Other than some colds, sinus infections, and yearly allergy episodes, my life has been blessed with mostly good health. As I age though, it seems all the maladies have been stockpiled and are dropping like cluster bombs to wreck havoc on my body.
First it was my digestive system. From neck all the way to, well, the nether regions, I think I’ve suffered it all. Reflux, hiatal hernia, intestinal lesions, diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis and IBD; I’ve had issues with them all. My GI doc and I are on a first name basis and I even sent him a Christmas card last year. Through trial and error, I’ve learned what I can and cannot eat to minimize the impact of these problems.
Around that same time, my reproductive system turned traitor and began the slow (so very slow) trek towards menopause. Hot flashes, night sweats, memory issues, cycle irregularities, and other vile symptoms I won’t squick everyone out with were my constant companions for over NINE years. The end is in sight on this one though. Four more months and my doc can officially declare me post-menopausal.
Next, the multiple knee injuries I suffered as a young adult from sports and assorted alcohol-fueled adventures have returned to wreck their vengeance upon me. Navigating any number of stairs either up or down is an exercise in unimaginable pain. So much so that I’ll either have to learn to deal with it or have both knees replaced.
I also became a medical anomaly by developing a somewhat rare condition called Cholinergic Urticaria, or heat hives. Yup, I’m allergic to heat. Anything that raises my body temperature will set off a flare of itchy, red masses of welts. It may be heat from air or water temperature, exercise, sickness, stress, and even the friction of too tight or rough clothing will set this condition off. Luckily, I can avoid most of those factors and the rest are usually controlled by a daily antihistamine. (If interested, here’s a great article describing the condition: Am I Allergic to Exercise?)
Finally and most recently, I developed a tear in my rotator cuff…simply from degeneration caused by aging. When it began three months ago, I could barely move my arm in any direction away from my body without excruciating pain. Showering and hair styling were a significant challenge, not to mention my usual household chores. Its been months of physical therapy, but I’m making progress. I can raise my arm halfway over my head now. Yay. *sigh*
Every once in a while, I allow myself a few moments to wallow in self-pity and wonder, why me ? What’s next? Is there anything left to break down? How much more can I take? And one of these times, Mother Nature is simply gonna crack her knuckles and say, “Hold my beer.”