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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Where I Am...

I am here to tell you that aging is definitely NOT for sissies! (Let me apologize in advance for the long post.)

A little over a year ago I called in sick for work, unable to do my job. The next day, not recovered sufficiently to be able to fulfill my duties, I reported to them again and called my doctor's office for a "write-in" visit. And that was the beginning of a very long year!

In years past I have always been able to pretty much push through pain or discomfort and keep going (except when it was a serious illness caused by a germ, of course). Having never been one who minded what the number was on birthday's, I found myself blindsided when I hit the big 6-0! Things started changing...and changing faster than I ever could have imagined. However, in spite of the changes I was seeing (and feeling), I was still able to keep on working for another two years. There were times, though, when others commented that I seemed to be slowing down, so my struggle was showing.

Yes, definitely slowing down, but I could still keep pushing. However, that "pushing through" was getting more and more difficult, until that "anniversary date" of missing work when I could no longer push and had to give in to the pain my body was going through. Call it what you will, but gravity has taken a toll on me and my joints are in the process of degenerating. You also have to throw one of those "arthritis" words in with that. And even though doctor's don't like to hear the word, after much study and consideration, I now tell them I am convinced I have fibromyalgia to go with along with that. Let me tell you, the combination causes pain that prevents me from being able to a lot of things I would really rather still be able to do.

It was not in my plan to have to stop working at this age. My goal was to work another minimum of two years, with the hope of being able to hold out until I reached full retirement age at 66. But that was not to be. So, added to the pain, I had to deal with what one doctor called situational depression from my suddenly-altered lifestyle. That required time, not medication, which was a good thing since I only take a minimum of medications, those absolutely necessary, to begin with.

One thing I have learned during all of this is that it is very easy, too easy, to throw your body out of balance as an aging person. Refusing narcotics, the options for pain either mess up your stomach, elevate the blood pressure that has already been one of my issues for decades...it would seem the negative possibilities are endless. Tylenol® does help take the edge off, and has become my "drug of choice" now. While you are "learning" all of this, if you deplete your magnesium. you are going to become ill -- extremely ill...and you will not find yourself "fixed" in a day or two, either. You feel terrible all over, your body does things it never, ever, did before, other things get out of balance....

The current solution/conclusion of my year is that I am supposed to be eating a diet that is low in carbs, low in sugar, low in fat, high in potassium...do we see a problem with this? Are these not in conflict with each other? I am struggling to find a satisfactory balance there, but may still have to go for a consultation with a dietitian. A cardiologist is in the process of getting my blood pressure and fluttering heart in line. I suppose it will mean a trip to a rheumatologist for a doctor's diagnosis on the fibromyalgia. I guess I will be taking magnesium supplements for the rest of my life.

On the bright side, I do feel better. My body, having decided that pain is secondary in importance next to cardiac health, and after multiple adjustments in daily medications, is functioning better than it has in months. My mind, having finally accepted that I will no longer be able to be a part of the public work force, limited income and all being considered, is now pretty much on top of the depression issues.

I suppose all of this is why I've been so neglectful for posting in this blog. Sometimes you just can't do what you want to do. This is not a promise that you will have more here to read in the days ahead, but it does offer an explanation if/when there are long silences in between posts. I really would love to be here all the time, but let's face it, I don't always have a lot to say that you would find interesting!

God is Good -- He know where I am! And I will see you as much as I possibly can, too. Meanwhile, if you would like to see where I escape reality during all of this, look for "Jan Howard" and/or "Janet Howard" on Pinterest. I have become quite addicted, to say the least. Hope to see you there!