In the light of more news coming out about the Cholesterol and Statin conundrum, let me tell you a story.
Seven years ago, I found out that I have what the NHS considers to be high Cholesterol. 11.5 I was put on statins, and very quickly began to have such bad side effects that I had to leave them off.
Then, the GP sent me to the Lipid Clinic. I felt humiliated and angry to start with when a young student interviewed me to find out my background. She said that I was over the safe limit on the BMI table, (27) and that I had better do something about it. She was supposed to be asking me about my lifestyle, but never asked whether I had been “Doing Something About It!”
I had been doing something about it all of my life, and was feeling great that I was still only 27 on the BMI table! So you can imagine my anger. But that is another story.
However, the Lipid Consultant gave me some other drugs than statins, which I took. When I went back four weeks later, my Cholesterol had gone down. So she then gave me an added drug. To this day I cannot understand why she did that if the other one was working anyway. In my ignorance, I began to take them.
By now I was beginning to do a lot of research of my own. And discovered that this drug had NOT BEEN ENTIRELY PROVED TO BE SAFE!
The rest of the story, in brief, was that I wrote to the consultant, discussed it with my GP, (who was very open-minded) and left all the drugs off.
I had read two books which I highly recommend to you, and which the consultant said that she would be putting in an official complaint about the authors because they were damaging peoples health! She was bringing my case up at the conference she was attending on Heart research, and she was writing to my GP with a disclaimer notice.
My GP laughed when I went to her next, and put my head around the door before my body, and asked if it was safe to come in, seeing as she had had this letter from said Consultant. But she said that she had already written back to the consultant saying that her patient (me) had obviously done a lot of research and that she was entitled to make up her own mind.
Since then, my readings have gone down to 7.5 which is about right for someone my age. Without any drugs, but eating a balanced diet and NOT LOW FAT.
So, before you carry on believing all that is said about having to keep your Cholesterol Levels down, far too low for many of us, read these books. I don’t claim to be an expert, but I know enough to realise that I am a lot better off letting my body do as it thinks best.
The books that I read were The Great Cholesterol Con, by Dr Malcom Kendrick, whom I have now met and he gave me a signed copy in honour of the way that I stood up to these medical bullies. His book is informative, easy reading and funny in a tongue in cheek fashion.
Many of you will know that I see myself as an expert on food issues and addictions to certain food.
I have written books about it and numerous blogs and even designed a workbook to help people. A lot of my work has been entitled around “What does food mean to you?”
I am an expert because I have been obsessed with food and weight issues for nearly fifty years. And that means that an awful lot of calories, pounds and food has passed my lips.
My bulimia has been anything from living on virtually nothing to eating an entire loaf of bread spread with butter and jam in an afternoon.
Seven years ago, I came across a diet that made sense to me. This way of eating helped me to break away from sugar and carbohydrate addiction, by controlling my intake of those foods.
But, it was all coming from the outside; in. Even though this diet made sense, and there was loads of support, conferences and a forum. As well as the books, recipes and menus, seven years later I have still fallen back occasionally to the old ways. I have still fallen back into the habit of being obsessed with my body weight.
In the last seven years too, I have been working on my personal and spiritual self. It has been quite a trip.
In fact, when I sometimes read the stuff that I have written, I wonder if it was me that wrote it. But at present, I seem to be in a phase where I am catching up with my own advice.
In the last two months, I have been reading, learning, studying and practising with a chap called Dr Joe Dispenza. He has written several books, but I started with one called “Breaking the Habit of Being You.”
He explains that no matter how hard we try if we don’t change our thinking and core beliefs about ourselves, we cannot change the ingrained habits of our way of thinking.
Changing our thinking has been talked about over the years, in connection with Spiritual development. We hear about the Law of Attraction, Quantum theory and the laws of the Universe.
Yet all of these will not work completely unless we are willing to meet them halfway. This can be with illness, lack, addictions, broken relationships, and so on.
JD has gone a step further and explained HOW we could change our thinking, by changing our brains.
When I started to read his books, I became aware of the large amount of headspace my food issues was filling up. I had often tried to change my thinking around several shifts that I have wanted to make in my life. But somehow there has been something lacking.
For me and countless others, Joe has hit the proverbial nail on the head.
If you want to know more, you would have to listen to him on YouTube or read his books. But basically, he works on using the brain, body and mind together, by meditation. Choosing what you want to change, you then do the meditation, and state your intention.
He explains in details why it works, and at his seminars and workshops, you can see the activity in the brain, on the EEG machines that he uses. It is all carried out scientifically and not just pseudoscience.
So, I began carrying out his instructions, and now, two months later I am finding that my attitude to food is changing dramatically.
For example, I am now eating a lot less and satisfied quicker. I am enjoying my food, and am not afraid of it anymore. When fear sets in I simply say the word “Change.” Doing this brings my awareness to what I am doing and why. I am no longer in the fridge or cupboard wondering what to eat between meals.
I am bringing foods into the house that I would not have before. Yes, there is still a way to go with that because there are still some foods that I fear will bring on a binge. But that will change with continual everyday meditation and choose to use the word change when I find myself in the food cupboard, and I am not hungry.
Most surprising is that I find that given a choice between eating what I know is good for me, and some other food that I have banned from my diet in the past, I am actually choosing the good food.
I surrendered my anxiety over what I eat because I was still in a kind of diet trap. I was still using the diet to control me, instead of allowing my body to say what it wants.
There are probably people who are thinking, “If I did that I would be totally out of control because the sugar would trigger me off.”
I was saying that too until I decided that I wanted to change enough to make a difference in my life. In the past, I would have been afraid to let go, because the addiction was controlling me.
But now I realise that I want to have dominion over my body. Which has not meant that I am dictating to it what it has, but because I am also respecting its needs, my body is responding with “Thank you for listening to me, I can now let you know what I want!”
And rewarding me for making me aware of the times when if I fancy something sweet, I can have it. Without the fear of losing control.
For many years I have been cooking separate meals for myself and my husband. I still do occasionally, because there are some things that he likes that I don’t.
But there have too many occasions when I have cooked separate meals, and simply do not want mine, and yet would fancy his. It dawned on me that perhaps I would be healthier if I had a little of what I have cooked for him rather than sitting down to something I don’t fancy. Why go on torturing myself, because I am afraid of food!
People with weight, self-image and food problems, have a complicated relationship with food. I have been telling myself all those years that I love food. But the constant input from various diets and slimming clubs has made me afraid of it.
We hear so much about what is good for you, or what is not so good. The media bring mixed messages to people, no wonder we get confused.
We all need to eat. We need to eat nourishing foods and enjoy them. Above all, we need “Soul Food!”
That means that we need to nourish our mind, body and soul. Eating out with friends is a good example of that. Are you eating out with them because of the food, or because of their company?
When I have been not eating particular foods in the past, I have felt almost cast aside. Now I can just eat a little of what the others eat and just be seen as having a small appetite.
Are you eating something that has been slung together for the sake of satisfying your physical hunger? Or are you eating something that has been lovingly prepared?
Yes, there are times when we are in a hurry and may turn to some fast food. But that does not mean that it cannot be nourishing.
However, I digress. The point is that I have realised a wonderful change in my attitude to food and my body since I began the meditations with Joe. It is not Joe that is making the difference, but my intention of making the change. He simply gave me the tools.
I am making good use of those tools, I know that I have a way to go, fifty years of dieting and not eating certain foods, will not be changed overnight. But the important thing is that I am now aware of what the problem has been.
If you are stuck in any area of your life and want to change it, whether that is lack, addiction, or an illness, take a look at Joe Dispenza. I am aware that he is not the only person teaching quantum, but his teachings have hit the spot for me.
Joe Dispenza has written, “Evolve the Brain.” “Breaking the Habit of Being You.” “The Placebo Effect”.
Recently he wrote “Becoming Supernatural”, and he is touring the world presenting a workshop on it. I am looking forward to attending his London workshop on April 14th. 2018.
I was diagnosed with the early signs of Age-related Macular Degeneration four years ago. At a regular eye test, the Optician told me that I had something called Drusen, which appeared as little white fatty spots on the picture of the back of my eye. He advised me that I should take supplements which he recommended and so I did that.
Being of a tenacious nature and having an enquiring mind, I began to do my own research about this condition and also found out what support was available.
The news was not good because AMD is apparently un-reversible and steadily gets worse. It is genetic and often caused by smoking. The advice was also to eat plenty of greens stuff, and the jury was out on supplements.
Two years down the line after having new prescription lenses and finding that they did not help my vision, I went to the University in Plymouth, where I had volunteered to be a guinea pig for students, and they found a layer of Wet behind the macula. I was sent straight away to the Eye Infirmary, where they said that it was not yet bad enough for treatment (injections in the eye) but that they would monitor it and start injections when it deteriorated to a crucial stage.
Meanwhile, I was experiencing a great deal of stress in my life, which I will not go into here.
On the positive side, the wet was not getting any worse. I was also watching what I eat, and kept mostly to a natural diet, not eating much of the refined and processed products that pretend to be food these days.
Then, in October last year, the source of the stress left my life. In December I went to the Eye Infirmary who told me that they would not need to see me for another three months as opposed to the usual four weeks, because there was still no change, and they would be discharging me on my next visit if there wasn’t any further change. (I found out from the University that it meant that the wet MD was not getting worse.)
On my last visit to the University two weeks ago, they did a scan, and found that the wet had disappeared! Apparently, the effects that stress can have on Wet AMD is not very well researched or recognised. But the tutor said that she would be telling researchers about my case.
To sum up then; my vision is a lot better. The wet has disappeared. The progression is not as much as was first feared. None of this is my imagination because it is there on the scans. I am now using the distance vision glasses again and managing a lot better.
I claim that the reasons are; because I eat a healthy diet; I do not take expensive synthetic supplements anymore; The enormous stress has disappeared from my life; And I practice Spiritual (not religious) development.
It is a talk by a Chris Knobbe.MD. And just about sums up what my own experience with MD is except for the stress factor.
He has been studying the effect on AMD from our appalling modern diet. He gives correlation studies on this.
I could tell you what he says, but the best way for you to find out is to watch the video. It is quite literally an eye-opener.
He does not claim that we can all repair our eyes, but what he looks at is how we can prevent it and reverse it in the early stages with a natural ancient way of eating.
The four main culprits that are very significant in our modern diets, starting from the early sixties are; White flour, Vegetable oils, trans fats, and sugar.
If you think about it, those are the ingredients in our modern day diet of mainly processed foods.
In the USA the food intake percentages are; Plant foods, 12%: Animal Foods 25% and Processed foods 63%.
He shows the correlation between the increase in these processed foods and MD, from very few cases in the 1920’s to the present day prevalence of it.
He gives a list of diseases that are increasing in the countries that have these monster foods, among these diseases are; diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, Alzheimer’s, Obesity and autoimmune diseases. All are amounting to something called metabolic syndrome. Now, with his lengthy research and correlated findings he wants to see MD added to that list.
Because of my own experience, I believe him. I left off the supplements last September and increased my daily intake of green foods. I eat a good diet, and I am aware of my emotional and mental conditions too.
In case you are wondering about my diet, I will say that before seven years ago, I was consuming a lot of the four foods he mentions. White flour, sugar, vegetable oils and trans fats, loomed large in my way of eating. I was a victim of the slimming diet industry, and yes; diet foods contain these ingredients. I dieted on and off for over forty years until I discovered how to eat for my health.
Which reminds me; a lot of Baby Boomers are the ones who were told to eat low-fat foods. That advice happened in the late 1970’s when we were all foxed into becoming low fat eaters. The food industry jumped on the wagon, and it has become conventional to avoid fat.
For the last seven years, I have mostly kept to a natural diet. I eat very small amounts of sugar or even sweeteners. I base my intake on plenty of plant foods and vegetables, one piece of fruit a day, natural yoghurt, (not low fat) animal products, eggs and some amount of natural fats such as butter, olive oil and coconut oil, nuts and seeds. I eat very little in the way of bread but have quinoa and a small amount of rice or oats.
These foods have become my normal way of eating.
Please have a look at the video, before you make any comments or judgements. I do not claim to know it all, but Chris Knobbe.MD, and Dr Harcombe and a good many other researchers and authors certainly know enough for the authorities and many medical professionals to sit up and start to take notice.
If you want to read any further about a healthy and natural way of eating, and why, the following list of authors have written extensively about the subject. Just google them!
Dr Zoe Harcombe; Robert Lustig; Gary Taubes; Dr Verner Wheelock; and much more about the damage that sugar and our faulty way of eating in the 21st century.
On Saturday September 16th 2017, I attended the Macular Society conference in London with my daughter.
Right from the time we stepped outside the Tube station, I was astonished at how well they were organised. As we stopped to look at our maps of the location of the conference, we spotted two people in yellow teeshirts with Macular Society on them. Every hundred yards all the way to the hotel, on every corner, there were more yellow teeshirted people many with flags to attract our attention.
We were greeted at the Hotel by warm friendly volunteers and shown where everything was. Including coffee and pastries.
The exhibitions were many and helpful and as we entered the main conference room, my daughter remarked that she was impressed by the 600 people who were proactive and not just sitting back and being visually impaired.
At 11 am the conference began with a welcome speech. Followed by three speakers. The first gave a simple illustration of the mechanics of AMD, using a packet of biscuits as an example. When the lowest biscuit in a packet is stale, it crumbles and disintegrates. This is what happens in our eyes, and the cleaning cells wear out and crumble. (Not absolutely accurate, but that is the gist of the talk.)
The next speaker was a consultant from Moorfields who was more scientific. And due to restrictions in time he had to speak very fast. But he gave examples of the many experiences of how AMD can progress, both from the patients point of view and the consultants. He also said that while we question why there are so many cases now, we need to bear in mind that we have an increasingly ageing population. Our bodies are not meant to last that long! Which you can agree with or not.
The third speaker gave a talk on Charles Bonnet syndrome. People with AMD can hallucinate. Some hallucinations can be dangerous, for example one may see a brick wall in front of them that is not there. But there could be the day when there really is a brick wall! There can be clouds of butterflies or people with odd clothes or shapes. They reckon that it is the brain compensating for the loss in sight. There is research going on about this, but no answers yet. However, at question time a woman in the audience said that, she had had hallucinations for some time, but since she had developed another age related disease they had faded away, and she wondered whether there was a connection and the brain was now concentrating on the more serious disorder. The Speaker was very interested to hear about this and was going to talk to her more afterwards.
At 1pm, we broke for a delicious lunch of rolls, sandwiches, wraps and fruit. Coffee was in full flow all day long.
After lunch we went to the workshops of our choice. We went to the one on supplements and nutrition. Very interesting. The best thing that you can do with supplements is to study the AREDS reports. I will do a seperate blog about supplement and AREDS in a couple of days.
As far as food was concerned, eat the rainbow, which is what I have said in other blogs before. Include lots of veg, the darker the better, and fruit also darker the better. Red meat, (not processed) is good, especially liver.
It was emphasised that once we have MD all we can do through food and supplements is to slow down the process. But that if we take on a healthy lifestyle early in life AMD along with a lot of other diseases can be delayed if not eradicated. I will add that I believe that even if we do go on to have any disease, if our bodies are healthy in the first place, we stand a better chance of recovery or at least we help our bodies to fight it.
It was also emphasised, how much smoking can damage the eyes.
So for those reading this that don’t have AMD, bear in mind that it is another reason to live healthily.
We then went back to the main conference room and heard another speaker on the latest research. They are now in a position where they can announce success with two people who have received stem cell surgery. Their eye sight was quite bad but they have now said there is an improvement. There are now another five waiting for surgery. It will be about five years though before they will be putting this treatment out for the public. Even then, at the moment it will only be available for the most suitable criteria.
I could not help but wonder what will happen when NICE get hold of it!!
But, my daughter who stands a big chance genetically of getting AMD was encouraged by the day and learnt a lot about how to lessen the chances of it happening. Especially the amount of time and money that is going into research and finding a cure.
There was an awards ceremony for the best team within Eye hospitals, kindest and most helpful Opthamologist, and the various volunteers within and out of the MD Society.
All in all a wonderful day, and all for less than £25 I must add.
I for one am going to become a paid up member of this marvellous society. You will see their leaflets and booklets with loads of information, in yellow and black enlarged print in the Eye departments of your hospitals. I have come accross their literature in my capacity as a volunteer for my local Guild, Improving Lives. I also belong to one of their loca groups who meet monthly.
There is a helpline for those who are worried and want to talk to someone. And there were also the numerous volunteers who guided us to the hotel, were around with their smart black clothing and scarves or ties with the logo on them, to help and support in many ways in the conference and hotel, many of whom have MD themselves, and prove that life does not end with this condition. We can still contribute to society in a way that will encourage those who are badly affected, and prove that.
So, watch this space for lots more to come as I learn more, and experience myself what can happen in our everyday lives with AMD. Everyone experiences it differently, but it is useful to find out from others how they overcome it.
There are groups on Facebook and here are the links.
Have you noticed that on any forms you fill out, they have a box for 20-30; 30-40; 40-50; 50-65 (or similar)
When it comes to age 65, we are counted as +
What does that mean to you?
What it means to me is that society, in general, dismisses the over 65’s as a number when everything becomes indefinite.
Over 65’s, in general, have become indefinite, written off, uncertain about the future, invisible.
But I am working on making certain that any of that will not apply to me.
Over 65 is an important passage in life, and in these modern days, we could still live another thirty or more years. That is a lot of years to dismiss eh?
What about you?
Is it time to change all that?
After all, if the Government want us to work until we are 70 or even more, why put 65+ on forms, some of which are important to our welfare, such as insurance.
What can you do as an individual? Could you be a spark to the fire that helps to change that thinking?
We will show them that there is no such thing as 65+
We are still an important number.
Many people in my circle are still coming up with visions and new enterprises for the future at age 65 +!
There are some Facebook groups that you could join, to help start the ball rolling. Ageing with Vitality and The Silver Tent are just two of them. There is also one called Humorous Ageing if laughing about it takes your fancy. Here are the links.
Do you eat plenty of vegetables, especially the green ones?
Do you know how many people are blind in the UK?
Do you have parents or grandparents who have AMD?
Do you know what your risk is of getting AMD or any other visual impairment?
AMD (Age-related Macular Degeneration.) is becoming more common in the 21st Century because people are living longer.
Macular Degeneration as it is commonly known is the breaking down of the macula which is the part of the retina at the back of the eye that provides sharp central vision.
People with this condition can suffer increasingly blurred vision which leads to problems with reading printed or written text, colour, (particularly contrast) and difficulty recognising people’s faces. If you only have AMD and nothing else wrong with your eyes, you will not go completely blind. But you will lose your central vision.
There are other conditions with the eyes such as cataracts, glaucoma and Diabetic retinopathy. I recently heard a story about a chap who went for an eye test, and this was how he found out that he had Type 2 Diabetes. For an optometrist, our eyes are like reading a book. But as a friend of mine pointed out to me just today, you do need to be assertive and make sure that you ask the right questions, and what you can do about any conditions that they come across.
Also only today I heard of someone who had been scared by what the optometrist had said. That there is no cure for AMD and he was in the very early stages of the condition.
It did frighten me when the optometrist told me that I was in the early stages, but I put that fear into action by finding out what was available to help me. So don’t be put off by what they tell you, especially when they say there is no cure and there is nothing that can be done. They may be right that there is no cure, at least at the moment, but there is plenty that can be done to make life easier. I am afraid that many consultants and eye specialists have a habit of doing that, but they fail to point out that there is support available.
If you do find out that you have the early stages of AMD, you can take sensible precautions to take care of your eyes and help to slow up the process.
By wearing glasses or goggles and a hat to keep the sunlight out of your eyes. By learning what aids are available so that you stand a good chance of managing the condition.
So, the earlier you find out, the better. You may not notice anything wrong in your day to day life, except perhaps you may find that reading is blurred even with your reading glasses on. I found out from a regular eye check.
And don’t think that it is an old person condition, some people develop AMD in their twenties or thirties. I know someone who had junior onset AMD at the age of eight.
As a matter of interest here are some interesting facts for the UK. (You can google statistics or facts for your part of the world if you are not in the UK)
In the UK around 600,000 people currently have vision impairment caused by AMD, and around 70,000 new cases are diagnosed every year. (nearly 200 per day)
Over two million people in the UK live with sight loss.
Total sight loss in one eye is not counted against the legality of driving.
People with sight loss in one eye are not considered partially sighted.
Total sight loss is rare, only about 4% of people with vision impairment are totally blind.
Sight loss, in general, affects people of all ages but especially older people. 1 in 5 aged 75 and 1 in 2 aged 90. (This is in degrees of sight loss, from mild to being registered blind or partially sighted.
In the UK there are only 5000 guide dogs.
Every day more than 75 new people are formally registered blind or partially sighted.
75% of blind and partially sighted people of working age are registered unemployed.
There are plenty more statistics that you can find, and some of them are quite revealing. Many people, including myself for many years before I had this condition, get confused when observing people with vision loss. They cannot understand why the person can see some things and not others.
I cannot go into the details here, but I have written some of what I experience as an example here;
As far as the legality of driving is concerned, it is a minefield. The law may say that you are safe to drive with a vision impairment, in fact, some people with an impairment may be able to see the required reading of the number plate. But the insurance company’s may have something else to say about it.
For example, I was told twelve years ago that I could drive under the law. I have other things wrong with my eyes as well, and one of them is double vision when my eyes are tired. I was issued by the Eye Infirmary with a pair of glasses with one lens blacked out (don’t ask about the technicalities please!) and told that I could drive while wearing them. If I were in an accident, I would be covered by the insurance as long as I was wearing them. If I were not wearing them, then I would be liable.
No-one seemed to take into account that wearing them was a hazard for me because I could not see properly with them on. So I had to make a choice not to drive at all. Driving for me, just as it is for millions of people, was freedom and giving it up was painful. But not as much as if I had taken the risk and failed to drive safely.
The main purpose of this article is to point out how important it is to look after your eyes. The main cause of AMD is not known. But the contributing factors are genetic, diet and smoking.
It is a myth that we can get AMD from bad light or too much exposure to computers, etc. But UV light is a factor and another reason for protecting your eyes in the sunlight. The jury is still out on whether computer and smartphones can cause AMD, but there is evidence surfacing that you can suffer what is known as Digital Eye Strain. Eye strain, however, is not a contributing factor to AMD.
Looking at my earlier reference to contributing factors, let’s look at the genetic factor more closely. The genetic factor is only an increased risk. It is not a guarantee that you will get it. But, if you have someone in your family, particularly your parents, with MD, then you need to be extra vigilant with eye care. Get plenty of green leafy vegetables which contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which are two antioxidants stored in the macula.
As for the other two, diet and smoking; just give up smoking, and eat clean as well as including the green vegetables.
And last but certainly not least. GET YOUR EYES CHECKED REGULARLY. At least every two years. Don’t take your eyesight for granted.
One of the most difficult things for me as well as the other 600,000 people in the UK to come to terms with, is that except a miracle, my eyes are not going to get better than they are now, and they are going to get worse over time.
At the moment, because I have developed wet AMD, I am waiting for my eyes to get worse before I can begin to have injections to make them better. Don’t ask!
The only things that I can do are; to make sure that I get the nutrients I need; to shield my eyes from the sun; to eat clean and to take the supplements that I take, to try and slow up the progress.
It is important to stay positive and just let AMD be part of my life and not rule it! But that will take another article, and again let me refer you to the link for my other blogs on AMD.
I have just been through a vital transition in life.
Through the last six months, I encountered “The Dark Night of the Soul.” A time when I was brought low and was forced to look at my life; where I was going, what I was doing. What was working and what was not.
There are times in our lives when we need to go through these dark nights. It is as if the Universe is saying “You are not listening to me, and you need to.”
I do not believe that the Universe, or God or this higher power, whatever you may like to call it, makes us ill, or depressed because I believe that we bring it on to ourselves. We think that we know best. So we will go on working, doing and striving, and wearing ourselves into the ground, or bed or onto pills, simply because we are not listening to that still small voice.
And that applies to anyone of any age.
Even those who say that they are living their purpose and carrying out what they know they are here on this Earth for, can be so busy doing, that they forget to be still, forget to listen, forget to notice things synchronising or not, and go ahead thinking that we know best.
I came to a place where I was forced to listen to that still small voice, and during that time I became quite ill, physically and mentally, but thank God that I still held on to my Spiritual life.
I realised that I had not been listening, I had been striving and worrying and pushing ahead, doing things that I thought I was meant to do.
I had a family problem to deal with, and although it was settled in a way that we thought was not possible at first, at the end of it, I had a meltdown. Not because I doubted, not because I was weak in any way shape or form, but because I had failed to notice that I needed to go through a transformation in my life. A passage of life that has taken me into my fourth age.
I run a group on Facebook for Ageing with Vitality. I blog about ageing. I talk about how we are still vital, but I had not taken into consideration that the physical body does age, whether we like it or not.
I was proud that I had reached the age of 72 and am still active, vital and healthy, but was finding the lower energy and the ability to multi-task, difficult to come to terms with. Along with a visual impairment that I now have.
We hear so much about staying active; keep exercising, keep walking, keep doing things, keep your brain active and on and on. But we can sometimes, be, so hell bent on doing those things that we ignore this important passage of life. Which is transforming into an older person, but one who can still have a good quality of life.
It may happen at different ages while growing into that fourth age. Some are ready to relax at sixty, while others will still be working at age 70, 80 or even more. But the important thing is that we do need to recognise that there will come a time for transition. It may not be an obvious one, but we need to be mindful of subtle changes.
I don’t mean that we wake up one morning and find that we are suddenly old, although for some who are taken ill this may happen of course. But I am talking about looking at why we are feeling more tired than we used to.
Is what you are doing working for you and the other key people in your life?
And I certainly do not mean that we have to “give in”. What I mean is that like a teenager who has to make the decision whether to go to Uni or the twenty-year-old who decides that life is going to change, they have left their teenage life behind and now have to settle down to life. Or the person going through a midlife crisis and decides that they want to change careers. We need to look at what our purpose is for the rest of the time that we are here.
For me, my transition has shown me that my purpose does not look like what I have been striving after for the last six or seven years. Even though in that time I have been more aware and conscious than ever before.
But I am at peace, and simply want to serve.
Nowadays, when I have a decision to make I ask myself what purpose it will serve?
I am so grateful that I do not have to work for a living now. I am grateful that I have accepted a simpler lifestyle and do not strive after belongings. My income is modest, and I love having no responsibilities.
I am healthy and do eat a healthy diet; I love walking and make sure that I walk at least an hour most days. I stay active; I love the Internet, Facebook and the groups that I belong to on there. I love the women’s group “Damsels in Success”.
I belong to a Women’s over fifty group “The Silver Tent,” whose purpose is to raise the consciousness of the world.
I love going to the Macular Society meetings with others who have sight problems. We have a laugh and obtain lots of important information.
I love eating out with friends and my beloved husband. I love writing and reading. Most of all I love my times with God, in quietude and meditation. Listening to the music of Taize, Snatam Kaur and other inspirational music.
My life is full and rich again after spending the last few months in transformation and healing. The transition into being a Wise Elderwoman.
Look out for regular blogs again now, about Ageing with Wisdom and Vitality, Death and all that it encompasses, (I am a Funeral Celebrant) and the eye disease Macular Degeneration and what it can be like to live with it. I will also still dabble in eating healthily and supporting people with issues around food and their eating patterns.
It is good to be back again renewed and with a fresh vision.
How about you? Are you listening to that still small voice that may be telling you it’s time for that transition?
The blossoms are the essential part of the progession to the fruit; and the fruit is just as vital.
Have you noticed when you are filling in a form, they put the age brackets into such an order that when you reach 65, it just becomes 65+?
Society spends a lot of time, worrying, fretting and resisting the very idea of ageing.
But as we evolve as humans in the 21st Century, isn’t it time for us to embrace the idea? Especially as many of us are living for another thirty to forty years after retirement.
We still matter! Because as long as we have breath, we are still vital.
Illness and disease can occur at any age, so why do we think that old age has the monopoly on it?
Yes; our bodies do wear out and become weaker and frailer, and the chances of succumbing to degenerative disorders are stronger.
But being Vital in our older years is still as much a part of life as when we are younger. There are many younger people who don’t realise how vital they are to society, so why do we insist on giving old age the honour?
The word vitality is being used too loosely these days. It is used to promote products, and ironically anti-ageing foods and creams. Consequently, we think of vitality as something that is easily lost and associates that loss with ageing.
Some of the synonyms for the word vitality are; Liveliness, energy, animation, spirit, passion, sparkle and vibrancy; the power giving continuance of life, present in all living things; Vital force or energy.
If you study those words and bear in mind that we are all made up of Mind, body and spirit, you may realise that you can retain them.
Liveliness can remain in the mind and spirit, along with vibrancy and passion.
Every one of us, from birth to death, have something to contribute to the world. No matter where you are, where you live, the state of your mind or health, the state of your finances, whatever your intellect or culture you have a VITAL role to play. At any age.
You may not ever become rich, a writer, an artist, a teacher, a celebrity or earn lots of money. You may even be thinking at this moment that you are not successful because you haven’t reached a goal that you had in mind. You may have just been diagnosed with an illness or condition that you perceive as a road to failure.
You may even be thinking that you are already a failure, let alone when you get older.
You may have just retired or are coming up to retirement, and you see the future as bleak and that you will no longer be a vital part of society.
On the other hand, you may be looking forward to a bit of peace.
Do you have the thought at the back of your mind that it is downhill all the way after the age of 65? Do you think that you must do the things on your bucket list before it’s too late?
Too late for what? Perhaps too late to be able to travel freely, too late for certain activities, yes. But have you thought about what else it may be too late for? Are you seeing the time to come, the “too late” as a time when you are sitting like the proverbial cabbage?
The truth is that; As long as you have breath, you are still vital!
But how can I remain vital when I am too weak or helpless to do anything?
All of us have energy running through us as long as we are alive.
Most of the time we are unaware of it and only when we are active in some way, we become aware. But it is there; how else would your heart keep beating, your eyes seeing and all the other organs in your body stay working?
Collective energy is what you feel in a crowd at a football stadium or when the whole world stood still when we were witnessing 9/11.
We are part of the Universal energy, and what is more, it is Vital to every one of us, it is what keeps us alive. You are part of that collective energy.
Even people in a coma, or under anaesthetic have an energy running throughout their body. And they are still vital to the planet and in turn to society.
And even the person in a state of weakness, infirmity and very old age, have that energy and vitality.
People become “old” at any age. The physical process starts at age 27. But in many peoples minds, they begin to feel old as soon as they see the first grey hair.
We put people into categories or brackets. We have expectations of what we can do at any given age. We use the expression “I’m too old for that.”
The perception is different in all of us. Some may still be playing football or running at age ninety; others may need to stop being physically active at a much earlier age due to injury.
When we run upstairs and forget what we came up there for, we fear that it’s the ageing process setting in. Forgetting that most of us at any age do that. What about the schoolchild forgetting his sports kit, or losing his jacket? Do we ask if he or she is getting old?
We think of the darkest fear that we have with the process of old age as a line of events.
We retire; we travel or join things; take up mew hobbies.
Next; we expect we will start to suffer from disease which disables us from doing all the things that we like to do.
We then expect that it’s downhill all the way to becoming useless, a burden on society, and want just to die.
But guess what? That vital energy is still there.
Remember that the Universe does not centre around you, but that You are simply a vital part of it.
So as you become weaker and frailer, you can have either a positive effect on others or a negative.
Prepare for your older years with the thought in mind that you are vital to those around you at this time, and you are on the road to FEELING vital until the day you die.
Another synonym for vitality is spark or sparkle. Are you going to be the spark that lights people’s fire, even when you simply smile at people around you?
Don’t tell me that you can’t do that when you are old and frail. I know many who do.
Having the spark that lights people’s fire starts at any age. Think of the effect that even the youngest baby has when they smile for the first time.
Are your family and friends going to be drawn to see you? You can do this by staying energised while you can by listening, learning, reading, writing and creating new things.
If your niche is gardening or craft do it, while you can.
Stay informed, be active, eat well.
Research drugs before you take them. You do not have to just go along with what the doctor says and jump on the roundabout of taking one drug after another that dulls your brain and mind.
Make younger friends, don’t just join the local senior citizens club and talk about the weather or your latest illness.
You have a lot to offer younger people coming along. Only three days ago, I was lunching in the centre of London with a young student from Singapore. How did I get there? I was at a Seminar on making choices with people of all ages.
The turning point for me was when at the age of sixty, a friend of the same age commented that she hated this business of getting old.
I thought “I’m outta here!” No way was I going to join that bandwagon.
Yes, I am ageing, yes time is running away with me, but I changed my thinking to one of “My older years are going to be a time of learning, wisdom and supporting others to do the same.”
The feeling of loss comes from losing something precious.
A loved one, a loved possession or perhaps moving from a beloved place.
It can be a loss of a limb, of our hearing and our independence perhaps.
In the case of Aged-related Macular Degeneration, it is a gradual loss, but there comes the point where you have to accept that it is never going to get better.
(Some people like to claim that it can get better because there are treatments available outside of the NHS in the United Kingdom, but I have looked into that, and it depends on what type of AMD you have.)
I want to share with you my journey with this problem because I can see that there is such a lack of information about what people are actually experience. I did not know about the darkness, distortion, light sensitivity and other problems. I just thought that it was a matter of losing central vision.
Now I want others to know what to expect or what their relatives or friends are experiencing. I do understand that there are no two cases alike. Each person’s experience will be as different as each of the millions of others who have it.
Yesterday after suffering from dry AMD for two years, and then a further nine months with WET MD, I finally reached the point where I had to face up to the fact that it is never going to be better than it is now.
I am currently waiting for the point where my eyesight has degenerated to the NICE guidelines, so that I can start having injections to slightly improve the sight or at least arrest the deterioration. (Injections cost the NHS £1000 each.)
In the last two weeks, I have been experiencing distortion, and I thought that my eyes had reached the necessary point. So I was surprised when the consultant said that there was no difference on the scan from four weeks ago.
When I asked why I have the distortion suddenly, he replied that he was surprised that I had not had it before.
He also explained that I only have it in my GOOD EYE!
It is weird how I have struggled seeing out of my bad eye, all of my life, but now the good eye is so bad that the bad one sees clearer!
He also explained that the injections might slightly improve the sight again, and they will most likely maintain the sight that I have. But it is worth repeating that the sight has to get worse before it gets better.
This is where the conundrum comes in. I suddenly realised that the sight I have now would never be any better because they will not give me the jabs until it gets worse. Therefore it is never going to be any better than it is now.
Does that make sense? My emotions went into a dip yesterday when I realised that deep down I was hoping that the injections were going to make things better.
I hope that this blog makes sense to you and you can understand what I am trying to say.
I am firing this off early in the morning before a busy, but enjoyable day out in Falmouth in Cornwall with some friends. I am so grateful for that.
A very kind liaison lady came to see me at the Eye Infirmary yesterday, and she gave me some anti-glare goggles to place over my glasses, for the light sensitivity. She was there for me and listened and reassured me that I would never completely lose my sight unless anything else goes wrong other than the MD.
So I have a lot to be grateful for. But I wanted to share this to my groups on Facebook, and others who may find it when looking up AMD on the internet. Just to help people understand this condition that bit better.
I am also grateful for the lovely people in my local MD group in Plymouth, for their company and understanding. When we eat out once a month, we can sit and laugh and feel somewhat normal, even with the enlarged print menus that the restaurants provide!
These illustrations show the progress of how a person with AMD can experience the decline in vision.
AMD (Age-related Macular Degeneration) is quite a common condition .
The macula is located at the back of the eye and is the most sensitive part of the retina. When it is damaged the centre of your field of view may appear blurry, distorted or dark.
I MUST EMPHASISE THAT IT IS THE CENTRAL VISION THAT IS AFFECTED AND PROVIDED THAT YOU HAVE NO OTHER EYE CONDITIONS YOU SHOULD NOT GO COMPLETELY BLIND.
Ageing itself can cause damage, and there are two types of AMD commonly known as Wet or Dry.
The dry type is slow advancing, and many people will have it for some time before they notice there is something amiss.
The first signs are that you may find yourself forever cleaning your glasses. Or you may simply put it down to needing new glasses or that you are putting poor sight down to part of the ageing process and ignore it. It is mostly picked up when you have an eye test. Generally speaking, it begins at the age of around 50, but since nothing happens at any certain age, that is not a given fact.
Dry MD can slowly develop and once diagnosed, it can be monitored and you can change your diet and lifestyle to help slow the process down.
However, 1 out of 10 cases develops into Wet MD and can have more serious implications. Although with wet MD there are injections to slow the process down, there is still no guarantee that it will work.
Let me tell you my story.
Nearly three years ago during a regular annual eye test, the Optician showed me the photos of the back of my eyes, and I could see white spots. (Drusen) He explained that these are signs of Macular Degeneration.
I felt quite alarmed because my Mother has it and I have seen her struggling over many years. But this optician told me about a nutritional supplement that would help to slow up the development. We shall discuss that supplement in the group that I hope to start on Facebook.
I already knew of a Guild in Plymouth which helped people with vision and hearing difficulties, so I went along and found a lot of information about the condition and also what aids there were available.
They also told me about Plymouth University having a department where you could go and have regular examinations and also be a guinea pig for students learning Ophthalmology. Not only that but if there was a serious development, they could contact the Eye Infirmary direct and I would not have to go through my GP.
I rather liked that idea, so I went. And for the past two years I have enjoyed talking to the tutors and students and finding a lot of information. They also have a scanner there, and it was fun to see the back of my eye laid out for interpretation.
They have been impressed with my tenacity and resilience to the situation, and how I stay so positive. But I must admit to being quite alarmed at times when I notice more severe symptoms such as distortion, even to the extent of seeing people’s head’s shaped like ET.
I have a couple of other issues with my eyes, such as double vision which manifests when I am tired and with the added complication of the 6th nerve damage. So, eleven years ago it stopped me from driving. Although I had the problem all my life, as I got older I could not control it so well. But that is another story.
The 6th Nerve damage was caused by the forceps at birth. Resulting in what is commonly called a lazy eye. So I am mostly reliant on my left eye, I often describe it as “I can see all right, but it feels like the brain will not tell me what it is I am seeing.”
Because of the problems with my right eye, the Eye Infirmary are keeping up regular monthly checks. If I lose the vision in that eye, I will be in trouble.
Last July I went along to the University because although the regular eye test at the opticians resulted in new glasses, I was still struggling to see. They did a scan and found that it had developed into Wet MD.
Wet MD is where abnormal blood vessels grow underneath the retina, and these vessels can leak fluid and blood, which can lead to swelling and damage of the macula.
The University fast-tracked an appointment for me at the Eye Infirmary (What a horrible name)
After numerous tests, the EI are monitoring me regularly because when it reaches a critical point, they can start with injections into the eye, which will slow up the progress.
The latest development is that peoples faces are distorted and have taken on a perculiar appearance. I have adjusted my own image here so that you can see what I am seeing.
You can read in a previous blog how this affects my everyday living.
Some people have claimed that there is a cure, but I have yet to come across any proven cures. The EI and the University certainly have not found any.
But I was asked the other day about whether MD can be prevented.
It is best to start as early as possible to make lifestyle changes.
Although none of us can guarantee to prevent any disease in our lives, there are things that you can do to strengthen your chances of not getting it. Or giving your body a better chance to deal with any disease at all.
It is no surprise to me that the answer is the same as with many other diseases of the Western world, such as obesity, cancer, Type 2 diabetes, and other modern diseases.
Eat a healthy diet rich in green leafy vegetables and fish.
I do all of these things and also take a special supplement called Macushield.
I am considering starting the Facebook group for this condition, both in helping people to try and prevent it and how to deal with it.
Would you please comment either on this blog or in the comments on Social Media if you would like to join us.
There are plenty of MD Facebook groups in the US, but because our health care systems are different in the UK, I think that it will be of benefit to many.
Also, of course, the nature of the condition prevents people from reading on Facebook, and I suspect that many don’t get the opportunity or are not aware of the advantages of it.
But it may be that you have a relative or friend that you could help by belonging to the group.
Would you please share this, because I would like as many people as possible to benefit from a good Facebook group on AMD.
The picture below is the scene without any eye problems!
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