Saturday, February 6, 2010

Building Bone 101

I promised you some information from the book I'm reading so I will start today. I definitely can't fit it all in one post, but this will be a start.

The book I'm reading, Building Bone Vitality, states that, "Bone contains three calcium compounds: calcium carbonate, phosphate, and hydroxide. When the blood's pH falls below normal, the body must restore it as quickly as possible. It does this by pulling calcium compounds into the blood to neutralize excess acids. The body obtains these acid-neutralizing calcium compounds from the reservoir that contains 99 percent of the body's calcium store....bone."

That paragraph is basically what the entire book is about. It tells you ways to keep that "robbing of the bone" from happening. pH stands for "potential of hydrogen". Basically it means how acid or alkaline the blood is. Our bodies are pretty picky and when something isn't quite right, our bodies will try to find a way to repair all cost.

We all know that fruits and vegetables should comprise a large part of our daily diet, but do they? I don't know about your house, but they don't in my house. I was also under the assumption that protein is the key to good health. Most people get their protein from meat. I happen to be a vegetarian so I turned to dairy. I thought I was doing great things for my bones. I wasn't.

I am not a very science minded person, but I do understand this. Most foods contain protein and protein introduces amino acids into the bloodstream, which in turn increases it's acidity and in turn the acidity of urine. My body will do what it needs to do to balance my blood...and in order to do that, it will pull calcium out of my bone.

Thinking I was helping my bones, I kept upping the amount of calcium I was consuming by way of food and supplements. I was consuming as much dairy as I could because I thought I needed that protein. For the past seven years I have eaten 10 hard boiled egg whites per week, about 2-3 egg yolks plus whole eggs on Friday and more if we made them for breakfast on the weekends. What I wasn't doing was upping my consumption of fruits and vegetables to provide the alkaline to keep things in balance.

The book suggests lots of fruits and vegetables, some nuts and legumes, modest amounts of bread, pasta and cereal and not much if any meat, poultry, fish, dairy and eggs. I can do that....I might not love it....but I can do it.

I already figured out that a Starbucks Chai with soy milk would be okay and that instead of an egg and cheese croissant, I can get the egg and cheese on a wheat bagel and have it with some fruit!

Did you know that Vitamin D increases the body's ability to absorb calcium. I didn't. Guess who was Vitamin D deficient? Yep. Me. I had Melanoma in 1998 and for many years didn't allow the sun to come anywhere near me. We need sun. We need 15-20 minutes on our upper bodies each and every day! I got none for years. I started on Vitamin D supplements and it is finally back to normal.

What about exercise? Well, everything I have looked at says 30-60 minutes of walking per day....every day. That is crucial. I will be getting a treadmill today.

The book did say that the Osteoporosis drugs do work reasonably well, but they are not a cure. The drug companies always exaggerate the effectiveness of their products and the advertising makes them all seem so wonderful. I'm just not ready to go that route yet. I may have to some day....but not today.

I will continue to read and learn about my disease and treatment options. I will share anything I find that sounds worthwhile.

I am headed to the grocery store right now. You will find me in the produce aisle! Make it an awesome day today and something nice for yourself today. I plan to!

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Meltdown

I had a mini meltdown Wednesday evening. Yep, I did. I admit it. Irv asked me if I was doing okay with all of this Osteoporosis stuff and that was all it took. The tears had been lying in wait for a while, and just the attempt to say, "Yep, I'm good," turned on the faucet. It actually felt good. I had to quickly turn the faucet off because Tresa called, and by the time I was done talking to her..."it" had passed.

(Photo by Miriam Pike)
I don't need isn't necessary, but I am always open to information or suggestions of any kind. The meltdown was two days ago and I am long past it. In fact, I feel really good. I know that I can do this my way and if for some reason my way doesn't work....there is always the alternative....medication. Not my first choice, but it's there if I choose to take it.

I remember when I was diagnosed with Melanoma in 1998. I was terrified. I didn't even want to do my homework on the subject because I didn't want to know. What I did know was that my days of enjoying the sun were gone and that I would live forever with this uneasy feeling. I was wrong. It did take years until I was comfortable stepping out of the house and allowing the sun to shine on my skin, but I have learned to live with it and it no longer affects me or my life negatively. I use my sunscreen and cover up if I'm going to be out for a long time. I love the feel of the sun on my skin and I see my dermatologist regularly. Yes, my life changed drastically that day, but I now look at that day as my life saver. It was my little warning sign to pay attention to what I was doing.

When I was told I had osteoporosis/osteopenia last Saturday, I already knew what it was but I didn't know a lot about it. I started reading and reading and reading. I talked to people about it. I asked about the meds and diet and exercise and everything else I needed to know. I crammed so much into my head in a few short days that I thought it would explode! I wasn't working on anything for my etsy shop, FourDogDay. I wasn't working on anything for the upcoming show. I wasn't keeping up with all of my favorite blogs. I just didn't feel like "me". I think Wednesday night I just became overwhelmed with all of the data and all of the change in my normal routine. I wasn't exactly sure how to sort it all out, get back on track and turn it all into my new way of life.

I laid in bed that night and made two columns on a sheet of said GOOD and one said BAD. I started writing down every food I read about. When I was done, I looked at the columns and realized I COULD do this. It wasn't that I could no longer have an egg, but I had to eat it with fruit or a vegetable. I could have cottage long as I had some fruit with it. It's all a matter of balancing the acidic with the alkaline and I can do that. I'm not quite ready to explain the whole thing to you yet, but I promise I will as soon as I know I am giving you the right information and I'm not quite there yet.

I know how very, very, very lucky I am. There are so many worse things, but in all honesty....I'm lazy when it comes to my diet and exercise....and this is all about diet and exercise! I am a vegetarian that doesn't eat enough vegetables and almost no fruit. I live on rice and beans and pasta and cheese and least I did. I start eating healthy and then I stop. I exercise and then I don't feel like doing it any more. I'm just not good with this stuff and now I feel backed into a corner because now I don't have a choice. I take that back....we always have a choice, but if I don't want my bones to crumble down the road....I only have one choice.

It's another warning. That's how I am looking at this. I have been given a chance to do it right...and I will. It just takes me a little bit to gather my thoughts and figure things out and then I'm ready to go. Irv e-mailed me at work the day after the mini meltdown to see if I was okay. I told him that I had my little boo hoo and I was raring to get going.

How are you when you are confronted with a total lifestyle change....when it's no longer if you want to do it, but it's that you have to. Does it take you a while to digest it all or are you able to dig right in?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Good Morning World!

Sorry for this short post....but like I said yesterday, I usually write my blog after work. Yesterday after work I ended up on the phone with Dish Network because they seemed to think we wanted them to bill our credit card every month for our service! Yikes! No way man. Once I got that straightened out it was off for a walk with the dogs. I did a mile with the dogs and then brought them home and did a mile on my own so I could concentrate on me and not them.

I checked my blog and e-mails, had some dinner, worked a little bit and then my new book was calling my name. I have to figure out my new diet so I know what to buy at the store this weekend.
I am learning so much from this book and all of the articles I have printed off the internet. I will post about all of it tomorrow....and even if you don't have Osteopenia or Osteoporosis would be wise to pay attention to your diet so you don't get it. I will fill you all in...very interesting stuff. My healthy diet wasn't so healthy after all!!

So, it's time to do my yoga and then get ready for work. Make it the best day ever today and you make sure that you do something really nice for yourself today.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Those Were The Days My Friends......

I reply to almost every comment that is left on my blog. The past two days, some of them have come back undelivered for some reason. So, if you haven't received a reply to a comment you left....that is why. Is anyone else having that problem???

My new book arrived yesterday and I started reading last night. It's called "Building Bone Vitality...A Revolutionary Diet Plan to Prevent Bone Loss and Reverse Osteoporosis." Now just as I don't always trust doctors....I also don't believe everything I read. I'm just hoping to learn more and maybe change my diet to help my poor old bones! So far, it's been very interesting.

In addition to my awesome book Country Living magazine also came too. How lucky can one person be?

Now to the real post.....I was driving home Tuesday trying to decide what I wanted to write about and a thought popped into my head. Did your parents allow you to do things when you were a child that you would never ever have let your own kids do?

As I sat there in my car I started to laugh. My kids weren't even allowed to ride their bikes around the block alone and we lived in a very safe little neighborhood! That was in the 80's.

I grew up in a small town where no one locked their doors. Very little crime....everyone knew everyone know....a little Mayberry so to speak. At a very young age, I was allowed to pretty much go wherever I wanted to go in the town. No one worried that I might get kidnapped, or run over by a car or be in danger of any kind. It was an awesome way to grow up.

As pre-teens....we walked the railroad tracks from our town to the next town OVER A RAILROAD TRESTLE that spanned the river! It was scary because you could see the water way down below in between the railroad ties. I don't remember if my parents knew we did that, but usually I just had to say that we were careful and for some reason they believed me! :)

This is my beach and the trestle we use to walk across! This photo is from Wikipedia.
As young kids we were allowed to ride our bikes down to the beach two blocks away...leaving in the morning.....and spend the entire day long as we were home by dinner! Sometimes I would even go myself. There was a part of the shore down from the sandy beach area that was all gooey clay. I would sit there for hours just playing in the muck. In fact, once we learned to swim, we would swim across the river splashing and waving our hands in the air so oncoming boats would see us and not run over us, and hang out at the beach on the other side. (It wasn't a huge river, but big enough)

We had an amusement park in our town. It was a popular one on the river....called the Picnic Grove. Bus loads of people would come out from Chicago on the weekends. The place was mobbed all the time. Yep, we were able to go there any time we wanted to, without a parent and just hang out all day long, riding the rides and eating all kinds of crap from the concession stands. When we got a little older we would dance outside on the concrete slab to the jukebox. My girlfriend's brother worked there and he ran rides. He would take people's tickets when they were getting on....put them in his pocket....and give them to us to use again. Don't tell anybody we did that though....that was really dishonest....but boy did we have fun!

My parents and my older sister and I took a vacation out to California....get this...we had an awesome '57 Chevy station wagon...turquoise and white. My dad made a big fat cushion that fit in the back and that is where we rode for two weeks. No seat belts....just a lot of fun!

My uncle use to let us sit in his lap when he was driving and steer the car....not on the highway, but on the roads around our neighborhood.

Yes, times have changed. Do you think it was just more easy going back in the 50's and 60's. Were there less people, so there was less crime? Was there less to worry about? What were things like when you were a kid? Were you allowed to do things that you would never allow a child to do today?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Osteoporosis....Part Two

I don't even know what to say right now. I am in shock. I am elated. I am sad. I am disheartened. If you didn't read my post on Sunday, please do....otherwise you won't understand any of this. Here is the link.

I called the doctor's office yesterday morning and asked if they could fax me my bone scan results. No problem. I pulled the pages off the fax machine and the words jumped right off the paper at me. O-S-T-E-O-P-E-N-I-A......

Yep, that's right folks. I have OSTEOPENIA.....just like the nurse told me last April. I do NOT have the doctor told me on Saturday.

When I told the doctor that the nurse in April told me I had Osteopenia....she said, "Some of your numbers are in the Osteopenia range and some of them are in the Osteoporosis range. You have Osteoporosis and you need medication for it."

She was sort of right....I have ONE number out of EIGHT that is in the Osteoporosis range. In fact, it is at the exact divide between Osteopenia and Osteoporosis. It is a -2.5 and if you know anything about is my L4 vertebra. I have one other low number and that is my L3 vertebra. I have a bad back. I have had a bad back for 30 years, so it makes sense that those two vertebra would be like that. Is it a good thing? Of course not. Those bones are very pourous and weakened. It does say that the risk of fracture is increased because of that...and I get it.

The next lowest number is a -1.7....not even close to being in the Osteoporosis range, but my bones are not as healthy as they should be. Plain and simple. Do I need to do something about it? Yes, I sure do...but I will NOT be taking drugs for least not at this time.

I expect a doctor to give me their opinion, however I expect the facts first.

My diet and my exercise plan is going to be changing. I will be following all of the recommendations for people with Osteopenia to make my bones as strong as I can possibly make them. I ordered a book on it that should be arriving on Thursday and we will take it from there.

I will also be looking for a new doctor.....again.

In case you are wondering.....I won't be calling the doctor to question her. I am already moving forward. It doesn't really matter to me why she did that....maybe she is just passionate about drugs that she feels help. I will leave it at that. I just need to find a doctor that is passionate about people.

Chee Hoo! Make it an awesome day and do something nice for yourself.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Pre-Planned Family Time

Well our first pre-planned family get together is now history. We had Tresa, Chris, Michael and Bernadette over for a late breakfast this morning. It was wonderful to just be able to spend some time together. Breakfast was great and everyone ate a lot.

Michael and Bernadette brought Teagan with them and there were a lot of dirty dog looks and only one fight. There was a little bit of blood shed, but then they all went out and played. If only humans could learn to get mad, say what they need to say, move on and still be friends....what a peaceful place our earth would be.

Everyone helped in the attempt to get Michael's old Dell working for Irv in the basement and no go. Such a bummer. Irv is going to take back all of the stuff they sold him at Best Buy and we are going to try to get someone who knows computers come and give us a hand with it. We don't think they are selling us the right things to make the proper connection.

We were able to sit and chat and it was decided that Bernadette and Michael will take the next get together at then end of February. Michael said they will come up with something good. I'm hoping that we really do keep this going. It is so nice to see the kids together and to just be able to chill out, chat and laugh together!

Just a little side note....I am reading and reading and reading everything I can on osteoporosis and the drugs and natural methods used to treat it. Scroll down to yesterday's post if you missed it. I plan to call the doctor's office today to get a copy of my last two bone density reports so I know exactly what my numbers are. I will keep you informed as to what I decide to do.

Make it a great day and do not forget to do something nice for yourself today!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Bad to The Bone

Last spring I had a bone density test done. It showed that I had osteopenia which may or may not be the beginnings of osteoporosis. The nurse wanted me to come in and talk to the doctor because there was no need to be concerned, "There are drugs for that." I told her, "I don't do drugs, so let me do some research and I'll get back to you if I want to come in." I did my research and decided that I didn't need drugs and I didn't need to go back in.

Yesterday I had my annual physical with my internist. The first thing she said was, "You have osteoporosis and you never came in." I told her that the nurse told me it was osteopenia, and she said that there are a lot of different numbers to look at and some of mine are in the osteopenia range and some are in the osteoporosis range.

I know osteoporosis is a serious disease, so I was all ears. She explained that being a tall, thin, blond of Scandinavian descent put me at increased risk for the disease. She wanted to start me on Actonel immediately. I explained to her that I am really more of a natural health person and I'm not a big fan of medications. She explained that no matter what I do it is only going to get worse, that it will lead to fractures and I will end up hunched over in 20 years...guaranteed.

I told her that the side affects of drugs frightened me. Her response was that I should be frightened of the disease and not of the drugs. She rattled off all kinds of statistics about how great the drug is and mentioned a couple of people that had a serious problem with it and why they did. Millions of people take it and don't have any problems.

I left my last MD for having that kind of attitude and up until today I have really, really like this new doctor. I don't care if a doctor THINKS they are right, or even it they KNOW they are right. I expect them to listen to every word I have to say and never ever to brush me off. They can tell me why it is that they feel the way they do, but then they need to listen to me when I do the same. I plan to stick with her for now, but I did NOT like her attitude when discussing the medication.

I had my check up and she gave me my sample Actonel to take on February 1st. If I was "comfortable" with it she would give me a prescription for the once a month pill. My heart just sank. I take such pride in my good health. I figured I had great bones and I don't.

The drug thing is a very serious issue for me. I don't just pop a pill because a doctor says I should. I don't get tetanus boosters, or flu shots or take OTC drugs. I just feel sometimes it's okay to get sick and to let our bodies figure it out for themselves rather than pouring in chemicals our bodies don't want or need.

When it comes to prescription drugs....most of them scare the hell out of me. There are even ones out there now that can give you cancer. So, when I got home I went online. Now I didn't just go to the sites where all you find is the bad about the drug, I also went to WebMD and to the Mayo Clinic site. I spent forever online and I did find one site filled with comments from people that have taken Actonel with very, very serious consequences. Even the Mayo site talks about the side affects and the seriousness of them. I had Irv read some of it, and he couldn't believe it. Here is the comment site if you are interested in what has happened to some people taking Actonel.

Next I started researching natural ways to help my bones. I read about vitamins and minerals as well as some kind of "out there" suggestions. Today I will research some more.

My bones are not going to start breaking today and I won't be walking hunched over tomorrow. I do realize that if I don't do something, those things very well could happen years from now. My thought at this moment is that I will write down all of the natural suggestions I have found, I will pull the ones that I know I can do...the ones that sound safe and sensible...then I will put myself on my own healthy bone program. In 6 months to one year, I will go have another bone density test done and see where I am at. If it is worse, then I will have to reconsider the drug options. If it's the same, I will know that I am doing something that works.

Don't get me wrong. I am not anti prescription drugs. I just think as a society we are always looking for the quick fix and we put way too many drugs into our bodies. There is a time and a place for medications and I am so thankful that we have them for serious and life threatening illnesses. I just don't think every symptom requires a drug and most of the medical profession does.

How do you feel about prescription drugs? Do you do your own homework, or do you trust your doctor enough to just do what he/she tells you to do? Do you happen to have Osteoporosis? If so, what are you doing for it?

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