I’m Old

It’s official, you guys: I’m old. Not because I’m 40–that’s solidly middle-aged, in my opinion. No, I’m old because I live like an old person. No, seriously, I do. Let’s go through the good and the bad of being old, shall we?

GOOD: All my life I’ve watched commercials for adjustable beds and thought “Damn, that looks amazeballs, I want one of those.” So last year we bought one, because I spend a TON of time in bed because of treatment-related fatigue. And guess what? IT IS SO MUCH MORE AWESOME THAN I EVEN DREAMED IT WOULD BE. Want to watch TV in bed with the kids? Adjust to Zero G. Want to eat lunch in bed? Adjust the head higher. Want to go to sleep? Adjust to flat. Husband snoring? Adjust to Partner Snore setting. Me snoring? He adjusts to Partner Snore setting. Why on earth didn’t I get one of these things sooner? Worth every penny, my friends.

BAD: Since I’m still on cisplatin/etoposide (we’re still waiting for approval–or not–of combination therapy), I’m spending about a week of every 3 weeks too tired to do much of anything but laying in bed. Like, we’re talking so tired that the Hubs has to run me a bath because a shower isn’t feasible and that’s after several days without bathing at all and I smell HORRIBLE. It sucks being reliant on other people to do things I used to do for myself.

GOOD: I’m retired. I’M RETIRED YOU GUYS. Y’all still going to work? Hahahahaha suckers! Best perk of my terminal cancer by far. I missed being a practicing lawyer at first, but now? So happy I decided to take that disability retirement. So grateful it was a possibility for me, too. I figure that working for the feds instead of at a private firm, I made about half what I would have, but now I’ve got a fatty life insurance policy, a fatty health insurance policy, and a livable disability retirement package, and I probably would have had none of that working at a law firm. 

BAD: No longer having much in common with my peers. Y’all bitching about your husbands not pulling their weight? It’s the opposite in our house–I’m the one not pulling my weight. Worried about your bodies not looking so hot anymore as you age? Yeah, I have no breast. Bags under my eyes are the least of my woes. Feeling nostalgic about your kids growing up too fast? I’d give anything for my kids to grow at twice their current rate, so I can be here for more milestones. This is why I avoid kid birthday parties, I just can’t do small talk anymore.

GOOD: I give no fucks. Old people? We give no fucks, man. We gave away all our fucks a looooooong time ago. We’re out of fucks. The fucks are all gone. There are no more fucks to spend. So when some jerk tries to tell me I’m pushing too hard for cancer research or I shouldn’t swear so much or whatever else, I don’t give a fuck. It’s very liberating to give no fucks. It reduces my stress level immensely.

BAD: I spend a lot of time thinking about death. When you’re old, and your friends are old, you have to watch a lot of them die. Which is made all the more traumatic knowing that I’m going to die the same way. I guess I lied, I do have a fuck to give about that. That’s my only fuck left, though.

GOOD: Let’s end on a good one. Being in a city, I am living in a golden age of delivery services. Too fatigued to go to Costco? No problem, there’s an app for that. Need lunch and you’re too tired to stand up long enough to make something? There’s an app for that. Did you run out of scotch? THERE IS AN APP FOR THAT. Just today I had an amazing bagel breakfast sandwich and a fresh orange juice delivered to my house from a local deli. I didn’t even have to get out of my pajamas for it.

You guys, I’m old now, so I’m going to give some advice because that’s what old people do. Old will come for almost all of you, even if it comes earlier than you thought it would. Be prepared for the bad that comes with it, but embrace the good too. And live as well as you can, no matter how old you are.

8 thoughts on “I’m Old

  1. The young folks out there could gain a lot from the fairly new Vitamin D research. Over the past half century, we moved indoors and added sunblockers and cancer rates went up. Let’s not keep hurting the next generation. Carole Baggerly (beat breast cancer with chemo, which beat up her body) has a number of online interviews.

    Vit D3 helps keep tissue bound tightly (similar to role it has in bones). This helps stop cancerous cells from getting out of control. Additionally, vitamin d works at the gene level to strengthen antibody production and immune system, which helps put out cancerous fires. [one-two punch] Breast cancer specifically is correlated 90% lower rates in women with high levels vs low vitamin d levels.

    My experience with vit d is not with cancer. In case anyone is also interested, it is great to end many types of sleep apnea (eg, if you stop breathing when sleeping). It helps you if you always get up at night to go to bathroom. If you fidget a lot at night. If you chest area aches for related reasons. If your heartbeat goes irregular every now and then. If you have or are getting multiple sclerosis (all of these appear to be issues with electric system in body not working well .. short of vit d). Do you have horrible nights/mornings after eating large cheese/fat meal? Do you have a bone injury and started experiencing these symptoms? [Yes, this stuff happened to me.. and still have not recovered from left heal injury totally.]

    Other research I recently came across that has not investigated vit d, concluded we are much more likely to get sick in mornings. Lo and behold, that is when most of the symptoms related to low vit d are at worst (as well as when you are actually sleeping). We consume vit d3 to dream and generally at night, so wake up with low levels (I think that is even part of the mechanism that helps us wake up).

    One more tidbit research that may sound surprising: indoor workers have 3x higher rates of melanoma (deadly skin cancer) than outdoor workers. Being in sun may give you harmless growths on skin you may not like, but avoiding sun/vit d3 is what is really deadly. Note that UVB does not go through windows/glass (although UVA does). UVB also does not reach ground in cloudy weather nor when the angle is sky is not high up (so many parts of US get almost none or no UVB during Winter and nearby months!) (although UVA does).

    Older folks who stay indoors are probably going to have these problems worse than others (older age skin also stops producing vit d well from UVB sunlight (midday bright sun in low latitude/equator areas is when it’s best)). If you have dark skin, you need sun even more. Or take Vit d3 supplements, but caution, the USRDA is too low. When your body is recovering, you may need 30,000 IU or more (as I did), but normally, you still should be getting a few thousands total (including sun). USRDA of 600 IU is way low, so the 25% vit d on fortified milk is almost useless. Poisoning from vit d3 is rare. One of few documented cases includes man who took over 1,000,000 IU daily for many weeks. Please research online. These are bona-fide scientists supporting vit d3 and fighting to get US to raise their recommendations.

    BTW, I also recommend extra protein if you have bone problems. Calcium is useless if your bones are low in protein since that is required to bind calcium (as is vit 3).

    The data and research is there, but most people don’t know and are continuing with bad practices and low levels of vit d. And they are passing them on to young folks. [Pregnant ladies, please get vit d levels up. It’s not just rickets that you want to avoid in babies.] Many doctors are only now coming to grips with the increasing volume of supporting research.

    1. Beth, I don’t want to pretend that vitamin D won’t help stage 4 patients (double negative, sorry). I don’t know, but I am hoping primarily invoking kids and the younger generation’s habits will increase the odds you guys will get googling. If you have little to lose for yourself, consider “overdoseing” on vit d3 and see what happens. Some guy actually did that and wrote a book about the positive and interesting experience. [ https://www.amazon.com/MIRACULOUS-RESULTS-EXTREMELY-SUNSHINE-EXPERIMENT-ebook/dp/B005FCKN2S and was interviewed on youtube also] I can’t vouch for his story, but I ended up taking similar levels for over a year several years ago when I got my injury. I simply took more (much more) than is recommended normally because my body reacted well when I did and was aching or failing in some way otherwise. Hope you get better.

  2. Please let me know the names of said jackassess who are telling you you are pushing too hard for research so I can sock them in the kisser. I lost my give-a-fucks when I got the stage 4 diagnosis. Even though I got the big “upgrade” I haven’t quite shaken what that means and won’t as long as I’m watching my friends suffer and die. Hang in hang in, YOU have created a movement and it is getting legs…enjoy those geriatric perks though!
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