- Tammy Kraushaar, a registered nurse, has 30 years experience.
- She had misdiagnosed her menopause and was forced to quit her job.
- Jamie Orsini shares her story.
For thirty years, I was a registered nursing assistant. I’ve been a case manager, a staff nurse, a clinical research coordinator, an educator — I did it all, and I loved my job. 2018 was the year I had to quit nursing because I was misdiagnosed with menopause. This caused me anxiety, panic attacks and insomnia.
When I was 46, I began experiencing health problems. My periods became heavier and more prolonged, and my periods began to change. This was the time when I realized that my period had changed. perimenopauseThen it began. It was something I didn’t realize at the time and my doctor did not either. Her doctor recommended IUDs to treat irregular periods. I was also given iron pills.
I worked as a nurse for five more years while experiencing anxiety and other symptoms. It was a physical, heavy pain in my chest that grew when I was stressed.
I began having difficulty sleeping. I lost my appetite. I lost my confidence. My mind was not working as efficiently as it used to and my ability to process information well was a problem. Even though others around me claimed otherwise, I didn’t feel competent in my job.
My first misdiagnosis was that of burnout.
After five years’ of hard work, I was having a panic attack at my job. That day I was fired from my job and never returned.
My doctor, whom I had known for around 20 years, diagnosed me with professional burnout. My three decades of nursing experience ended with panic attacks and a misdiagnosis. My doctor prescribed antidepressants.
I took the time off from nursing to concentrate on my health and wellness journey. I learned to meditate and did yoga. I began a gratitude journal. I focused all my energy on improving.
Over the next two years, I saw several doctors and specialists. I tried antidepressants. They didn’t help because I wasn’t depressed. New symptoms developed, including night sweats and adrenaline rushes. I also experienced body aches.
My own research led me to the perimenopause
Finally, I had my own “aha” moment. I was able to say, “It’s okay, it’s OK, it’s all right.” “This has got to be hormonal. I don’t think this is depression.”
I have a background as a researcher so I began to do my own research. I first heard the word “research” for the first time. “perimenopause,”It wasn’t with a specialist or my doctor. It was my own online research.
I found Dr. Louise NewsonA UK menopause specialist, First I read her research. Next, I corresponded directly with her. I was able to find further research and a community through her. PeanutAn app that allows you to Support women at all stages of life.
I explained to my doctor that I was experiencing perimenopause. I saw several doctors before one finally referred to me to a menopause specialist.
The specialist heard my story and said that it was typical menopause. She asked how I wanted to proceed — and I cried. I was finally able to confirm my symptoms. They made sense. They finally understood me and treated my symptoms.
It could happen to anyone. I want women in my life to read it. I had so many advantages: years of medical experience, a strong support network and doctors who believed my story, even if they misdiagnosed it.
It is a real condition that can impact your life. Perimenopause shouldn’t be a reason to end a rewarding career.