Estrogen at menopause, good or bad for you?

October 14, 2009

Researchers seem to go back and forth on this one.  I’m sticking to my low dose bio-identical estrogen patch for now:

Hormones may ward off dementia

By JEFF DONN, Associated Press

BOSTON – New research suggests that hormone therapy taken soon after menopause may help protect against the mental decline of dementia, even though it raises that risk in elderly women.

The study adds yet another frustrating twist to the back-and-forth findings about whether hormone-replacement therapy protects against diseases of aging. Though the accepted answer has been “no” in recent years, the latest evidence suggests that timing of treatments may be key, at least for heart attacks and now for dementia.

“When you give it may be very important,” said Dr. Sam Gandy, an Alzheimer’s disease expert at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

The new findings were released Wednesday in Boston at a meeting of the American Academy of Neurology. Experts cautioned that they are preliminary.

Lead researcher Dr. Victor Henderson, of Stanford University, agreed that it’s too soon to consider putting younger women back on hormones to forestall dementia.

For decades, women routinely took hormones to treat the hot flashes of menopause and to ward off ailments of aging. Then, in 2002, a milestone study showed higher risks of heart attack, stroke, and breast cancer with estrogen-progestin treatments. Estrogen-only pills were later also linked to stroke.

As a result, millions of women gave up the pills, and government experts advised women to use them only for severe menopause symptoms and to take the lowest dose for the shortest time possible.

But in recent weeks, mounting evidence has emerged that women who take such drugs closer to menopause may get more benefit or confront less risk than women who start taking them later. An analysis this month indicated the drugs do not raise the risk of heart attack for women ages 50-to-59, and they seem to survive longer with the drug.

The latest findings focused on 7,153 women in an offshoot study of the huge Women’s Health Initiative that tracked breast cancer and heart disease. The cognitive study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and by Wyeth, which sells hormone treatments.

Previous research showed that women who take hormones after age 65 experience a 75 percent increased risk of dementia over other women.

But this study found the opposite for women who took hormones before age 65: Dementia risk was reduced by nearly half.

Dementia developed in 22 of 2,228 women — or only 1 percent — who took hormones at the earlier time, but in 84 of 4,925 who did not — or 1.7 percent. The apparent protective effect was especially strong for Alzheimer’s disease, a common form of dementia.

“It’s an intriguing and biologically plausible finding … but it needs to be confirmed,” said Dr. JoAnn Manson, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, who helped research the Women’s Health Initiative.

She said replacement hormones may preserve blood circulation in the brain.

Failing upward!

October 13, 2009

looking up into treesI heard a great expression the other day and I loved it!  Failing upward!

So that’s what I’ve been doing for the past few years, and it seems to be working really well for me!

I now see every circumstance where I try to do something that fails, as a breakthrough learning experience.

I have lost my fear of failure because each time something doesn’t work out as I had hoped, it leads me to a higher level of under-standing about myself and the kind of work I need to be doing.

If we are open and fearless, we can learn so much about ourselves through this process!

My best example was the matchmaking service I started in 2004 after I lost my job as a librarian.  It was fun.  I enjoyed it and made some money, but I realized it wasn’t really me after about six months.

So then I hired a career counselor and together we decided I should try freelance writing next.  I worked really hard at that for a couple of years, but could soon see the major problems with writing as a profession.

Freelance writing is so unpredictable and undependable right now, what with newspapers and magazines going out of business right and left, and nobody certain how or if we will ever find a way for writers to actually get paid a living wage through the internet.

More importantly, I learned that what I most love to do is exactly what I’m best at.  I finally got the BRIGHT idea to do what I love!  I know I’m a GREAT coach and counselor. I have heard it from everyone my whole life.

I LOVE encouraging a crowd to think outside the box, expand their vision of what they are capable of, and then go do it.  I also LOVE working one-on-one with others when they feel stuck and feel a strong need to move on in life.

Is it possible I could do what I love and am best at, and also make a good living at it?  Will wonders never cease!

Amy Ferris shares her confessions from a midlife crisis: Marrying George Clooney

October 12, 2009

One of the BEST benefits of being the Midlife Crisis Queen is being automatically mailed a few of the latest books published about midlife.

MarryingGeorgeClooneyBeing a librarian from way back, I ALWAYS appreciate a good read, and Marrying George Clooney: Confessions from a midlife crisis is just that!

Any book about midlife crisis that can make you laugh and cry at the same time, is well worth reading.

From her love affair with Ambien to her midnight musings as she cruises the internet, Amy Ferris captures the deeper turmoil and confusion that only menopause can bring.

At first I thought her book would only be a light and sometimes hilarious romp through Amy’s own version of a midlife crisis with great lines like, “I no longer have a waistline!” and her compulsive need to Google old boyfriends and lovers.  She definitely kept me on my toes and laughing through her discussions about being a control freak even AFTER her own death.

But at the end of the book, Amy graciously shares her last days with her mother before she died.  No more touching words have been written about the passing of a beloved parent.

Where does authenticity come from?

October 11, 2009

Unfortunately, for many of us, true authenticity can only come from finding ourselves in desperate situations.  I am speaking from personal experience here.

I recently spoke to a room full of newly unemployed people, folks who had never really known that kind of desperation before.  At the end, the first question was,

“Do you have to reach that point of feeling like you have very little left to lose, before you can begin to acknowledge and appreciate your own uniqueness?”

My only answer was, “I did.”  Before that point, I still believed I had all the answers.  I still believed in the traditional American dream and felt like it was working for me to some extent.  In other words, I was still willing to ignore my deepest personal need to become my best self, because I had some sort of marriage and job and that felt safe.  Don’t fix it if it ain’t broken!

But when that all crumbles before your eyes, when everything you thought you knew about yourself and your future is no longer true, desperation CAN lead to inspiration.

The same can be said about marriage.  If you have a mediocre marriage that meets a few of your needs and you feel safe, you may stay in it, because the alternatives look grim.  But when that marriage ends, you are forced to become much more creative when thinking about your future.  You realize now anything could happen, and that can be refreshing and terrifying at the same time.

But if you are willing to take the necessary risks and take the time to invest in finding a better future for yourself, help is available.  If you are certain you don’t want to go back to the same old, same old or your life feels like it has turned into a 9-to-5 way of dying, you are now ready to change for the better.

You may be ready to find the courage inside to explore what you were put on this earth to do!

Remember: do-overs are indeed possible before it’s all over!

Stop wishing and start doing!

October 9, 2009

I saw these words on a TV commercial for retirement, and I thought “NO!!!”  This is not about retirement!  This is about your life right now!  These words are an example of how we are taught to keep putting off our lives one day at a time, until we suddenly realize we have no life left!

Most of us live parallel lives.  We live day to day, sometimes in the present, and often float off into visions of our past.  At other times we free ourselves up enough to daydream about a better life in our future, one where we have lots of free time to do exactly what we want, whenever we want to.

I was handed that kind of free time five years ago when I lost my job, and it scared the hell out of me!  Because when you have that much free time, it’s very hard to distract yourself from the problem at hand.

When you finally get anywhere near the strong feeling of nothing left to lose, the freedom can be terrifying.  When you have nothing but time to think about yourself and your life, you may begin to wonder,

“What have I really done with my life so far?  Has my life had any meaning at all?”

These feelings of terror were exactly what I needed to stop wishing and start doing.  I decided I strongly desired more of two things in my life:  fun and meaning.  I didn’t want to suffer now for a better future later.  I knew I was through with that way of living.  I felt forced to take a painfully honest inventory of what I needed to do before I died.

It has been a slow, difficult process moving from those stark, dark days to something better.  From where I sit today, every single moment of confusion and uncertainty was worth the joyful life I see before me.

Yes, it is important to daydream and vision and make wish lists about finding a better future for yourself.  But only if you are willing to take some gigantic risks to follow through with your plan.

“Only those who risk going too far, can possibly find out how far one can go.”   -T.S. Eliot

Midlife Women Who Shine!

October 8, 2009

I am so enjoying the conversations I’ve been having lately with some of the top professional speakers in the country! These women are powerhouses of positivity, providing the world with great new information, and offering hope for others as well as myself!

Chris Cox speaks under the company name Amplitude LLC and is surely a firecracker for improving your own brain function through the emergenetics process. Amplitude means the state or quality of being ample, greatness, full measure or abundance.

barbara mcvicker photoBarbara McVicker! WOW!  She started out only a few years ago, after experiencing personally the difficulties of raising two children, while struggling to maintain her career, and care for her ailing parents.  Overwhelmed and feeling isolated, she eventually quit her job to care for her parents full-time.

In 2006 and 2007 she transitioned into being an elder care expert by interviewing other caregivers, while researching and writing her book:  Stuck in the Middle: Shared stories and tips for caregiving your aging parents. Then she struck out as a professional speaker with her book as her business card, and the rest is history!

I love talking to such inspirational women who make presentations to share all that they have learned from their own research and experience.  I feel certain that they are a part of the solution to so many problems we baby boomers face every day!

I am excited to share with you all of these interesting and important stories and tips I’ve learned, when Brian Schwartz and I publish our new book, the first volume of 50 Interviews: Professional Speakers in just a month or two!

Diet and Depression

October 6, 2009

I read an amazing book a number of years ago by Laura Frazier called “Losing it.”  She tried all the well-known diet plans like Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig, and then concluded the best advice she could give to anyone hoping to lose weight and feel better about themselves is:  “Eat your vegetables and go outside and play.” mediterranean diet foodsSimple, but oh so true!

Now a research study in Spain has found the same. In a study of over 10,000 healthy adults over four and a half years, they found that those that adhere to the Mediterranean diet had a 30% reduction in depression.

This diet is high in olive oil, beans, vegetables, fruits, fish, nuts and cereals, and low in red meat, alcohol, and dairy.

Even more interesting is the fact that a diet high in olive oil enhances the amount of serotonin or brain transmitter available to the brain.  Most anti-depression drugs do the same thing!

Where is divorce most common?

October 5, 2009

Here’s a fascinating article about the latest Census data on divorce. Do you live in the divorce capital of the US?

Blogging Boomers Carnival #133

October 5, 2009

blog carnival posterTime to sit back to enjoy a wide range of interesting and useful posts from some of the top Boomer Bloggers in the world!

Yes, these are the bloggers I’m proud to call my colleagues, with their wealth of knowledge and experience, who offer up their tasty tidbits and tips for free.  Such a deal!  Yippee!

First up:

The life of a travel writer is all glitz and glamor – just ask Barbara Weibel at Hole In The Donut Travels, when she’s been on the road for a few weeks and is wearing the same outfit for the third time in a week. But once in a while, she gets a nice bennie, like her recent hosted stay at the Ritz-Carton Palm Beach in Florida, where she was Diva for a day.

Ever wonder just how the Baby Boomers came to be, who they are today, and what trends they have set?  If so, SoBabyBoomer has listed their statistics for your information.

Are you a baby boomer having déjà vu because this fall’s bold shoulder reminds you of what you wore in the 80’s? Can you wear this style again, or will it just make you look old and recycled? Find out at Fabulous after 40.

Seems like every time you turn around, Facebook is in the news.  New people join every day and start building their online network. But sometimes people decide to cut people out. This caused Andrea J. Stenberg at The Baby Boomer Entrepreneur to ask  “Why would you “unfriend” someone on Facebook?”

This week,  The Boomer Chronicles reminisces about the metal detector she owned as a younger person.

LifeTwo columnist Craig Tomshaw explores the Rebound Relationship, a.k.a. that first time you think you’ve found a real relationship for the second time.  It’s an experience that you don’t want to admit you’re counting on happening. But is it good and does that matter?

Ever wondered what makes a flight attendant hopping mad? Find out at Contemporary Retirement.

At Writing Without Periods Jenny takes a tongue-in-cheek look at trying to find a cocktail that won’t keep her up all night now that she’s of a certain age. See TOUGH TIMES FOR TEETOTALERS.

Janet at Gen PLUS just can’t resist anything to do with Sarah Palin.  Here Austan Goolsbee takes a stab at improv (he’s not too bad) and there are a couple of laughs worth waiting for.

Do you believe in “Bigfoot”? does, especially when a guy outside of Pittsburgh snaps a photo.  Yikes!

I’ve been doing some of my own research into the allure of tattoos.  Why do so many of us see tattoos as a creative outlet when we hit midlife?

This is what my bones kept saying…

October 4, 2009

“Change your mind and then change your life!”

But I would not listen for the longest time…

You wouldn’t believe the days and months I spent sitting alone contemplating my fate, after the life-changing surprise of losing my job and career at age 49.

This was my second big wake-up call for midlife change, second only to my divorce three years earlier.  But I refused to listen for the longest time.  I had a million excuses, excellent reasons why I should not listen to my bones, my brain, and my heart.

But I did get the message eventually.  Slowly I decided it might be worth listening inside and following my unconscious wisdom.

And the more I listened, the better my life became.

What a powerful lesson!  The wisdom is there if you care to partake.