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WATCH: Highland woman who 'lost herself' due to early menopause takes on Strictly Inverness

By Annabelle Gauntlett

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Lana Ingram with her husband Ryan and her son.
Lana Ingram with her husband Ryan and her son.

A Highland woman has challenged herself to take on Strictly Inverness after she was diagnosed with early menopause in her 20s and subsequently lost herself.

Medical secretary Lana Ingram (30), from Inverness, was diagnosed with early menopause last year after her menstrual cycle stopped for three years.

For over two years Lana was on the waiting list to see a gynaecologist, who believed it was premature menopause from her first consultation.

It then took a further six months of gruelling tests to confirm her diagnosis.

She said: "To be honest I don't know how I felt when I was first diagnosed.

"My mum seemed concerned, but I was completely oblivious to what that meant for me.

"I suppose I didn't really understand what going into early menopause meant for me as I was never taught it.

"It was a shock and it has been really tough."

Lana enjoying a half marathon in Milan.
Lana enjoying a half marathon in Milan.

After being left in the fog for so long, Lana felt inspired to learn all she could about menopause and how it would impact her life.

She said: "I felt like I was pushed into this massive open world, with this diagnosis that I didn't have a clue about."

The emotional toll of Lana's diagnosis has been a difficult pill to swallow after taking on hormone replacement therapy (HRT).

She said: "From having a lack of hormones in my body for such a long time, to having so many artificially put into my body, was difficult.

"I went from being somewhat emotionless, to now being so emotional, which I haven't felt in such a long time."

To replace the hormones Lana could no longer produce naturally, due to menopause, she was prescribed a natural form of oestrogen to level out her hormone imbalance.

However, Lana has felt 'overwhelmed with emotion' since starting her HRT.

She said: "I have just felt so angry, and it didn't matter what anybody did, I just had this anger that sat on top of my chest and wanted to explode.

"Regardless of what I did, I felt angry."

Lana and her family have had to come to terms with the fact that she is no longer able to naturally conceive a child after her diagnosis.

She said: "My little boy quite often asks me when he can get a little brother or sister and I've had to try and explain to him that that's not going to happen.

"It is definitely something I try not to think about too much because I am grateful that I have a child, but of course it has definitely been a hard subject to know that it couldn't happen even if I wanted it to.

"It's also a case of if you know you can't have something, you want it more."

She continued: "I am at the age now where all my friends around me are having babies and as much as I try not to let it impact me, there is also that horrible feeling of realising I will never have that again.

"It is going to cause me grief to an extent, but equally at the same time I don't like thinking about it too much."

More recently Lana has struggled with the thought of losing herself due to early menopause.

Lana Ingram on holiday.
Lana Ingram on holiday.

She said: "When I was put on HRT I went into a depressive state and I couldn't control my emotions.

"Because of this I excluded myself from things and cried all the time.

"I felt like I didn't want to be around people because I wasn't the same person.

"I wasn't as outgoing as I used to be, and I lost joy in the things I used to love.

"I thought I was a burden to people because my emotions just started to spiral."

Lana is now participating in Strictly Inverness – the annual dance contest in aid of organisers and hosts Highland Hospice and Inverness Ice Centre – after 'withdrawing' herself from a lot of outgoing activities due to her diagnosis.

She said: "I saw it as an opportunity and saw services like the Highland Hospice and how important they are.

"If I can help someone in any kind of way, then I might feel fulfilled again in my life.

"I thought this would be an opportunity to become myself again as I had definitely lost who I am through it."

Lana Ingram and her dance partner Amy Macleod.
Lana Ingram and her dance partner Amy Macleod.

In the bid to win Strictly Inverness, Lana and her dance partner Amy Macleod, have been training non-stop.

She said: "As we are in a same-sex couple Amy was roped into doing all the steps a male partner would usually do, which include lifting me up.

"We still very much have equal roles and I don't think the whole female and male thing matters.

"I am just really enjoying it!"

While they are learning a jive and a show dance, as well as a team dance with seven other couples who are performing on the Thursday evening of the annual dance contest, they are fundraising and have a tipsy tea party at the Kingsmills hotel this Saturday from noon-4pm, and tickets cost £40 per person.

Also, on March 24, from noon-4pm, Lana is set to host a rodeo at her sponsors, The Training Club, where people will have a chance of winning a PS5.

Click here to donate.

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