On my Kindle, I have a list of sixty-four symptoms of perimenopause.
That’s what I said. SIXTY-FOUR. I copied them from some website or other online. The reason? So that when anything strange, new and annoying started happening to my body, I could refer to the list and see if it was “just perimenopause.”
Ninety-five percent of the time, it is.
The other five percent, I freak and think I’ve developed a rare, incurable disease.
But recently, I woke up one morning with a strange sensation in my left cheek. Right in the middle. It was tender to the touch and felt like a bruise. Only J hadn’t hit me. I hadn’t whacked my face against an unexpectedly closing car door. B hadn’t whizzed a Frisbee at my head.
There was no discoloration, and my first thought was that I’d bitten the inside of my cheek at some point while I was sleeping. But a brief probe around the area with my tongue revealed no telltale bump.
If you’ve ever bitten the inside of your cheek while eating, you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, well, I don’t want to talk to you. No fair.
I checked the other cheek. No pain. And I didn’t have a headache and no pain in my gums.
I had a cheekache. That’s all.
I had no choice but to add it to my ever-growing list of perimenopause symptoms. It didn’t surprise me as much as you might think, since I’ve had new symptoms crop up an average of every six months for the past eight (count ‘em, EIGHT) years.
But, really, whoever heard of a cheekache?
On the other hand, maybe it was some kind of weird autoimmune disease. “Inflammatory Cheek Disease.” Or maybe cancer of the cheek? “Compressed Cheek Syndrome”?
I couldn’t be sure.
Until the next day. When my other cheek felt exactly the same way. Two or three days passed, with the inflammation on both sides of my face decreasing every day.
And then, it was gone.
Good ol’ perimenopause. Really keeps a middle-aged woman hopping. Or, at least, guessing.