Getting old(er) – Part III – Emotional roller-coaster

I should probably start this story from almost 16 years ago when I became pregnant with my second child and lost my other ovary. Long story short, it was not that easy getting pregnant the first time and second time was a bit quicker with the help of some reflexology (or just luck). Reflexology might have had something to do with why I lost the ovary in the first place, but maybe more about that later. Point being my ovary had to be removed surgically due to it getting gangrene causing immense pain. Surgery was done when I was 10 weeks pregnant and luckily all went well and she is a healthy 15 year old young lady now, but they said due to one ovary doing the job of two, I might go into menopause a bit earlier than others.

This is of course all very individual, but I think that because I only have one ovary it might have accelerated my hormonal imbalance a bit. Again I am not a doctor and am just observing my own body. Making notes and conclusions solely based on what I feel and think, what I think might be going on, what has helped me or not, but no, I am not a doctor and know only my what works for my body.

Up and down

Amusement park Tykkimäki , Kouvola, Finland

I have never had to worry about having any particular mood swings or symptoms during my normal cycle so I was not really expecting anything out of the ordinary. Yet a few years ago I noticed that I was abnormally emotional at times. Again I thought it must be just the stress or work load, or what ever, it did not cross my mind that pre-menopause could be the culprit! I thought it was something, somewhere in the future, and I don’t need to worry about it yet. It was one of those things you put somewhere in the back of your mind to ”deal with later”. I mean, I just had a baby when I was 40 years so hormones are still up and running normal right?

First I noticed some changes in my cycle. Shorter, then longer, then back to ”normal”. It was the first thing that made me think that maybe, just maybe something different is going on. Then started the massive mood swings. One day you are fine, the next your world is falling apart again. Petty things cause the floor to drop from under your feet although there is nothing wrong with the world, or your life, all is actually fine. It took a while to understand that this is not me, it’s all in your head and just the hormones talking. You will be fine again in a few days, but remember, don’t make any rash decisions during these days! I learned to live with those swings somehow.

Help, I cannot stand me anymore

But… The truth is that I started to fear those hormone swings and doubting myself and my decisions. I felt like I am not myself anymore, this is not me! What happened, where did I go? You start getting too used to the ”changed you” so much that you forget who you really are. On the ”good days” you got more speed again and get to be that ”old you” and think, ”I need to get this lady back”. You cannot stand you anymore. Your brain takes over and rationalises, analyses realising something has to be done. This ”changed you” is not ”you” anymore…

Some sort of balance

With the sweating every night, horrid PMS migraine headaches and crying like a baby due to being ”a bit emotional” I thought there has to be a way to make this transition easier, I cannot stand this for the next 5 to 10 years, or how ever long it might last. There has to be something that could make it easier. What I hated the most was the constant night sweating. It was so uncomfortable to wake up to multiple times a night.

Learning to accept this new phase in my life. Photo by Kadri Shola

So I googled, read about hormones and what you could try and not. What life hacks there are to help tackle this new era of my life post ”baby-making age”.

They say that in general healthy lifestyle and exercise helps, but since I already do eat pretty healthy, exercise regularly and do not smoke etc., those boxes were already ticked and yet I get these swings. One option would be to go to doctor and get hormone pills, but I have never been a fan of chemicals and they have never agreed  with my body so thought that there must be something natural to help out and it was was mentioned somewhere that oestrogen aka estorgen could ease the symptoms. So more research on which food substances have it and which I could add to my diet. The ones I remembered was soy beans and broccoli so went to the shop and got some soy drink and broccoli.

I started having broccoli every now and then and soy drink in my coffee always and with cereals sometimes. I quickly noticed the difference and felt much more balanced. My mind was not an emotional roller-coaster anymore and the night sweats stopped. So I think it takes the worst edge off and it’s been now almost a year since I started taking soy drink with coffee and the night sweats have not come back. So this seems to work for me and I surely will keep putting it to my coffee in the future.

Or then the worst mood swings and night sweating is at bay for some completely other reason, but when I have not taken any soy drink for a few days, the sweating has returned so I do think it has something to do with it. Again this is just my body and what it seems to like or lack.

The migraine

I have had migraine every now ad then my whole life but in the past years I have come to link it to my cycle and as a PMS symptom. It has been manageable with just Panadol so haven’t thought about it too much until (again) few years ago. They started being so horrid that I finally began to understand what other people with migraine meant when they say that they cannot work, concentrate and eyes are really sensitive to light and you feel like half paralyzed. You are in fact useless for a good while until it passes.

Eventually I went to the doctor and got migraine medicine which has luckily helped when you take it quick enough, but the reason for the attacks getting worse is for sure again the imbalance of the hormones. It always happens around the second day of my cycle when the hormonal variances become bigger. Meaning the highs are higher and lows are lower causing in general my hormones to do a continuous monthly rollercoaster. No wonder you feel a bit weird!

The pimple

The other thing I have noticed is THE pimple. OMG I hate it. I have never had normally pimples not even when I was a teenager, but this ”cycle pimple” that pops to the right side of your jaw is the most annoying thing in the world and it happens always when you have a  photo shoot or an important tv/movie shoot coming up. For this I have not found a solution yet how to prevent it. So if you have any suggestions how to prevent or even ease the inflammation let me know! I am almost certain that because I mentioned it just now, it will start tingling tomorrow morning because it knows I have an important video ad recording next week 😀

Even out the line

Relaxing on my Yoga mat

I have learned that I need to even out the highs and lows so that these symptoms stay manageable. The level of estrogen is decreasing all the time and it’s fine, I accept that this now the reality and past is past. I feel that I have now found some sort of balance with this all, but must admit that in the beginning I was about to loose my mind. Not only because of the hormonal imbalance it caused, but there is also the mental and the physical side. How you feel and all the other ”exciting” (not) things that are happening to your body.

With soy drink I have managed to keep the emotions and night sweats at bay and I do like broccoli too. With migraine medicine (taken on time) I can still function if the attack hits, but for the annoying pimple I could use some advice with!

Next time we will dig deeper into the other physical changes in my body that I have noticed. I can tell you it’s not promising. I very strongly believe that my ”best before” date has passed in that sense 😉 Just joking! This is my prime time! <3

Stay tuned for next episodes the old(er) I get!

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Getting older – Part II – Help me, I can’t see!

I’m serious and it’s not funny (although at times it actually is), but I really feel like I can’t see at all sometimes. It’s getting worse all the time and soon I think I may need to start wearing glasses full time. I don’t like it, I find it annoying and I want to turn back the clock. I can’t do that, so I have to learn to accept this and move on.

It has not been easy and I have struggled with the concept of getting older. It’s been controversial and the whole thing kind of sneaks up on you, but let’s start from the beginning. Why do I feel like I can’t see anymore and why I feel like it sneaks up on you…

#1 Something is different phase

I got them! Cool!

I went to the optician when I turned 40 just do a basic check up because they say that after this magical number it’s just downhill (in so many ways… keep following my blog to co-commiserate) and he said all well, eyesight is better than normal, but go and get it checked up again in two years as that is when ”it” usually starts.

So I was happy, all well, no need to worry, keep going. Few years later when I was almost 43 I started to feel like it’s a bit harder to read small labels on packages. I didn’t really pay too much attention to it but remembered the opticians advice to do another check up around the time of 42 years so booked a time as it was way overdue. Again eyesight still really good, but she suspects that in about 6 months to one year I will be needing reading glasses.

So I am prepared, I am monitoring my eye sight and notice that the print gets smaller and fuzzier by the month. By the time 1 year has passed I realize that the optician is actually right, I am really struggling with seeing small print. So I book a time again and now she says yes, it’s time to get them glasses. Crazy me, I am so excited because I get to wear glasses! Little did I know that it’s actually going to be a frigging permanent thing soon!

#2 New and exciting phase

Accepting the fact…

I got my first reading glasses about the time when I was almost exactly 45 years old. It also took about 3 months to get the lenses right when I got the glasses. First I could not see anything further than 2 meters which meant that for example trying to read sheet music while singing and follow up the baton of the conductor was impossible. Then there was something wrong still with the remote vision and it turned out that the lens was a bit too big for the frame and the tension kept twisting the lens and vision. So finally after few tweaks I finally got good glasses!

It was new, it was exciting, I kept wearing them just for the fun of it and then the reality strikes. As the glasses were so to speak ”computer work” glasses with the reading section at the bottom I kept taking them off and putting them on. It was very annoying and by the time about 4-5 months had passed I started to keep them less and less. That was probably a mistake. I thought that maybe my head is aching because I am wearing them and I still don’t know it might be but the truth is I cannot see any small print without them anymore.

#3 Reality strikes phase

Getting more comfortable with it

One and a half years later at Kilimanjaro I realized that I actually need the reading glasses with me all the time. Luckily Kindle print can be increased and mobile too but for example writing my diary was hard. I had to keep the notebook so far from me to be able to see what I wrote that it felt ridiculous and I had no idea anymore what I was writing. That is when I decided to go optician again after we get back and managed to book a time early this year just before Covid-19 hit Finland.

I go to the optician all in good faith that I will just swiftly change the lenses to the current frames with better reading area, but no the whole entire world of glasses, lenses, frames and reading areas is so confusing that I want to just forget about it BUT I try because I need to learn this new ”thing”, this new world of ”glasses”. He patiently explains to me how much it will cost to change the lenses to existing ones and how much to get new frames and new lenses.

It makes no sense that it is almost the same cost to get completely new frames and lenses than to change the lenses to the frames you already got. Sounds like a waste of natural resources and I had only had the frames for 1,5 years and I really loved them so why would I want to change. I thought I can keep the same frames until like…. forever if I wish.

Then it happened I felt emotions hitting in and tears coming into my eyes… Quickly said sorry and went to the back room to ”swallow them back in”. Managed to calm myself down, went back and explained something about being surprised about there being such a high cost again to replace the lenses and said that the new lenses will need to wait until I can afford them and left the shop.

I realized that what just happened there was not normal, it was not me, but something else uncontrollable had taken over me and has been doing that for a while now. It’s this emotional roller coaster that I am on where nothing seems to make sense one day and then the next day everything is fine again! Which brings me to the topic of ”Getting old(er) – Part III” which will be about emotions so get your tissues out!

Anyway now 1,5 + years later I am in a situation when the print is getting smaller and smaller. I don’t have to keep (reading) glasses all the time (yet) and luckily I got long arms so there is still a bit of leeway left, but the reality is that I cannot hide or deny it; I cannot see anymore the way I used to. This is one of the things you can’t control. It will happen to us all one day the older we get so might as well get used to it.

Oh, and reading glasses help with weight control too as you can finally see the real portion size 😂😂😂

Not sure how you are coping with aging? I am having a hard time accepting it… Read Getting olde(er) part III – Emotional roller coaster to join the ride!

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Getting old(er) – Part I – Recognise these symptoms?

They say that women were not designed to live much past 40 years from evolution point of view (hunter/gatherer era, more interesting hypothesis and research here) which makes sense as otherwise you would think that women would have eggs for reproduction enough to last 80+ years when the life expectancy for women in Finland is for example 85,1 years according to Worldometer. Now our storage is depleted by the time we are around the age of 50 and last egg specimens before that are virtually unusable and defective anyway.

So I don’t think our ancestors had to worry so much about this topic of getting older or the symptoms of it as they never reached the age that we now call ”middle age” for women. This topic has though become very apparently a permanent part of my life so I thought I’d share my thoughts and notes on the jolly progress.

Everyone is different and things happen in different time to us due to that fact. They say your body has ”chronological age” (from when you were born to what age you are now) and ”biological age” (what age you seem to be) and to the latter one you can make a difference with your life style. Anyway whatever way you calculate it, the clock is ticking and aging will catch up with all of us eventually sooner or later and it definitely has caught up with me!

How do I know it?

Hmm well let’s start with a list. Recognize any of these symptoms?

  • Your brain is continuously stuck in a fog as if you had a few too many glasses of Australian Barossa Valley Shiraz (and you haven’t had a drop!)
  • You start avoiding looking at your mobile phone in public places because you don’t want to dig out your reading glasses from your hand bag. You’d rather skip it than dig it…
  • When listening to young adults talking about how their mother did ”this and that” you realize you could be the mother they are talking about!
  • Everyone with a pram or a baby look young enough to be your child…
  • Trampoline and you simply do not get along anymore
  • Stepping on an ant will make you dig out a tissue
  • Sleeping in the fridge could be an option

Accepting the fact that I am getting closer to 50 than 40 has been hard and since this topic is not that much discussed in general I decided to share my thoughts, findings and solutions on the matter that have worked for me. Besides it’s so much more fun to grow old(er) together than alone! The more the merrier so let’s share our ideas and thoughts on the matter <3

Stay tuned and join the journey in Getting old(er) part II – Help me, I can’t see!

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