Between the surgery and radiation for my thyroid, my GP found a lump in my breast. While deciding who to refer me to she said, “Dr. Naruns did your thyroidectomy? He’s great with breasts too, go back to him.” I did, he performed an in-office biopsy that was inconclusive. A full removal was scheduled at a surgery center, though I stayed awake for this one, which is how I found out that his surgical musical mix began with Sade’s “Smooth Operator”. The results came back completely benign. I got better.
I fell running – the first time. I broke the fourth and fifth metacarpals on my right hand and cracked the radial head in my right elbow. The orthopedist told me the fingers would heal crookedly if we did nothing and asked me how I felt about Spock while making the Vulcan hand gesture to demonstrate. I elected surgery and woke up with pins in my hand that came out through the skin, the white rounded ends just visible under the edge of the cast holding my bones in place. A month later when the pins were removed the doctor used what looked like ordinary pliers to slide them out. I went to physical therapy and did all my exercises. I got better.
I fell running – the second time. This time I shattered my right wrist, surgery was necessary. I became bionic; I have a metal plate, five screws and 25 CCs of “dead guy bone” reforming the distal radius. This time there was no cast – just a surgical bandage and instruction to move as much as possible as quickly as possible. I did go through physical therapy again and still do my wrist exercises. I got better.
After falling and breaking twice it was recommended that I do a bone density scan, just to be on the safe side. With my medical history (cancer!) doctors tend to recommend lots of things to be on the safe side, I usually agree. When those results came back though they were unexpected. I have degenerative bone loss, enough that the diagnosis is osteoporosis. There is no getting better.
I am outside the norm for this diagnosis, my GP could only find US treatment guidelines written for post-menopausal women assumed to be in their early sixties. I am 46 and still, um, periodic. She found one paper from the World Health Organization that said do the same things.
Most of the physical things that are recommended for preventing or slowing osteoporosis I already do, and in fact have done for years – running, strength training. I could be eating more leafy green vegetables high in calcium but couldn’t we all. I’m taking Fosomax and am still a little nervous about it – the warnings are scary enough that I’m not certain if it’s worth the benefits. All the online articles and general guidelines aren’t written with anyone like me in mind, and like any medical condition there’s so much free-floating well-intentioned misinformation (or is it?) out there that it’s hard to know what to take seriously. Mostly I’ve been ignoring everything and wishing it would go away, which isn’t a viable long-term plan. It’s time to acknowledge this diagnosis, separate the information from the chaff, and work towards slowing or stopping the bone loss, even if it’s frustrating to be here at all.
I have osteoporosis and there is no cure, no getting all the way better. There is, however, hopefully not getting worse.
*** I've only told five people about this diagnosis from a few months ago, so welcome to my first step in not ignoring it any more. And thank you. This is my entry for week 4 of LJ Idol, you can find everyone else's impossible at the link.***