Menopause: A Blessing, Not a Curse

Suzanne Sinatra | June 03 , 2019

My name is Suzanne, I’m 44, and I’m in menopause. I always thought of menopause as a rite of passage – no longer a girl, now a woman. My path to menopause was different but unfortunately familiar to many women. In 2017, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 invasive ductal carcinoma breast cancer that was hormone receptor positive, HER2 negative. Because my cancer was hormone positive, I was put into menopause early.

When it happened, I had some awareness of what would happen to my body. I knew I’d be dealing with dreaded hot flashes, night sweats, and constant fatigue, and all of that happened. The hot flashes felt like I was doing the tango with the devil every 5 minutes. I had so many sleepless nights which made for unbearably exhausting days.

But some other things happened, too, things I was in no way expecting, namely vaginal dryness and pretty much zero libido. I had no idea the wrong toilet paper would tear my lady bits and penetration would become unbearable. And the lost of my sex drive was traumatizing. I loved being sexual and that I enjoyed sex. Sex made me feel powerful. Now that I didn't want it, did it mean that I was powerless? It was something of an identity crisis to go from wanting to watch Make Love Not Porn to only wanting to watch the news.

Needless to say, at that point menopause was not something I found enjoyable.  But then one day, how I thought about menopause suddenly changed. What if menopause was a blessing, not a curse?

I realized hey - I’m still alive and my body is functioning. Menopause happens when you get to live long enough for it to happen. It provided me an opportunity to pause and take stock of my life: What do I want my next chapter to be? Am I treating myself with the utmost respect and love? Am I surrounding myself with people that are kind and loving? Am I spending my time in a meaningful way? Am I taking care of myself mentally, physically and emotionally? Before menopause and definitely before cancer, I was not doing any of these things. I was like a hamster on a wheel and I was running myself into the ground.

There were also the perks of no longer having my period and PMS, and being able to have sex without getting pregnant or even stressing about getting pregnant. I had a partner who was patient and provided a safe space for me to share with him what was happening to me down there. With some adjustments, my sex life came back. Now we schedule lovemaking and we have a pre & post-sex routine that includes lube and lots of it. We use Unbound Jelly or S.liquid lubes. Both products are paraben free and are Glycerin, glycol, and glycerol free, which are all humectants and draws in moisture. I also use my own product, Private Packs, a gential therapy pack, as part of my sex and self-care routine. Before sex, I apply coconut oil to my vagina and use our heat pack for 20 minutes to relax my muscles. After sex, I pee and use our cool pack to reduce my post-sex swelling. I don’t like taking painkillers, and all of these products help bring comfort to my discomfort.

Today I embrace menopause. I have accepted it’s here to stay and is more of a gift than a curse. And I believe that it all begins with us telling our story, so if you are in menopause because of your age or because of a health diagnosis I’m here to say it's manageable with the help of your community and doctor. Your sex life can come back, the hot flashes won’t last forever, and most of all, don’t give up on yourself.

Suzanne Sinatra is the founder of Private Packs, a therapy pack and sculpted it for female intimate areas to deliver comfort that’s discrete. A Project Entrepreneur alumni, and advocate for female sexual wellness, Suzanne is an active member of Women in SexTech, a community of entrepreneurs united by a desire to meet the needs of women and remove the stigma from innovations within the sexual technology industry.

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