The 70’s Club. Damn, I am a member!

Hello World,

What a year! I am officially in the 70s club…How did it happen? I can hardly believe it. Is this my last decade? Will I be able to travel? Will I have fewer friends?  Will my kids stay connected to me as a person? Will I still swim in the ocean and continue to kayak? Will I be able to ride my bike? Will my legs keep walking? Will my eyes keep seeing?

When I turned 60 I was amazed! Where had the time gone? How could I be 60? I didn’t like my older appearance but my mind and my body worked as well as it had for decades. 70 is different. Some where along the line I developed Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Glaucoma. Double Damn! How will I navigate these diseases without letting them control my life? How can I go about grabbing fun, satisfaction, adventure, new experiences and  joy as I live each day?

I now deal with physical limitations and the irritation of taking drugs. I wake up putting drops in my eyes. I go to bed putting drops in my eyes. I take RA drugs twice per day. I am a regular at the drug store. I think of my mother-in-law and father in-law each time I go to the pharmacy. In the past I was the person who picked up the “older’s” medications. Today I am the older. I have to remember to take my medications everyday. You would think that should be easy. Not… I have to plan to get extra drugs when I travel. Insurance companies make this a chore. This is just one of the changes I am forced to deal with as an older who has chronic diseases. It is really the tip of the iceberg. Am I changing because of my age? Or am I changing because of these diseases? And do doctors view me, an older. as a medical management issue rather than a patient to be cured because I am at the end of my life? Are there new treatments which aren’t considered because of my age?

Joining the 70s club makes me acknowledge that I am “Coming into the End Zone” as described in Doris Grumbach’s book.  A book I read in my 40s when I thought I was getting to be an older woman! My advice to 4os somethings – live!! Don’t waste time worrying about age. I am now really at the end of my life. There are two important goals for me. I want to love my days and I want to expand my life.

To celebrate joining the 70s  club I took a scuba diving lesson. I loved it! I will take another lesson this fall and then go on an open water dive. I am excited to experience a new adventure. Scuba lessons fits both goals. I am grabbing an adventure which makes my day fabulous and I am expanding my life by learning a new skill.

Being an older, creates interesting times. I have time to spend the way I want but my body limits some choices. This is a place to reflect on the reality of my life as an older. All in all, I am blessed. I refuse to quit living before I die. “Life is a banquet and most poor slobs are starving”.

 

What Makes Us Old?

I have had the best summer, sprinkled with new Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) pain! I am dealing quite well with my older look. I am not giving up on my appearance but I am not spending my life worrying about how old I look. That subject is for another day. I have plenty to say!  At any rate, this summer we decided to take a couple of road trips. We have a small travel trailer. It is only 17′. But it has a bed that doesn’t have to be folded up during the day and it has a small (very small) bathroom. Important for an older like me. Another indgnity of aging, I need to be able to get to the bathroom at night.  Of course, the trailer also has a frig, stove, microwave and a table.

We decided to travel with our oldest son and his family to see Glacier and Yellowstone. It was to be short travel days with all of us together at RV camps for a night or two or four. As we were leaving I was quite suddenly attacked with pain in my knees that almost stopped me from walking. I actually used a walking stick – I don’t yet own a cane. The pain made me think twice about getting out of our truck at each stop. Instead of jumping out to see the newest wonderful view or to visit the tourist store that was so inviting I thought, “Do I really want to feel the pain it is going to take to get out and walk.” Drats, to put it mildly.

Of course, I emailed my wonderful doctor and a few days into the trip he sent a prescription for Prednisone, a drug I thought I would never agree to take. Right! I couldn’t wait to arrive in the town of Ennis and find the local drug store. This drug did save the trip for me. I was able to walk and see the Yellowstone Grand Canyon, the mud pots and various other magical hot springs and pools. We even got up early and found a mother grizzly and her cub.

We traveled again this summer, this time on our own, to see Crater Lake. We camped nearby and I got to kayak and play. We then had a week at Mercer Lake in a small cabin with our youngest daughter and our grand girl. It was great. I only took the Prednisone for fourteen days but it seemed to slow and dampen the pain cycle.

Since then I have been to see my doctor. We decided to try a new drug and replace the Methotrexate. The new drug, Xeljanz is has serious potential side effects. One side effect is to greatly reduce my immune system. So I got off of all drugs and had a Shingles vaccine (it is a live vaccine) and waited. I had to go four weeks with no RA medication to make sure the vaccine wouldn’t cause me to contract Shingles. Whew! I am now on my new medication and waiting …. to see if I can tolerate it and to see if it works.

Why am I going on about this issue? Because this damn RA pain is cramping my style. We are planning to go on a five or six-week trip to Thailand, Viet Nam, Cambodia and maybe China next spring. Can I move enough to go? Will I be able to travel to these countries with a reduced immune system?  As an older, I have limited time left. I want to explore, try new things and I am frustrated to think that, in addition, to the vanity issues of aging I am also dealing with disease issues that prevent me from doing what I want!

They say olders spend their time talking about their aches and pains. Today, that is certianly me. But this is my base. I will be talking about getting back in the pool, kayaking, snorkeling and bobbing in the ocean. I intend to do everything I can to get back on my bike when we get to Hawaii for the winter.

So come along with me. Let’s not give in or give up. I am going to grab every bit of life I can. And I will likely gripe about and talk a bit about the indignities of being older and having to deal with disease. Thanks for listening.

We Have The Power!

Replaying a painful memory over and over in your head is a form of self abuse.  Toxic thoughts create a toxic body.  So make peace with yourself and your past.  Heal your thoughts and heal yourself…Jerose

Oh yes, You cannot change the bad things you did or happened to you. But you can kick them out of your head. If you regret your behavior, don’t do it again and fix it if you can. But move on! If someone injured you, so what? Its happens to all of us. Forgive those that are in your life and forget those people you have eliminated. We have so much power when we use our brains and our hearts to make wonderful times, one day or even one moment at a time. Preaching to me….please don’t think I think I know what you need. Love and Hugs

This Older is Back in Town! Sharing a Laugh!

Linda Collins's photo.

Hello Fellow Olders, I saw this on fb and had to post. I have been out of town. I was kayaking, and playing at Mercer Lake for the past week. I will be getting back to my blog. I love this.

heffssdfds

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Just For Giggles! Hmmm, It Does Ring True.

Beauty Brite's photo.A Beauty Bright Photo

Move It! Olders and Exercise.

Exercise, stretch and bend, lift those weights and do it again, and over again!  Movement really is a magic pill. Moving our bods will make us live longer and most of the time enjoy living more.

There was a great clip on TV about a woman who started exercising in her 70s. She was moving a good deal of weights across the floor and doing bench presses of a respectable amount of weight.  She went from being over weight and taking medications for high blood pressure to having blood pressure in the normal range with no medications needed and was at least 25 pounds lighter.  As an older I can tell you, and I bet you know, it is no small feat to lose weight.  This woman talked about an important side benefit.  She has expanded her community and has new friends because she goes to a gym three or four days a week.  She said, when her husband died her gym friends showed up at the memorial and supported her through her tough days.

“Make new friends and keep the old.”  Who knew we can make friends if we exercise in a community gym?   Another reason, to get up, get moving and get out of the house.

Most of us know we need to exercise.  Just like most of know we need to eat well.  But do we know the amazing changes we can make by moving?

The benefits of exercise can include: Decreased risk of cardiovascular (heart) disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. Decreased risk of colon and breast cancers.  Decreased risk of diabetes Decreased risk of osteoporosis.  Decreased risk of depression and dementia.  Decreased body fat Improved metabolic processes — the way the body breaks down and builds necessary substances.  Improved movement of joints and muscles Improved oxygen delivery throughout the body.  Improved sense of well-being Improved strength and endurance.

Wowie, Zowie!  We hit the jack pot when we move.   So how do we do it?  I know I have had to fight to make myself exercise.  I have been a sloth for years at a time.  But in my younger past I rode bikes, I hiked, I ran and I played racquetball.   I remember having some fun doing these things.

So I decided that I would try to find ways to enjoy moving. The fitness magazines all said Walk!  Before 2002 when I had a hip replacement walking was not pleasant and certainly not possible to do for exercise.  So back then, I sometimes biked.  The biking movement didn’t hurt.   And I like it.  I like being able to ride a bike for 10 or more miles and make it home.  And I like seeing the sights from my bike.  Last I like being able to enjoy a bit more food with no weight gain.  My heart rate is down.  My goal is to find something I  don’t hate and can make  myself do regularly.  Heck, my real goal is to find something I like to do.

Today, I like to walk and to bike and swim.  I like to kayak – a  wonderful gift to me – because before my hip replacement I couldn’t get in or out of a kayak.  I do love to dance around the house to my music – lots of 60s and 70s. But I tore my meniscus when I was trying out aerobics.  Damn, I hate it when my body messes with my goals. I can dance again but don’t make it my regular exercise.

What do you like?  Dancing around the house for two songs?  You can do that… wear good shoes and watch your knees. Take a walk, even just around the neighborhood.  Get out of the house and go to the local pool.  If you don’t swim well, how about water aerobics?  Get to know the group taking the class.

I signed up for My Fitness Pal and track my exercise there.  I see when I am off and not exercising and I am reminded of how much better I feel when I move.  I also have an app called Runkeeper on my phone.  It records some of my exercise, like walking and biking and lets me know how many calories I burn.  Do you use anything to help you keep moving? What?

Seriously, moving can even make your skin look a bit younger.  Now who doesn’t like that?  Talk to you soon – Bernice

 

Older, Yes I am – No denial here

I am an Older! Its true. You can deny it or you can tell me, “You are only as old as you feel.” When a friend spotted my blog he tried to help me by saying “You are not old. You have matured, like fine wine.”The truth is I am an Older and I look my age. The other truth is, I don’t mind.

Oh yes, I still freak out about my wrinkles and sags. More importantly, I get mad when my body won’t do everything I want it to. But I am comfortable coming into the end stage of life. I am not done fighting. I will get stronger and I just know I will find a great face cream or laser or??? and suddenly look better.

As an Older, I don’t mind talking about death, or how I want to prepare to live as my body and brain age. I don’t  mind admitting I worry about losing my mind. I think about downsizing. I think about one story houses or apartments.  I think about remaining in charge of my life and not allowing others to decide for me.

I now remember to take vitamins and fish oil. I slather on moisture with sunscreen. I sometimes, pee when I laugh. I think about needing adult pads or diapers. I wonder if I want to try drugs to prevent the need. When will I have to this?  As it is, I don’t sleep through the night. I wake up to hit the bathroom at least once, maybe twice.

When I wear high heels to dinner or to a meeting, I take a pair of flats with me. Actually, my closet is starting to be filled with cute flats – I do love shoes. I don’t think I have bought a new pair of high heels in over a year. I, the flip-flop queen, now wear Orthaheel flip-flops with arches.  Gone are my 30 pairs of  $5 flip-flops.  Sad but true.  Do Orthaheels look like old people shoes?  I don’t think so. At least I am not wearing Birkenstocks. I know, I know.  I bet some readers wear them. But I can’t see them without thinking the wearer is an old hippie. Sorry.

Some days walking up or down (especially down) stairs really hurts. My goal is to see the amazing things in our world. We just got back from Turkey and Greece. I walked and walked. We climbed up steep hills to cave churches carved into the stone. Because my husband held my hand and I used a walking stick I made it. I know I need to go now. I don’t know when my knees will get in my way.

Strangers see my age. They offer their seats and their hands. I hate that. I am proud I can still swim a mile, and that I go on 10 mile-plus bike rides. I have a kayak and use it. I walk down my steep hill and into town and back up my “whining hill”. But I know if I stop doing these things for any length of time, my body will struggle to handle my exercise.

For me freedom as an Older isn’t denying the problems. Nor is it wallowing.  I am free to share my experiences and perspectives.  Perhaps together we can find ways to make this part of our life better.  I do love my life.  I want to live!…until I die.  Did I repeat that old saying? Yes I did and I mean it.

Remember Mame? “Life is a banquet and most poor slobs are starving to death.” We can feast together.