Love your Bones!

November is a time to remember many special loved ones who have fought the good fight on many fronts. As it is also Osteoporosis Month in Canada, I am reminded about many family members and friends who gallantly lived or are living with this most debilitating and threatening disease. So to honour them and share some insight into the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis I submit the following and encourage all this month to take steps to evaluate their own family’s bone health.

Love your Bones!

Dear Bones,

Well, here we are, cuddled up on my comfy couch after our big shock; I still can’t believe it! We have osteoporosis! How did that happen—when did that happen? We’re only 40!

Now I realize I should have paid more attention to your needs. Growing up, it was “drink milk for your bones!” so I did, until I was about twelve and switched to the soda pop I still guzzle down regularly. No one told me that was hurting you, along with too much alcohol, smoking and even coffee! And to make matters worse, after eight-hour days at the office computer—plus a few more at night online—I’ve been too tired to exercise! And it seems that has harmed you as well. I’m so sorry, dear Bones, I didn’t know . . .

Maybe I should have. Now that I think about it, remember Mom breaking her hip four years ago? The word osteoporosis wasn’t even mentioned until a few months ago, when it broke again. Now she’s so afraid to move she just sits there, which is only making her bones even weaker. She’s terrified she’ll break her spine reaching for something, and I’m worried about how she’s coping all alone!

And now that I think of it, both Granny and Dad got shorter as they got older. Granny had that telltale hump in her spine. I remember how she always greeted us with arms open wide, but then she started saying, ‘Gently! Don’t squeeze too hard!’ Now it’s all so clear; both Dad and Granny had osteoporosis! Is it genetic? I don’t want this to happen to us. I’ll do everything I can to protect you and prevent further loss and weakening. I don’t want you breaking on me, Bones!

So what now, Bones? The doctor says we need to exercise, take calcium and vitamin D. She says there are prescription medications that would help ward off further bone loss that have been proven in studies. What do you think? I don’t like pills, but I don’t like the idea of ending up like Mom. And Dad. And Granny . . .

Because I love you and the wonderful, unrestricted life we lead together, I give you this promise; we’ll walk together every day. I’ll change the weekly coffee with my brothers to a walk in the park. We’ll start slow and take Mom with us! I’ll cheerfully swallow every pill the doctor tells me will help you.

Between you and me, Bones, I’m scared. Are my children at risk of getting osteoporosis? How much is too much activity before you break? What happens if I take prescription medication? What happens if I don’t! Now I understand why Mom is afraid to move! I need perspective. Maybe there is a support group, seminars—surely there’s a wealth of information on the Internet. Our doctor can direct me to credible information sites.

Dear Bones, we’ll get answers and make informed choices. We’ll maintain—even improve—our health, and help Mom in the process. I’ll give my children a heads-up on risk factors for osteoporosis, so they can start building stronger bones right away. And I’ll tell my brothers to check with their doctors right away.

I love you, Bones, and I will keep you strong,

Your Partner in Bone Health

PS I found this book, The Osteoporosis Book: Bone Health, 3rd Edition that has the answers about bone health we are looking for. I will read it for the good of both of us!
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Guest Blogger:
Gwen Ellert, RN MEd

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