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Susie - Interview 34

Age at interview: 51
Brief Outline: Despite hot sweats, poor memory and tiredness, the menopause has had little impact on Susie's life. For her, it is a normal process. She has not consulted her GP nor taken medication. She feels freer to talk about the menopause in Western society.
Background: Susie is not working at present. She is married with an adult son. She started the menopause at age 47. Ethnic background/nationality' Chinese.

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Susie first realized she was going through the menopause when, at age 47, her periods became lighter and less regular and she found herself ‘getting hot and sweating sometimes during the day, sometimes at night’. She recalls how drinking tea left her ‘back all wet’.

Yet these symptoms have had little impact on Susie’s life and overall she regards the menopause as a ‘good experience’ and a normal part of life. As a person who ‘very, very rarely’ consults her doctor, she has not discussed the menopause with her GP, nor taken either herbal or prescription medication. Compared to friends who have experienced problems, she prides herself on her relatively trouble free menopause' ‘it’s like taking an exam and coming first, like being very clever’. She acknowledges, however, that not working may have influenced her experience, recognizing how difficult it must be for women who have ‘to stand in front of a cooker everyday’. Moreover, her experience differs from that of her twin sister (MEN35).

Susie is still getting periods about twice a year, although these are very light, lasting 1-2 days. She is, however, not keen for her periods to end; believing that ‘when your periods stop, the women’s problems come out, like osteoporosis’.  Having reached 50, she thinks of herself as old and ‘feels really useless’. Normally a good sleeper, she has recently found herself waking every 2-3 hours and has experienced pains in her chest. She finds she tires more easily, her bones seem a bit stiffer, and she no longer remembers the names of customers when she helps out at her sister’s takeaway.

Susie arrived in the UK from Hong Kong at the age of 16, and has now lived in the UK for 35 years. She sees little difference in how Chinese and Western women experience the menopause, regarding it as a bodily function. As such, some women will have problems, others will not, regardless of their background. She believes, however, that Western culture is more liberal in its approach to discussing health issues, recalling how difficult it was to discuss menstruation in her village while growing up. Now, as a menopausal woman in the UK, she meets regularly with a group of Chinese friends who openly discuss their symptoms.

Susie was interviewed for Healthtalkonline in June 2009.

 

Susie’s hot flushes haven’t been a problem as she’s not working. (Video clip in Cantonese,...

Susie’s hot flushes haven’t been a problem as she’s not working. (Video clip in Cantonese,...

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The menopause, at first I felt, well I’m not usually afraid of the heat, I’m afraid of the cold, when I’m hot I feel vexed, but not so much that I would shout at people. So not shout at people so then it was just sometimes getting hot and sweating so sometimes during the day and sometimes at night, it wasn’t something that just happened at night. But actually, it hasn’t been too bad for me, I’ve heard that it’s caused a lot of trouble for some people, all mixed up. It’s been very good for me, maybe because I don’t have to work. If you’re afraid of the heat and you have to stand in front of a cooker, isn’t that very vexing?

 

Susie feels less nimble and thinks her body is deteriorating with age. (Video clip in Cantonese,...

Susie feels less nimble and thinks her body is deteriorating with age. (Video clip in Cantonese,...

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I don’t know, but at this age your body starts to deteriorate, and all the bad things just start coming out so you are not young and strong. There are some people who are 40 years old and look very old, like grandmothers, and there are people who are 70 who are really fit and healthy, so everybody is different.

You were talking about the body deteriorating, how do you feel about getting older?

How do I feel about getting older?

Yes, you talked about the body deteriorating…

Deteriorating? I get tired easily now, the bones just seem a bit stiffer, used to be very nimble, could just bend over to pick something up from the floor, but now it’s really difficult. I just feel really tired.

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