Monday, March 29, 2010

Let's Talk About Your Health

Nah, let's talk about mine and even though it's of more interest to me than it is to you what I write may just be helpful to you.

Last December I set up an appointment at the health clinic for a check-up and PAP smear. While I was there the doctor asked if I wanted to set up an appointments for a mammogram and a colonoscopy and I said yes. Then while looking at my chart she said that even though I was still too young for osteoporosis did I want to have a bone density scan done so we would have a baseline x-ray for any changes down the road. I hesitated for a moment, thinking about the cost, and then decided it was a good idea.

Let me give you a tip about medical test results. If they mail them to you everything is fine, if they call you on the phone something may be wrong. I was mailed the results of both my PAP and my mammogram but called on the phone and asked to come in to discuss my bone scan results. I knew this was not good but did not worry too much about it since I knew I was too young to have full blown osteoporosis but I did worry about cancer.

The first thing the doctor told me was that my bone scan showed I had osteoporosis, not the beginning stage of osteoporosis, called osteopenia, but full blown osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is diagnosed by comparing your bone density scan to one of a 30 year old healthy adult. The difference between your bone density and healthy bone density is call a T-score. Low bone density is a T-score between 1.0 and 2.5 while anything above 2.5 is an indication of osteoporosis. I had a T-score of 3.0. I am amazed by how quickly I adjusted to this bit of news. One moment my stomach was on a quick elevator ride to my feet and the next, a lovely feeling of calm dropped over me as I accepted the fact that my life had just changed.

Once she told me I had osteoporosis my doctor started questioning me about my family history, had my mother or grandmother shrunk as they aged? Yes, both my mother and my grandmother on my father's side. Did I drink enough milk when I was a child? I hesitated, yes, when I could get it. I also told her I was a low birth weight baby, that I had a severe iron deficiency at age 10, that my sister had been affected by my mother's calcium deficiency when she was born, and that my bones and muscles had always ached. She nodded with each revelation but reacted strongly to the last one and sent me over to the lab to have blood drawn for a vitamin D level check. Vitamin D is important as it helps the body absorb calcium. It turns out I am severely vitamin D deficiency and I am now taking a supplement of 50,000IU once a week.

The change in my body has been miraculous. Within 24 hours I no longer ached, my muscles felt more...the only way I can describe it is more fluid. My body no longer felt like a clenched fist and my brain no longer felt foggy. I also have more energy and my muscles feel stronger. I am also taking monthly medication that stops bone lost and increases bone strength. I will be doing another blood draw in a month to check my vitamin D level and getting another bone density scan in two years to, of course, check my bone density.

All in all, I feel pretty good both physically and emotionally.

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