40 and feeling it!

Hello all!

I just turned 40 and have a little over a year away before I start applying to med schools. I have to say, I’ve been really feeling my age lately. My vision is declining and need to get glasses, no big deal right, well, I have a herniated disc, and sciatica from it,my carpel tunnel is getting worse and I literally woke up on my birthday with 5 GREY HAIRS on my head! Good grief… all jokes aside, I’ve been feeling unhealthy and run down and I am worried about any medical issues slowing me down. Does anyone else think about these things? Or am I just stressing myself out because I am literally “mid life”?

Mind wise, I feel fantastic and I truly am enjoying the heck out of this undergrad experience. I get nervous when I think about these things because yes, I go to school full time, and run a business full time and have children and… But if I can’t handle this schedule how will I be able to handle med school right? How would I be able to handle residency? Am I alone in these fears? Please tell me I’m not!

Thank you for any feedback :wink:

Jackies –

Not alone in your fears, definately. I was quite worried before starting med school at 53, with a number of medical issues, including herniated disc with lumbar radiculopathy, carpal tunnel, and others. Also worried about the schedule as my energy level wasn’t the best.

I did work on improving my health before starting - got a good primary care doc, consulted how to improve my health - he actually recommended I switch to a vegan diet at the time (did a year of that and about 2 years vegetarian with low-fat dairy too), walked 1 mile a day, worked up to 1 1/2 miles (doesn’t sound like much but with the back issues was using a walking stick to get thru that).

I highly encourage you to do all the “health maintenance” you can prior to med school --annual wellness exam, etc. If you are exhausted in the (probably rare) times when you are getting adequate rest, search for a cause and solution. Lab workup is for fatigue might include CBC, TSH and possible free T3 and T4 to check thyroid function, Vitamin D and B12 levels, and some questions to eval for possible sleep problems.

Regarding coping, if you are doing full time work and full time job and kids, med school and kids will probably be pretty equivalent --maybe even a bit less?

Also, try to plan for any way to ease your “load”. I make “baked oatmeal” on the weekend sometimes to have the week’s breakfasts made, and/or a big pot of soup. Of course with kids to feed, that’s not going to be enough. when my mom started working evenings, all 3 of us kids took turns making suppers. We picked something she usually made and learned to cook it. Stood us in great stead when we were out on our own - I knew how to make baked chicken, fried chicken (cutting it up from a whole chicken to start with), brunswick stew, spagetti from scratch, lasagna, casseroles of various types, etc.

Best of luck in your applications later on!


Hi Jackies,

I FEEL YOUR PAIN!! I had wrist surgery a year ago for torn ligaments and cartilage. It’s at about 95 percent. I am generally more achy than I was just a few years ago and have this nagging shoulder injury from a fall this summer.

With that said, I am most concerned though about my cardiovascular health for many reasons (genetics, diet, family history) so am trying to get into the swing of a better diet and exercise routine. I know that I will need to continue this in med school next year because without it I will continue to decline in health. I was fairly healthy until I went to grad school full time in biology while working full time as a teacher. I mostly sat and studied at home and while I earned A’s in advanced biology courses, my waistline and hips added inches. I also had issues with LDL etc going up. I have decided that even if it means the difference between high pass, honors, and pass, I WILL exercise and keep my health a priority because if I don’t, I just might not make it residency.