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One Hot Mama
Stuff ‘N Nonsense 10-11-23
Kim Van Meter

They say growing older is a privilege denied to many and while I support that sentiment, I don’t necessarily have to enjoy the inevitable “extras” that come with that privilege.

I recently celebrated my 51st birthday — quietly and without a lot of fanfare, which was perfect for my mood — but on the heels of that birthday, Mother Nature delivered her own little gift that, if I’m being honest, I’d like to return.

Hot flashes.

Holy heavens to Murgatroyd, I am suddenly generating enough heat to incinerate a small country. For the past year I’ve been taking bio-identical hormones (estrogen and progesterone) and all was well. Until it wasn’t. My chemistry has always been grumpy with hormonal issues, gifting me with migraines (classic, ocular and hemiplegic) when my hormone levels shifted for any reason, but I’d mistakenly thought that as I got older, it would cease to be an issue.


I started getting an increase of hemiplegic migraines (the entire left side of my body would cease to function, similar to a stroke) and my doctor immediately took me off of my hormones.

Great. No more hemiplegic migraines, but now, my body is an out-of-control furnace.

I’m talking, sweating like a third-strike felon with a trunkful of drugs during a traffic stop while the prickly heat threatens to burn away my meat suit during family dinner.

What fresh hell is this, Mother Nature?

But wait, there’s more.

After the inferno finishes toasting my insides, I’m left freezing. One minute I’m tearing my clothes off and the next, I’m wrapped in a blanket.

And when I’m ping-ponging between temperature extremes, my sensory issues are off-the-hook. I can’t handle certain textures touching me without my internal thermostat going haywire all over again.

Last night I ran upstairs to strip my jeans off because I felt I might lose my mind if I spent another minute in those infernal things. The only article of clothing that doesn’t offend my skin is my tie-die maxi dress so if you see me wearing it all week, mind your business.

It’s been said before, but bears repeating, being a woman is hard.

Between hormonal challenges, carrying a crippling mental load, contradictory societal expectations, and being forced to wear jeans with stupid, short pockets that wouldn’t comfortably accommodate two nickels and a dime, some of us are one sideways comment away from committing a felony with a smile.

So, be nice to the women in your life. Chances are, they’re dealing with far more than you could ever imagine and what you see, is only a fraction of what’s happening beneath the surface.

And with that, this concludes my TED-talk. Don’t forget to validate your parking. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to sit on a block of ice.


Kim Van Meter is a former full-time reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Escalon Times and The Riverbank News; she continues to provide a monthly column. She can be reached at