Tag Archives: hormones

Top 5 Tips About Turning 40

40When I turned 40, I wasn’t vaguely bothered by the fact I was turning 40. After all, it’s just a number.

But, a lot of people I knew were significantly bothered about leaving their 30s behind. They got depressed, went into denial, all kinds of things.

Why?

It’s not a death knell to having fun and experiencing life. After all doesn’t the saying go “life begins at 40”, and nowadays 40 is the new 30.

In the 16th century average life expectancy fluctuated between 30 and 40 and didn’t actually rise above 40 until mid-19th century

Even in 1905 the average life expectancy was just over 49 years.

So you could say that back then reaching 40 was an achievement and considered pretty old.

Today though, average life expectancy is a lot higher, so why is there still this stigma attached to turning 40?

That aside, here are the top 5 tips I learned as I climbed over the hurdle:

Tip 5 – Watch your weight (aka Middle Age Spread)

You know when you were younger, you could polish off pretty much anything you fancied food-wise and have room for more with no fear that your jeans wouldn’t fit the next day?

Middle-age spread is not a myth.

I’ve always been fairly obsessive of my weight as you know, but when I hit 40 those few pounds I put on were not quite so easy to shift.

In fact, 2 years ago I was probably the heaviest I have been for over 20 years. I mean a lot of people probably wouldn’t even have noticed, but I did. My jeans started to feel a little too tight – and this is coming from the girl who always buys a pair of jeans 2 sizes to big to start with – and I just felt uncomfortable.

Nothing I did seemed to shift the weight.

In the end I radically adjusted my diet. I gave up sugar, completely, for about 3 months and the weight fell of. Then I gradually started introducing the sugar again, and when I felt a bit heavy, cut it out.

And I started exercising more. Nothing ridiculous like 5 hours at a gym every day. No. I found some fab workout DVDs which I could do at home – and yes I know you need the willpower to make yourself do it – but they were 10 minute workouts. If I had enough time to take out to make a cup of tea, I had enough time whilst the kettle was boiling to do a 10 minute workout.

2 years down the line I feel healthier than ever. It is now part of my daily routine to exercise and if I want a piece of cake I will have it, but just cut down on the sugar for the next couple of days.

So, don’t forget to watch your weight.

Tip 4.  Mid-Life Crisis

I guess, turning 40 does make you ponder about your life; what you’ve done, what you regret doing, what you regret not doing, what you feel you should have done, what you feel life is all about.

Of course, the answer to that one is 42!

Hitting 40 does whack you with a reality check that life is passing you by.

Some people go out and buy a sports car, others just inwardly panic.

After all you’ve had 40 years on the planet and what have you done?

I haven’t really done much with my life, to be honest. For sure, I went to  university and got a degree. I didn’t use it. I sort of fell into the IT world (and was part of the gig economy before it was the ‘in’ thing to do), went to drama school because I’d always wanted to give it a shot, had a baby (not exactly how it was supposed to be) and kind of floundered.

I don’t regret a thing. After all I would be in the same place I am now even if things had been different. It’s all down to the choices you make, and I’ve been too scared to do anything most of my life.

But when I hit 40, that was when I started rediscovering me and rebuilding myself.

So rather than a mid-life crisis, I had a mid-life re-birth.

Tip 3. Bloody Hormones

Yup, when you reach 40 those old hormones start wreaking havoc.

For us women we have “the change” to look forward too.

Although the average age for the menopause is about 51, it’s actually more about the ‘peri’. This is the transitional phase between the regular, normal monthly gubbins we’ve been used to for oh so many years and them stopping. Perimenopause can last between 4 and 8 years and normally starts in your mid-40s, but can start earlier!!

To be honest, the symptoms of the ‘peri’ are pretty much the same as the real thing, so once you start the ‘peri’ the end is in sight, so to speak.

But don’t think men have it easy. Yes, our estrogen levels may experience a sudden drop in our 40s, but for men their testosterone is on the decline by 1% a year from the age of 30.

So we may get night sweats, hot flushes and soreness in various areas, but men get to join us in the depression, mood swings, decreased libido and weight gain.

So do we all need to go onto HRT?

No!

The simple things, apparently are to make sure you get enough sleep, watch your weight (see Tip 5), exercise and try not to get too stressed.

Tip 2. Go With The Flow

Let’s face it, we can’t stop time. If we could we would all stop the clock at the most amazing points in our life, wouldn’t we?

Yes, we’re going to get wrinkles, begin to go grey or bald (if we haven’t started already), our joints will start creaking and bits of us might stop working properly.

BUT that’s just life.

Just embrace it.

I’m not saying let yourself go, of course not, we’re turning only turning 40. We still want to feel good and more importantly feel alive.

So take the vitamins, buy the anti-ageing stuff (although personally egg-white face masks and olive oil are a wonder), colour your hair, buy a toupee, anything o ensure you still feel good about yourself.

BUT.

We can’t, and shouldn’t want to compete with the 20-somethings.

We have something they don’t possess yet, experience and maybe, just maybe a little bit of wisdom.

Tip 1. Don’t Panic, Just Jump In

Turning 40 does not mean it’s time for the twinset and pearls or pipe and slippers. Definitely not!

It’s time for adventure.

After all, in your 20s you couldn’t afford it, in your 70s you might be too old to enjoy it, so isn’t your 40s the perfect time to start something new and enjoy an adventure or 2?

When I turned 40 I wrote of list of 40 things to do in my 40s – and yes, there are a couple of gaps at the bottom to which I am still open to suggestions. Some of the them are stupid, silly and inconsequential. But they are just things I’ve always wanted to be able to do.

It’s fun trying to think of what to put on there, and even more fun when you do them. I know I haven’t done many of them, but I am confident that I can, and will, get another 10 done this year, at least.

 

The most important thing I have learned is that life is mostly about experiences not things. Things are just stuff, whereas experiences stay in the memory for ever and are priceless.

So, don’t panic about turning 40. It’s easy. Just take a breath, jump right in and enjoy it 😉

 

 

 

 

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Going Under the Knife (Part 2)

…so, last Friday was the day.

Picked SC up from school and then he (along with my dad) dropped me at the hospital. I gave him a big hug and good night kiss (SC, not my dad), and assured him I would be home before he woke up in the morning.

Oh, how wrong could I have been?

I assumed, my surgery would be around 6pm, wake up about 8pm, recover from the anaesthetic and be up and out of the hospital by 11pm at the latest.

What I didn’t bargain on was the doctor before running late or indeed the effect of the general anaesthetic combined with morphine on me!

Thankfully, whilst I waited in my warm room, I had the television for company – otherwise I would have gone stir crazy. Nothing to do, no one to talk to, just 4 walls.

I met the anaesthetist, who told me what they would do, I kind of glossed over him mentioning the use of morphine, as I was more concerned with telling him to make sure I woke up! And then I met my gynaecological consultant who confirmed what she would be doing.

I was amazed at the number of times I was asked when I last ate, if I had any loose teeth, fillings, metal plates, etc. I know it’s just ensuring everything is dotted and crossed as it should be.

Anyway, I eventually walked down to theatre (not the kind I’m used to entering, even though I was sporting a rather, highly amusing pair of surgical knickers – they were fairly frilly) at 8:25pm.

I lay on the trolley and they inserted a drip in my arm. Now I’ve had general anaesthetic 3 times in the past (tonsils, wisdom teeth and chest surgery), and each time I have felt the cold knock-out drug make it’s way up my left arm and have never got beyond 6 when counting back from 10. This time was the first, and I swear to God the last, time I have had a mask put over my face. It was oxygen and then the knock-out drops got mixed up in there and the last thing I remember was the anaesthetist saying “take a deep breath. Good night!”

Now, I can’t bear anything being put over my face or around my neck (I reckon I must have met a grisly end in a previous life), so being knocked out with a mask freaked me somewhat.

Still, next thing I knew, I was coming round in my room, with a nurse and the consultant at the bedside. I was drifting in and out of consciousness as the consultant was trying to tell me what she’d done – pretty much everything that had been on the list – 2 cameras shoved in at various points, destined to meet in the middle, removal of an ovarian cyst (which was nice and clear, so nothing to worry about), and removal of many polyps, then finally the endometrium removal. Joyous! I vaguely remember her trying to show me the photos as well.

At this point I was more concerned about getting back to SC, but the nurse phoned my mum who said at 11pm at night I might as well stay in the hospital.

I had some very jazzy leg pumps on – they are designed to keep blood pumping around your legs to stop you developing DVT – and they are hilarious. You feel tight squeezes up one leg, and then it releases, before it repeats the squeezing on the other leg. If you can’t get to sleep, the rhythmic quality of it would definitely help.

I was in and out of consciousness for ages, and the blood pressure was being monitored at regular intervals. At one point it must have dipped really low, as the nurse said I needed oxygen. I was alert enough to say not to put it over my face, so the oxygen mask was left to rest on my chest, until the blood pressure reached it normal fairly low level.

It was about 1am when the sickness started. I felt it, pressed the buzzer for the nurse who got to the door and I just said “sick!” and she dived for a ‘friend bowl’ which I pretty much kept hold of all night after that, and most of the next morning.

By about 3am I drifted right off to sleep and woke up, totally alert, about 6am.

Then the Kylie episode started!

I had to go to the bathroom, so the nurse helped me sit up. Oh boy! Was I spinning around? The room didn’t stop – then of course I started being ill again.

It pretty much took me 5 hours to sit upright, never mind getting up and walking.

And because they wouldn’t let me go home until I had managed to eat, and keep down, at least a slice of toast, I had to have an anti-sickness injection.

I eventually left around 2pm and spent the rest of weekend doing very little.

Still, it’s done. Hopefully, I won’t have to have anything else done and my hormones will get back to some kind of normality. I shall await the outcome at my follow-up appointment next week.

Maybe I should go and sit on a mountain-top for 6 months?

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Going under the knife!

Well not so much knife – as key-hole exploration and extraction.

Following last Friday’s un-anaesthetised, pain searing biopsy down under, my doctor referred me for a scan.

The scan revealed no obvious nasties lurking in places where they should not be – but did reveal a simple ovarian cyst and a fibroid (possible cause of the ‘just over a month’ long bleeding)

This was then referred to the gynaecologist, who I saw today.

Lovely lady, who is actually the first person to suggest I have a blood test as it probably is all hormonally induced (bloody things), and is going to prod, poke and remove all things that shouldn’t be there – this time thankfully I get to be asleep. (Not that that thought doesn’t fill me with a sense of panic and stress – don’t like hospitals)

I got my paperwork for next week, whilst waiting for my blood test, and rather than worrying about what was going to be done, my immediate reaction was “I can’t stay in hospital overnight! I’ve got SC to look after!”

OK, I’m a totally sad person, in so far as I have never spent a night away from SC. Even when I have been on training courses, I have always got home and driven back the following day rather than stay away.

After speaking to the doctor, I will be able to be sent home as soon as she gives me the all-clear – general alertness after sleepiness I suspect, and pain level – and after a 6pm operation I reckon I can still make it home before 11pm and all the party-goers on a Friday night 😉

I’d better be – I’ve got a charity night to run on Saturday night!

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Can you believe I’ve stopped ….

… drinking tea!!!!!!tea

The unthinkable has happened.

Even though I was only drinking de-caff tea, I loved my cuppa.

With a cup of tea in my hands, all was right with the world 😉

However, after last Friday (Bloody Hormones – Part 5), I have stopped. No withdrawal method, just completely stopped.

And do you know something?

I don’t actually miss my tea. I thought I would, but I don’t.

The reason?

Is simple. Stress does a lot of things and can divert the liver’s attention away from it’s proper job. So I’m trying to detox and cleanse my liver. And one of the first things to go was my brew!

I’ve been starting the day with lemon juice and water – and it’s not as gross as it sounds. Quite refreshing really. And then just drinking water throughout to start flushing the toxins out.

Over the last week, I’ve actually noticed an improvement in my tiredness (or rather lack of it – believe me I’m still exhausted when SC wakes me up at 4AM, as he has done the last 2 mornings) and a slight improvement in my totally stressed out skin!

I’m working up to doing a one day total liver cleanse, where I drink some concoction made from cranberry juice and alternate it with water over a 12 hour period. If I can ever find anywhere that sells cranberry juice – neat. Most supermarkets sell a lovely cranberry juice drink, but I don’t need that. Might have to take a little trip to my lovely health shop.

Still, if it’s proved one thing, it’s proved I don’t actually need a cup of tea to function. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that maybe my daily cuppa has stopped me functioning properly for all these years!!!

Just a thought 😉

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Bloody Hormones (Part 4)

Well, they’re at it again.mr spain

The monthly cycle is all over the place. A couple of months normal, then miss, then floodgates, then normal, etc., etc., etc.

And it is most definitely not [whispers] “The Change” – too young, and no other symptoms.

It’s all due to stress!!!!

That was until this month. And when I say this month, I literally mean ALL this month!!!!

I missed one, and then for the last 4 weeks, yes 4, I have been bleeding. Joyous! Rapturous! … NOT! To be fair, it’s not been heavy, and I’ve had no pain, cramps, etc. It’s just extremely annoying.

I eventually managed to see my doctor – after trying unsuccessfully to get an appointment for a fortnight, and then by the miracle of telephone triage an appointment became available that day – hoo-flippin-ray!

Now, I explained to the doctor the history, and I have regulars [whispers again] smears, all clear, and I’ve had no spotting in-between cycles whatsoever – which are obviously things we women have to look out for.

After an exam, she referred me for a colposcopy – which apparently is just a big magnifying glass to look inside to see what is going on. It was then she totally freaked me out when she said “don’t worry, 99% of the time everything is normal”

So now to say that I’m not internally freaking out would be an understatement, and if it is all down to stress – which I suspect it is – then this is doing nothing to help my stress levels.

And what better day to go and have your undercarriage examined than Valentine’s Day!!!

(I’m guessing the consultant is not going to be as hot as the new gynaecologist in Spain that all the ladies are queueing up to see – (see photo) he’s an ex-Mr Spain, sends my temperature rising 😉 )

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Stratospheric Stress Levels

Jeez!Not_Waving_But_Drowning

I seriously didn’t think I could be any more of a stress bunny.

But it seems I can.

I know I think way too much than is necessary and this is always bad for me.

I really thought that once I’d told put the wheels in motion to exit my contract the weight would magically lift off my shoulders.

But no!

I still feel that I’m sinking? No matter what I try to do to scrape my way back up to the surface, it’s never good enough, or doesn’t seem to work!

And all the while I feel more and more stressed and panicky to the point of complete, utter and overwhelming nausea! We don’t even mention what it’s doing to my skin, or my hormones!!!

Literally.

I seriously think even 12 months sitting atop a mountain practising chants would not be enough 😉

Still, ever the optimist the glass is always half full, and the stress is only temporary.

I might feel like I’m drowning at the moment, but soon I’ll be waving again 😉

 

Not Waving but Drowning (Stevie Smith)

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.

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Bloody Hormones (Part 3)

I count myself blessed that in the run up to the monthly hormone hell, I do not suffer, like a lot of women, from PMT.

No, mine comes after.

I just feel really low and want to cry for about 2 days. Not that I have anything to cry about, I just end up feeling, for want of a better word, bleurgh!

And these fluctuation in hormone levels always leaves me with a headache.

It’s swings and roundabouts, and to be honest I would far rather have this lowness than PMT and rattiness.

But it’s hard to be bright and sunny when all you would rather do is curl up, watch a weepy movie and have a good cry (about nothing).

Thankfully though it’s not life threatening, just bewildering 😉

Oh the joys of womanhood 😉

 

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