Monday, October 5, 2009

Aging like a fine wine (although I don't drink)

When I was in my late 20s, I frequently heard women say that a "woman's body and appearance start changing dramatically around age 35". Through age 34, I believed that only happened to those women. Then, a few months after my 34th birthday, I noticed a significant shift in my monthly cycle. At first I chalked it up to post baby/post nursing stuff, but then realized it was a much bigger nuisance. I went to see my GYN. After some testing to rule out other things, the doc determined that I have PCOS. Nice... He put me on birth control to control it and regulate my cycle. I wasn't happy about taking meds, but really needed it.

This past January I started seeing a dermatologist for my acne. After many failed attempts at treating it in the past, my new derm suggested Accutane. It's working wonders and I couldn't be happier to take this pill! Between the birth control and Accutane, I'm taking two pills a day.

Then allergy season set it and a friend suggested I try Zyrtec. Nothing else has ever worked for me, but I figured I'd try one last hail mary. It's been great! Three pills now.

About a month or so ago I went to see an urgent care doc... Since I've spent most of my time between June 2002 and August 2007 either trying to get pregnant, being pregnant or nursing, I have not bothered with a general practitioner. My OB/GYN is wonderful and treated anything I happened across during that time. But now I've officially dropped the OB part of his title when I refer to him. No more obstetrics for me. He's my wonderful GYN, and it was time to find a regular doctor!

I went to see my new GP on Friday. Bless her heart, she was so nice to me. She said that I have to start exercising - not for my weight, but for my heart. I'm officially old enough to have to think about my heart. Bone loss too. Did you know that many women begin to experience bone density loss at age 35? So, she recommended I add a few more pills to my daily routine. Calcium with Vitamin D and Fish Oil. The Fish Oil is great for cholesterol, but also helps safeguard one's mental capacity -- we're talking Alzheimer's! I'm taking fish oil, in part, to fight Alzheimer's. The Calcium with Vitamin D is obviously for my bones, but it also "supports breast health" - just read the label. Those two supplements add four more pills to the routine. We're up to SEVEN.

Fifteen months ago I didn't take one. My how things change with 35.

I find it ironic that children go to all those well visits and get all those vaccinations when they're young. Then we take those years off from age 18-35. And then annual physicals, vaccinations, and vigilant blood screenings becomes routine again.

I'm seeing my dermatologist tomorrow. In addition to my monthly Accutane visit, I'm getting a complete body mole check. The screenings just don't stop!

And you know what... All of this seems normal to me. Well, all the pills make me laugh out loud... But what a gift to be living! And to have all this stuff for prevention.

I do not use a pill box, but this one is huge...
If I were to use one, it would probably need to be this size!

For those of you innocent under 35's... Enjoy the nights that you can just drop into bed without so much as removing your make-up. My bedtime routine takes a little more effort these days. Forget one pill and I might be sniffling, breaking bones, forgetting something, getting pregnant (if Bryan hadn't had that now pointless procedure - sorry, Honey), or acne-ridden... And let's not forget that "breast health" benefit of Citracal. One last thing - don't believe the "odorless" promise on the fish oil label. They stink. I haven't taken it yet - going back to the store to see if another brand is actually odorless.

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