Chef Ellen


Osteoporosis and Holding Onto Happiness

What happens when your doctor diagnoses that you are now part of a staggering statistic of women with osteoporosis? Let me refrain that, severe osteoporosis. Huh????? When did I become an old woman?

Of course, I cried first (a lot) and then pictured my self hunched over and walking with a cane. The next couple of days are a blur. I most likely obsessed with the news, and Dr. Googled everything there was to read on the internet. BTW, I would not recommend doing that. The situation tailspins and pointless maladies that will kill you within a year will present themselves.

Thankfully my loving husband who knows when to reel me in and put his arms around me stepped in. He uses humor more often than not to diffuse a situation. Therefore, I am grateful. After cursing the estrogen gods for robbing me of my youth at the tender age of 53, I wiped my tears and decided to invest some time into this matter. I should add that after the Dexa scan, several bisphosphonates were highly recommended by my current Endocrinologist. The side effects of those drugs are super scary; however, that has prompted me to dig deeper to understand my overall health.

I remember having my first DEXA scan ten years ago after breaking my ankle jogging. It was a hairline break, and my general practitioner suggested the scan. Back then, a different Endocrinologist ordered the scan, did some bloodwork, and sent me on my way. She told me to take calcium. Did I question anything? Why should I? She’s the professional with degrees decorating her wall. I wish I could go back in time and wring her neck.

At times in our lives, we must see doctors. We trust them and follow their instructions. While I do believe the medical profession is full of brilliant individuals, I’m convinced some phone it in. Should we show loyalty to those not willing to spend more than 9.2 minutes with us? Ask as many questions as you need to and the minute you are intimidated or rushed, look for another doctor that cares. I have been fortunate to have proper health insurance and the means to gather several opinions. I’ve gone back ten years and looked at bloodwork and the original scans. With the help and insight of those caring doctors out there possessing the incredible bedside manner and compassion, I’ve learned that being on top of your health is the most selfless and considerate thing you can do for yourself.

I haven’t ruled out medications but will weigh my options when there are answers to questions. I need to know why my body does not absorb the nutrients I’m feeding it. Considering the pros and cons associated with any step I take and educating myself better will ultimately clear those avenues and opinions that make sense for me. In the last six months, I’ve seen several doctors and have made strides with my health. There is more awareness of how I feel in addition to finding the time to take care of myself. Self-care not only requires food, water, and exercise. A well rounded human being needs quality time spent aligning their overall spirit, eliminating stress, finding joy, and holding onto happiness. Having been reacquainted with a friend that teaches the art of Qigong, she explained that movements from this practice help improve joint flexibility, muscle strength, and range of motion. Also, through a focus on breath, body posture, and state of awareness, students can achieve powerful healing and correct imbalances throughout the body. What do I have to lose aside from more bone density at this point?
I took my first class with Tara this past week and felt incredible afterward. Tara gave me questions to answer that I’d like to share.
1. Does caring for yourself come natural, or is it a chore? Meaning deciding what to eat, exercise, going to bed on time.
2. Is your health your priority, or do you put someone else’s health and needs in front of yours?

3. Do you value your wellbeing? Might sound silly, but if we truly value something, we give it attention.

4. Can you honestly put yourself first? Before your job, family, social life, etc.?

5. Are you comfortable shifting your thought process from guilt to self responsibility when you put your health first? In other words, if your Priority is your health, then your responsibility to your health should help alleviate any guilt.

What I will reinforce over and over again in this class is that we hope to help others learn about their bodies and help them support their health. I am not a teacher of caregiving. There is great value in caregiving, but I am not teaching that in this class, although you are giving care. Too often, we might feel we know what others need when our bodies are asking for attention. This is a chance to attend to your needs.
Thank you, Tara, for sharing your passion and talents with me. I am grateful that we ran into each other and am appreciative of you taking interest.

You ended your email to me with the following. Again I will use your words and thank you. The caregivers of this world have tremendous guilt over tending to their needs. Could you imagine that many of us only know that our needs come last?