Several sources claim that the act of caregiving for someone with a serious disease destroys the vitality of the caregiver. The immune system can deteriorate to the extent that the caregiver can become ill, even lose years from her life expectancy.
I agree with those sources. During the five years of caring for my husband, Dean, I was frequently fighting some kind of an infection. My hair was thinning severely. My weight was 15 lbs heavier than optimal clothes-fitting weight. I couldn’t get to sleep or stay asleep, blood sugar was borderline diabetic, and my digestive system vacillated from excessive to non existent.
I thought once I could relax when Dean had passed, that all that would reverse to normal. Not so. The worst was looking into the mirror and seeing the reflection of someone with no vitality: dullness in my eyes, gray skin, and heavy frowny lines around my mouth. It was depressing.
Apparently, being healthy was not a passive act. Action was needed. If I wanted to look and feel healthy I was going to have to develop a plan.
The 15 pounds fell off almost immediately. The task of keeping the pounds off took research, self inspection, and a new doctor. I learned that I felt so much better if I stopped eating white things; pasta, bread, sugar, and cereal. Lately corn is going on that list.
I found Dr Nathan Morris, Good Medicine, College Corner, Ohio through recommendations from friends. He is described as a “functional” family practice doctor. Some might say holistic or integrative. He listened to all the elements of my unhealthiness and deduced that most of my problems were arising from a sick gut. Once he fixed my digestive system with natural vitamins and minerals, I felt amazingly better. He also recommended that I start estrogen replacement therapy. And make note that scientific research supports restoring estrogen levels! It helps prevent cancer not the other way around.
With the natural estrogen, my hair came back, my nails were strong, my sleep patterns normalized, and my moods were happier. I also had much more stamina.
But I digress: Regaining Vitality is the subject.
I needed to determine what I needed to do to become the person I wanted to be during this stage of my life. Then I gave myself permission to be better. Women over 50, 60, 70+ are allowed to be attractive.
Consider doing some of these big activities if they feel right for you:
I would be remiss if I did not say that surface beauty is only a window pane for the beauty within. A woman starting into a new chapter of her live needs to give herself permission to swell her heart, to have moments that take her breath away.
This will be different for each person. The important message is that when a woman finds what stimulates her mind and her heart, her inner beauty will reflect that awareness. People will notice the changes in her whole being and demeanor.
I know. I feel blessed to have found what takes my breath away.
I frequently speak to various caregiver groups, and would love to see as many people as possible. Come share your stories with me and the rest of the group.
I can’t tell you how wonderful your book is!!!!... -- Diana Waugh (geriatric nurse consultant)