Margit Detweiler is the founder and editor of TueNight, a storytelling platform for Gen-X women – or in Margit’s words: “grown-ass ladies” – that includes the popular newsletter The TueDo List and live event series. Margit also runs Gyrate Media, a boutique content strategy agency in Brooklyn that helps publishers and brands such as Verizon, AARP, J&J, and more tell stories that matter.
Where are you in your hormonal health journey?
Postmenopause. I had ovarian cancer, which I wrote about in a column called Ovarian Rhapsody, that expedited my journey into menopause. I think I’m postmenopausal now? In May 2021, I will celebrate five years since the end of my treatment, which is a huge milestone.
What’s one word or phrase that comes to mind when you think of menopause?
It’s so obvious, but, “flash.” As in, of course, hot flash.
We actually did a storytelling event around the word “flash” — I think there is something kind of spicy and powerful about that word. Although a hot flash is not a fun experience, the word “flash” suggests something super-heroic. As women of age and experience, with a lot of superpowers under our belt, that seems fitting.
Which menopause symptoms have you experienced?
So, here is what’s tricky: There are so many symptoms post-chemotherapy that mimic the menopause symptoms, that I’m never quite sure what to attribute them to (I guess it doesn’t really matter).
I’d say the big one for me is brain fog. It’s not like I’m adrift and can’t put a coherent thought or idea together, but it’s more of an in-the-moment loss of the thread, like, “what was I just saying?” I’m lucky that I haven’t experienced any extreme symptoms. I really haven’t had any hot flashes. Interestingly, my oncologist has said to me that carrying extra weight means I’m producing more estrogen so, believe it or not, that actually might help. My mom also didn’t experience any menopausal symptoms that she can remember, so maybe it’s just genetic?
“I feel more competent, experienced, and capable than ever before. All these little life lessons have given me the ability to discern and make better choices.”
We know menopause can be challenging, but it can also be funny, enlightening, liberating, energizing, and more. Do you have an anecdote or reflection that shows another side of menopause, beyond what we’re conditioned to “fear” as women?
I think the idea that women, as we age, have all these problems that need to be fixed is such bullshit. We are superheroes! Truly. Despite the aforementioned brain fog, I feel more competent, experienced, and capable than ever before. All these little life lessons have given me the ability to discern and make better choices. From a physical standpoint, I haven’t had a period since 2015. That’s definitely a perk!
Is there anything you wish your younger self would have known? Or do you have words of advice for women starting their journey?
Just that I was — and am — a special creature (we all are!) and to embrace my quirks and never to hide my light.