Cynthia first broke one of her bones when she was eight years old. Since then, every five years or so, she has broken another. Before that count reached a dozen, she worried that something physical was contributing to the pattern — and her concerns were validated in 2017 when she was diagnosed with osteoporosis. Here she shares details of her journey and what she’s learned along the way.
Adapting to Fragility
I was concerned about how many broken bones I have had since I was a child of eight years old. I have broken 12 bones in 34 years, [one] usually every 5-6 years. Each of them [broken from] a ground-level fall.
For the longest time, I had to go through it alone. As a child my parents took me to the doctor or hospital, but they had to return to work. Therefore, I had to figure out creative ways of getting around.
In my early adulthood, I found it was best if I kept my upper body strength so I didn’t have to go through severe pain when the doctors and nurses wanted to move me. I could just lift my body for them to do what they needed (change bedding, x-rays, etc.).
I have broken bones so many times, I was a Guinea pig for the orthopedic doctor.
I was the first person in my hometown who had metal hardware called a “halo” (usually for head injuries) put on my knee. I was eight months pregnant with my daughter when I fell down some steps. My OB/GYN and orthopedic [doctor] felt it was a better alternative to a cast since I would be giving birth before having it removed.
The worst was three years ago when I broke my hip. I don’t think I would have been so eager to get through physical therapy if it wasn’t for meeting my husband. He was there for me for support and kept me going, not allowing me to give up.
Seizing the Day
Most people diagnosed with osteoporosis are in their 60s. I was 39 when I was diagnosed and told I have the bone structure of an 80-year-old. The doctor told me if I was five years older, I probably wouldn’t be here considering 95% of those who suffer a broken hip [at] age 60 and above usually die.
My advice is if you have had multiple broken bones or fractures within a five-year period, get a bone density test to confirm it’s not osteoporosis. You may have to be persistent because doctors tend to think they know everything. However, no one knows your body better than you. An early diagnosis could mean your life.
I am now taking a high-power dose of Fosamax and 50,000 units of vitamin D once per week for the next four years. Then my bones should be the same age as my body.
[I’m] living my life from day to day and living it to the fullest, as if it were my last day on Earth. I believe everyone deserves to be happy no matter what and should do so without hurting others or allowing anyone to be a dream killer.
I’d like to inspire others to pay attention to their body. If something doesn’t feel normal or make sense and you feel something is wrong, get it checked. If the first doctor doesn’t listen, find another one.
Live life to the fullest and be happy.
Diagnosed with osteoporosis in 2017
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