Oh no. Not you, too!” My gynecologist rolled her eyes. “You wouldn’t believe how many women tell me they want to try progesterone cream. Some of them even want me to read the studies they bring in.”

I’d been going to Dr. Nancy for nearly two years trying to get my peri-menopausal symptoms under control — killer hot flashes, night sweats, insomnia, and wild heart palpitations. The worst thing was my mind seemed fuzzy, like there was a veil over my brain. I could stoically endure the physical symptoms, but I really missed my mind.

Dr. Nancy had prescribed Premarin, which cleared my mind and reduced the heart palpitations. But regardless of how she adjusted the dosage and added other prescriptions, killer hot flashes still attacked, turning my face red and making me rush to the nearest fan. My feet and ankles, always a problem due to my spinal cord injury, now swelled so much worse. My legs were heavier and hard to lift into bed.

I shuddered knowing Premarin was made from pregnant mare’s urine. I’d read about thousands of horses kept in stalls, pregnant and catheterized for the manufacture of this drug. Further research revealed that this and similar synthetic hormones greatly increased the potential for blood clots, edema, low thyroid and uterine and breast cancer.

I already knew that blood clots were one of the leading causes of death for mobility-impaired persons. I already had enough problems just dealing with my disability. I didn’t need to complicate my health even more, but I couldn’t live with these symptoms.

My wheelchair blocked any cooling breeze to the lower half of my back, making my hot flashes all the more miserable. Even if I could tough it out, I knew that hot flashes raise your blood pressure, putting you at risk for other problems.

I began hearing about natural alternatives. I was hoping to try some of the proven ones under my doctor’s supervision. But if she wouldn’t even look at the studies, how could I trust her to have the knowledge to treat me within the context of my disability?

She continued to insist that hormone replacement therapy was totally safe and even helped prevent heart disease. I’d read enough to be skeptical. Years later, aft