Feelin’ Hot Hot Hot…And Not Not Not

I tend to run hot. By that I don’t mean I look sexy completing a marathon, although I guess that could happen in a parallel universe. In a galaxy far, far, far, far away. What I mean is that when most people are chilly, I am warm. I’ve been this way my whole life; as a child my very Jewish mother would bundle me up like an Eskimo when the temperature dipped below 50 degrees, and I would yell “I’m BOILING!” as I tried to squirm out of my coat.

Chemo changed all that. Suddenly I was cold all the time, and I turned into one of those people who always has a sweater. Sweater. To sweat. It’s ironic when you think about it…sort of. But I digress as usual. My point is, I got a little taste of how the other half lives, and I liked it. Who wants to be hot all the time?

The fact is, chemo did all kinds of great things for me; for example I came to realize that I have a perfectly shaped head. It was also supposed to eliminate the symptoms of menopause. But it looks like my luck has run out, because I am absolutely experiencing the dreaded, notorious Hot Flashes. Hot Flashes sounds even sexier than running hot, but trust me, it’s not. I’m sitting around minding my own business when suddenly sweat is pouring off my face. This can happen at any time, in any place.

Normally, when the weather turns cold as it did this weekend, we run our gas fireplace non-stop. It’s very cozy. Various cats sleep on the hearth until they are literally hot to the touch. Nowadays, I’m loving the fire when I’m freezing, but when a Hot Flash hits I feel like I am in hell. Literally. I mean I’m sweating and there are flames and truth be told I’ve generally been a good person, undeserving of an eternity in rings of fire.


OK, it’s true there have been some transgressions, but hey, net net, I still think I come out ahead.


Wow. Are digressions another symptom of menopause? Because mine are out of control. The point is that one minute I am freezing and the fire needs to be blazing, and the next minute the fire needs to be turned off immediately. Then there is the question of my electric blanket. Normally, Dan turns it on when he goes to bed so it will be nice and toasty by the time I get upstairs, but nowadays I don’t know if I’ll be freezing or sweating at that point, so it’s always annoying that he either has or has not turned on the electric blanket. Poor Dan.

Of course it always comes back around to the cats, doesn’t it? The cats’ desire to pile on top of me is in inverse proportion to my body temperature. If I’m shivering and cold, there is not a cat to be found. If I’m sweating, all four beasts have an intense need to be on my person. This can result in me waking up with a mottled furry look that is really unattractive. Really. Unattractive.

I guess ultimately this too shall pass. In the meanwhile, I’m dressing in layers.

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22 Responses to Feelin’ Hot Hot Hot…And Not Not Not

  1. Julie says:

    “The hypothalamus controls body temperature, hunger, important aspects of parenting and attachment behaviors, thirst,[1] fatigue, sleep, and circadian rhythms.”

    Learn something new every day; now I know what’s been making me feel cold my entire life, hunger for food even though I just ate, and tired all the time since having children. Damn that hypothalamus!

    • Jill Foer Hirsch says:

      I think we should stage a protest against the lowly hypothalamus. Can’t someone come up with a better regulator??

  2. The Regular Guy NYC says:

    As a guy I can actually say most of us are always hot. I love the cold weather. It’s in the 30’s here in NYC and I slept with the windows open last night. Love it.

  3. I run cold, my normal temperature is 98.2 F but when I was having hot flashes it was awful. I’d wake up and push Husband and his internal furnace away. I also did the hokey pokey all night.My foot would go out from under the covers, then the covers would come off, then everything would come back on.

    Right now we are having unseasonably warm weather, normally by now we’re discussing whether to change the blanket for the comforter. We took the blanket off and didn’t replace it with anything.

    I used to work with this lovely lady named Shirley, whose ears would turn bright red when she had hot flashes. Another co-worker,who wasn’t the sharpest pencil in the box, once asked her if her earrings were screwed on too tight! Okay, you had to have been there.

    My kids all run hot, I used to make a rule that they had to put the shorts away in November or I swear they would have been wearing them all year round.


    • Jill Foer Hirsch says:

      LOL re the hokey pokey! I do the exact same thing. Amazing what a difference it makes when my foot is under the covers vs. sticking out. Earrings screwed too tight? Sounds like her screws were too loose…

  4. mimijk says:

    We’re in the south Jill – you can carry a fan and say things like “I do declare” and “bless your heart”…or better still, channel Camille “I’m having an attack of the vapors”!

  5. Pam Waits says:

    When I was going through menopause, my husband once said that “dipped in Hell to freezing – on average you’re comfortable, right?”. He only said it once. Good luck – this too shall pass… and return, and pass, and return….

    • Jill Foer Hirsch says:

      Your husband is a quick learner! He may need to conduct classes for certain other unnamed husbands who are teasing their incredibly hot wife mercilessly.

  6. katecrimmins says:

    It doesn’t get much better. After menopause I was on hormone replacement therapy. It was wonderful until I got breast cancer. Then I went on arimidex to block hormone-receptive cells. That was shear hell. I had hot flashes that mimicked the drawings of redemption day. Off the arimidex for 5 years now. At first it let up considerably but within the past six months or so, I am either hot or cold, never comfortable. If I have one of my beloved flannel shirts on, I think I am in Hades. Anything thinner and it’s Siberia. I tried the natural therapies and nothing worked for me. I want to be young! If you find an answer be sure to post it.

    • Jill Foer Hirsch says:

      I’ve been on Tamoxifen for 3 years but these flashes started recently, so I don’t think it’s that. It’s good to know I can look forward to being uncomfortable and unpredictable for years to come. Now Dan has entered the fires of hell…

      • katecrimmins says:

        There is something wonky going on. WordPress doesn’t not show that I follow you. No matter how many times I click that follow button. (If you have 10,000 followers, probably at least 500 are me!) They don’t include you in my reader (although I did add you). I don’t get a note when you reply to my comment. Are you subversive or something?

        BTW, your flashes may calm down when they take you off Tamoxifen. It took a while til mine got really bad. The doc took me off a few months shy of 5 years but it may have had something to do with the hatchet I had against his neck.

        • Jill Foer Hirsch says:

          Not to overreact, but WordPress HATES me!! It dropped another blog off of my reader too, and sometimes I get emails with comments, sometimes not. For all the money we pay to run a blog on their site…oh, uh, that’s right it’s free. Never mind.

  7. Myrna Rubenstein says:

    Being on the other side (mostly) of hot flash hell, I can offer comforting words … this, too, shall pass. Hope you are one of the lucky ones whose suffering is measured in months rather than years.

  8. betsey says:

    Re: dressing a child like an Eskimo
    My Jewish mother did the exact same thing. She would say, “I’m cold; put on a sweater”, like we shared a hypothalamus.

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