We Can’t Control Getting Older but We Can Control How We Do It

When I tell people at work that I’m 50, (and that’s only if they corner me and phrase their questions so that I have no choice but to answer them directly instead of my usual deflect or avoid strategy), they are shocked.

I’m shocked. I still can’t believe I’m 50. It just sounds ……. OLD.

I don’t feel OLD. Mentally, I feel like I’m still in my mid-twenties. Physically? well, not so much.

I’ve always had pretty good health. Oh sure, I’ve had three feet of my intestines ripped out of my abdomen, I’m prone to headaches, sinus issues, and I’m pretty sure I have scoliosis which translates into back problems and one leg being shorter than the other, but overall, I’m in pretty good shape.

(Side note: Kevin told me the other day that he notices that I swing my right foot whenever I walk. That I’ve always done that. WHAT?! I never knew that. Now I’m super self-conscious to lift my right foot up whenever I walk).

I’ve dealt with these issues over the years by trial and error – I find ways to cope with these discomforts and have learned how to prevent them from reoccurring.

Our weekly steps are usually this close, sometimes he pulls ahead, but I mostly beat him. Mainly because I’m on my feet most days at work. Most of his steps are on the weekends.

But then I went through menopause and suddenly, somehow, aliens have taken over my body and I don’t recognize me anymore.

My biggest issue is not being able to sleep. Which SUCKS because I’ve always slept pretty good my whole life. I’ve been somewhat of a fish, more than usual. I’ve always flopped around in bed my whole life but somehow, it didn’t really affect my sleep. Now, I am NEVER comfortable. We used to have one of those memory foam mattresses which was comfortable for about six months and then it was like sleeping on a marshmallow and I would wake up with numb extremities. We spent WAY too much money on that stupid mattress. And we kept it for about five years because, well, we spent WAY too much money on that stupid mattress. I HAVE to get my money’s worth.

Have you met me??

But after a while, I just couldn’t take it anymore. So when we started shopping around for firmer mattresses, we decided to avoid the super mattress stores and go simple – like Wal-Mart simple. Like, we bought a mattress that came rolled up into a box and cost $250 bucks simple.

And I have to admit, I love this thing. It’s firm, maybe just a bit too firm, but I don’t wake up with numb extremities anymore.

Now I wake up because my hips hurt. Or my legs ache. And when I get out of bed in the morning, the arch of my left foot is so painful I hobble around like I’m 90 years old until it just sort of works itself out. And once it stops aching, it doesn’t hurt the rest of the day.

In fact, I’ve been having all sorts of weird aches like that, my legs, my hips, my arms, my hands. So I started researching because God forbid I actually go to a doctor. And what good is that going to do anyway. He/she will try and prescribe medication and no thank you – I’m fighting that route for as long as I can.

I started thinking … I’ve gone through menopause. I am no longer producing estrogen but I take Flaxseed oil (that I read mimics estrogen) and a supplement that does a pretty fantastic job of controlling my hot flashes. One of the big things a woman loses when she goes through menopause is calcium. And Lord knows, I definitely do not take enough calcium in my day-to-day diet. So, I started experimenting. I’ve been eating cottage cheese every morning, (Kevin has been doing that for years and he’s healthy as a horse). And I’ve been taking a calcium/magnesium/zinc supplement every morning, too.

I’ve been doing this for about two weeks now and WOW, what a difference. My joint pain has all but dissipated though I still wake up with that weird foot arch pain so I’m thinking it must have something with the way I’m sleeping, or maybe my mattress is a little too firm, but I haven’t given up on that yet.

All of these crazy body pains/issues is different for me. Like I said, I’ve always had issues but now suddenly, I have different issues. I’m sure it’s because my body is changing, getting older, etc., but it’s been a challenge for me to keep up.

I need to get that resting heart rate down.
I need to get my resting heart rate down.

I could stand to lose about 50 pounds. (But then again, who can’t stand to lose a few pounds?). That’s something else I’ve noticed since going through menopause – I have a terrible time keeping weight off. But then again, to be perfectly honest, I haven’t been trying very hard, either. I could certainly eat less carbs and sugar and though I’ve been back on the treadmill, I need to use it more often throughout the week.

I had that little heart scare about six months ago. I felt a chest tightness, shortness of breath, nauseated and my left arm ached. I was quite convinced I was having a heart attack and went to the ER. They ran some tests and told me, no, I wasn’t having a heart attack and here, let’s shoot some Ativan into you so you’ll calm down and send you home. (I would LOVE to have some of that Ativan on hand, let me tell you). They sent me for a stress test and everything came back normal. My heart is fine, I had a panic attack. Too much stress at work – go figure.

Fitbit charts my walking as doing the Elliptical, not sure why. Also, MUST DO BETTER.

But I’ve always been able to handle stress in the past, now that I’ve gone through “the change”, I feel like my body is turning into mush. It’s frustrating.
Kevin bought me a Fitbit for my birthday. It’s a Fitbit Charge HR. Kevin bought it for me for two reasons: 1. we earn points at work every time we walk 6,000 steps and/or if we have 30+ minutes of physical activity, which translates into money toward any health care cost we incur in a 12 month period and 2. to keep track of my heart rate. When I first got my Fitbit, my resting heart rate was in the mid-80’s, now it’s in the mid-70’s though it has been creeping back up there again. I need to do better about getting back on the treadmill.

That’s something else that has been different – my heart races. I will sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and my heart is beating so fast I almost feel out of breath. I have to sit up for a bit, (and most times fall asleep that way), in order to get some relief. It doesn’t happen as often as it did before I started becoming more active, but it does happen. I just focus on my breathing and force myself to relax my body and it goes away. I think I read somewhere that racing heartbeats was another symptom of menopause.


But I’m not going to let getting older defeat me. I see people I went to high school with on Facebook and it always surprises me how OLD they look. And I’m one of the oldest ones in my class. I think people get older and they just sort of give up.

Not me.

My body is obviously changing and I will just have to change and adapt along with it. I will continue to dye my hair, I will keep my mind active, I will continue to listen to my body and treat it accordingly and I will fight this natural progression tooth and nail.

I’m not ready to get old.

I refuse to get old.