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Free falling into hell
I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when the hot flashes started, but I was!
I’m 48…why was this a surprise? LOL
It was almost like overnight I found myself free falling into hell. The hot flashes were relentless. The wave that comes over you, can only be explained as the few seconds of flushing before you barf. Only, after the few seconds pass you don’t barf. You feel like you are boiling your internal organs and flesh.
My elbow creases and knee creases would get hot and tacky, my cheeks turn bright red and then my heart beats way too fast. It’s a LOT to process in a few short seconds. Then 4 minutes later, the intensity subsides, I start to cool down and then before you know it, round 2 and 3 and 4….up to 24 in a 24 hour period!
Hot flashes are NO JOKE!
First thing I bought for hot flash relief
First thing I did, when I realized this was actually happening and there was no going back, was go to Amazon and find a personal folding fan that I could tuck in my purse and carry with me everywhere.
This was the beginning of what I lovingly refer to as my Free Fall to Hell support system. I still use it when the hot flash is so intense, my second purchase can’t overcome. It’s a cute foldable fan that is multi purpose. It has a flashlight, 2 speed fan and you can charge your phone from it. It folds up closed and also folds open to sit on a desk or table so you can be handsfree and enjoy the 2 speeds of cooling air.
My next purchase for hot flashes that changed the game
A couple years ago, a Boudoir Photographer mentor of mine from NYC, had a tough battle with breast cancer and long story short, after a double mastectomy, she went into early menopause. She either purchased or was gifted an EmbrWave bracelet and she shared her experience with it. She shared a few testimonials using the product, and I never forgot it.
Fast forward a couple years, and I reached out to her again, to ask her thoughts. At this point, I had already read every word on the website, checked out testimonials on YouTube and was 99% convinced this bracelet would change the game for me. She replied back, YES! It was a game changer (especially at night), so I pulled the trigger and patiently waited for this miracle bracelet to arrive.
Let me tell you more about my experience with the EmbrWave2. It’s a heating and cooling bracelet that has a manual start/stop function, as well as presets for both heating and cooling. The “hot flash preset” is 3 minutes long set at a level 3 for a cooling intensity, by default. I was able to customize that preset to 5 minutes at level 4 of cooling intensity on the app on my phone. There are also 5 minute, 10 minute and all night settings to help keep you cool all night. I can see how the cooling and even the heating settings can provide relief from not only Hot Flashes, but also anxiety and how it can help you sleep better.
How does it work?
The “face”of the bracelet which is slightly bigger than my Apple Watch rests on the inside of your wrist and the metallic/magnetic band goes around to secure. It’s very easy to adjust to get the “face” exactly where you find it most comfortable. I prefer it close to the bend of my wrist. I find it also prevents me from curling my hand in when I sleep and reducing my finger tingling a little.
There are two buttons on the edge of the “face”. One for cooling and one for heat. The intensity settings are 1-1.5-2-2.5 up to 5. For cooling I like 4, for heat, 2 is plenty.
The “face” next to your wrist either heats or cools in a pulsing manner (not vibration), to not allow your brain time to “get used” to the feeling and therefore not be effective. Think, walking along the beach and the water is freezing. A few minutes of keeping your feet in the ocean, your feet get acclimated to the temperature. That’s the opposite of what this bracelet does. The pulsing sensation of cool, normal, cool, etc keeps your brain stimulated and uses the sensation to trick the rest of your body into cooling down. It’s crazy cool.
I was a little worried it wouldn’t work and it would be all in my head and the relief wouldn’t be real.
First, it does work…
Second, who cares if my heads wants it to work so badly that it does. The effect is the same. RELIEF.
A couple downsides, as nothing is perfect
There are two down sides that come to mind, both of which come nowhere close to being a reason not to love this device.
- It’s a little big and thick under my wrist when I type at my laptop. Not a big deal, I am typing a little differently with my right fingers and it’s all good.
- In order to “activate” a session, you actually need to press the cool or heat button twice. Also, not a huge deal since if I was sleeping, the hot flash has already woken me up anyway, so why not press the button and cool down within seconds and fall back asleep without having to kick off the covers, cool down and then scramble to put the covers back on.
Pre EmbrWave2 in my life, my sleep was fucking awful. Sorry for the language, but it was BAD. 1.5 – 2 hours awake every night. I sleep with my Apple Watch on, so I can track my sleep patterns (’cause I think it’s cool to track that). Post EmbrWave2, my “awake” time has been anywhere from 24 minutes to 48 minutes. So incredibly improved. There are obviously other factors at play for sleep or awake time, but I am certain the EmbrWave2 is definitely a sleep solution.
I actually used the heat feature a few days ago. I was away for work and was super chilly at night. So chilly, I didn’t want to get out of bed to adjust the thermostat. Instead I just activated the “heat” setting and allowed it to help me settle a little. I’ll say it worked, but eventually I did get up and adjust the thermostat. I can see the heat setting being a great idea in the winter months. Similar to holding your coffee mug to warm up. Technically you are only warming your hands, but your brain sends messages to the rest of your body to react to the heat or cooling sensation. MAGIC.
Help is on the way
Before the EmbrWave2, I was a little on edge and nervous a hot flash would come at the worst time at work. What would I do if I was in the middle of a presentation to a bunch of people and all of a sudden my face goes red, I start to overheat and sweat and my heart races, making me lose my train of thought. I tell you…Hot Flashes are NO JOKE.
I’ve had the bracelet now for 2 weeks, and it has already improved my confidence and comfort during my work day, and improved my sleep. I can be in the middle of a presentation, feel that wave of flushing come over me, discreetly tap the button on the EmbrWave2 (even under a long sleeve shirt without looking), and within seconds, I can feel the cooling relief which immediately tells me “help is on the way”, and with a couple deep meditative breaths I get back on track. Only losing a few seconds, vs 4 minutes of total discomfort.
Lastly, charge time. It charges from a magnetic base similar to a smart watch with a USB-Type C cable in about 1.5-2 hours. I have found it goes to about 40% in 5 days, and that’s when I charge it up. I’m one of those…charge electronics at no less than 50%, and gas up my car at half a tank.
Learning more about the crazy season of life
Lastly, since this menopause crap is all VERY new to me, I am also half way through reading “Hormone Repair Manual. Every woman’s guide to healthy hormones after 40“. It’s definitely shedding light on how menopause works, how your body changes and gives recommendations on exactly what to say to your doctor as you prepare for how to get through menopause in one piece. I’m just getting to the diet and healthy habits section, so I’m certainly still learning my way through all of this.
I know for certain I am not going to let menopause suck the life out me, slow me down or make me miserable. There is no escaping this season of life, so it’s time to tuck and roll my way through it with as much grace as I can muster.
Stick around and I’ll continue to share my thoughts on all the shit women need to go through and how I navigate the tumultuous waters ahead. Aging is not for the weak.
One thing is for certain, I have no intention of suffering in silence. What’s the point in that? I want to share so everyone around me knows this is a crazy wild ride. The mood swings, the hot flashes, the aches and pains the exhausted for no reason naps, the weight gain…it’s a LOT to work through.
Let me know where you are in the crazy life journey? Are you coming up to the free fall to hell, neck deep in hell, or on the other side where my older friends say are “the best years of your life” or are you supporting your spouse or partner through this?
Hang on tight…