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It was a somber evening after Mark told me about his dad’s stroke. I sat on our bed and watched him carefully folding clothes into a duffel bag. He was headed to his parent’s house for an undetermined period of time. I felt physically sick, and not so “all together” emotionally either.
We both walked down the stairs and out the front door. He kissed me goodbye and drove off; I stood alone in the driveway. I had not been feeling all that great lately, but now I felt worse not to mention jittery and anxious. And hot. It was 53 degrees out. So the weather was not the cultrate. Maybe it was all my emotions and the sudden shock of what was going on with Mark’s father that was making me feel “not well”.

I fanned my face with my hand and made my way inside and quickly turned on the air conditioning. Even inside my air-conditioned house, I felt hot. An oppressive heat, almost like I couldn’t breathe.

Had I forgotten to put on my estrogen cream today? My sister-in-law Lorna who got me to try hormone replacement in the first place told me she switched from creams to patches and then to something called hormone pellets, which got rid of all the “ups and downs” on what her doctor called the “hormone roller coaster”. I kept meaning to make an appointment with her doctor to find out more about these hormone pellets, but for some reason, it kept slipping my mind.

I decided to do the same thing I always did when I felt overwhelmed by something– I called my best friend, Gail.

She answered the phone, chipper as ever. Gail always seemed to be in a great mood.

“What’s the story Morning Glory?” she greeted me. She sounded like she had a mouthful of something.

“Hey There. I need to talk. Do you have a minute?”

“Of course!” she said, munching away.

“What are you eating?”

“Walnuts,” she said. A handful of walnuts a day is so good for you. They are anti-inflammatory, full of antioxidants and a great source of vitamin B. Good for anxiety, too. You should try it.”

I smiled and rolled my eyes at the same time. “Did Dr. Oz tell you that?”

“Doctor Oz and about eight other reputable sources,” she replied.

The last thing I needed was a handful of walnuts. What I needed was to share my sorrow.

I told Gail about Mark’s dad. I knew she could sympathize because her husband had lost his mother to heart disease just last year. I also told her about how my husband had changed recently. Lost his joie de vivre, so to speak.

“I’m so sorry, Mindy,” she said when I had finally finished. “I’m sorry to tell you this, but it’s going to be rough for awhile.”

“I know,” I answered. I suddenly felt hot and breathless again.

“Are you okay?” my friend asked.

“Not really…my hormone cream doesn’t seem to be working today, and even worse, I can’t even remember if I put it on this morning.”

“You’re still using a cream, eh?” Gail asked. I knew she was about to tell me how a mix of cranberries, tofu, and some walnuts could regulate my hormones better than any cream. “I started on bio-identical hormones a few months ago. I went to SottoPelle®; they do what’s called Pellet therapy, and it works, they practically invented it!”

“They implant this tiny little pellet under your skin, and it dissolves on its own,” over time. The more hormone your body needs, the more it uses, and vice versa” the less you need, the less your body absorbs, she went on. “No ups and downs, no more hot flashes. And it’s made from the same hormones that your body produces naturally, so it’s metabolized properly.”

As I listened to her, I wet a small towel and put it on the back of my neck.

“From the sound of it, Mark could use it, too.”

“They have it for men?” I asked.

“Yeah. The symptoms for men are a little more insidious. They get depressed or angry. And, of course, the sexual side effects . . .”

I grimaced. I didn’t like sharing our personal issues even with my closest friend, but I had to admit there had been some problems there lately.

“It’s worth taking the time to at least hear the information. I’ll text you the number for SottoPelle®, where Dave and I go. You won’t regret it, Mindy.”

“Okay,” I said, sponging my face and neck with the towel. The hot flash was starting to subside, but I still felt edgy and anxious. Gail could be annoying with her constant health recommendations, but I had to admit that most of the time she was right. She researched everything, and at 54 she was slim, fit, sexy, attractive and full of energy.

“Listen, I gotta go, but if you need to talk, call me anytime. I mean it, Mindy. Day or night. I’ll text you that number. Bye.”

**You can read all past and future parts of this story on our blog.