Okay, now. In the ring we have our two contestants. In one corner is a woman who comes from a long line of women who went through menopause as a normal part of long and fruitful lives. In the other corner, we have the Gonadal Failure Purveyor. She’s a woman. Her skin is absolutely flawless—which is one of the benefits of taking extra hormones, actually. Seeing that makes me stumble and wish that when I was young, I had worn more sun block, or something, so that I wouldn’t have any wrinkles now. But I know that I have a trump card, if only I can find it. I try reaching somewhere to show the crowd that my cells are dividing at a steady and sensible pace, unlike the cells under hormone therapy that can divide too fast and then have errors and cause more inflammation. So I’m looking for those well-dividing cells. Now how do I show them to this crowd that’s expecting some action . . . .? My opponent notices my hesitation. Now she’s rattling a little bottle of pills and shouting, “Take your bioidentical hormones. Take them NOW!!!!”
The gong sounds. We stomp toward each other with our fists clenched.
I throw the opening punch by saying, “Women have been going through menopause for hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of years. So calling menopause a disease is totally ridiculous!”
The crowd cheers. Over the loudspeaker, the referee shouts, that’s one big point for Shelley!
The Gonadal Failure Marketer is circling. “Until the 20th century, the average life expectancy for a woman was only 45.” She sneers, and then snarls, “Women didn’t live long enough to GO through menopause!” When the crowd lets out an appreciative ooh, and ahh, she raises her fists in a victory salute. “We deserve longer lives with ALL our femininity!” Soon, she’s got the crowd chanting, “Women need their ovaries! Women need their ovaries!”
The referee has to clang the triangle to get the crowd to settle down. I swing myself up to the topmost rope that fences in the ring. Balancing there, I face the crowd. “It’s true that women’s AVERAGE lifespan was very short. That’s because so many used to die when they were children, and they also died while bearing children. But among women who survived past childbearing years, a very high number went through menopause. The average life expectancy for these women was over 70!”
The crowd goes wild!!! I get them shouting, “Menopause is Meant to Be! Menopause is Meant to Be!” And while they’re still cheering, and we’re battling it out, let me step down and encourage you to tune in tomorrow, when I’ll explain a few of these things as a normal person.