My healing journey after turning 40
So, here is what happened when I turned 40, right before covid. I was having some troubles with health. Nothing alarming, nothing major but loss of energy , fatigue and lack of focus. I was not particularly a healthy child growing up with being a poor eater and never played any active sports. So, lack of focus and tiredness was not new but in twenties , the body is more resilient and can heal itself pretty well with a little help from us but 40 is different.
I started loosing hair, i always shed more hair than any of your dogs but my hair also grows back like weeds. So that did not bother me at first, but I noticed that my hair was not growing back as it used. I had very long exhaustive monthly periods, always by 28days but long and exhaustive. That changed too, I started having 2 periods a month and sometimes 3. That was alarming!!!!! But you have enough conversation with your mom and elder sister and understand the miracles of genetics. But I really did not want to go through next decade are so with this exhaustiveness. So, as any insurance covered individual do, I got lots of scan, ultrasound and scans.
So, probably because of few cysts and fibroids in my uterus which is pretty common in women over 40, I was severely anemic, so low on vitamin D that if I went out in the winters , I would have rashes on the exposed parts of my body. My doctor recommended a blood transfusion which was shot down by holistic doctors from India as it would not fix the problem permanently . This began a series of experimentation with food and diet. I went gluten free for months, dairy free for few, sugar free ( which I continue to follow) to test my energy levels and strength. I also added supplements few times a week and a healthy dose of greens every single day ! I mean very single day I ate spinach or kale or methi, chard, choy, amaranth, moringa … something green in my diet almost twice a day. I took as much rest as I could during my periods, turned off my planning brain and indulged in reading, writing and gardening. I added so many different types of dal, started eating more gluten free grains and reduced my work load. As it coincided with closures due to covid, my decision making was easy.
After 18 months of this, my periods are still irregular but my blood work is stellar and so are my energy levels. I take my supplements once a week as the food I consume is taking care a lot of my needs. I still eat very little sugary stuff ( I eat all kinds of fruits ) and not tired after full day of work. I went on a long hike with a friend the other day and was so surprised not being tired or out of breath. I teach multiple classes a day, cook for 10hrs straight, entertain for 6hrs, garden all day long and do not feel frustrated. I do not mind being tired or sore as this body needs to be used to its fullest potential but I do hope to stay joyful , focused and energized .
I am sharing this to give another perspective. If I feel weak again, I will not hesitate to take blood transfusion , more supplements or any other modern medical suggestions but at his point of my life, I was able regain my health with good food, plenty of rest and exercise which suited my needs because that’s how I can heal myself, stay committed to stay healthy. All of us have a unique way to handling a situation if we pay attention to our way of health, our needs and our lifestyle. Nothing comes with a 10 step program in a ready made capsule. It does take a commitment and health becoming a priority as nothing in life is enjoyable if we do not have good health.
Here is my experience in a capsule,
As I turned 40, there was gradual shift in my health. From lack of energy , need for a late afternoon nap to exhaustive multiple periods a month. After several tests and scans, it was clear that I was anemic which surprisingly causes more blood loss during monthly ( by now bi monthly ) cycles. But after 18months of constant experimentation with food , rest and exercise my blood report is stellar now which even surprised my doctors. She said “ Keep doing , what you are doing as its working “.
What I learned from my mindfulness with my health ,
Greens are my friends to improve my blood levels. I ate cooked greens every single day. Somedays I did green smoothies but mostly sautéed greens, soups , stews and such which motivated me to grow all the greens we eat spring through fall.
Vegetarian diet is a great diet for me but I do need weekly supplement of B12 and Vitamin D in winters.
There is huge difference between what is suppose to be healthy and what is optimal for my healing. It took experimenting with going gluten-free for several months, dairy free for several months and processed sugar free for several months. Sugar caused more bleeding , gluten caused more fatigue but I still enjoy a great slice of pizza and my rotis, but I just have reduced their consumption . I am mostly sugar free apart from a teaspoon of jaggery / sugar I take in my chai once a day.
Same kind of exercise doesn’t work for everyday. Somedays it was a long yoga routine, some days it was long walk and hikes and summers are for long yard work and stretch to relax .
I still have irregular periods but I need less rest ( more than before) and but gradually they are becoming regular.
My understanding is this- If I want to live a robust , joyful life, its my responsibility and only mine to address it with sincerity. Everybody will help in all the ways they can and know but I need to stay mindful. I am sharing this a lesson and reminder for myself as there will be some other changes in life when I turn 50, 60 and 70. Hope this helps some of you who is going through something similar. Reach out to me if you need to talk more .