Katie's story

“The night of my diagnosis I came home and cried with relief on my bed that I wasn’t going mad and there was an explanation for everything I’d been feeling but I felt really, really angry at that time that my doctors had misdiagnosed me and I had wasted four years of precious life not really living.”

I was 43, when I began to struggle with low mood. My usual bubbly, outgoing, capable persona was slowly replaced with low energy, brain fog and anxiety.

As a mum of four kids I just put it down to juggling my family, home and job.

But hit with insomnia, I spent the next four years trying to function on just three hours sleep a night. My unrelenting symptoms forced me to give up three jobs in that time too.

I didn't get the typical hot flushes and night sweats, but i did have heart palpitations and my periods had become shorter, and heavier and I put on a lot of weight.

My GP said I was probably stressed and depressed, as I was working full-time and had a very busy family life and so that was when it was suggested I took some time off, hence why I initially quit my first job.

I was given antidepressants but they didn't make things any better, they just made me feel numb. I just felt like I could no longer get any joy out of life.

I tried going to the gym a bit more and eating more healthily, but nothing helped.

I was sent to a heart specialist for my palpitations, which ruled out a heart condition. A neurologist, which ruled out early onset dementia. A rheumatologist for my joint pains.  In fact I went back and forth to different doctors and specialists over the years about all the various symptoms I was suffering from, which made feel like i was either going mad or was a hypochondriac.

It was my father, Professor Michael Baum, a surgical oncologist who specialises in breast cancer, who eventually suspected all my symptoms were hormone-related, and arranged for me to see one of his consultant friends.

She did a blood test and said my oestrogen levels were "on the floor" and that all my symptoms were due to perimenopause and suggested I went on HRT immediately.

It was the first time I'd heard the word perimenopause.

Within a couple of months, I'd weaned myself off the antidepressants and suddenly realised that I was starting to feel like my old self again.

I remember watching a comedy show on TV and realising it was the first time I’d laughed and felt any joy in four years.

My husband commented that he felt like he had got his wife back, and my kids their mum.

The night of my diagnosis I came home and cried with relief on my bed that I wasn’t going mad and there was an explanation for everything I’d been feeling but I felt really, really angry at that time that so many doctors had misdiagnosed me and I had wasted four years of precious life not really living.

The Latte Lounge was born

I decided there and then to start a Facebook group and this website aimed at women over 40, so that I could share my experience with others and help all those who may also have been in the dark about their own symptoms. 

We now have more than 20,000 members on our Facebook Group and thousands more on our other social channels talking about all areas of midlife health and wellbeing, not just perimenopause and menopause.

It is a very safe, warm, friendly and non-judgmental community that our followers are genuinely happy to be part of.

I also have a medical advisory team who I turn to for advice when our members email me with some problems they may need some help with  and on our website we also have a directory of specialists, a directory of offers and discounts from our partners and a blog zone, full of evidence-based and exceptionally helpful information about all areas of midlife.

Through our platform we raise awareness and funds for our charity partner, The Eve Appeal - the UK’s gynaecological cancer research charity, researching the five main gynae-cancers: Womb, Ovarian, Cervical, Vulva & Vaginal.

I also use my experience to educate and raise awareness of menopause and perimenopause - particularly in the workplace where I offer training sessions, support the development of menopause guidelines and policies and increase knowledge of how employers can support employees through this phase of life. We also work alongside our corporate clients to help them to implement policies and guidelines so they can support women to stay in the workplace.

I don't blame the GPs for what happened to me, after all they only have 10 minutes to chat to a patient, and there is no mandatory GP training in menopause currently, hence why so many women are not getting the right treatment. That's why I’m constantly working alongside many other menopause campaigners and colleagues who I’ve met through my work, to try and change all that hopefully sooner rather than later.   

I am now passionate about campaigning and supporting women with their perimenopause and menopause symptoms, as well as all health and wellbeing issues throughout midlife and beyond.  

About Katie:

Married for 28 years with 4 children, Katie has seen it all and understands that the sandwich generation brings about so many challenges, be that juggling parenting teenage kids whilst caring for ageing parents, whilst also balancing running a home, nurturing/managing relationships with our partners and trying to find time to look after our own work, life, health balance - there really are so many demands on the woman in the middle.  

Previously she worked for over 25 years in PR, Marketing, Fundraising and Event Organising for a variety of different children's and mental health charities.

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