I turned 40 recently, as I may have mentioned once or twice before (three months ago is recently, right? Can I still be eating cake?). With all the lovely celebrations that went on, there was also a thought in the back of my mind about my health. Because, not only did I just turn 40, I also just finished breastfeeding my third and final baby (fingers and legs freaking crossed) and started training for the Gold Coast Half Marathon in July.
Although I run a lot, I am also a great fan of eating and drinking. And I eat pretty healthy food now, but I haven’t always. My twenties were spent on a diet of beer and hot chips, with barely any exercise to speak of. Am I paying for it now? Is my body about to fall apart?
It occurred to me this might be a good time to get a full check up and see where I’m at. Have you ever done this? I never have. Isn’t that terrible? Or is it? I don’t even know. But I took myself off to my lovely GP who introduced herself to me like we’ve never met before. (I’m one of those low maintenance patients that doctors only see when they’re dying or pregnant.)
So I got the full run-down. For the record, I want to say: do we really think pap smears are so bad? Honestly? I don’t know what all the fuss is about. Maybe it’s having babies that does it to you but my dignity is no longer any of my concern, and it’s not like it hurts. And I love the way all docs seem to have been trained to make the most inane small talk when they are wielding a speculum. What high schools are her kids going to go to? Like I give a shit. But silence would definitely be worse – and weird. Ooh, and maybe there would be squelchy noises I wouldn’t want to hear. Yeah, okay, high schools it is.
Then I got to have a breast exam. There are not many people on earth who have touched my boobs without buying me a drink first but she was very nice about it. And I found out that – because my father’s sister died from breast cancer when she was way too young – I should now be having a mammogram and an ultrasound every two years. Did you know mammograms are free for us once we hit 40? Ultrasounds aren’t but because our breast tissue is still young and dense (think Keanu Reeves circa 1992), it can be hard to detect everything with a mammogram so using both together is more reliable. If you have any family history – or if it’s something that concerns you – ask your GP about it.
And then I had a few vials of blood drawn to test my organ functions and cholesterol. I was hoping my doc didn’t see me flinch when she said she was going to check my liver. I think I held my breath for a full week but all came back A-okay-hooray! Let’s crack the bubbly to celebrate!
Next came the new phase in my training: a personal training studio. You may have seen me share on social media my new personal trainer informing me I’m the same age as his dad, which was a super-dooper start. But he redeemed himself with a full physical breakdown that included:
Okay, so the mental age bit I just made up, but I was pretty pleased with the metabolic age being 35. That’s two babies and a whole lot of lost sleep ago for me. I loved 35! If you want to read more about how all those measurements work, check out the Tanita website.
So I am happily grateful for a body that is in good working order and allows me to do all the stuff I want to do. Now that I’m 40 – and have three tinies depending on me to stick around – keeping healthy seems to be suddenly more important than it ever has.
But I love to have goals and I am also unashamedly vain, so I will be working with my trainer on reducing my weight and body fat, and increasing my muscle mass so I can look as hawt as is possible for an old bugger. I know Catherine Deneuve says that after 40 a woman has to choose between her arse and her face, but fuck it, I want both. And I’m going down swinging!
Are you a health checker? Do you want to know all your statistics or would you rather not?