started with night sweats, then my skin got very dry all over my body, especially on my face. I couldn’t put enough crème on to moisten the ever increasing scales. My energy plummeted, which came as a huge shock as this was not my normal modus operandi. Then my waist started to get bigger, and I mean bigger, with a 50 pound weight gain I grew from a size 10 to a size 16. My breasts, went the same way and grew from a B to a DD in just one year. To add to the “glory” of my ever expanding frame I could not seem to curb my cravings for fats, sugars and of course fried foods. Finally, let me briefly mention my moods. They made PMS seem like a minor affliction. And my anger! The difference between mountains and mole hills was nonexistent. I would snap at the slightest provocation and the most insignificant issue. To put it simply, I spiraled down into a deep depression. I had lost my looks, my youth, my vitality, and life as I knew it was over.
Being the single mom of a teenager did not help the situation; our life experience at the time could not have been more different. My daughter, who was 17 at the time, was in her prime, buying clothes to fit her beautiful body, going out with friends and having the time of her life. I was happy for her, but at the same time it became a bitter reminder of how “over the hill” I had become. With my daughter having to wear a hooded sweatshirt in the house at all times because of my need to have the air conditioner blasting out cold air 24/7, I realized we were both suffering.
As my body suffered so did my spirit. The most poignant feeling throughout this experience was how I felt like a prisoner of my own body. I could not control my weight, cravings, sweating, flaking and most importantly my emotions. Keeping it together around family and in the workplace became a constant and exhausting struggle. With such alienating behavior and the inability to look at myself in the mirror came a deep feeling of unworthiness. I always believed in God and a power greater than myself, but with my confidence receiving such a blow, the notion of faith became a real challenge to me. It was during that time that I went in to see Dr. Mao, as I remembered that he had helped me years earlier.
I met Dr. Mao through my dear friend Gary Dontzig. This was 19 years ago when I was suffering with asthma that I had had since a child. Although Gary was not a patient of Mao’s at the time, he had heard about his practice and felt that he could help me. Since Dr. Mao began treating the physical, emotional and spiritual elements of my menopausal experience, I have undergone a true renaissance of the heart and soul.
Initially he treated my physical symptoms by putting me on a specific food plan, which targeted my weight gain and hot flashes, along with the bloating and non-specific aches. In addition to the diet, Dr. Mao added Chinese herbs, which were tailored made for my condition. After a short period of time I began to feel lighter and more energized, which in turn allowed me to have the willingness to exercise. When I first started exercising, I could only walk about five blocks. These days I walk six miles a day during the week and about 8-10 miles a day on the weekend. The food cravings vanished, my appetite normalized and I lost almost 60 pounds. I was doing very well with this program, but I must say that a deeper, more profound result began to manifest when I decided to take this to the next level and started on Dr. Mao’s Detox program. I can safely say that through the detoxification process I regained my sense of self, and most importantly started to appreciate myself for who I am at this stage of my life. A feeling of well-being began to well up from inside as I found a true sense of renewed hope.
The biggest contributing factor to these changes was the combination of Dr. Mao’s intuitive gift of healing and the heart energy he put into my treatments. Not only did he get my chi moving in harmony, his herbs restored balance to my life and his loving guidance gave me hope and encouragement. The hardest part of this process was coming to a place where I could forgive myself and be gentle and patient. I needed to recognize that menopause and the life changes it brings, are an inexorable part of existence. A woman’s second spring means a second chance to experience life’s richness. It means the best years of your life, because you have the wisdom that only comes through age and experience. Having come through this experience I feel proud. I feel entitled to occupy my body and my space on this planet. I feel God’s love and immense gratitude. I feel that I have much to contribute to the world and am now taking steps to fulfill my goals and destiny.
My heartfelt recommendation for all women approaching their second spring is to bring Chinese medicine into your life! Chinese medicine is about healing, not medicating. It is about tuning into our own inner wisdom and living in balance and harmony. Aging becomes a gift, not a curse. I never thought I would feel this good about getting older, never. This country promotes youth and everything is geared toward that. As women we can welcome the change of life, we can embrace the flowing into maturity and venerability with grace, rather than dread. We can revel in the flow and balance that comes from loving ourselves, rather than viewing aging as a slow descent into death. There’s a calming empowerment that comes from the wisdom and understanding that only comes with age and experience. I am now ready to take my place on the throne that I have created for this part of my journey.