Health screening, blood tests – and a nice, sensible cardie

20 Jan

As part of my New Year fresh start, I decided to get a bunch of health checks done. I’ve been doing this Crossfit/Zone/supplementing thing for some time now, so I was hoping for good results. If you’re interested, this is the procedure:

  • Go to Medichecks.com (I’m sure others are available, but I used these guys)
  • Choose from a comprehensive list of tests. You can have screening for specific conditions, or a generalised screen such as Well Man and Well Woman (which covers over 40 conditions) They also do food allergy testing. Book online.
  • Fill out the extensive health history form, enter weight height and waist size
  • Attend their fancy clinic in Wimpole St for the blood, stool and urine samples to be taken.
  • Results emailed within 48 hours
  • Comprehensive bound report arrives in the post a few days later. This includes the lab report alongside a layman’s interpretation and summary.
  • Option to discuss results with a medical practitioner over the phone.

I chose the Well Woman Plus series of tests. I can’t recommend this company highly enough for their efficiency and professionalism. The test cost a few hundred pounds, but I think it’s well worth the money.

My results were great. Normal across the board, with notably low results on the inflammation markers. For someone who has heart disease and cancer in the immediate family (1 sibling dead at 30, another survived breast cancer) this is the best news I could hope for. But there was an additional test I took appropriate to my age and sex. The lab report was there, but, unlike the others, there was no layman’s interpretation. I brought it up with the doctor when I phoned her.

I’ve always looked young for my age. Good genes I suppose. And when I was very overweight, chubby cheeks can do wonders for filling out wrinkles. As I get smaller, I can see more of the signs of aging. But it seems many other people don’t. I still enjoy the surprise on new faces when I mention I’m 50. “Oh my God, I thought you were about 35!” said one. “You’re an amazing advert for Crossfit!” said another. Most gratifying – even if they probably need an eye test! Regular compliments along these lines, hanging out with much younger people, training hard and eating well so I’m full of energy: all these things contribute to being able to overlook “Time’s winged chariot”

“Yes”, the Medichecks doctor said over the phone.”The indications are that you are menopausal”

Wow. For me, that was news.

I took the menopause test out of curiosity, rather than suspecting I was so because of a barrage of symptoms. I don’t have any. OK I can be a bit grumpy (sorry Andrew) – but so what! Arrest me! Sometimes I wake up feeling a bit hot, but I put that down to a good duvet (and an overheated boyfriend). Emotionally, I am completely neutral about it: If my reproductive years are over – well, so be it, that’s my reality. It makes no difference whatsoever to my life. It’s a life I love, and I am content.

Actually, I was more bothered at the thought of screwing up my Crossfit!

I’ll be gradually getting old, getting weaker, getting slower. My oestrogen factory is shutting down, so my bones will become weaker and more prone to osteoporosis. I suspected my performance in Crossfit had gone down over the last few months, and I suddenly panicked that this was proof: I was now an old lady and would have to use spinster’s weights! But even a cursory Google search throws up plenty of convincing evidence that weight training protects and enhances health in post menopausal women. Spurred by these thoughts, I raced to the strength catch-up session on Sunday and got to deadlifting like one possessed!

But what’s really got my goat is that a new front has opened up in my weight loss battle. Alongside oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone also plummet. Androgen increases. From what I can make out, this hormone smoothie seems to be single-minded in its goal – to make more fat and pile it relentlessly around the waist. There are good biological reasons for this – a chunkier body acts as a barrier against disease. Fading women are not to worry about doing up their jeans (Jeans? Cougar! Surely you’re too old for them now! Slacks will be just the thing). Aging women are exhorted to embrace the changes nature has brought. And get a nice, sensible cardie.

Sod that! I intend to be the best I can be.

Check out Mary Beth Litsheim’s stats. Winner in her category of the Crossfit Games 2011, she’s a similar age and build to me (the difference being – she’s a beast!) I don’t think she’ll be needing a zimmer frame any time soon. There are dozens of other grandmothers, into their sixties and above, who are just as impressive. All have Fran times and pullup numbers I can only dream about. Their achievements are the living example of the famous poem:

“Rage, rage against the dying of the light”

For me, I’ve worked too hard for too long to just roll over and take it lying down. I will train hard and eat well and fight to lose this last stone, and bloody well keep it off! As far as brittle bones and other disease are concerned, I’m hoping my Crossfit training stands me in good stead. (I’ve also arranged for a bone density scan to be taken, just to be sure. For a woman my age, and a couple of others like me at Crossfit London, I think we’re already ahead of the game.

And for all you others, you youngsters cluttering up the gym – be nice to your Mums: If she’s been a bit fretful and fanning herself a lot recently, this could be the best time to interest her in some good, strong Crossfit medicine. For you, all the hard training you putt in while young means you’re quids in when old. Let’s make 2012 our fittest, strongest and healthiest year yet.

Phew, is it just me or is it hot in here?…

4 thoughts on “Health screening, blood tests – and a nice, sensible cardie

  1. This sounds really good. My health has been quite dodgy for a while now so I think there might be some use for me!

  2. inspired, so just signed up for my checks…..bearing in mind my brother committed suicide from depression, my mother died from cancer, and my dad is now mad…….Ive got a lovely array of exiting options

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