Saturday, October 23, 2004

Adult Lifespan Journal Entry # 1

From my Adulthood and Aging class:

Physical Development

At age 20, I was at my best physically. I was 160 pounds, which with my body frame actually made me look very nice, despite my shortness. I used to walk a great deal and take stairs instead of elevators most of the time. I ate well and looked good.

I add on extra weight whenever I was subjected to the unwanted attentions of a male who would not take my less than subtle hints to be left alone. I had done this as an adolescent, but had lost that weight in college. When I moved back in with my parents, I began gaining again, because I did not have the peer support I had in college and I suppose it was my way of protecting myself. I did lose the weight again when I moved back out and had a job that required a constant amount of physical activity from me. When I got married and pregnant, my weight was not a problem, but I did have problems taking the weight off because I got pregnant a second time about four months after my first child was born. A few months after my second child was born, I went into clinical depression, which was not connected to post-partem, but due to the stress of a major upheaval and tragedy within my family. I was later determined to have an anxiety disorder.

At that time, I began to develop severe menstrual problems, which were first diagnosed as stress and are now classified as atypical endrometrial dysplasia after a biopsy in April 2004. During age 29, blood was found in my urine, however after two years of testing, my doctors could not find a cause and again gave me the diagnosis of stress. About the same, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Between the fibromyalgia, anxiety and an inability to get proper dental care due to my ex-husband's mistrust of dentist, I ended up having dentures at age 36. My fibromyalgia did disappear for a few months between the time I left my exhusband and the time I had to deal with him again because of the divorce proceedings.

During most of my early thirties, I had constant bronchitis and chest infections due to a lack proper rest and medical care. I became so bad at one point that the nurse threatened my then husband that if he did not help with the house and kids and let me have two weeks of total bed rest, that she personally would put me into the hospital. Many of my chest problems began to lessen once I was divorced, but it wasn't until I had sinus surgery to remove two very large cysts that the chest infections stopped all together. Now I just get sinus infections.

As for my sight and hearing, neither has change significantly since I was age 19. I have developed more skills with my hands, though my body in general has declined in all around fitness due to gross inactivity on my part and depression. I am no longer able to read as fast as I did as a teenager. While I do have problems with physical activity most of the time, I have noticed that I am not as bad when I am visiting old friends. It is as if I have returned to a younger age. This may be due to the stresses I have in my life being a single mother, dealing with my aging parents regularly and dealing with a very dysfunctional workplace.

As for how I see my health progressing into my middle adult years, I am hoping that with the reduction of work stress and having a goal to go for, that I will be able to reverse some of the ill health I am currently experiencing. I have been making more of an effort to eat better and to increase my physical activity. I am also trying to be more social outside of the work environment. Over a year ago, I visited some old friends during the Fourth of July and was amazed to see how my physical endurance improved while I was with them.

If I can reverse the stress and lose weight, then the affects of aging I will still have to contend with is some changes in visual ability (reading speed, night vision, etc.) and hearing. It is very possible that I may have to have a hysterectomy before I reach menopause on my own. In either case, I will have a period of hormone imbalance to contend with. However, this is not something new for me.

In my later adult years, it is very possible that I will not be able to live alone because of limitations in movement. Based on family medical history, I will have to be most careful of pneumonia and other lung infections. But if I can stay active, it is quite possible that I will live into my nineties. My great-grandmother made it to age 104 on pure attitude. I hope I can do the same.

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