Last time I wrote about how important it is to make time for ourselves as we give care to our loved ones. I was pleased that I had scheduled many preventive exams and tests with quite a few physicians during my first month back from my winter vacation.
This past week results of some of my medical tests have come back and they point to some problems and a need to take even more time to care for myself. My bone scan showed more loss of bone over the past 2 years and a need to make more changes in how I respond. In fact, two doctors, both my primary physician and my specialist called the same day to tell me the results and that I need to determine what to do next.
Unfortunately, there are no easy solutions to bone loss as we get older. There are many different medications that are prescribed for this condition. However, most have serious or even life threatening side effects in some cases. I have been taking one medication for several years and before that I tried two others. One of the two I tried was ineffective (and has now been linked to cancer) and the other caused severe stomach problems.
The current one has the potential for serious side effects but so far has not caused any problems. However, I have not been as good as I should have been and have forgotten to take the pills once or twice a week. This obviously limits its effectiveness. I decided to change the time of day I take this medication as I am less likely to forget the morning medications than I am the mid-day ones.
My specialist discussed the options for treatment with me by phone and suggested I research 2 newer medications to see whether I thought I could live with them. I researched them and determined that the cure could be worse than the condition, though in fact, it is a serious issue either way. A hip fracture can lead to death in up to 20 to 25% of elderly patients.
As I researched on the web page of the Osteoporosis Foundation, I saw there was a huge emphasis on fall prevention. Well, I decided, that is one thing I can do. I can get more grab bars and work on an exercise program to improve my balance and prevent serious falls. There are other things I can and should do around the house to eliminate items that might cause me to trip and fall.
I had been participating in such an exercise program before mom fell over 2 years ago and I became even more entwined in the caregiving web. Since mom fell and I subsequently brought dad home to live near me, I had totally discontinued my participation in the exercise program, though I continued to take long walks.
Now I am determined to get back into this program which is like a Silver Sneakers program, that is designed for people over 55. There is emphasis on using all the muscles, doing a little with weights and working on balanced, among other things. It still is enough activity during 45 minutes to an hour to get me tired by the end if not before.
I went back to the exercise program this week and joined my friends and neighbors again. The group had gotten small over the winter but doubled in size this week. I guess I was not the only person to decide it was time to get back to regular exercise!
I still need to discuss these plans with my doctors, but I know in the end the decision is mine. I just hate the fact that there are no easy solutions. I know a broken bone at any age is serious, and as we age the probability of such breaks increases considerably.