“In Menopause. Any Questions?” with Tamsen Fadal
S1, E3
November 29, 2022

Christine Maginnis (00:00):

Hey, friends. The views of our guests do not necessarily reflect the views of Let's Talk Menopause. Let's Talk Menopause does not provide medical advice. The content in this podcast is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions that you may have.

Robin Gelfenbien (00:23):

Have you ever experienced a panic attack?

Speaker 3 (00:25):

Can't breathe.

Speaker 4 (00:25):

Out of control.

Speaker 3 (00:26):

Spring up out of nowhere.

Speaker 5 (00:28):

The first time I thought I was having a heart attack.

Speaker 3 (00:28):

Feel a lot like a heart attack.

Speaker 6 (00:29):

Think that I'm getting nauseous and then I get really hot.

Speaker 5 (00:31):

Sometimes the hot flash will come along with it.

(00:33):

It's awesome.

Speaker 7 (00:34):

Menopause affects women at work.

Speaker 6 (00:36):

You're like miserable and you feel like you just have to stick it out.

Speaker 4 (00:39):

It would feel uncomfortable.

Speaker 8 (00:40):

You'd rather hide it than just say, "Hey, I'm having a hot flash."

Speaker 4 (00:43):

Contributes to the stigma against hiring women.

Robin Gelfenbien (00:47):

How do you think menopause affects men at work?

Speaker 9 (00:49):

I'm not sure that men are aware that it's going on around them.

Speaker 3 (00:51):

I don't think it takes any energy to be supportive. There needs to be the same dialogue there are about any of the other issues that we talk about. Social justice issues. Why can't this be on the list too?

Christine Maginnis (01:04):

This is Hello Menopause, a podcast where you'll hear real menopause stories from real people.

Robin Gelfenbien (01:09):

Whispering behind closed doors? Not here.

Christine Maginnis (01:12):

We promise. It is not just in your head.

Robin Gelfenbien (01:14):

And you are not alone.

Christine Maginnis (01:16):

I'm your host, Christine Maginnis.

Robin Gelfenbien (01:18):

And I'm your other host, Robin Gelfenbien. Let's talk menopause.

(01:22):

At the top of today's episode, you heard our menopause on the street segment. Now, if you're not familiar, this is where I go out on the streets of New York City and I talk to total strangers about the last topic they would ever expect, menopause.

Christine Maginnis (01:49):

Oh my gosh. I have to say, Robin, I'm a person who has experienced panic attacks and just listening to the descriptors they gave, like you can't breathe, it springs out of nowhere, it feels like you're having a heart attack. You get nauseous. As I listened to that, I felt my own anxiety rise because those are terrible feelings and they really, really nailed it, I think.

Robin Gelfenbien (02:11):

Yes, they did. People wanted to talk about panic attacks more than anything else.

Christine Maginnis (02:16):

Really?

Robin Gelfenbien (02:16):

It was very relatable.

Christine Maginnis (02:18):

There is often a connection between panic and a hot flash, and it's sort of the chicken and the egg, which comes first. Do you start to feel hot and then you feel panicky about it? Or does your heart start to race, and that feeling is so uncomfortable that causes you to panic? But its so often happens with women and menopause that they experience simultaneous panic along with hot flashes.

Robin Gelfenbien (02:44):

That sounds awful. That's got to be so scary.

Christine Maginnis (02:47):

Yeah.

Robin Gelfenbien (02:48):

Because if you've never experienced one also, and then all of these things are happening at once, it's got to be so overwhelming.

Christine Maginnis (02:55):

Right. I know a lot of women who will just race out into the backyard to cool off, to get cooler air, but I think a part of it is this need to not be contained? That you just have to go somewhere to catch your breath.

Robin Gelfenbien (03:06):

Yeah.

Christine Maginnis (03:06):

I know sometimes I would literally open my freezer and kind of throw myself as much as my body would fit in.

Robin Gelfenbien (03:14):

Oh my gosh, really?

Christine Maginnis (03:16):

Yeah, I really would. And I would kind of rest my head against frozen peas.

Robin Gelfenbien (03:20):

Oh my god.

Christine Maginnis (03:21):

Whatever I could find. Yeah. Yeah.

Robin Gelfenbien (03:24):

I really appreciated what the guy said at the end about the fact that it doesn't take any more energy to be more supportive and we should add this to the list of other things that we're already having to be cognizant of in the workplace. So I really applauded his right response because he's like, "Social justice issues. Why can't this be on the list too?" It was to him such a no brainer, and I absolutely agree with him. It should be.

Christine Maginnis (03:51):

Right. Yeah. No, I thought I want to give that man a hug. The minute I heard it, I was like, "Oh, hug that man."

Robin Gelfenbien (03:56):

Yeah. I know. I wish I could have, but I can only cross a certain line with these strangers. But, no, I didn't hug him.

Christine Maginnis (04:05):

I did take note though, when people were, I think I heard one, maybe two women, talking about menopause in the workplace, and it's the women who are saying, "You're miserable, but you feel like you have to stick it out. You don't want to talk to your colleagues about it."

Robin Gelfenbien (04:19):

Yeah.

Christine Maginnis (04:19):

It's almost as if there's this unspoken covenant that women say, "Don't make a fuss about me." And what I find interesting about that man's response was, I actually think men would be supportive. I find right now they can't be supportive of what's been invisible.

(04:38):

I honestly, in my heart of hearts, don't believe that men have a plan to not address women's health. Most men. I just think it's become the norm and that's why we want to talk about it and shine a light on it. Take off the invisibility cloak and say, "This is what we're experiencing."

(04:57):

Without further ado, let's get into our conversation with our guests for today.

(05:06):

We are beyond grateful to speak to award-winning journalist, New York City news anchor, breast cancer prevention advocate, podcaster, and celebrated author Tamsen Fadal. Tamsen turned 50 last year and realized she was not done living and achieving yet. In fact, she feels more excited and bolder than ever before. She launched her weekly podcast , Coming Up Next, in which she speaks with people about how to approach the next stage of your life by unlocking the bold. Here is our conversation with the incredible Tamsen Fadal.

Robin Gelfenbien (05:48):

Thank you so much for joining us today, Tamsen. We are so excited to have you here. You are a 13 time Emmy Award winner, a trailblazer, an advocate, a true inspiration, and so much more. For people who don't know you, please tell us about yourself.

Tamsen Fadal (06:05):

Yeah, of course. Well, I'm a New Yorker, through and through. I anchor the evening news here for WPIX TV. I've written a few books, self-help books, about dating, divorce, and looks like menopause is probably going to be the next one on the list, or something like that. And I'm married recently, 50 years old, so that's exciting. And I don't know. I'm here to support women and champion women and that's really what I've learned as a journalist. I've told a lot of stories. I love what I do and I think that's how we connect and that's how we learn and that's my superpower, I guess. And so I really do encourage women to share their stories with me. So that's why I certainly love what you're doing in terms of storytelling, because that's what I think brings us all closer together.

Christine Maginnis (06:54):

Agreed.

Robin Gelfenbien (06:55):

Absolutely. We're going to talk a little bit more about storytelling a little bit later, but wanted to start out with your menopause story. You had such a unique introduction to it. Can you tell us about it?

Tamsen Fadal (07:07):

Yeah, I didn't even know I was being introduced to it at the time. And somebody that asked questions constantly, I would think I had asked more questions at this point, but I didn't. I had endometrium polyps and so I had all kinds of bleeding for years and years and a couple of different procedures to take them out. And so whether I had my period or didn't have my period, I never knew, because the bleeding was not period bleeding. So I was never looking at menopause as being a cause of anything I was dealing with. So it was about two years ago and it was just another normal night on air and it was coming around 10:30, and I know that because I do a business report on the year at 10 :5 every night. And that's how we kind of know it's the end of the show.

(07:48):

And so we were going into the 10:30 hour and I remember looking at the prompter and I had been having some problems seeing words but not being able to pronounce them anymore. I looked at the word and I knew I knew the word, but I couldn't. And I'm like, "Am I having some kind of brain problem? Is it lack of sleep?" My sleep was wonky at that point, but I'm always stressed out. So I'm like, "Oh, that's stress." And it would happen just often enough that was getting me concerned. So I looked at the prompter and I remember the words, I was like, "Well, I don't even know what those say." And I got hot, not hot flash hot, like overheated like you're going to pass out hot, anxiety where my heart was racing out of my chest. And it's funny, people say, "Do you still get nervous on TV?"

(08:31):

And I don't really, and so I knew that that wasn't it. It wasn't that I was getting nervous in the middle of a newscast. And I thought like, "Something is really, really, I'm too heightened that I'm going to collapse or fall over or something." And I said jokingly, because I didn't know what really was going on, "Hey, if I fall over, somebody catch me." We sit on these chairs that have wheels on them so they're a little bit higher than the desk. And one of my colleagues, the sports anchor said, "Wait, are you being serious? I think you need to get off the set." And so luckily he had kind of the foresight to say, "Hey, it's not a joke and don't try to keep being cool." And he walked me off the set and I literally went to the bathroom and collapsed on the floor and I had my cheek laying on the, like I had no idea what was going on.

(09:12):

And the anxiety was just overwhelming, I've never had that before. And they got me to a car after 20, 30, minutes of laying there. I never finished out the show. And I went home and I was in bed all weekend long. It was just this anxiety and every time I would get up to try to deal with it I was hot and anxious and I thought, "Something is going on." And I went to the doctor and they put me on antidepressants. I said, "ell maybe that was just a panic attack you were having or maybe." And I said, "But that's not what this was. This was something else."

(09:44):

Again, I was bleeding all the time. So I had not had, I guess, a real period. But I did have that problem with polyps, you can just randomly, it can go on for quite a while. And I went to three or four different doctors. I went to my gynecologist, I went to somebody else that was recommended, and then I went to an endocrinologist, and she started in on my blood panel, and my blood panel showed that I was in menopause at that point.

Christine Maginnis (10:09):

You've given us so much to consider. I love every single word of what you just said, but I think there's a lot to unpack. If you don't mind, I'm going to go back a little bit to the bathroom, when you're lying in the bathroom there for 30 minutes what were you thinking or feeling?

Tamsen Fadal (10:24):

Well first I was thinking, "Oh my gosh, I'm in a dress, like a sheath dress, laying on the floor with two men standing over me." And they were so respectful. They're like, "Can we come in?"

Christine Maginnis (10:33):

Oh, they came in with you?

Tamsen Fadal (10:34):

Well, because they worried. It's funny, I talked to him about, we've been in the pandemic and so we've been separated for a long time at work. And he said to me, "I thought you were having a heart attack. I didn't know what was going on. And it really made me scared because you were nauseous and you were hot and you had all these symptoms and you didn't know what was happening." And he goes. "And it was just kind of scary. And you wouldn't have done that if it wasn't something serious. You work through things, you just move through things."

(11:04):

I'll be honest, what really scared me more than those physical things were, what was happening with reading scripts and stuff. Because I've done that job for decades, and if I don't know a word, that's one thing. If I know a word and it doesn't come out of my mouth, am I having a stroke? Do I have a brain tumor? Is it early onset of dementia? All those things are real things and they're not ha ha funny. It's they're real things. And I was scared.

(11:29):

What I have found really interesting is I, about two months ago I went on TikTok, because I was just kind of exploring what that was. And I started talking a little bit about symptoms. And I had a video that just hit in six weeks, 1 million views.

Christine Maginnis (11:45):

Wow.

Tamsen Fadal (11:45):

I wasn't dancing, I wasn't singing, I wasn't doing a trend. I was not standing on my head. I was fully clothed.

Christine Maginnis (11:54):

Yeah, what was the topic?

Tamsen Fadal (11:55):

It was 34 symptoms of menopause. That's it. And I just listed them.

Robin Gelfenbien (12:00):

Yeah.

Tamsen Fadal (12:01):

And it makes me get choked up because the women that responded, responded so genuinely and so upset and so confused. And that was how I felt when I was laying there and the subsequent months after that. And so I was like, "Oh my gosh, I want to help all of you." So I had 3000 comments and I've been trying to get to all of them because I feel like there are a lot of people that don't have the answers or the access to the answers or the access to the questions. And so that, as somebody that comes from storytelling and asking questions, really motivated me to be serious about helping provide connection. I don't have all the answers. I'm not a doctor, but I do know that I can connect people and that's what I'm trying to do, connect them with information.

Robin Gelfenbien (12:46):

You may not be a doctor, but you're a TikToker at this point.

Tamsen Fadal (12:51):

I said, "Oh my gosh, am I supposed to be TikToking at 51?" But it really just shows the absolute need for this information. And so kudos to you for what you're doing because, yeah, let's talk about menopause.

Christine Maginnis (13:03):

Yes.

Tamsen Fadal (13:04):

And when we don't, I think we're hurting the next generation that's coming up behind us.

Christine Maginnis (13:10):

Yeah. I love how you talk about the 34 symptoms, and I'm very sorry you had that issue with the teleprompter, but in a way hearing it makes me feel so much better because I've always been an avid reader, and I would find I could not follow the text along in a book as well. It makes you feel like you are losing your mind. And I remember going to my doctor, and I've read now that many women in perimenopause feel this too. I went and I said, "I think I have early onset dementia. Something has happened to my brain." And menopause is more than hot flashes. I'm just so happy to be sharing this with other people so that when it happens to them, they could say, "Oh wait, this could be that."

Robin Gelfenbien (13:55):

Yeah. I have been following you on Instagram for a while so I saw that 34 symptoms video that you had done originally. And the thing that just blew my mind was the idea of this symptom that is a burning tongue.

Tamsen Fadal (14:11):

I know.

Robin Gelfenbien (14:13):

Can you describe, have you experienced that?

Tamsen Fadal (14:15):

You know what? I think I did. I've had it before. I've had it where I thought I was having an allergic reaction though to something. But the things that people are describing to me, that was a reason I went looking for that. But I do know there were a couple of times that I would eat something and everything would swell up inside, but I thought, "Oh, I must be allergic to something I ate," and then it goes away. But a lot of the people that I've talked to since, my new TikTok friends, have explained to me it is something that happens a lot more often. So it's happened to me, I think? But what they're explaining is a lot worse than what that I've gone through or maybe there's varying degrees of it. But when I hear these things, look, when you hear them over and over and over and over again, there's definitely something there, right? It's not just three times.

Robin Gelfenbien (14:59):

Absolutely.

Christine Maginnis (15:00):

Don't you think there's a power though in having a name to call something.

Robin Gelfenbien (15:03):

Sure.

Christine Maginnis (15:04):

So you don't feel like these 11 mysterious things are happening? But when you can say, "These are all symptoms of menopause," it takes the panic out of it.

Tamsen Fadal (15:12):

Of course.

Christine Maginnis (15:13):

You say, "Oh, that's what it is." And then it's less scary.

Tamsen Fadal (15:16):

Because otherwise we're looking at the things we know. Listen, when I lost my mom, at such a young age, I think I was cognizant of one thing only in my life was breast cancer. That was it. That was it. I was like, "Breast cancer. That's it." I've been a champion for educating people, for research, for cure. I'm a part of so many different breast cancer organizations. That's where I donate my money. It's been my focus.

(15:43):

But I realize that that is all under the umbrella of women's health, and this is another part of that that really needs some of that focus. So that was all I ever looked at. That was all I ever worried about. I didn't worry about menopause or any of the other things that come along with it. It wasn't in my vocabulary even to do. So, I'm happy it is, but I would like to see it, like breast cancer, at 44 years old, at 45 years old, we say, "Let's go get a," and I know there's a number of organizations that are out there that are working to do this, but we say at a certain age, "This is what you have to start looking for."

(16:19):

But if somebody goes into an early onset menopause or they have something going on, are their daughters going to go 10 years earlier? There's no system, there's no calendar, there's no anything rules for us to follow. And I think that that's what I would like to see happen. Just for awareness.

Robin Gelfenbien (16:37):

Right. Just having more of a dialogue about it versus, we all know, a lot of doctors are not informed on this. And so it's really been the patient's responsibility to go to the doctor. But going back to your doctor for a minute, I read that on a flight when you were 48, you got this message from your doctor's office portal and all it said was, "In menopause."

Tamsen Fadal (17:00):

In menopause. Any questions?

Robin Gelfenbien (17:01):

Yeah.

Tamsen Fadal (17:04):

That was my gyno. Yeah, in menopause. Any questions? I've been with these gynecologists and their wonderful. They got me through a lot. They helped me with the endometrium polyps that I've been dealing with. One of them did the surgery, two times. But, yeah, I got that when, I think I was coming back from Tampa, if I'm not mistaken. I said, "Oh my god. I really am in menopause." I went to the endocrinologist, through them, everyone's connected, and my blood tests are done. And I said, "What does that even mean?" And then I saw, and I can't even remember, it's like the follicle levels or whatever it is, whatever it was mine was gone or double, whatever it was. It was just the wrong number. And I said, "Oh my gosh. What's happening?"

(17:49):

But it let me know what was happening and that was a good thing. And it's funny because a lot of the people I've heard from have never had their panel done. I don't know if that's the only way you find out or not or if that's the best way you find out or not. But why aren't we doing that? Why are we waiting till something really happens where you can't read anymore or you do feel like you're going to have a heart attack or you just feel like you're going crazy, before we get to be so desperate that you're going in there with 1000 symptoms. Why don't they give me that at 45 when I did my mammogram and say, "Let's see where you are."

Christine Maginnis (18:24):

Why aren't there posters and pamphlets and a doctor at 45 checking in to say, "Hey, pretty soon you might be experiencing X, Y, Z and be prepared for these changes." Why do you think that is, Tamsen? Why are people so shushed about this?

Tamsen Fadal (18:39):

It's funny. I was trying to figure that out myself. I guess the truth is that it goes back to that intersection I'm talking about of where we are. And nobody wants to be unsexy. Nobody wants to be irrelevant. Nobody wants to feel like they're invisible. And those are all the awful words that are used when you kind of hit this midlife place. And I think that menopause is the mark of that, that maybe you're no longer sexy because you are not able to have children or maybe you're no longer sexy because you're 48 and 50 years old and you're at this midlife.

(19:11):

And that's the only thing I can think. And that brings us to a whole other issue of ageism and an issue of not being able to be proud of who we are and where we are and what we're doing. I posted a video, not video, a picture on Instagram. And then one guy wrote, "Looking your age." That's what he wrote. "Looking your age."

Christine Maginnis (19:34):

No.

Tamsen Fadal (19:34):

Or looking older. And I was like, "What?"

Christine Maginnis (19:36):

Wow.

Tamsen Fadal (19:36):

But that's the reason.

Christine Maginnis (19:39):

Wow.

Tamsen Fadal (19:40):

That's the reason that we don't talk about it. That's the reason that we hide how old we are up until recently. That's the reason that this is probably a really hush-hush thing.

Christine Maginnis (19:48):

Tamsen, I know you've been talking to a lot of people about menopause in the workplace and it's somewhere where at Let's Talk Menopause we would like to focus. What have you been hearing from women about what it's like to be going through perimenopause at work?

Tamsen Fadal (20:02):

Yeah. I mean, look for the ones that know that's what they're going through, kudos to them, first of all, because I didn't know the word perimenopause until a year and a half ago. But it's not easy. Again, it is this intersection of having to admit that there's something else going on. And so I found, myself anyway, and even still do sometimes, sitting in a meeting, all of a sudden I get the hot flash and I would like to take my clothes off. I mean, I work in an environment where I am so grateful and I have a female news director and my station is very supportive of me talking about this, so I talk openly about this now. And so I'll be in the studio and say, "I think I'm having a hot flash." Not everybody loves it, but it's accepted, and I'm doing it and I'm continuing to do it, and they're supportive of it and I am grateful.

(20:57):

But I don't think everybody works in a place like that. I don't think everybody works in a place where you can have that conversation or have that feeling to be able to do that. And I've talked to a lot of women that say they sit there and they try to hide it or leave the workplace altogether because they can't handle it. If we're talking about reading and having a hard time focusing and concentrating and you've got a project due or you've got to, I don't know, you're doing accounting and you have to deal with numbers or you're in an environment that's a fast-paced environment and some days you don't get any sleep so you're walking into work with literally two hours of sleep and can't function. I know friends of mine that have left the workforce at this age saying, "I'm looking for my next chapter." But in part some of that is simply because it was too much, it was too much altogether.

Robin Gelfenbien (21:41):

And the fact that you were helped by when you did have that overwhelming anxiety and you went into the bathroom and you were helped by two men that day. And I was wondering why is it important for men to know about the menopause transition as well?

Tamsen Fadal (21:57):

Well, I mean I don't know that they could have said, "Maybe you're going through menopause," or that they would have that, in the workplace nowadays.

Robin Gelfenbien (22:05):

Of course.

Tamsen Fadal (22:05):

I don't know that they would've said that to me. But I think it's important to, because first of all, he said exactly that. "I thought you were having a heart attack." He knew somewhere in there, that women of a certain age, if we want to use that, are prone to heart attacks and statistically have heart attacks at certain ages. And that was in his mind, for whatever reason. And when he told me that, I said, "I didn't know you thought that." He said, "Yeah." He goes, "That's what I thought. That's why I kept saying, Should we call 911?" And I said, "You said that?" He goes, "Yeah." I didn't remember any of that. I was literally, my cheek was on the tile. And so if he had in his brain, "Maybe I'll tell offline with her later, but maybe it's not so serious. Or maybe it's this, instead of that," he proves the point that it's not out there as a normalized conversation.

Robin Gelfenbien (22:55):

But you're doing a really great service, I think, for the people you're working with and obviously for your viewers as well, because they see you experience it.

Tamsen Fadal (23:02):

Thank you.

Robin Gelfenbien (23:02):

They see you being so vocal about it and then really reducing the shame around it.

Tamsen Fadal (23:07):

Thank you. I hope so. I've tried to do it as loud as I can. And I want to talk to women about this age too, because I never thought I'd be aging in front of the camera. I thought at some point I'd be doing something else. And the fact that you look around and people are my age on television and it's a really cool thing to see.

Christine Maginnis (23:26):

Yeah. Tamsen, I have to ask, because there are a lot of myths and misconceptions and fears about HRT, hormone replacement therapy. And I think that's especially true if breast cancer is in your family. Was that a fear for you?

Tamsen Fadal (23:43):

Yeah, a big one. So I was at those gynecologist and the endocrinologist that did the blood panel, and then I started looking around for other doctors, I think I said that earlier, but I found two, I went to one and I liked her, but then it just didn't worked out and so I found another one. It was a midlife practitioner. And we sat down and talked and I said, "I need to figure something out because I can't sleep. I'm about to lose it. I'm gaining weight. I'm feeling awful. My confidence level is crap right now." I didn't even want to get on the air. The camera would come on and I would want to duck out of the way of the camera, literally. And that's my job. I was like, "Could we cover the lens just for this part?"

(24:25):

And she said, "Well what about hormones?" And I said, "Oh, no, no, no, no. My mother had breast cancer. I can't do that." And she said, "Well, we just have to see what your risk is." And she actually calculated my risk from a bunch of different things. My age, my mom's age, when I got my period, I don't even know what she did, but she did a lot. And we sat down and talked and she said, "Look, we can start in a very low dose. We can start as what is perceived as naturally as possible and do bioidentical and you would do an estrogen and you would do a progesterone at night and see how that works and how that feels."

(25:02):

So I started and then I went off, because I got scared. I don't even know why. I just, like one day I was putting that patch on and I'm like, "Oh hell no, I'm not doing this anymore. No, I'm going to just do it on my own." Then I wound up running around again because I have to do my research. And I found somebody that said, "Oh, I can give you a testosterone shot and you will feel better if you do that." And so I said, "Okay. Yes. Anything. Anything to make me feel better."

(25:28):

And that's where I don't want people to get, with that anything to make me feel better, because then you do something desperate, and not that that's desperate, but for me at that time I was just, "Put anything in me. Do anything that makes sense." I thought, "Estrogen bad, testosterone sounds good." So I did that and that made me highly agitated and it was just too much for me all at once. It was a shot. It was too much. It was too much. And so I stopped that and then I went back to the midlife practitioner and I was like, "Confession. I went off the estrogen and the progesterone and I'm just scared. I'm scared that I don't want what happened to my mother to happen to me." She's like, "Let's sit down and talk about this." So we had a conversation. I'd been doing my own research at the time.

(26:10):

And so I went back on it and I have now been on it. I don't know how many months, I need to look, but I've been on it for a considerable amount of time and I've noticed a considerable difference. I've noticed a difference in my weight in just terms of feeling different about my body. I mean my body was totally not mine. Everything just felt off. And then the hot flashes, they still happen, I have to be honest, but not as much. If I say 90% fixed, okay. And the brain fog, so much better, and still have it, but not like it was before. And sleeping is still a struggle for me, to be honest. Sleeping is still a struggle for me, but I do feel like I'm much better than I was before because I was having a tough time.

Christine Maginnis (26:55):

Yeah, right. Well, and just reading up about you, I thought, "This is somebody who's really adroit at handling transitions."

Tamsen Fadal (27:05):

Thank you.

Christine Maginnis (27:06):

You lost your mother too young and you still became a success in your industry. You experienced a public divorce, and you came out of it an author of books that helped other people going through that experience. And then menopause just seemed to sucker punch you right in front of everybody.

Tamsen Fadal (27:24):

What's next?

Christine Maginnis (27:25):

Right, right. But I think what I've noticed is, and what I really admire about you, is you can fall to your knees, and tell people you fell to your knees, and then you show us how to rise.

Tamsen Fadal (27:37):

Thank you. You make me want to cry.

Christine Maginnis (27:39):

Yeah, no, but I was really struck by it. It kind of made me think, I don't know if you are familiar with Glennon Doyle who wrote Untamed.

Tamsen Fadal (27:46):

Sure.

Christine Maginnis (27:46):

But she has the podcast, We Can Do Hard things. And the title of that podcast has helped me so much in life saying, "You can do harder things than you think you can." But what I love about how you handle things is you practice this full radical acceptance. You say, "This happened. This is where I am and I'm not going to deny the circumstances. What next?"

Tamsen Fadal (28:11):

Yeah. Now what?

Christine Maginnis (28:13):

Now what? Now what? And I'm a big fan of that and I could just see that in you. And what I really love.

Tamsen Fadal (28:18):

Thank you.

Christine Maginnis (28:18):

Especially the retired teacher in me, is this, "And I'll help teach people. I'll share my story." So I cannot thank you enough for that. But what's your secret? How do you do that?

Tamsen Fadal (28:29):

I don't know. I don't know. I never put all those things together like that. Thank you.

Christine Maginnis (28:37):

You're welcome. You can do hard things, Tamsen.

Tamsen Fadal (28:38):

Thank you. I'd like there to be no more. Can they stop soon? I've had my share.

Robin Gelfenbien (28:47):

Your next TikTok should just be like [singing 00:28:49] That's like your theme song for life.

Tamsen Fadal (28:55):

That'll be my first dance.

Christine Maginnis (28:57):

Yes. And you're like, "Give me a pad, I want to write a book."

Robin Gelfenbien (28:59):

Yeah, exactly.

Tamsen Fadal (29:03):

I don't know. I feel like nothing was ever as hard as losing my mother. And so I always feel like, "Oh, you don't get to lay there and pity yourself, girl. Get up." And I think that, again, the storytelling part of me, that's all I know how to do. Really that's what I know how to do. And that's what I've learned from and that's what I see people learn from.

Christine Maginnis (29:24):

Right.

Tamsen Fadal (29:24):

And I see that those are the things that connect us all, all the time. And I was telling stories before being a storyteller was a word. And so I feel that's where my comfort zone is.

Robin Gelfenbien (29:37):

All right, so Tamsen, I'm the oldest of three girls and I always say I'm the oldest, the boldest, and the coldest, not because of my personality. I'm just cold all the time. I completely agree with you about living boldly and I know you obviously feel the same way. And you created this whole platform called Unlocking the Bold. And I wanted to know what does that mean to you and can you tell our listeners what this whole platform is and how useful it is?

Tamsen Fadal (30:04):

Yeah. That kind of happened accidentally.

Robin Gelfenbien (30:08):

Like all great things.

Tamsen Fadal (30:09):

Like all things do, right? I kept trying to figure out what was happening and who the stories are of people that went from a fear or a time in their lives of transition where they didn't know what to do next and they walked through this door and got to the other side somehow. And I was always looking for this nugget, like, "Well, what was that exact moment? What was that exact moment when that happened? Was it you got an email? Was it you got all this confidence? Was it you went on your hormones and got things back?" I don't know what it was.

(30:38):

Oh that wasn't it. But I said, "What was that moment that really changed things for you?" Whether it was divorce, aging, empty nest, dreams shattered, what was it? And I just kept seeing this thing like, "Oh, they unlocked something, something, something." And I said, "Oh, it wasn't that they didn't have fear," because that was where I started. I was starting like, "Oh they're fearless. Everyone's fearless." I'm like, "They're not fearless. They're scared to death just like I am. But they're bold." And so they're unlocking that bold that's already deep down inside of them. We had it when we were young. We didn't care what, we were as bold as could be. And I said they would unlock that and get to that other side. And that was the cool thing for me. And so that's where that kind of came from.

Robin Gelfenbien (31:18):

Why do you think women lose their ability to be bold over time, in that little sandwich time?

Tamsen Fadal (31:24):

Oh gosh. We learn more, right? We learn more. We're scared to jump without nets. We fear that other side. Like, "What if? What if" What if is such a scary thing. And we analyze, we overanalyze all those things. We didn't do that when we were 20 years old. I didn't analyze anything. I was like, "I'm packing up my car. I'm driving to West Virginia, and I'm going to be on TV. And I'm going to make $12,000 a year and that's what I'm going to do." And that's what I did. And I didn't care. I wasn't thinking, "Where am I going to go next?" Or, "Where am I going to go in five years?" I was like, "Where am I going next?" Next job."

Christine Maginnis (31:57):

Right.

Tamsen Fadal (31:57):

Resume tape done. Next job. Driving my car. Rent, my $250 rent above a furniture store, didn't care. Slept on a futon. I wasn't like, "I don't if I'm going to be able to do that or not. I'm scared." I wasn't scared, I was bold. And I think that we learn a lot and we kind of talk ourselves out of being anything but very practical and very smart about it and make good decisions. And that's the girl thing. I always harken back to the book Why Good Girls Don't Get Ahead, But Gutsy Girls Do. That book was pivotal for me way back in the day. And that was a book that I really felt like, "Wow, that's right. Gutsy." And now I think the word is bold. So that's what I look at.

Robin Gelfenbien (32:38):

That's great.

Christine Maginnis (32:39):

Speaking of books, I've heard you talk about that you were really influenced by Kamali's I am Invincible.

Tamsen Fadal (32:45):

Yeah, absolutely. I have it right over here.

Christine Maginnis (32:48):

Oh, great. So I think power comes from aging and I really believe that. So what do you think are the gifts of aging?

Tamsen Fadal (32:56):

Well, I mean it's the same gift that sometimes we use to stop ourselves, but knowing more, right? Knowing that we don't have a lot of time left. Even if we have 50 more years at 50 years old? Wow, that's not enough time. So I think that that gift of knowing that you need to do what you want to do now and move, be moving. Because I think the way out of fear is movement. And I think that I've learned that. I think as I get older, I have learned that less is more, that I need to declutter life a little bit. My divorce certainly taught me that. I think that experience, life experience, is what I love and it's taught me how to stop comparing myself to other people. It's taught me how to be honest with what my goals are. Not to fill up my day just being busy so I can say I did something today and live my some day today.

Christine Maginnis (33:44):

I've heard from people when we talk about, especially my friend group, about what the gifts of aging are. And a lot of people say, and I don't know if I can say this without cursing, but I may just have to curse. They just say, "I don't give as many fucks."

Tamsen Fadal (33:55):

100%.

Christine Maginnis (33:56):

And it might be wisdom or you just fight less battles. You just say, "No, not for me."

Tamsen Fadal (34:03):

Yeah, I think you just have been down those roads before, right?

Christine Maginnis (34:06):

Yes.

Tamsen Fadal (34:07):

And then I always think this too. So when I go back every once in a while and I think, "What did I give a crap about a year ago? I don't even remember today." And so today I'm like, "What do I give a crap about right now? And is it going to matter in," I do three month increments? Is it going to matter in 90 days? If it's going to make a difference in 90 days, then I will give you all of my exhaustive attention. And if it's not, I don't care.

Christine Maginnis (34:30):

That's a great philosophy. That's super useful.

Robin Gelfenbien (34:32):

It is good. And I also like the less is more, which obviously we hear a lot, but it reminds me of your wonderful podcast called Coming Up Next, which by the way, brilliant name, given the line of work that you do.

Tamsen Fadal (34:45):

Thank you. Given that I say it 100 times a day.

Robin Gelfenbien (34:47):

Yeah, totally. It's probably, maybe you said it more than you've even said your own name.

Tamsen Fadal (34:51):

Right.

Robin Gelfenbien (34:51):

At this point. But I loved the Martha Beck episode. She talked so much about getting rid of things that aren't working for you. And so I wanted to-

Tamsen Fadal (34:59):

How great is she, right?

Robin Gelfenbien (35:00):

Oh my God. I was like truth bombs left and right. I rewound stuff because I was like, "This is really powerful what she's sharing." And so I wanted to encourage our listeners to listen to your podcast. And besides TikTok there's a lot of other places where our listeners can find you so they can learn about the menopause documentary and so much more. So where can people follow you?

Tamsen Fadal (35:22):

I have tamsenfadal.com and then there's links to everything. But I've been trying to just create some more content out there that I'm passionate about. And so YouTube is one of the locations, Tamsen Fadal TV on YouTube. And then there's TikTok, Tamsen Fadal. So anywhere, Tamsen Fadal.

Robin Gelfenbien (35:37):

Thank you so much for talking to us today, for enriching our lives, for helping our listeners really understand your story and how they can really be empowered to do a lot as they're going through this transition. So it was really fun talking to you.

Christine Maginnis (35:50):

It was great, Tamsen. Thank you so much.

Tamsen Fadal (35:53):

Oh, thank you for such a meaningful conversation.

Robin Gelfenbien (36:01):

Wow. I love talking to Tamsen. She is just this wealth of information. I'm so grateful that she has this journalism background because she's done all this research. The fact that she wants to share stories, I feel like she's just this incredible force for good and force for change. And I feel really honored that we got to chat with her.

Christine Maginnis (36:20):

Yeah, I agree. And I love that she's so aligned with us in recognizing the power of telling stories. When you hear different women's experiences, that there's this tremendous sense of you're not alone, there are others, and you can get through it together, just makes the journey better.

Robin Gelfenbien (36:38):

It's wonderful how she's just using all of these platforms and really the fact that she's like, "I'm having a hot flash at work." Just owning all of it is really, really inspiring.

Christine Maginnis (36:49):

And I know she's a journalist, but I couldn't help think like, "Oh, she was made to be a teacher." She's the perfect person to spread the word about this.

Robin Gelfenbien (36:56):

Yeah. Well, I think she really sees that as her purpose to some extent too. I mean, she's done that for breast cancer, and I think she has so much empathy for going through hard things, like you said, with Glennon Doyle, we can do hard things. And just really being able to take it in and figure out what are the steps I need to take to turn things around.

Christine Maginnis (37:17):

Right. And I know in her message about finding your bold, it's a message that women need to hear. And I feel that I have trouble finding my bold because I think I was raised to be a people pleaser, to keep people happy. And then as women, we work with our colleagues, we have marriages, we have children, and we're juggling a lot of things. And then as we age and hit menopause, we also are dealing with our aging parents. And so I think it's a very good thing to be reminded, to consider your bold, to refind your bold.

Robin Gelfenbien (37:48):

Unlock.

Christine Maginnis (37:48):

And I think that's unlock one of the best things. Unlock, right. I think it's one of the best gifts of having gone through menopause is you get a chance to catch your breath and look at that again. Who am I meant to be? Where am I going in this last part of my life? I love that message.

Robin Gelfenbien (38:03):

I do too, because I don't think it's one we hear often enough, and I think it's associated with young people and taking risks and it's like, "No." It doesn't matter how old you are. Anyway, I think our listeners will get so much out of this.

Christine Maginnis (38:14):

Yeah.

Robin Gelfenbien (38:15):

I can't even pinpoint one thing because I think there's so many takeaways and absolutely follow her on all the socials.

Christine Maginnis (38:22):

Two words. Loved her.

Robin Gelfenbien (38:25):

Ditto. Thank you so much for joining us for this episode. We hope you get as much out of it as we did, if not more. And we will see you next time.

Christine Maginnis (38:35):

Hey, listeners. If you enjoy this podcast as much as we enjoy recording it, we'd love it if you could help us out.

Robin Gelfenbien (38:42):

All you have to do is rate and review the show, and it will help us reach more listeners. It only takes a minute and it makes a huge difference.

Christine Maginnis (38:50):

It really does. And if you want to follow the show while you're at it, we won't mind.

Robin Gelfenbien (38:55):

No, we won't. And don't forget to tell your friends to check it out too.

Christine Maginnis (39:00):

Our mission at Let's Talk Menopause is to give people the information they need so they can get the healthcare they deserve. Please visit our website at letstalkmenopause.org for a wealth of menopause information, including a symptoms checklist, information about long term health risks, how to navigate menopause at work, interviews with health experts, and so much more.

Robin Gelfenbien (39:22):

This episode of Hello Menopause is sponsored by Always Discreet, makers of liners, pads, and underwear for bladder leaks. Always Discreet, because we deserve better. And by the support of Astellas, on the forefront of healthcare change.

Christine Maginnis (39:38):

Hello, Menopause is a production from Let's Talk Menopause made in partnership with FRQNCY Media. I'm your host, Christine Maginnis.

Robin Gelfenbien (39:45):

And I'm your host, Robin Gelfenbien.

Christine Maginnis (39:48):

Ina Garkusha is our supervising producer, and Alana Hurlins is our producer. Laura Boyman and Catherine Divine are our associate producers.

Robin Gelfenbien (39:57):

Sydney Evans is our dialogue editor and Claire Bidagari Curtis is our sound designer. Hello Menopause was concepted by Jessica Olivier, Jill Bisheznik, and Becca Godwin.

Christine Maginnis (40:08):

This podcast is available on Spotify, Apple Podcast, Google Podcast, and wherever podcasts are found.

Robin Gelfenbien (40:15):

So check it out.

Thank you to Always Discreet for sponsoring Hello Menopause.
Always Discreet, because we deserve better.