I’m Forty Years Old and Medically Afraid

Health Medical

Medical appointments affect you differently when you turn forty years old. I’m forty years old and medically afraid of what comes with becoming a year older.  Have you turned a milestone age and thought, oh shit, maybe I shouldn’t do x,y, or z anymore because I’m of a certain age? Well, let me tell you what I have. In April, I turned forty years old and during COVID-19. I am working remotely and became paren-chers (parents who also are classroom teachers) overnight.

There was some late-night stress and emotional eating, drinking, and tv watching going on. Stress, emotional binge eating, binge-watching tv shows until late at night, multitasking, etc…all led to my doctor, giving me a call a week after my scheduled appointment.

Follow up calls usually are not to tell you good news.

History

There was a time long ago, when my metabolism was faster than the digestion of anything fried. I could eat anything, and you wouldn’t even notice – those were the days. Medically, cleared of all tests with flying colors.

I can’t even say that after giving birth, my metabolism slowed down. Nope. It was around the late twenties when I noticed my clothes fitting a bit more snug. And then after I gave birth, my weight fluctuated often.

At some point in the middle thirties, I decided that I’d face the fact that I would no longer be the size I was ten years prior. I have done vegan or plant-based diets twice. It has worked. Complicated at first, caffeine withdrawal headaches and craving for food slowly goes away once you set a routine. But like many addicts of something they love to hate, I dropped my lettuce and picked up a pork chop.

Medically, I should know better.  My family’s medical history contains high blood pressure, epilepsy, high cholesterol, hypertension, strokes, heart attacks.  I have to stop what I was doing. I know I did but, we’re home, and the outside isn’t safe. The food in my fridge looks good. Snacks in the cabinet look even better.

Present

So I turned 40. And we are in COVID-19. We’re home not moving much because we’re home. I don’t even attempt to put on jeans. I can hear the threads of my clothes in a smaller size call for me and eventually laugh because they know what I know that I can’t safely button the buttons without a problem. We don’t need those problems, so I stick to the spring and summer dresses as my in the house, going to zoom meeting and occasional walk to the store attire.

I’m not going to blame my expanding waistline all on COVID-19, but it’s easy to do so. Lol, I know that I should have created a more healthy regimen when I saw my primary doctor last year, and now here we are.  My doctor told me my cholesterol was starting not to look so good. She told me that if I don’t change my habits, I’d have to go on medication. Oh, hell, no. That’s not happening!

I’m forty, and my list of appointments seems longer than my grocery list. The only one I’m anxious about is the mammogram. I’ve never had one for any reason and didn’t know this day would come so quickly. I’ll fill you in on the process of that later.

My annual appointments that I attend, you and your female friends and family should too:

    • Physical with primary doctor – yearly appointment to check in with your primary doctor. Receive referrals to specialists that you may need to see.
    • Blood work – your primary doctor usually orders blood work and urine samples to determine what’s going on in your bloodstream.  The type of deficiencies you have and if you need to change your habits.
    • Women – Gynecologist – yearly appointment to answer any sexual or hormonal questions, receive or change birth control and, most importantly, receive a pap smear to check for any abnormalities in your uterus and vagina.
    • Mammogram – yearly appointment to view your breast tissue for any abnormalities. At age 40, make your first appointment unless otherwise medically directed. 
    • Dentist – unless there is an issue, a yearly appointment to receive a cleaning, x-rays, and plan for maintaining or removal of teeth. Remember to floss after each meal to avoid gum disease.

Future

I don’t know what the future holds, but I know that a change must happen.  I need to reflect on what I have to physically, mentally, and financially do for my mother and not have history repeat itself for my daughter. Between you and I, this past visit to the doctor’s office scared me.

With a strict diet in my present, I look forward to losing at least 20 pounds to be back in a healthy range for my height. Adding daily exercise, walking, and dancing with my daughter will assist in this daunting task. I’ve also started a new business venture, where the products assist in a healthy lifestyle.  If you’re interested in that, you may find more details here.

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7 Comments

  1. I am in my 40s, and I definitely remember when doctors stopped dismissing certain symptoms because I was “young” and started saying that we should pay more attention to symptoms because I was of a “certain age.” We pass a threshold when statistically we have to start paying more attention and tighten up our health routine! You got this – just keep taking care of yourself and do the best you can each day. Hugs to you.

  2. Yes, these stressful times have put so much stress on everyone. It makes it easy to reach for things you normally wouldn’t reach for in the fridge. Especially while working from home. I’ve learned that Being cognizant of how the foods that we eat makes us feel is very important. So while comfort food is what I reach for I often have remind myself to find balance. It is hard though at times. Great post.

  3. Cherryl Ehlenburg

    I totally hear you! I am 54, and a few years ago my cholesterol starting going up a little. They aren’t concerned about it yet, but I have heart disease in my family history, so it scares me a little. And Covid definitely has not helped anything!

    1. Very scary. Covid definitely does not help! I will hope you are making changes to your lifestyle like I am trying to. 😊

  4. Great post! It’s super important to care of yourself and your health and I hope you’re doing well now.

    1. Thank you. I’m still going through it but glad that I’m in the right mindset to get it together.

      1. I’m happy to hear that!

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