Power Surge Is What Friends Are For!
Power Surge, in its 18th year online, is a warm and caring support community for women at midlife and in menopause. Power Surge was created by Alice Lotto Stamm, better known by the online persona, "Dearest," (a name given her by a friend who installed her first AOL software). In 1992, Alice found herself on a NYC Bulletin Board trying to describe her first experience with a perimenopausal hot flash -- "I'm not having a hot flash. I'm having a POWER SURGE!" It wasn't long before "power surges" and "hot flashes" became synonymous. Power Surge was formally introduced in February, 1994 on America Online. Finding herself unprepared for all sorts of strange new physical and emotional feelings, and frustrated by the limited information available about menopause, Alice sought out other women with whom to discuss and learn about perimenopause.
"At no other time in a woman's life does she need as much support as she does now," says Alice. "Power Surge is a community providing honest and accurate information, and composed of wonderfully caring, sensitive and supportive women. The issues we address are not limited to hot flashes, soy isoflavones, anxiety, estrogen, progesterone, herbs, insomnia, hormones, depression, vitamin E, and the dreaded night/day sweats, but the myriad changes endemic to menopause -- how menopause impacts every nuance of our lives. Our families. Our self-esteem. Our work. Our weight. Our relationships. Our emotions. Our sexuality. The entire person. The time finally came for menopause discussions to be taken out of the closet and into the living room for open and intelligent discourse. Good grief, this is the new millennium!"
need to dispel the myth that after women go through menopause, they are no longer
the desirable, feminine, sexual, and beautiful women they were before. They're just older, worn from the process, but yearning desperately to get on with their lives. It's like a tsunami that washes over and through our lives and we wait for the sun to shine once again. Text books tell us menopause is a "rite of passage." To women who've come through Power Surge, it can only be described as a "wrong of passage!" Text books tell us menopause is a "natural" experience. Tell our bodies - they don't read text books! You will invariably come across those who gloss over menopause as "just another life experience" (it's usually those who've been through a very mild transition). "Snap out of it," they say. Well, we all know it's a natural experience, but nothing in our lives ever felt so UNNATURAL as the menopausal years. For many, it's a living hell. For those women who've been fortunate enough to sail through an easy menopause, wonderful. However, for many other women, it's one of the most -- if not THE MOST -- grueling, emotionally debilitating, spiritually challenging and physically uncomfortable and erratic 5-15 years of our lives. The first thing perimenopaual women need to remind themselves is that after years of demonstrating to the immediate world that they're superwomen, it's okay to shed that costume -- to express the fears and confusion they're feeling. Political correctness is the last thing a menopausal woman needs to be concerned about.
"There are no martyrs in Power Surge. . . just friends."
"There are no panaceas for menopausal symptoms. Hormone replacement therapy is not a magical answer to all menopause's issues. It works well for some. It doesn't work for others. In my 16th year of running this community, I have never endorsed synthetic hormones (Premarin, Provera, et al). I've seen many women on synthetic HRT say that although it may have helped their hot flashes and other symptoms, they're now dealing with migraines, bleeding, elevated blood pressure, breast tenderness, severe bloating and depression. The 50 years of information we were given about synthetic HRT's benefits have been dispelled. "I wasn't surprised by the 2002 abrupt halting of the Women's Health Initiative Study. I've been saying everything their results showed since 1993," says Dearest.
Since creating this community, much new research has been done and many new options are available in the area of natural, bioidentical hormones. Many women experience fewer side effects when bioidentical hormones are used via other delivery systems -- transdermal creams, gels, ointments, vaginal creams, sublingual tablets -- rather than swallowing a pill. Power Surge provides resources without telling any woman what to use to treat her menopausal issues. We're here to provide support and information regarding the options available during these transitional years. Heaven knows, with our current managed healthcare system, we often aren't given the time nor answers from our healthcare providers. We're looking elsewhere and the Internet has become a valuable resource. Every woman should be able to find a way to relieve the oftentimes severe discomfort associated with perimenopause. Every woman is different. Every woman reacts differently to different methods of treatment. Yes, there may be some side effects from using even bio-identical hormones, but if one's quality of life has been so severely impacted by perimenopause and other remedies haven't significantly improved how she feels, she has to do her research and decide what other methods of treatment to try.
Those who won't or can't take synthetic hormones have many options from eating a diet rich in foods high in soy isoflavones, such as Revival Soy Protein to naturally compounded, bio-identical hormone therapy. There are herbs and herbal formulas, plus the vitamins and supplements we need for optimal health as we age.
"Power Surge doesn't recommend one method of treatment over another. The purpose of this "community" is to disseminate accurate information about every method of treatment available, and to encourage discourse by bringing many of the top names in the area of women's health to participate in Power Surge Live! Guest Chats in the Web site's chat area. There are guest chats with prestigious experts in the area of women's health every week, open menopause chats every day, and a very active message board for women to exchange experiences. There's no shortage of health experts in the Ask The Experts area, as well as tremendous community and support on the Power Surge message boards, plus information via the Educate Your Body Library, the newsletters, FAQ's, lists
of resources and up-to-the-minute books in order that every woman might educate herself to choose the best method of treatment for herself."
Be sure to read Power Surge's Menopause Survival Tips.
"Read . . . Understand . . .
"For many women, the menopausal transition is sheer tedium. It's perfectly normal to feel frightened and confused about your changes and how to treat your symptoms. The experts are confused, too, and although all these new symptoms have been in the making for years, for most women they seem to have appeared overnight."
"There are many dynamics associated with this process. Not only must we grapple with the oftentimes overwhelming physical
and emotional changes, but we must cope with the challenges of keeping our relationships
strong, continuing with our work, being a caregiver to aging parents with their own
issues, coping with children's issues, children leaving home, the 'empty nest' syndrome,
what have you. At a time when we could really use some nurturing, many of us may find
we're still nurturing everyone else. Many single, divorced and widowed women
face the challenges and fears of menopause alone. Coupled with that are the additional
concerns associated with new relationships. 'Will he think I'm crazy if I have a hot flash
on our first dinner date?' 'Will he be able to put up with my mood swings when he hardly
knows me?' 'Will he think I'm emotionally uncentered if I cry for no reason?' 'Is it fair to
put a stranger through this?' For the most part, the problems we had prior to menopause
are only exacerbated by it. The more we look at menopause and the issues of aging in the
new millenium, the more of a catch-22 it seems. It's not easy and I wish I had the magic potion,
but I think the operative words are "courage," "support" and keeping
uppermost in our minds that this, too, shall pass."
"Alice was educated at City University of NY and attended the University of Grenoble in Southern France. She left her 9-5 Contract Administrator work and hasn't had time to glance back while in pursuit of a stimulating niche for herself on the super information highway. Alice is also a freelance writer/editor. Her weekly humor/satire column appeared in six newspapers. A 17 year veteran of America Online, Alice created Power Surge in 1993. It was officially launched on AOL in February of '94. Power Surge has had a consistent presence on America Online and is proud of its partnership with AOL. A mother and grandmother, Alice resides in NYC. Her work includes Web development, New Media and Online Media Consulting. Interests include writing, editing, antiques, computers, music (jazz, classical, Broadway, Sondheim, Rankin, Jobim, Streisand, Mathis), anything handcrafted, nutrition, electronic communications, travel - England, Native American art/jewelry/poetry/folklore and her passion - Power Surge. A devoted daughter, Alice credits her savvy mother and 'dearest' friend, Anne, with imparting a quantity and quality of knowledge equal to none. She lost her best friend on Nov. 29, 2007, and to her father, Walter, who passed away March 23, 2004, she will always be indebted for his spelling drills when she was a child, as well as an introduction to Reader's Digest's,'It Pays To Increase Your Word Power.' "I've always thought of my family as a Fellini version of The Waltons," says Alice.
"The media is
finally paying attention to menopause now that the largest segment of society, the baby boomers, are hovering around the '50' mark. Yet, it boggles the mind how many physicians are still lacking in knowledge of, and often insensitive to, the subject of menopause. A male internist told me when I was beginning perimenopause, 'I'm sorry, but I don't know much about menopause.' Totally taken aback, I replied, 'How can you be a doctor and not know about menopause? My mother, grandmother and great-grandmother went through menopause! This is an intrinsic part of a woman's life. Didn't they teach you about menopause in medical school? 'After receiving a blank stare in reply, I found myself a more menopause-educated and enlightened doctor."
fortunate to be participants in this marvelous medium. This phenomenal technology is
figuratively and literally at our fingertips. We sit comfortably in our own homes, donning
floppy sweatshirts, shoes kicked off, no concerns about makeup, and log onto the Internet to communicate with not only other women who are going through the same thing, but fabulous expert guests most of us would never have the opportunity to meet and chat with in virtual conferences to provide answers to our every menopause-related concern."
"Those of you who grieve for what you've lost during this process,
stop in and visit Power Surge.
Odds are, you won't walk away bemoaning what you've lost,
but rejoicing in what you've found.
From my heart to yours, remember ... this, too, shall pass.