I am here as an advocate for women, I am here because I am tired of the healthcare system that is broken. I am tired of women not having answers and paying 1000s of dollars to still be stuck. I want there to be truth and I want you to have a support system.
Hello, and welcome to what I wish I knew I’m your host Irene Ortiz glass. What I wish I knew is dedicated to providing women with information in a guided path to find purpose healing and joy. It is also to give women power and permission to go inward during the time of perimenopause and menopause, to find their inner compass and to actively make changes that will allow them to thrive during this period of time in their lives. In this season. We’re focused on the challenges of perimenopause and menopause and what I wish I knew along my journey, just as a disclaimer, this is informational only, it does not replace you working directly with your physician on your own lab results as well as your prescribed medications and hormones. The purpose of the podcast series is a few things. One is to share personal experience. My experience on this journey is relevant because I believe many, many women are suffering as I have and are silent, and are suffering needlessly to be honest. And it is to share that story. But it’s also to provide scientific education. And the depth of what you’re going to hear on this podcast series. And the experts that are going to be part of this are going to be absolutely beneficial to you and your journey. And we are going to give you access to how you can think about the tools and the labs and the things that you need to be well. And we sent her this around an integrated system of mind, body and spirit.
There will be options for support on our website. And you will find that on men Oh coaching.com. Those options for support are not only access to these podcasts, but access to video series video on demand, as well as coaching and cohort peer group support, as well as lab testing support. So there’s a lot on that site for you to look at as we get going through this journey together. So in most things in life, everything starts at the beginning. And so I’m going to start at the very beginning of my journey, because I believe that really is something that I wish I would have pulled and threaded through together more carefully as I got to the menopause part of my transition. So I started my period, when I was about 12. I actually started at Christian camp, I was invited to go friend of mine, my very best friend, actually, in junior high school, invited me and you know, I’d visit her home and her family was joyous, and Christian and prayed together and ate together and would sit around the table and talk about their day. And it was really nothing like I had ever experienced. And I unfortunately, at the age of five, you know, my parents divorced and my father had rejected me and never wanted to see me. And so I had a really hard time even accepting myself. That being said, I also had a home that you know, was tense, you know, I had step siblings, and there was a blended family. And there was a lot going on there too. And so I just never really felt like confident or, or a degree of psychological safety that you should really have at that time in your life. And in junior high, right? Your hormones are going crazy, right? You’re just starting to hit puberty. So I get invited, I go to the Christian camp, and I meet the camp counselor, and there’s new friends and everyone’s so wonderful. And the camp counselor is gorgeous. And he’s super friendly, and empathic and vulnerable. And I’m like, I’m in love. I think it was my very first crush in life. And so I you know, whatever he said I was, you know, going to follow him to the end of the earth. So we had a day where we were going to go swimming and kayaking and I was all excited. And then I went to the bathroom. And when I got into the bathroom, and I looked down at the toilet, there was blood in the toilet, and I panicked because I had never had a period and this is now happening at camp when I’m about to go swimming. So I grabbed my friend and dragged her in and said, Oh my goodness, you need to help me. I don’t even know what to do, which said don’t worry, I have tampons. I’m going to help you with this. You’re going to be fine. So my memory is so clear of this. Okay, I’m in a stall. She’s in a stall next to me. It’s sort of funny and sad at the same time. She’s like angle this way and turn it assuage she’s trying to tell me how to put a tampon in my vagina. And I’m crying and laughing in the stall. And I think I have it in but like, I’m not sure and I keep thinking, oh my gosh, I’m gonna walk out in the string is going to show I’m awkward, my stomach hurts. And that was my first period. That was my first experience. So I make it through the day, we have an okay time, I yanked that thing out later. And I’m like, grabbing all the toilet paper I can to you know, make it work. And then the next night was the night before we were leaving to go home. And the camp counselor basically at the campfire says, you know, you’ve been here with us this week, we’ve shared a lot about God about peace, about needing to have our souls filled and walk with God. And, you know, if you want this in your life, like come to this campfire, you know, come to the front, and we’re will pray for you. And, like, you know, there’s moments in your life that are just life changing their life, very, very impactful. That was like one of the most impactful moments of my life and I can I can see it, like right now as I’m, as I’m talking to you, and I could feel it. I mean, I ran up to the front of the campfire and was just crying. And I don’t know why but I could feel my heart beating like in my in my chest, but in my throat. It was that kind of really internal soul filled need. And I ran and I, you know, he said, like, just just say these few things like God, you know, I’m not perfect, I’ll never be perfect. But you came to save me and I just want to follow you and have a great life. And I want you to be you know, I want you to take the lead. And I said it and I cried and cried and cried and cried. And I don’t even know why except for I felt different. And so what I know now that I didn’t know then is and this is important for all people, whether you’re religious, a believer or not a believer whenever in life, the terrible and the good, actually coexist in life. Okay, you don’t go through life and have good and then evil and you know, you do fine. And the goal is to forever be happy and it’s never going to get that isn’t actually how life works. And what happened for me at that moment was what would eventually become the hardest thing in my life having periods PMS, perimenopause, and eventually surgical menopause, and finding Jesus Christ happened at the same time, the same week. And I didn’t even think about that until my menopausal transition. But that’s what was happening. So the God who would save me and walk me through and helped me survive this terrible journey happened at the same time, the terrible journey actually was starting, which was back then. So that’s a little backdrop. So I get through, you know, junior high, high school, periods are terrible. PMS is off the chart, I am cramping every two weeks, I am bleeding, hemorrhaging out through my clothes through several pads, I can’t get out of bed sometimes and go to school because the fatigue is so bad that I would get so rundown that my immune system was getting attacked. And I would get these cold sores across my lips that were awful to look at. If you’ve ever had one of those, it’s like the most embarrassing thing. And I saw no content or no connection between immune system and hormones. Okay, but now I know that it is wildly connected. And we’ll talk a lot more about that later. We’ll also talk about the fact that during that time, my adrenal system was crashing, but I didn’t know that either. So all this is happening to me is I’m in high school, and I you know, miss class is I’m emotional, I cry at the drop of a hat, you know, all the things. But we’re told that we’re just to accept that because PMS is normal. And I’m going to tell you it’s not. It’s not normal, you can work with it, you can heal from it, you can regulate, but it takes work and it takes education and proper information that I did not have. So I go through this period of time accepting it, taking Advil by the handfuls, you know, trying as hard as I can not to cry in front of my friends, and button my pants. So that, you know, basically, I was going through that at least eight days, maybe nine days every month. So I get I get to the point where, you know, I’m okay, but I’m not great. I just deal with it. And then I, you know, go to college, I get married, and my husband and I get pregnant really soon. I mean, like we weren’t even married maybe a year and a half and I got pregnant with my son. And now I am 24 Maybe 25 And I get pregnant and I feel fantastic. I mean, it is like hormone happiness. I am joyous. I am fat. I am pleased. I am not crying. I am not bleeding. It was the most wonderful thing that ever happened to me. And what I didn’t know was that during that time, estrogen and progesterone are at their highest levels. And progesterone is even higher than the estrogen and that is the happy neurochemical GABA filled hormone. So and it also is what keeps the baby in the uterus. Okay, so without enough progesterone, you will, you know, you will lose your child. So I didn’t know all this, but I was feeling fantastic. I mean, I was gonna get pregnant Wait, if I could, but that wasn’t going to work. So I get pregnant, I have my child, I, you know, I feel great until I don’t. So what goes up must come down and hormones particularly at, you know at that pregnancy and childbirth. And for those of you who have had postpartum or have it now I’m going to tell you something, you are not crazy, you do not need antidepressant, you are not losing your mind. You are hormonally dysregulated that’s what was happening to me. But I didn’t know that and my son didn’t sleep all night. So I’m at work. And a friend says, Hey, why don’t you try this diet pill, I think it’ll help you, you’ll have more energy, you seem really tired. I’m like, Well, I’m up all night. And I’m working all the time. And I’m getting promoted soon. And my husband, you know, wants more time and on and on and on. Because we as women think we need to be superheroes, right? I mean, that’s our job. And we really can’t afford to take a break. And so that pressure caused me to say yes, and I took the pill. So I, you know, have a very long tenure, addiction. At that point. I am addicted to diet pills. For a very long time, I wrote another book called beautifully broken. On top of the book I’m writing now that is on the website that talks about that journey if you want to go there, but it was life altering. And to this day, I will tell you that those diet pills are also a big reason why I became so screwed up in perimenopause. So I finally get off the pills because I’m so edgy from them that I became someone I did not recognize I had so much energy when I was good. And they made me so focused, because they’re just like methamphetamines basically. So if you’ve ever taken one of those are considering one of those or shots or whatever the doctor is thinking about giving you to lose weight, please, please hear me. It will ruin your body. It will really I mean, there’s just no way it’ll ruin your mind. So I get off the diet pills. And I’m now you know, really, hormonally dysregulated still, and it’s not getting better. And all of a sudden, now I’m edging into perimenopause. So I’m in my late 30s. I’m about 38 years old. And now I started having two periods a month. So basically, I am never okay. Every single day is hard. Maybe two days out of the month, I feel normal the rest of the time I am, I am tired, I am emotional, I started having horrible anxiety. And the anxiety started.
You know, a lot when I was taking getting off the diet pills. That’s when it you know, really came into my life. But at this very same time, I had a trauma. My son was 18. And it was Mother’s Day. And he had gone to the bathroom. And he came out and said, Mom, I’m bleeding. It’s bad. I call Dad, I don’t know what’s going on. And I panicked. And he went to the emergency room. And they did scans we saw, you know, lots of Gi doctors. And he had severe ulcerative colitis, which I didn’t know much about. And it was so bad that he was hospitalized several times and eventually was put on immune suppressant drugs. And those immune suppressant drugs made him very, very sick. He developed an infection, which is like, you know, point two out of the population gets infected from those and he was one of them. And I watched him fade in front of me and I, it’s so hard to talk about this without crying. Because I’m watching your son, you know, like, going from 200 pounds to 150 pounds. And not being able to, you know, interact with a world from being so depressed from being so sick. It’s life altering is something that you can never come back from mentally. And I, you know, I just went to my faith, like I ran to the chapel. My mom was in the hospital with me every single day. And I went to the chapel, and I threw myself on the ground. And I said, Take me, just take me instead of him. And I just can’t do this anymore. I can’t watch him suffer. And I said, please just give me a miracle. I need a miracle. And God gave us a miracle. I have seen miracles in my life. And that was one of them. It was the best one. And Luke got well and he was healed and it took three surgeries and lots of specialists. But he got better and even became a paramedic, and is now in nursing school. And it’s just a miracle. And so he got better, but I got sicker. And what does that mean? It means that the trauma that we go through in life regardless of you know what it is impacts our body in our brain so much that it will every single cell will respond to that trauma. And so I didn’t realize it at the time. But what I wish I knew was that that trauma catapulted me into the end of the perimenopause journey, so I started having just a really hard time with ovarian cysts. I admit it, you know, a couple of people who said don’t take them out. Other people said, take the cysts out because they were starting to rupture. And when they rupture, it’s the worst pain you’ve ever experienced. And I had two cysts rupture. And finally I said, I can’t do this anymore. And they took one out. And when they did, they told me I had something called endometriosis, which is like endometriosis, which is on the inside lining of the uterus, but it’s on the muscle on the outside of the uterus. And so that’s why my cramping was so incredibly terrible. But now what I know that I didn’t know then so now you see the theme here friends, is Ando. Meiosis is auto immune in some way, it’s inflammatory, okay, but nobody knows that. So they treat it with drugs, they treat it with, you know, lots of birth control pill, but they don’t, it doesn’t fix it. And so I, you know, went through that surgery had to come back from the hormone dysregulation and went right back on the roller coaster again. So now at this time I start investigating genetics, I start on my own, okay, I’m desperate, I start going to natural paths, acupuncturist, Western Eastern you name it, I’m I spent 45 to $50,000, on doctors, functional medicine, Doc, you name it, and someone helped for a while, and then others would help and then it wouldn’t. And it just wasn’t connected. So every doctor has a specialty area, they work in very few, no soup to nuts how this whole system works. And if they do, they’re charging you anywhere from seven to $800 an hour. Okay. So it was a fortune, and I was not getting answers. So I eventually had another cyst removed. And finally get better. Think I’m getting there. And then I am heading to menopause. My my hormones are up and down, up and down. I’m fine. I’m not I’m angry. I’m not I’m crying. I’m not I’m anxious. I’m not. I mean, it was all over the map. And I finally go to a Nam specialist, which is the Association of menopause specialists. And it’s a national group of women who specialize in hormones and menopause. So I find this amazing woman we spend time together, she said you are in the thick of this in a way that’s just hard to manage. So we’re going to have to work on the hormones, we’re going to have to work on your stress. She’s like an angel in my life. And so I work with her. And we try some different things. And then all of a sudden, again, another cyst, and it’s bigger than before. And she’s like Irene, like, you’re, you’re bad. Like I think you’re gonna have to have your ovaries out. And I panic, okay. So I go and ask for a genetic test me, not the doctor meet, I want to get genetic testing. I want to know what’s going on inside deeper, I want to get to the root of this problem. So I go get genetic testing through a wonderful friend of mine who you’re going to hear his name is Michael. He’s from Planet naturopath. And that relationship changed my life. Michael is like a friend to me now. And I said, Michael, I don’t know you, you’re online, I found you. But you seem like you get the system. And I’ve got a systems problem. And no one else wants to talk about the system. So please help me know what to do. And he said, You need a genetic test. We did a genetic test. And this is the unlock, I had something called ASR one ESR one is an extreme sensitivity to estrogen. And you can have 10 snips is what they call them, right. dysregulated gene snips? I had nine of 10. Okay, so, right, there is the story. Okay, my body has a very hard time metabolizing and dealing with estrogen highs and lows, the the management of it, the levels, my if I would have known that in the beginning, I would have done all of this different but now I’m sitting going to the surgeon, talking about taking out both ovaries having just found this out, and not knowing really what to do. But then I sat down and here’s the conversation is the best surgeon in Orange County, he comes wildly recommended. I trusted him and my doctor and he just looked at me and my husband, by the way, who never goes to any meetings, any appointments. I dragged him there because now we’re you know, he’s just like, what are we doing this life that we’re living together? Is it working with you being crazy? And when we get there, the doctor says, you know, I’m looking at all these lab tests that you’ve done with an AMS doctor and you are close to if not around the corner from ovarian cancer and I just freeze like my I look at my husband, he was looking at me and he’s like, No, I rain like enough of staring at this mountain where you’re doing this. So I’m like, I don’t know. And he goes well, like you need to move it because I’m not going to cut any more. Any more cyst out like I can’t keep hacking your body like you either need to do this or just deal. And so I’m crying and crying and crying. My husband’s like we’re doing this. I’m like, No, I’ll go into menopause. It’ll be horrible. And let me just explain. Oh, for ectomy A double of rectories taking both ovaries out. You can have the option of taking one. Okay, so you still have some production of estrogen and progesterone on your own. But because I had cysts on both they wanted to take both. A hysterectomy is when they take ovaries uterus, fallopian tube cervix, the whole entire reproductive system eked out, okay. I didn’t need that I didn’t have any issues with my body parts. I had issues with the ovaries. Okay. So what was gonna happen is they were recommending taking the ovaries and the fallopian tubes, right, which wrap around your back. So I leave there and make the decision. You know, my mom’s like, you need this. My husband, my friends I read, you’ve been dealing with this for your life, it seems like like, let’s be done. And I’m like, you know, I’m gonna go into menopause in a minute. Anyway, I was, you know, in my I was already 50. It was like going to happen. The average age is 53. So why mess around? So I get home and I pray and I literally open the Bible, okay? Just like you know, those people do that open the Bible because they want a word. And they’re like, sure that God’s gonna give him a word if they open it, and it’s going to be their magic word and all that kind of craziness. Well, I did that because I was pretty desperate. And it was the verse about you’ve been staring at this mountain too long, just like kind of what my husband it says like, we’ve been dealing with this too long. And I’m like, Oh, okay. I guess this means I have to do this. And I did. I was 100% sure at that moment that it was the right decision. But I was terrified. And so I did do the surgery. And if you want to talk about crazy town, and falling off of a cliff, emotionally, mentally, hormonally, physically, I mean, every aspect of every part of me, that’s what happened.
And the journey was dark. It was terrifying. I was unstable. I was I got bouts of severe depression, I got periods of feeling suicidal, which I had never had in my life. And I was a disaster, I would lay on the floor in tears. I’d get in the shower and cry. So people couldn’t hear me. I would drive in my car around to be alone to pray and try to like get out my motion before I came home, I would hide my feelings because I was so afraid of them. I could not I cannot explain to you how awful it was to come off of this cliff. And I did have hormone therapy. I did have a patch immediately. That’s, that’s only part of the problem. And that’s why I’m here. Hormones are what everyone talks about on television, every actor and actress that wants to push menopause. Great. I’m glad you’re on the bandwagon. But it is more than just a patch, or a cream or herbal supplement. It’s it’s way more than that. And I’m telling you, I had nowhere to go except to my own advocacy. So I went back to school. And I said, Okay, God, like we’re going to do this together. And I doubled down on my prayer life, my faith. And I begged God for answers. i He led me to school, I went to school, and I kept asking day after day, why why? Why the suffering? Why can I get past this? And I went for a walk one day and the sun came out. When I was crying. I was by myself I was praying and I kept asking why why God when I heard this, like, not real voice but like in my spirit, like stop asking why? And start asking what? And I’m like, What does that even mean? And it was like, what do you do with this? Now this is it’s not changing, okay, you’re living in hell, but it’s not going anywhere. So what do you want to do with it? So as I start going back to school, I also go on this website on Facebook called surgical menopause doc. And there are 10,000 women who’ve gone through surgical menopause that feel exactly like I feel. And they’re a community and people talk to each other. They share. They give guidance, they talk about hormones, they talk about adrenals and thyroid and all this stuff we’re going to talk about and I feel less alone. I mean, I automatically feel like I’ve got a tribe, okay, we’re texting each other. It’s crazy what goes on in life, right through social media, etc. So I start to really have to tuck myself mentally into this idea that I’m going to find my way back. So here’s what I’m going to tell you. I was in the worst place you can possibly be and I came back, okay. But I came back because I did the work. I got my head straight. I double down on my faith. I doubled down on my grip, and I did not stop until I got well and I’m going to tell you it took over a year for me to get well about about 13 months for me to heal completely. And so I am here as an advocate for women. I am here because I am tired of the healthcare system that is broken. I am tired of women not having answers and paying 1000s of dollars to still be stuck. I want there to be truth. And I want you to have a support system. So regardless of where you are, these podcasts, they’re going to have experts, these experts are fantastic, they’re going to tell you more than you’re going to ever find out when you go to a doctor’s office, okay, because a doctor spends 15.5 minutes with you, and they’re going to be on for 30 minutes. And then you’re going to have access to a video series that’s very deep, that is very specific about each part of the endocrine and hormonal system, and what you need to be thinking about and advocating for with your doctor. Okay to be well, so I am honored. And I never thought I would say this. And it’s like the first time I think I have. But I think God got sick. And I thank God for every moment of struggle that brought me right here because there’s purpose and I know that people are going to get well and better. I know they’re going to be more informed and they’re going to be able to fight for themselves and feel empowered. And that is what matters on this journey. So I’m just so grateful to be here with you. I look forward to all the podcasts I look forward to you know, I have a book coming out in October, called the body whispers before it screams I can’t wait for you to read that with all the detail of my journey. But it’s just my pleasure and honor to be with you and I look forward to more time together. Thank you for joining us on this podcast today. Please go visit mental coaching.com our website where you can have access to the videos on demand if you so desire. Please be ready to share your email with us so we can send you information on the upcoming podcast series as well as the book that will be coming out in October. And please do leave a review on the podcast it really helps to get this information out to more women to help and heal more people on this menopause journey. We look forward to seeing you on future podcasts
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