There Are Worse Things in Life Than Osteoporosis

fosamax joke

I saw my primary doctor on Friday to find out the results of my bone scan. I have severe osteoporosis. I guess I won’t be doing any skydiving. My doctor wants me to take Fosamax for the rest of my life. That doesn’t sound like something I want to do. Have you seen all the commercials from lawyers these days, looking for patients who got sicker from the side effects of these drugs — years after they were approved by the FDA? My doctor told me the most common side effect is gastrointestinal problems. HELLO! Did she forget I just had a SEVERE problem with that a few years ago…called cancer…why would I risk putting myself through that again??? When I went home I looked up the side effects for myself and this caught my eye:

“In rare cases, this medicine may cause bone loss (osteonecrosis) in the jaw. Symptoms include jaw pain or numbness, red or swollen gums, loose teeth, or slow healing after dental work. The longer you use Fosamax, the more likely you are to develop this condition. Osteonecrosis of the jaw may be more likely if you have cancer or received chemotherapy, radiation, or steroids. Other risk factors include blood clotting disorders, anemia (low red blood cells), and a pre-existing dental problem.”

I already have dental issues that I cannot afford to fix, caused by the chemo. Why would I take the chance of losing my teeth and look like a meth addict without the benefits of getting high??? Thanks, but no thanks.

So, I researched the Internet for alternatives and asked for ideas from my Face Book peeps. It turned out that they had a lot to say and all agreed — Fosamax is a bad idea. One of them who is an acupuncturist told me that this drug does “lay down” new bone tissue on top of the old one, but the new one is just as fragile. So what’s the point?

Then I looked for complaints from those taking the drug. There was plenty on the Consumer Affairs website.

This website lists lawsuits against Merck who makes Fosamax.

Here is another website. The only one who seems to benefit from this drug are injury attorneys.

Someone even has a whole blog devoted to the horrors of Fosamax!

My alternative treatment plan is to walk a mile a day, do wall push ups, and lift five-pound weights.  Weight bearing exercise is a good alternative.  I will also take a magnesium/calcium citrate supplement.  My acupuncturist friend suggested I add organic powdered maca root to my daily green smoothie. I looked it up online and read that doctors in Peru give it to their patients to treat their osteoporosis. If it’s good enough for Peruvian doctors, it’s good enough for me.

My doctor expects a decision from me in two weeks. The answer is ” HELL NO!”

Be well,

Inge

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Did I Mention I am Claustrophobic?

I am taking a writing class to sharpen my writing skills. Every week we read what we wrote to the class and they give feedback. I haven’t written anything for them to critique in two weeks (I am calling it “writer’s block”). I finally came up with something and I decided to share it with you. It’s a true story:

sweat_lodge

Part of my 90s experience was spent on a spiritual adventure. A quest. A quest to find what, I don’t exactly know. I think it started as an offshoot from all those “self-help” books I read, or maybe it was because I was approaching middle age. Every month I visited different churches to see what they were talking about. I learned in college one of the ways to find out about a culture was to study their religious beliefs. So, I thought of myself as an anthropologist of sorts.

One day a coworker told me about a Native American “sweat” that was happening that coming weekend and invited me to come along. I was living in San Francisco and the thought of going to a Native American ceremony intrigued me. The event would take place in the backyard of someone’s house right there in the city. That Saturday we were greeted at the person’s home by a man dressed in Native American attire. We had to be “smudged” by this person before we were allowed to enter the home. Smudging is done with sage. The person smudges another person (in this case me) by holding a smoldering piece of sage and wafting the smoke around the person’s body. The idea is to clean the “energy” of the person so they enter the ceremony “clean.”

There were about twenty people in the backyard. They were in small groups engaged in conversations that didn’t look any different than one would see at a regular gathering or outdoor party, except there was no alcohol of course. Several feet away there was a pit with a small fire by the back fence. I figured they would barbecue something later. Something that looked like a crudely built teepee sat in the middle of the yard. Everything looked really cool.

Instead of doing a lot of talking, besides introducing myself, I wanted to listen and learn. This was so much more interesting than sitting inside a church listening to a sermon. I was doing something different. I was doing something “spiritual.”

I don’t know exactly how much time went by, but I am guessing it was over an hour when the host asked those of us who wanted to participate in the sweat, to line up at the teepee. My friend said, “That’s us.” And I followed her. One of the persons dressed as a Native American opened the teepee flap and asked us to go inside, and  sit in a circle, cross legged. I was the third one to go in. I think there was a total of seven of us.

Did I mention that I am claustrophobic? As soon as I sat down and saw how cramped we were, my heart started beating fast. I told myself that everything was “ok.” I was outdoors, sitting in a tent, just hanging out with a few people. Then some guy showed up holding what looked like a “glowing bowling ball” on a shovel. He dropped it into a hole that was in the middle of our circle. I asked my friend, “What’s that for?” She replied, “It’s for the sweat. He has more to put in.” That pit I mentioned earlier, was not for a barbecue, it held the giant rocks that would heat up the teepee.

After the third rock was added to the hole, I was getting really hot. Did I mention I am claustrophobic? I don’t do well in heat either. I felt the urge to leave but I wasn’t close to the front entrance. I told my friend that I wasn’t feeling well and I had to get out. She said, “Wait — the ceremony has begun.” What had I gotten myself into? My breathing was getting rapid and short. I could feel panic welling up inside me. I had to get out of there. But how? I was surrounded by strangers who sat there with big smiles on their faces. Some had their eyes closed. I closed my eyes. If I pretended to be somewhere else, maybe I would feel better. I heard that guy come back and dump another glowing rock. I opened one eye. There must have been a hundred rocks! By now, I was sweating like a pig. Ok, that’s good dude. I think I’m sweating enough. We don’t need anymore. He must have heard my thoughts because he said something (I don’t remember what, I was freaking out too much to hear anything). Then he closed the flap and it was dark except for the glowing rocks. Did I mention I am claustrophobic?

That was enough for me. I announced to the group I had to get out. Some woman, who I am guessing was in charge of our “sweat,” said I had to wait. Wait? Wait for what? To die of asphyxiation and heat stroke? My friend leaned over and whispered, “ Please be quiet. You’re embarrassing me.”

Why was everyone looking so calm when we were all in danger? I felt duped by my friend. She never told me this “sweat” would involve real sweating, sitting inside a tiny, dark tent, with a bunch of people who were sucking up what little oxygen there was. Oh, and we sat around glowing rocks that could have burned the whole place down.

Since, I knew no one was going to move so I could get out, I did the only rational thing I could think of, I turned around and got on my knees, put my face to the ground, and lifted the bottom of teepee a couple inches so I could breathe the outside air. My rear end was inches away from my friend’s face. I don’t know what was happening behind me. I didn’t care. I was enjoying the cool fresh air. I started feeling better.

Apparently, my actions were enough to change the mind of the person in charge. Before I knew it, people scooted out of the way and I was released to the safety of the outdoors. Who knew fresh air could smell so good? I don’t think anyone on the outside knew what was going on. They were busy with their conversations. No one even looked at me.

I thought, Wow! So this is what a Native American sweat is all about!

I didn’t wait for my friend to finish and come out to share her experience. I left and caught the next bus towards home.

Eating Healthy is a Lifetime Commitment

healthy-eating-vs-junk-md

Have you ever gone on a diet and after losing the weight you wanted, you ended up gaining it all back, plus ten pounds? Here’s what happened:

For years you go to the drive thru to pick up your favorite fast food meal. Then one day you look in the mirror and say, “Hey you are looking kinda chunky,” so you decide to go on a diet… any diet and you lose 50 lbs. Then you look in the mirror and say, “Who is this sexy babe?” But before you know it, your driving past your favorite fast food joint and you can hear it calling your name. You try ignoring it but one afternoon you decide to just buy a small bag of fries. That’s all it takes. One bite and you’re hooked.  The next thing you know you are sitting in that same drive thru line three times a week. Salt, fat and sugar just tastes so good!  It’s addicting and chemists are paid big money to come up with more tasty junk food, to keep you coming back for more. A few months after you lost the weight, you gained it all back, plus a bonus ten pounds.

Do you get the picture? If you want to keep the weight off you have to continue eating the healthy foods. No ifs, ands or buts. It’s a lifestyle change and it’s permanent.

It’s the same thing with cancer. You finally beat it. Your doctors gave you the “all clear.” If you want to stay healthy, you have to make healthier choices. You have to be committed to a healthier lifestyle. Your life depends on it. Your body just went through a major war. There are lots of casualties, including your immune system. In order to rebuild your immune system, you have to feed it healthy foods. Junk food has zero nutritional value. Its empty calories.

fruitandveggieschart

If you want to heal; eat fresh, raw (or lightly steamed or sautéed) organic foods (or conventional foods that you can peel off the skin). Drink fresh green smoothies and/or juices. I’m talking home-made juices that you made yourself. Bottled juice from a grocery store has already lost a good deal of nutrients through pasteurization and from sitting on the store shelf. The longer fresh juice sits around, the more the good stuff disappears.

 

If you think you don’t have time to make your own juices, smoothies or a salad, think back to when you had to take all that the time for your doctor appointments, the infusions, healing from surgeries, etc. Making your own meals gives you a sense of control. You know what’s in your food. You are in charge of your health and you decide what you put into your mouth.

You make time for everyone else in your life; your family, your boss, Facebook, Twitter. Isn’t it time you make time for yourself?

 

Be well,

Inge