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Caring for Me: 43 & Feeling Great

I made a decision about ten years ago to stop coloring my hair. From about my teens my sisters and I had often toyed with hair color, usually trying to change our color to blonde or auburn. Back then it was fun, but as I got older I got tired of all the fuss. And I made a decision to stop coloring… and not to color when I went gray. I didn’t want to HAVE to color my hair or face the prospect of turning entirely gray overnight. So, I’m gradually (and the process has sped up in the last year or so) been going gray.

The truth is, I kind of like the gray, though I’m not really sure why. A few weeks ago I was picking up a new med at the pharmacy and commented to the girl behind the counter (I didn’t ask her age, but I’m ninety-five percent sure she’s younger than me, probably in her thirties) if her hair color was natural. It was an absolutely gorgeous multi-tonal silver. We chatted a while about it and I asked her about shampoos, conditioners etc.

But on a deeper level, maybe my love affair with grey and my refusal to color my hair is my own personal banner for how I mean to handle aging. I mean, its going to happen. I can either worry over my wrinkles, my expanding middle, the extra aches and pains, the trials of menopause, on and on and on… or I can just say, “I’ve got way too much life to live to worry about all of that.”

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What I do have time for, is feeling better… I’ve been dealing with the affects of perimenopause for a few years, mostly with weird periods and near-deadly mood swings. But recently I started having hot flashes that were uncomfortable during the day, but also combined with anxiety to keep me from getting a good night’s sleep. It was taking its toll and I was beginning to be miserable.

Thankfully I have found an amazing doctor who has proved to me time and time again that one should never, ever settle for medical care from someone they aren’t comfortable with. Dr. Z and her staff have been amazing about listening and talking with me about my healthcare options. My favorite thing about her is that she recommends a plan of action and then asks me if I agree. She lets ME, the patient, have an active role in my own treatment… its a whole new world to me.

So thanks to Dr. Z I’ve started a mild antidepressant to help with my symptoms. It was originally intended to treat the hot flashes but I’ve been so pleasantly happy with the fact that its improved my mood swings and anxiety. And when I complained about side effect of reduced libido, Dr. Z suggested we try just half the dosage… and wow! I feel like for the first time in about five years that I’m not half a crazy person… and man does that feel good.

So, in a few days I’ll be 43 and I can honestly say that I feel really good about it. What does aging have in store for me in the future? Who knows. All I can say is, bring it … I’m ready!

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