I wasn’t going to post about this.
But I am.
Menopause may be the death of me.
While the photo above is a sensational photo of me laughing, I haven’t felt like myself in a week. Let me take you back to Tuesday night.
If you know me a little, I’m always ‘go go go.’ My partner remarked how I’ve been more ‘couch, couch, couch’ lately.
“Don’t get me wrong. You look beautiful. But you look exhausted” he remarked over a plate of veggie potstickers at dim sum in Greenpoint Saturday night.
I’ve been doing my routine.
- Wakeup 530am.
- Weight lifting workout 6am (5 days a week)
- Work. (6 days a week)
- Hosting workshops.
- Hosting events.
I’ve been doing all of the above, but admittedly moving through what felt like mud sludge. I chalked it up to being 51 and the crappy change of life.
Tuesday, my doctor called, with a strong panic in his voice I had not heard before. The day before, he had sent me for a battery of blood tests.
“Joya, your blood tests have come back. Your blood count is dangerously low.”
I was fiddling with my computer. On the couch.
“Okay.” (Is he about to tell me I gotta do something about this?)
His serious tone continued.
“You need to go for a blood transfusion at the ER.”
Like now? I said, with a challenging tone in my voice, still clicking away on my computer.
“Can’t this wait until Monday?”
“Your organs aren’t getting enough blood. Enough oxygen. This will impact the rest of your body, like your heart. Your lungs.”
I started to rattle off a list of alternatives. Urgent Care. No. His office Monday? No. Someone else’s office. Say my OB-GYN? No.
“The emergency room.”
I called Matt, who mere minutes ago, had left for the gym. He turned around and came home and we ubered the few minutes to Brooklyn Hospital Center in Fort Greene.
We arrived at 7pm. As things go in New York City emergency rooms, it wasn’t until 1am that I was hooked up to bag that would intravenously feed me what my body so lacked.
My iron levels had dropped to 15. Normal was 50-150.
My blood count had dropped to 7. Normal was 11-18.
I’m menopausal. But even more so, I was annoyed.
I sacrificed to build a career on TV.
I sacrificed to build a business.
I’m finally over the hump. I can see the horizon. My days of skimping, saving, scraping behind me.
And now this boulder drops on me.
I wasn’t going to post about this.
But I am.
I wondered aloud on my Instagram, with a photo of the IV in my arm.
“Why didn’t our mothers tell us about this?”
“Why aren’t we talking about how THIS as the obstacle for women leaders?”
It turns out we are. 380 people started to weigh in on my DM’s.
- S offered naturopathic remedies that helped her mom.
- R offered up the names of the meds that stabilized her.
- R talked about the iron infusions, endometriosis. Hysterectomy.
- M sent me this poignant post
The picture anchoring this blog post is with photographer Priyanca Rao, who shot me for a series called “The Revolutionary South Asian Woman Project” culminating in a year end photo exhibit year, displaying the top 15.
I’m not sure about the revolutionary part. But as I said in my TEDx Talk November 2013, But I am going to talk about it.
Now on to this week’s newsletter.
What I Did Last Week.
Friday. Matt and I went to the Orphaned Starfish Foundation Gala at Cipriani Wall Street. Jeanette Prenger, CEO of EccoSelect, was on board my annual Women’s Leadership sail in Turkey this year and had a table.
Sunday. I went to a story slam co hosted by the Moth and an organization called “I’ll Go First.” At a local church, everyday people were telling stories of overthrowing the Chinese patriarchy in their own home, being institutionalized, attending the funeral of a parent as a young child.
Members of my Mastermind are readying to take the stage November 16th to give their TEDx style talks and I wanted to see how others are hosting similar exercises. It’s open to the public and you can attend. Get tickets here.
Tuesday. 7 hours at Brookyn Hospital Center waiting for a transfusion. My friend Carlyn doordashed me essential oils from Guru Nanda. It was a minor miracle that the gift actually got to me. I doused my hand in the eucalyptus as I seethed in the hospital chair. Impatient person that I am.
Wednesday. Despite good counsel to stay home, I had an event to host. I had worked so hard to get the 9 women in the room. It was my “Make Your Signature Scent” Workshop, bridging the parallels between building a personal brand and perfume making. See album here.
What I am looking forward to:
I participated in a photo and storytelling effort called “The Revolutionary South Asian Woman Project.” Here is a behind the scenes of the shoot with Priyanca Rao, who was craving a more meaningful nod to her heritage.
I’m heading to Barcelona in December to host a client VIP Day and celebrate my birthday. I’m printing 2×3 photos using this Zink Kodak Printer. I’ll take a photo with my phone and print it on the spot, then use the sticker-backed paper to place it in my notebook where I can journal about the memory. It allows me to revisit memories with so much more joy.
When I work with clients on their VIP Days or their TED Talks, they struggle to whittle down the “one thing” they will talk about. Check out the tool Answer Socrates. You can punch in a word from your zone of genius, and it will spit out 15-20 topics that you could blog about, podcast about, tweet about. A neat tool to find out what is trending around your keyword or brand and write prolifically about it.
How champagne was created by accident
I drive leadership programming with a big element of adventure. I talk about why in this video.