Getting old. Well yeah, it does kind of suck sometimes.

May 11, 2012 |  Category:   life me

Can we fast forward to next Friday?
I’ll be straight up and tell you that I’m scared and I want next week to be over with already. In the last few weeks, I don’t think I’ve seen as many doctors, specialists or had as many tests in the last 6 years (maybe ever? Aside from pregnancies?) put together for 3 unrelated health issues I’m dealing with right now. I’m getting probed and poked by lots of needles and other apparatuses and it hasn’t really been all that fun. It’s not even over. It’s like as soon as I turned 40, all sorts of things in my body started crapping out on me. I mean, I’m at an age where you have to do mandatory medical screenings for certain things and other than maybe getting a subscription to AARP in the mail (not yet!!), nothing makes me feel as old as this. Symptoms that might have been waved away by doctors as being “probably nothing” when you’re in your 20s or even 30s, are taken with precaution when you’re 40. And it was almost comical when it went down something like this the other day:
Doc: “Oh, you’re not old at all. You’re only 34”.
Me: “Uh, no I’m not. I just turned 42.”
Doc: “Oh! Hmmm, yes…I read the birth year wrong. Oh, well in that case, at 40 we start reading the symptoms a little bit differently. I need to send you in for this procedure to rule out more serious causes”.
Me: “Oh. Right…damn.”

I’m a terrible worrier. I always have been and it’s not really something I can change about my personality very easily. I don’t want to be a worrier. Believe me, I am trying. And despite the fact that I try to think otherwise, I also kind of suck at being an optimist. I don’t think I’m a pessimist by any means, but I’ve always been more of a realist. Can I tell you a story though? Someone in our immediate family was recently dealt with a medical blow that was completely unexpected. He’ll be in a hospital in Seattle for the next 3 or so months recovering and learning how to live without the use of his legs. This bit of news probably had a lot to do with the fact that I am finally dealing with some of my health issues. His positive outlook on all this is admirable. I can only hope to be half that positive if I were ever dealt that hand, but I suppose you’ll never really know how you would react to something until it happens to you. Until then, I know nothing. Nothing has happened. Just keep reminding myself that.

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  • Catherine May 11, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Dear one,

    I know about worry, I’m a worrier myself and I try and try to keep it at bay but sometimes it gets the better of me. I’m twenty-eight and facing some health issues too, its not easy and quite scary.

    Sending love, and good thoughts your way.

    xx, C

  • Sora May 11, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    Does it make you feel any better that you are not alone in this? Thank you for sharing. I am also going to see specialists. Nothing serious as of yet for me, but I have been ignoring my symptoms and they were getting so bad it has forced me to go see a doctor (not so responsible for a 40 yo). Perhaps I am in denial that I am aging, but this decade is hitting me pretty hard. Also the fact that we are on our own health plan (small business owner) could be contributing to the stress that I am trying to avoid. I hope your health issues are easily treatable, Jenna. It’s okay to be a realist and I think whatever it is, you will find a positive way to deal with it.

  • gia May 11, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Oh, I hope it will be ok. I think it will. Just try to relax and enjoy the little moments in life while you go through the process. I feel for you. Also- let all your doctors offices know up front that you need to be on a sliding fee scale and tell them exacts about all of your expenditures in order to get the highest sliding fee. xoxox

  • Sandra May 11, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    Yup – you hit 40 and you can no longer rely on age to carry you through. Harder to stay fit, funny aches, and wacky symptoms. I see now
    why old people appreciate good health!

    Hang in there and kudos for getting it all sorted out.

  • jen May 11, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    Good luck! I turned 40 last year and honestly, I spent the next 3 months at various doctor’s appointments. It kind of sucked especially the 8 am mammogram I scheduled for Monday, Jan 3. so I totally understand what you are going through. Hang in there. its a good reminder to us not-quite youngs to treat our bodies to respect. Obviously we are all worried and sending you good wishes.

  • Jenna May 11, 2012 at 2:44 pm

    @Jen Oh, right. I’m scheduled for my 3r mammogram in 2 weeks. More poking and probing!!

  • Alicia May 11, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    There’s a wonderful book called Things Might Go Terribly, Horribly Wrong that helped me deal with a lot of things, I highly recommend it, Jenna!

  • Melissa@Julia's Bookbag May 11, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    Oh JENNA. So sorry. Hang in there!

    I am also just recently turned 42. When I turned 40 I developed hip bursitis that was so painful it sent me to the ER. I have had since my early 30’s three different chronic health ailments (unrelated, like yours) that flare up off and on with the most amazing regularity. One situation is good, and so the other situation decides to rear its head. None of them major, but all them quality-of-life eroding.

    It DOES suck. Health is such a blessing. I feel you with the worry. I’m going to look into that book Alicia suggested.

    Re mammograms. After my very first one, I then had to immediately get another, and then go in for an ultrasound. I apparently have ‘dense’ breasts that make it hard to see stuff. Yippee.

    BE WELL. xo

  • nichole May 11, 2012 at 3:52 pm

    Oh man, Jenna. I know how you feel. I am the poster child for putting things off and worry non-stop whenever there may be a medical issue.

    In the past, however, everything was fine. And even things I feared (a root canal, for example – silly, I know) were not that big of a deal when it was all said and done.

    I actually get faint when I leave a doctor or dentist office. My dentist once explained that it was due to a rush of relief. Crazy, right?

    Everything will be fine. And you know where I am if you need me.

    – Nichole

  • Jackie May 11, 2012 at 5:26 pm

    One day at a time 🙂

  • Amanda May 11, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Now that I’m a medical student, all I do is worry that I have every single communicable and even non-communicable disease on the face of this earth. I am with you on that and the realistic, pragmatic view of life. But as you said so yourself… nothing has happened yet. Relish in that one simple fact. Stop once in a while during your busy day to really think about all the wonderful things you have accomplished, experienced and acquired to bring you to that moment and breathe deeply. Things will work out somehow — there is only harm in worrying yourself over the unpredictable future.

    I should subscribe to my own advice… but at least I’ve started to keep it in the back of my mind when I start to try to convince myself that I have an infection that will render me useless the following day.

  • Jocy May 11, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    I’m a constant worrier too. Hang in there. One day at a time.

  • Ally May 11, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Your post struck such a chord with me, Jenna. Turning 40 this year has been hard – I’ve had countless tests and procedures done in the past few months for various issues, and just went through a pelvis MRI. And I’m an uber-worrier too. A single remark from a doctor can set me off imagining the worst. Keeping my fingers crossed that all will be well with you and all of us here who are going through health issues. Keep well.

  • Caroline May 11, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    Jenna – I totally get this. Man I do. This last year for me at 42 has been all about health issues and friends health issues. Ech. Just spend the next week treating yourself if you can, it might be a good distraction from the worrywart sitting on your shoulder. I dn’t mean to drive you to the bottle, but how about a good bottle of wine, or, some champagne to celebrate making it this far? (lol) A hot stone massage? An amazing cup of coffee? Sometimes thats all it takes for me to go. Ahhh. Yes. Celebrate escapism!

  • Helle (Helen) May 12, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    I’m a champion worrier myself, and so far it has luckily not been anything serious whenever there was something that needed checking out. So my advice would be to believe that it is not as bad as we tend to fear – that doesn’t mean sticking one’s head in the sand, but just to try not to over-worry. Good luck with all the tests –

  • Justine May 12, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    Jenna, I have to laugh – not in a “make light of what you’re going through” kind of way, but in a “Oh man, thank God I’m not the only one!” kind of way. First of all, Oliver is doing that exact same homework right now! (I can now add “able to positively identify lady beetle larva” to my resume.) And secondly, I’m getting the same medical treatment. Ugh. Hopefully knowing that they’re poking and prodding all you over 40 friends will allay some of your worry. Hope it all turns out OK – for all of us!

  • Jenna May 12, 2012 at 3:09 pm

    @Justine yeah, i think that was 1st grade homework from last year. Hmmm…I really hope you’re not getting the same tests done as me! This really is no fun.

  • Justine May 12, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    No it isn’t! Unfortunately, I’m now getting used to it.

  • jessica May 12, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    thinking of you jenna! sending you luck and good thoughts.

  • Grace May 13, 2012 at 2:08 am

    Don’t beat yourself up for being a worrier! Being the same way, I like to think its better to be a worrier than to be too laissez-faire about life. I’ll be sending good thoughts your way and hoping for the best.

  • Sayoko May 13, 2012 at 10:26 am

    I’m terrible worrier myself. Someone once told me ‘Worrying is like praying for what you don’t want’. well, it helps me sometimes to remember that. Sending good throughts.

  • Anne May 13, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    Wow, I related to this post and I am a worrier by nature. In fact, when I read the book Wemberly Worried to my kids all I can think is that I worry about the same things and more.

    For me the health stuff started late 20s with needed a minor surgery here and other things there. By 35 things got a little more intense with a biopsy (negative 🙂 here and needing medication to keep an issue in check there, but manageable. Now I’m 40 and I’ve been getting bloodwork up the wazoo to track an issue that could indicate anything from a minor health issue to a tumor. I’ve had a whole body CT scan a few years ago (luckily the issue was just kidney stones) and a brain CT scan recently. Plus, various cancers run in my family so I have to do some screening earlier than most. It sucks, but I want to be there for my kids so I do what I have to do to catch things early.

    Wishing you good health!

  • Eva-Lotta May 14, 2012 at 2:24 am

    Hope all goes well, Jenna, good luck!

  • gizella May 14, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    here’s to it all being nothing and just okay. Sometimes, I’m such a worrier that the truth ends up being such a relief. Its only “that”. Its not toe cancer etc.

  • Candace May 14, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Welcome to the forty-something club, where life begins! So much has gone on with me since I turned 40, albeit 5 years ago, that I am soooooooo ready to turn 50 so I can be done with this space in my life and move on!

    You’ll be fine lady, worrying is a waste of time and energy. We worry to self-protect, but it doesn’t stop or take away whatever is going to be. It just prolongs the agony.

  • Anne-marie May 14, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    you poor thing! fingers crossed it will all go okay.

  • Melissa May 14, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    my issue with optimism is that when things really do go south, i end up not knowing where to turn, whereas if i see things from a realistic view from the start, i’m not massively disappointed and have mentally prepared for all possible outcomes.

    wishing you all the best this next week. hope everything goes well jenna. 🙂

  • mb May 14, 2012 at 7:19 pm

    Sorry to hear. I’m 43 and I’ve been dealing with health issues all year and it really sucks.

    The not knowing is the hardest of all. I think it’s also important to remember that things are usually fine. I don’t think you can turn off worry, but you can distract yourself from it. (So go out and have some fun!) With a son with health issues, I’ve become a master of distractions. It’s actually a great excuse to do what you want for a change 😉

    Thinking good thoughts for you~

  • gina May 15, 2012 at 9:37 am

    For sure, life has its potholes (sometimes sinkholes!) and curveballs, but I’ve always thought that when you opt for marriage (those of us who can) and/or children, it requires a leap of faith and yes, optimism. Don’t you?

    Take it easy kid. We’re all in the same boat.

  • Stephanie May 16, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Sending positive thoughts your way… hope it turns out to be nothing.

  • kay w. May 21, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    hoping for the best for you, for mark and for the kids, and for your family in seattle. i have other thoughts, too, but i feel like sometimes it’s not my place to provide my (unsolicited) two cents, despite my intentions.