(Ritu Chaterjee/ NPR) — Teri Hines was in her mid-40s when she started to notice that her body was changing.
Her period became irregular and more intense. “It increased in frequency, it increased in intensity and it increased in duration,” she says.
She began to have hot flashes, gained weight and her energy levels took a nosedive.
“I just did not have the energy to do the things I wanted to do,” she says, like the long morning walks she loved to take with her dogs, or planning solo travel.
At the time, Hines lived alone in Philadelphia where she worked as an assistant principal at a school. She struggled to get out of bed and go to work, and she began to withdraw from friends.
Looking back, she remembers feeling isolated and unmoored. “It was such a fog over who I was, what I wanted, where I was going, what I was capable of accomplishing,” she says. “I just could not find my footing.” (…)