Are you experiencing this condition?
You wake up in the morning wondering why there is now a crowbar in your back where your muscles used to be? Do you find that after a workout, exercise, chores, or just plain walking, your hips and knees ache? Your fingers get stiff. Sometimes it is only one finger and other times your whole hand. It feel like you are spinning the wheel to see what part of your body is going to hurt today.
Mealtimes are now an adventure. You occasionally get vague abdominal pains. They come and go. Maybe I’ll get bloated, maybe I won’t be able to go to the bathroom for two days, or the reverse; none are pleasant.
Are you second guessing your memory? Forgetting people’s names, appointments, what you just watched on TV yesterday? Not able to focus as well as you used to? You worry that you are developing memory problems like dementia.
Are you getting chest pains from time to time? Short of breath when you climb up the stairs or find that what you were once able to do, now it has become more difficult.
You start hearing ringing in your ears.
You get this gloppy mucousy stuff that accumulates in your throat that makes it difficult to swallow at times.
New lumps and bumps start appearing on your body.
You stepped on the scale and wonder why you are now 10-20 pounds more than you were several years ago even though you really haven’t done anything different. You’re eating the same food, not overindulging, and yet the scale is telling you things you do not want to know.
There are now nights when you try to get to sleep, and you can’t. Or you do fall asleep but wake up in the middle of the night and are not able to get back to sleep.
You have gone to see your doctor, have had all kinds of tests done, and they all report that you are “normal”. And contrary to what a naturopath might say, you do not have adrenal fatigue given that it is a made-up condition.
Then like magic, some days are perfect. Body feels great, head is clear, bowels are regular, and you feel like you are 25 again. If this happens when your health practitioner prescribes something to take or you’ve just grabbed something off the shelf, you think this is marvelous. You finally have the cure for what ails you.
Other days are miserable. If this happens when your health practitioner prescribes something to take or you’ve just grabbed something off the shelf, you think that what ever you are now taking should be relegated to the garbage heap and many would have more evocative terms to describe what we think of this product.
So what is this affliction that ails you?
Will before I reveal the answer, let’s talk about “regression towards the mean” my dear listeners. We hover around an average. What do I mean by that? Well, the natural course of illnesses and other conditions cycles around an average. This average can change over time. This is common with any long-term condition.
Again, some days are going to feel fantastic, other days, not so much; that’s the average. We try to figure out why this happens and there are no straightforward answers. We grow frustrated, try all kinds of remedies from people that promise us all kinds of solutions yet rarely does it come to any successful conclusion.
People spend oodles of cash, even when they cannot afford to do so, because they are desperate for an answer, understandably so.
Human beings like certainty. When there are no readily available answers, it makes us nervous, scared, and vulnerable.
So, when all the tests are normal, and the workup is appropriate to establish that you do not have any major disease process, there is one diagnosis that is becoming more common and that, for the most part, provides a unifying explanation as to why we feel the way we do at times.
But before I get to that, I must caution you, you will not be happy. Some will have a difficult time accepting what they have. Some will tell their friends and family that their doctor has lost it.
Again, we as a species likely stability, certainty, and a diagnosis. At least then, we know what we have, we basically know what the outcome is going to be, and there are usually treatments to help us.
Are you still with me? Are you ready for the truth? Well, here it is.
You, me, your friends, and family, indeed most of the world as they get older begins to suffer from the most common of common conditions. Again, this diagnosis is reserved for people who have been determined to be otherwise healthy; they have had appropriate and thorough evaluations.
This condition is called life-itis.
Life-itis explains the intermittent unexplainable aches and pains that we never used to have when we exerted ourselves. It explains why our gut does not digest like it used to. It is why that you finally remember 3 hours later after a socially awkward interaction, the name of the person that you forgot.
It is why when you come back from the gym, you’re getting all kinds of pain and back pain and body pain that you never had before. Indeed, it explains all the conditions that have been painstakingly reviewed ad nauseum for your listening pleasure.
Our brains may think that we still are 25, but our bodies are quick to rebut that fantasy.
Life-itis is not a term that I use in jest. It is very real. It is that in our society, we expect every ache and pain and condition to have a solution when, there is no cure for getting older.
So, I can give you a pill and tell you that it will help and 50% of the time
Why? Because you’re on the upward curve of that regression towards the mean cycle that I told you about earlier, and you will be grateful. But I didn’t do anything. Your body did. And when it goes down the other side of the hill, be mindful, as it usually will get better on its own. Save your money, if you can, modify triggers, and avoid overmedicating when in the long run, it generally will make things worse.
There is no cure for life-itis, only our desire to live the best we can, embrace the fact that our bodies change over time, and that although we can delay the inevitable by taking care of ourselves, 65, 75, 85-year-old joints, lungs, hearts, intestines, kidneys, brains, and bones are not 25 years old anymore.
And I can live with that.
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