Please, if you haven't had one already,

@alamode (3073)
United States
March 14, 2008 6:53am CST
talk to your doctor about a DEXA scan to check for osteoporosis. I found out Tuesday that I have a severe case... I've shrunk 2" in 3 years, and 3 different doctors neglected to tell me that I had it. I don't mind getting shorter so much as I mind that my spine is deteriorating in several places, and I may be looking at surgery. Those of you who know me here know how much the thought of more surgery thrills me... but it will be that, or dowager's hump... or worse. I am intensely angry that this happened. I begged each of these doctors for hormones. Two of them gave me traditional bone scans and didn't tell me everything that was found. I have metal plates with long screws running into my bones, and the bone walls are so thin now that they can break and splinter at any time. I am developing severe pain between my shoulder blades because 3 of my vertebrae are, in effect, 'dissolving'. I feel as if all the work I've been doing to take care of myself is worthless, and for me to even attempt to be healthy is a joke. Please, please, PLEASE get tested... if you're over 30 with family history, or for sure if you're over 50. It takes 5 minutes, you don't have to change out of your clothes, and you'll have peace of mind. Please... I care about you.
1 person likes this
9 responses
@crazynurse (7489)
• United States
14 Mar 08
You are so right that folks need to have a DEXA scan to have their bones checked for osteoporosis. Being a nurse, I know the importance yet I haven't had one myself! I need to schedule one as I grew up hating milk and didn't drink it after being a baby. I now enjoy the taste of milk but don't routinely drink it. I do love green leafy vegetables and eat a lot of brocolli too. I have always eaten a lot of cheese as well. I recently heard, as a previous poster pointed out that limiting soft drinks with phosphorous can help too.
3 people like this
@GardenGerty (101763)
• United States
14 Mar 08
The thing I am lax on is the weight bearing exercise and exercises that stretch the muscles to put resistance to the bones. I know we cannot grow new ones, but I would hope to not lose any.
2 people like this
@alamode (3073)
• United States
14 Mar 08
Because of the damage to my lower back, I'd been walking with a cane... then I got the shots back there, and since I had the best spine man anywhere, they knocked the pain down to a manageable level. I have started using an exercise bike and walking whenever possible, plus elastic band resistance stretching and isometrics... I have to stop until my next scan, because bone could break around the screws I have in there. Whats the phrase? 'Can't win for losing'?? But I will beat this, like I've beaten everything else that tried to keep me down!
1 person likes this
@plumwish07 (4060)
• Indonesia
14 Mar 08
thanks GOD that i don't have ay osteoporosis symptom at this moment. i have checked it out to my doctor and sometimes drink calcium milk. but i have problem about my joint. it said osteoarthritis. do you have any ideas about this matter,my friend? its really annoying me when i am so tired from my working time
@alamode (3073)
• United States
14 Mar 08
I have no signs of arthritis, and my parents didn't have it, either... I do take vitamin E, and chondroitin, which are supposed to help... B-complex 100 vitamins help everything... magnesium and vitamin D... I take 20 pain meds and supplements a day, 21 on Fridays now with the Fosamax... I can't drink milk, so thats the best I've come up with, to keep all of my body working properly into my old age. Fingers crossed that we can both stop these problems from advancing!
1 person likes this
@daeckardt (6245)
• United States
14 Mar 08
I hope that you don't have to have surgery. That is scary that doctors can find something and not tell you. I haven't had this scan yet, but since I am in China right now, I don't know if it is available. Maybe when I make a trip back to America I will look into it. I am almost 50 (just two years away). I am a survivor of ovarian cancer so I know how important it is to get things checked. I hope things start looking up for you.
2 people like this
@alamode (3073)
• United States
14 Mar 08
Thank you... and good for you... you're a fighter! I commend you so much for that! Ovarian cancer was a huge fear for me... when I needed a hysterectomy for other reasons, I was relieved and happy. But the lack of hormones has put me in this position now... my proper follow-up just didn't happen. I've had 14 surgeries on all parts of me, and they all develop adhesions, things stick to the wrong places as they heal. That causes me pain from the odd pulling on my muscles, and also from tissue trapping nerves... thats the worst. That will happen again... I had fusion in my neck... I have adhesions there. I have 3 ruptured discs in my lower back that I've dealt with so I wouldn't have to have surgery there... now the middle of my back... I'm going to fight as well... I've worked too hard to quit now! Do this scan when you can, my friend!
2 people like this
@daeckardt (6245)
• United States
15 Mar 08
I will look into that for myself. I hope that your situation improves. The hysterectomy (at age 43) was the first surgery I ever had other than my tonsils and I don't think that one counts. I can't picture 14 times. I hate to be in pain so I don't know how you stand it. I wish you well.
1 person likes this
• Singapore
15 Mar 08
alrite i will~ thank you~
2 people like this
@alamode (3073)
• United States
16 Mar 08
Please do... its so important!
@dragon54u (31636)
• United States
15 Mar 08
Thanks for the warning--I've never heard of a DEXA scan. Does it cost a lot and where do you get one? I have minimal insurance coverage and it still costs me a few hundred per month! So I'm concerned about costs. Not to the detriment of my health, of course, but if it's expensive I'll start saving for it! I hope your prognosis is good. My grandmother had the dowager hump and my mom has osteopenia, the beginning of osteoporosis (she's 83).
2 people like this
@alamode (3073)
• United States
15 Mar 08
I know its a lot less than the full bone scan... its just in and out in 5 minutes. Insurance companies are pushing these because they are effective without breaking the bank. I never was aware of osteopenia... 3 years ago I was fine, and now I'm classified as 'severe', at age 59... it freaks me out! I'm afraid of developing the hump... my gramma's friend had it, and spent her last 5 years looking at her feet... it was so sad! I hope your Mom is doing all the right things to hold it off!
1 person likes this
14 Mar 08
Hi I am so sorry to hear about your problems, i cannot comprehend how your feeling right now. But my thoughts are with you and any hope you might have in the future. Please don't give up it's what keeps us going. i hope you get all the help you deserve. aqua
2 people like this
@alamode (3073)
• United States
14 Mar 08
Thanks, my friend... I think I'm calming down, now that I know the Fosamax won't make me sick. I took it this morning and it was fine. It just seems like every time I start standing tall, I get knocked down again... and this time I've shrunk! And I didn't notice it... that scared me... its so obvious now! I have a wonderful doctor now! Not only is she working strenuously to get me going again, but she actually got Hun's diabetes stabilized within one week... his sugars have been erratic and dangerous for 2 years! This woman is a miracle for us... she's our hope... and I'll do whatever she says!
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (101763)
• United States
14 Mar 08
I was fortunate to have a test that I a told is equivalent to the DEXA on your hip bone. It was on my heel. I know that the nurse/educator who did that and many other tests was very adamant about some of the things we need to do to take care of our bones. I learned a lot from her. I am fortunate to have a family history of very strong bones, and the test checks out the same. One of the things was to avoid sodas with phosphoric acid (Coke, Pepsi, and Dr. Pepper) getting sufficient vitamin D. There are some circumstances that you have a hard time fighting against. Keep us posted here on how things are going for you.
@writersedge (22579)
• United States
21 Mar 08
I hope you give those Drs what for! I am measured every time I go to the Doctors. I will need to have a scan even though I may keep my height because I go to a Chiropractor who has me do traction. There are other medications that behave like hormones, but aren't hormones. They help preserve and some can even help build bone. Some only have to be taken once a week, they are so time released. If your doctors didn't want to give you hormones because they were worried about you getting cancer, there were other options. That they wouldn't tell you what they found really burns me up. I had a doctor not tell me he was watching a benigh tumor in my uterus. I spent tons of money because I thought I had diabetes and my doctors kept finding anemia. The tumor was taking my red blood cells, it got so bad I was almost passing out all the time and I was on iron pills three times a day. That was my Gynecologist who never told my regular doctor either. Some doctors are such lug nuts!
@alamode (3073)
• United States
21 Mar 08
I had my insurance provider call yesterday... I've changed Drs a few times, and they were curious as to why, so I told them! I stayed very calm, but my insides sure weren't... I'm still having troble believing all this! I just hope they DO something! I just took my second Fosamax... I really hope they do the job so I can change to the once-a month pill. I have to get up an hour before my regular meds, and I don't get enough sleep as it is. At least I'm doing more to protect my bones than I was before... I didn't even know it was an issue. My Dr says the Fosamax, plus doubling up on my vitamin D, should work wonders since I already take B-complex. Those draw the calcium out of all the broccoli I eat... I started doing that decades ago, but by itself, it wasn't enough. The nutritionist said that taking iron pills is the WORST way to get iron... it builds up in your organs too much. With the B vitamins and the right foods, you actually USE it! We're seeing another nutritionist for Hun's diabetes soon... I know this stuff, she's just gonna teach him to believe what I tell him! Take care.
• United States
16 Mar 08
Ala, I would go back and sue each of those doctors that you had do tests and didn't tell you all of the information. I know that we live in the days of frivolous malpractice suits, but your case is definitely legitimate. If you were told by the first, or even the second doctor your condition, you could have done things to prevent needing surgery now. These two doctors should have also known and warned you that the bone walls around those screws could wear down over time, quicker than normal, and cause you problems later. I am as mad as you are, and I am going to get checked myself as soon as possible. I am not hereditarily at risk, and I still have another three years before I hit the big 3-0. But in 1999 I was in a horseplaying accident that resulted in my breaking my T-7 and T-8 vertebrae. It wouldn't be such a big deal had I gone to the doctor that night. Instead, from the way the accident happened, I figured that pain was normal. I couldn't see my back, so I didn't notice any bruising. I didn't know that my back was broken until a year and two months later, when I went into the hospital for laryngitis, and they x-rayed my lungs to see if there was any obstruction. By that time it was healed, (Yes, even with me carrying books, high school books, back and forth to school, and did I mention I was in JROTC Drill team, with the 12lbs rifles? Yeah, I was dumb) So it healed, but it didn't heal right. My doctor wanted me to see a specialist, but she warned me if they were to do anything, it would all start with them re-breaking the two vertebrae. I was scared of that, and was no longer having pain, so I left it at that. Now with you bringing this up, I wonder about my bone density, and how, if I lose some, would it affect the already broken vertebrae in my back. Its almost been ten years since it happened, and now after this discussion I wonder if I am just one fall away from having a broken back all over again. (And that is a high possibility, I am silly and clumbsy, so its very likely I could end up on the floor or ground lol) I will be making an appointment to see about my bone density, and find out the condition of my back, on Monday for as soon as possible. And thanks to you Ala, I will make sure that I am not just brushed off and not told what I need to know.
@alamode (3073)
• United States
17 Mar 08
YES! Thats what I want to hear... a huge chorus, going 'YES, I WILL!' And to take responsibility for your health and treatment is a must... even if you have a very good doctor, they need your input to know where to look and what to do. T-7 and -8 are where I'm 'dissolving'... if there is surgery, it'll be there. C-5 and -6 are already fused. My current doctor has been calling and asking questions... I hope they get rid of those two from that clinic without recommendation, if nothing else. My daughter went to an appointment with me for one of these doctors... I literally had to hold her back from punching the one I affectionately call 'the Nazi'. 'Dr.' said I was afraid to get old, I said I was afraid of being in a wheelchair. She said that people were crippled every day... and it was no big deal! I said it was a big deal for me, because I'd spent 20 yrs trying to get on my feet and stay there... she said I should be used to pain by now, and she'd give me meds when I broke something else!! I do have an enormously high pain threshold... when my leg was cut off, I laughed and joked in the ambulance for the entire 30 miles to town. But I can't sustain it every day... its too hard to do, and now I still have that leg problem, plus my left wrist, lumbar spine, thoracic spine, and burning feet caused by my bad discs. I am feeling very fragile myself right now... and I don't like it! I want to see myself as a strong healthy woman again, and I was doing really well with it. I won't lock myself in the house and live in fear again... I refuse. I'll add a bit of caution to my routine because I don't want to break my arm lifting a saucepan, or break my leg by turning too sharply... that happened to a friend of mine in her own kitchen! I'm taking a big handful of supplements every day, and they're all the right ones. I'm going to start doing yoga because I can't do weight-bearing exercise. I've already changed our diet significantly, and have lost nearly 30 pounds in three months... I'm gonna beat this! Thank you for the encouragement... and the promise... you're at risk because of injury, and just think how good you'll feel if they find nothing!