Monday, February 11, 2008

A MOUNTAIN TOP VIEW...aging continued.....

This was sent to me by my friend Jackie true it is!

A police car pulled up in front of an older woman's house, and her husband climbed out. The polite policeman explained that "this elderly gentleman" said that he was lost in the park and couldn't find his way home."How could it happen?" asked his wife. "You've been going to that park for over 30 years! How could you get lost?"Leaning close to her ear so that the policeman couldn't hear, he whispered, "I wasn't lost - I was just too tired to walk home." These bodies become less cooperative as we age. For some, work becomes less fun and fun becomes more work. One older friend commented, "I've reached the age where the warranty has expired on my remaining teeth and internal organs." But I like the spirit of Charles Marowitz. "Old age is like climbing amountain," he says. "The higher you get, the more tired and breathless you become. But your view becomes much more extensive." Atop the mountain, one has a better view of the world. One can see above the differences that divide people. One can better see beyond petty hurts and human fragility. Atop the mountain, one has a longer view of the past and can therefore understand the future with more clarity. Atop the mountain, one looks down on dark clouds of gloom and despair and fear and notices that they are neither as large nor as ominous as those beneath them would believe. It is also clearer that however dark they may appear, they too, are fleeting and will someday pass. George Bernard Shaw said, "Some are younger at seventy than most at seventeen." I think it is because they have a broader outlook. It will take a lifetime to climb the mountain, but, for me, the view will be worth the journey.-- Steve Goodier

I want to discuss hormones. I believe hormones are the key to quality old age. I know, there is a lot of controversy about this. So bear with me, and be forewarned! I'm very opinionated on this! ...and i tend to ramble on and go on sidetrips during my diatribes.
A huge study that came out several years ago indicated that hormone therapy treatment can lead to heart attacks and strokes. So women immediately were taken off of their hormones. But the study was one ever tells you that. They only used synthetic hormones....and no effort was made to balance the hormones according to what each woman was lacking. I have read a lot about this, including medical journals. I even got my doctor to acknowledge that bio identical hormones work differently than synthetic hormones - and that no study will be done because there is no money in it for the pharmaceutical companies. She also told me that because of that study most doctors have to recommend that most women do not take hormones, because if a woman took the hormones on the doctors recommendation , the doctor could be sued later if the woman had a heart attack.
I have 4 sisters and I am the only one taking hormones. I am the guinea pig, i say! But hey, I watched my mom have a quality of life with hormones and a lack of quality of life without them. When I first became peri menopausal, I had hot flashes 20-30- times a day. I was getting no sleep. I tried soy, cohosh, flax seed - you name it, i tried it. some "seemed" to help - then nothing helped. I was working a job and no way could i do my job and not get a good nights sleep. So my doctor recommended effexor - yes, effexor for hot flashes. Effexor is an anti depressant like prozac. I'd never had one before and I have to say - my hot flashes went away - totally - immediately.....and I felt good - nothing, I mean NOTHING bothered me. But when I finished the job I decided I didn't want to be on an antidepressant for hot flashes - it was just covering up the symptoms, not alleviating the source of the problem. (Aah- getting off of Effexor - that was a tough one)
ok I'm going to deviate a bit on the topic.......why should a woman take hormones? well to me, and this is just for me, we have certain "normal levels" of hormones in our bodies. All hormones sustain life - quality life. If you are lacking a major hormone, like insulin, it is immediately life one balks about giving you proper amounts of insulin so you won't die. .. and it is BALANCED for each individual for optimum results. But minor hormones, like estrogen, progesterone and testosterone - the levels that are "appropriate" are based on how old you are, based on the average of the amount of that hormone that most women have at that age. If you're not ovulating and are only 30, then so and so is a normal level, when you ovulate certain levels go up, others down. But when you get to menopause, you stop ovulating altogether, and although your body continues to make small levels of the hormones for a while, the hormone levels in your body now drop to the "i'm not ovulating" levels, and this is considered normal for your age, FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE! Huh? Women used to die by the time they were 60 or 65 - but most don't anymore! But the same medical thinking applies to other hormones, like thyroid. It's supposed to be lower as you get old......... Does that mean these levels are ideal for continued quality of life? I THINK NOT! But that's what all the tests say. Hormone levels of next to nothing for estrogen after age 55 - that's pefectly normal. yeah right. who came up wth this? That's the right level because all 55yr olds have that level? This just my opinion, but I think this kind of hormone logic is pure bunk! ... in the garden, you "dead head " plants, because by removing the dead flowers the plant is prolonged into making more flowers and doesn't go to seed. Removing the dead flowers tricks the plant into making more plant hormones that keep the plant ...ALIVE! Lacking sex hormones may not kill you immediately, but it is the beginning of a slow death. Those hormones keep our muscles and skin and brain cells well oiled. ...Menopause is a "normal" part of life. But my mom had a hysterectomy at 36 and was put on hormones and she never went thru typical menopause. Menopause is "normal" because that is just the way IT IS....because that's the way IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN. But women are changing......the average age of menstruation, when I was a teenager, was 14. Now it's 11! ... (is that from fake hormones in milk?...oops, that's another discussion)
I've yet to find a doctor - gynocologist or endocrinologist - who is willing to bring my hormones to the same levels as when I was 30 (although I've read and /or gone to a few of those who said that was their specialty -there are a lot of whacko quackos out there) ......... and quite frankly I don't want my period back and it scares me to experiment that much. But I might try it if I could find a doctor who was willing to monitor me and teach me how to know when my levels were off and balance me and was legit.
I do know that the bio identical hormones I take - biest (estrogen in cream form) from a compounding pharmacy and prometrium (progesterone capsule) have helped my moods, my skin and my hot flashes. I believe they also keep my mind a bit sharper and they keep "dryness" at bay. But I take them basically on my own without much guidance - my doctors - past and present - have only prescribed them because I asked for them. They don't really believe in their usefulness and I find that i am much more well read and informed than they are. (heaven forbid I mention a book on bioidentical hormones written by Suzanne Somers -there goes my credibility!) So i can only say I'm "balancing" my hormones based on how I feel, not on facts. Sometimes if I'm under a lot of stress I take a little more or if I start to have more hotflashes I adjust the amount I am taking. But the amounts are so low they barely show up in lab tests. ....and I will add that all of my doctors have also said that once I reach age 60 I should probably go off of the hormones because I won't need them any more. Hah!
Men start to lose hormone levels too - but ever notice how most men look younger than women the same age? and how about men being fertile until they die? that is definitely not the same as women! Seems to me that medicine is ever changing and what is a fact today isn't tomorrow and then the next day it is "fact" again. They really don't know. How bizaare is that that in 2008 so few studies have been done on women about women? there you have it....everything you ever wanted to know about my opinion on hormones and me! .............and the great experiment continues.....

what do you think?


voicenyc said...

Wow, thank you for your column about hormones. I'm using bioidentical hormones with great success. Yet, I had to do all the research and god forbid, I mention Suzanne Somers name! I think it's outrageous that American women are not getting this information and the help they need.

Joanne Huffman said...

I think the most important part is that you're doing research and listening to your body and taking charge. I'm only beginning to try to listen to my body.


Rice said...

I totally agree. I have watched a number of women be taken off hormones and seen their quality of life diminish. I know several who have had their doctors absolutely refuse to put them back on hormone therapy. I say change doctors if that happens. I fully intend to insist on hormone therapy if I feel I need it in order to maintain my quality of life. If I am miserable all the time and unable to function then what's the point. I am much more concerned with my quality of life than the quantity. No one knows for sure how long they have. Heck I could get splattered all over the road this afternoon checking the mail. Okay that's not a pretty visual but you get the point. Of course my opinion may differ from everyone else's because we have a history of sudden deaths in our family. I have had 3 aunts in relatively good health pass away suddenly, one was only 41. No warning and no second chances. In 2 of the three the cause was undetermined. Anyway I'm rambling...