Sleeping Like a Baby

As I mentioned in my “Growing Old” post, there are many things that happen as you age that you are not warned about. We all know about the laugh lines, crows feet, and generally wrinkling up. Most of us are aware of the metabolism change resulting in the middle-aged paunch. As women, we know to start expecting hot flashes. We all joke about grandpa or grandma falling asleep in their easy chair.

Here’s what I didn’t know—sleep would also become a mysterious stranger. I have wondered over the last couple of years if I was under unknown stress that would wake me. Was I perhaps being awakened by a sound that I didn’t remember, but my mind woke me anyway. Maybe I was getting clinical insomnia.

Visiting a medical oncologist with irritating regularity still, one of the health forms I frequently fill out checks symptoms that could ail cancer/post-cancer patients. It asks about sleep patterns. I asked my doctor about it, figuring that it could be a side-effect of my medication. For the most part, it is not. Granted, my medication has an inconvenient effect of reducing an important female hormone that, when reduced, brings on aging effects. (I was going to say “aging symptoms” but they aren’t symptoms–they are the real dang thing!)

She also calmly and firmly reminded me that even though I am taking tamoxifen, that does not negate the fact that–like it or not–I AM (almost) 49, and the part and parcel that goes along with that is what I am experiencing. I’ve decided that rather than fighting it by denial, which I am prone to do, I am going to try healthy alternatives. I have recently upped my exercising. I am eating healthier. I am drinking less beer and coffee (both favorite beverages of mine). Something has to help!

At this time, I would like to point out something that resounds in my mind whenever I try a new anti-aging regime: It’s my mother’s voice calmly and humorously saying, “Oh, Julie … welcome to middle age.”

Dang it.