The amazing human skeleton. All two hundred and six bones of it. It is the infrastructure to the human body. We all have one and most of us at least attempt to take good care of it. We probably take it a little bit for granted but our skeletons do not seem to mind. Our bones hold us up and hold us together and heal when they get bumped or broken with little quibbling. And then we get older. Dang it all.
Ever since I started being ordered by doctors to report for duty at the bone density station I have come to know that I was Osteopenic. That means that my old bones do not create new bone as quickly as they reabsorb old bone, which frankly, sounds a little cannabalistic to me. Ewww Creepy.
I was told to get more exercise of the weight bearing type and to eat more high calcium foods. At the time I was already running at least 3 days a week which sounds to me pretty high on the weight bearing scale, but I upped it to 5 days a week. As far as the high calcium foods go, I had to do some research. I'm fairly lactose intolerant so it wasn't just a matter of eating more ice cream! But I found other foods, that I actually liked, and put more of that in my diet.
I was sure that these changes would improve my bone density numbers. I was wrong. The next bone density test showed, not only no improvement, but further decline. Ratz! I added a calcium supplement. But it still didn't change those numbers. And at some point my knees were having serious discussions with me about all this running nonsense so I had to switch over to walking which is, at least, still a weight bearing exercise. So I was seriously trying.
But honestly, I wasn't at all surprised to eventually hear the dreaded but inevitable diagnosis of Osteoporosis. Talk about feeling old. Osteoporosis is when the body has reached the point when the bones are very weak and brittle. When you hear about someone falling and breaking a hip, that's someone with osteoporosis.
So my current doctor suggested a once a month medication that supposedly would help my body to build new bone. Once a month doesn't sound so bad, does it? Of course I said, "sign me up". As clumsy as I am, it was the smart decision to make.
What I didn't take into account were the side effects of the medication. Ooof! I already do battle with constant heart burn (for which I take other medication) and this new medication ramps up the dragonfire to about 1000. Yikes! That increase in heart burn only lasts a few days, but it's a few miserable days every month unless I make it a point to eat very very VERY carefully those days. So that's what I do.
The bone medication also makes my body ache. It seems that the construction going on inside my body which is the medication helping to build new bone, hurts! In the beginning, it was my entire body that hurt. For about a week every month I felt as if I had fallen down a hill, or perhaps been hit by a small car. I read the insert that came with the medication and yuppers, that's perfectly "normal". Ack! I wasn't looking forward to doing that on repeat every month, but, I rationalized with myself, if I was going to give this a fair trial to see if it worked, then I had to just grit my teeth and do it.
And so I did. I look a lot of Advil, used copious amounts of Icey Hot and Bio Freeze and just sucked it up.
At long last, it was time for another bone density test! I held my breath. Was all that time of feeling miserable truly worthwhile? The results were clear and significant. There was an enormous improvement! Hurrah Hurrah! It wasn't turned around 100% but it was good, really good. So my doctor and I decided to do another round of it to see if we can make things even better!
It was put to the test earlier this week.
On Mondays and Thursdays in the early morning, I walk with my friend Sally. She lives fairly close to me so we meet about half way between our homes and then walk, at least, to the airport and back, sometimes farther, a nearly 4 mile loop! We walk and talk and laugh and solve all of the problems of the world. Ok we don't solve them, but nobody else is solving them either so I do not feel remotely guilty about that. The point is, we walk.
On the way back, probably within a mile of home, I stepped off a curb into what appeared to be a puddle of water but turned out to be a puddle of mud with a skim of water on the top. Uhoh. My right foot slid hard left and my left foot, in an effort to correct stepped wide to the right. And it almost worked too. According to Sally, I did a lovely deep curtsy just before I hit the ground hard on my right hip. Ouchie.
Actually I was more embarrassed than anything. I quickly pushed myself to a stand, dusted the pebbles off my palms and the mud off my shorts, oddly (though not at all odd for me) apologized to the couple walking their dog across the street that looked so very concerned, and reassured Sally at least a dozen times that I was fine. And we continued home.
To my surprise and delight, I really was fine! Absolutely positively totally fine. Not even a bruised area. It's like a miracle! If my bones weren't healthier and stronger that would have been one ugly scene and I would, most likely, be having hip replacement surgery right now instead of writing this post.
So if I ever had any doubts about the medication, it is now officially dispelled. I will not complain ever again about indigestion/dragonfire or achey bones. I will take the damned pill and keep my trap shut and be grateful that such a thing exists!
Thus ends the tale of my old lady bones :)
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.