boxes and a forklift in a warehouse

Nancy: It Feels Like a Volcano Ready to Explode

Menopause has been a lonely journey so far for Nancy, who works as a receiver in Ottawa. Her job involves lifting and carrying boxes and menopausal symptoms have exacerbated the wear and tear that comes with the work. Worse, she has no one to talk to about it and has had no success getting her supervisors to understand what she’s going through or to accommodate her symptoms.

Nancy likes her job, is good at it, and wants to keep it, especially the weekday schedule that fits so well with her family responsibilities as many jobs in her field involve shift work. Nonetheless, she is looking for another position because the stress and physical demands are becoming too difficult to manage along with her menopausal symptoms.

Those symptoms aren’t trivial. They include sleeplessness that adds to the fatigue of the job demands and extreme hot flashes that have recently worsened. “When I feel a flash coming, wow, it’s really intense,” she said. “It comes through my legs, upper torso to my face and head. It almost feels like a volcano ready to explode. It’s hard. I have no one to talk to, especially at work.”

“They don’t understand,” she added. “I’m not one to not show up. I never call in sick. They need to either help me by bringing on more people or find another solution.” She feels that her struggles are dismissed. “The bosses need resources to understand that menopause is not just a ‘nothing’ that women go through,” she said. “Other needs are accommodated, people with diabetes are accommodated, so why can’t they accommodate my needs?”

Nancy would like to be able to deal with her extreme hot flashes by having a fan installed at work or have regular access to a cooler area. She needs to be accommodated to work at her best. Most of all, she would like a more knowledgeable and compassionate approach from her supervisors.