I had my bone scan a few weeks ago. I’m meant to have them every two years, but this time what with ‘you know what’ it was three years since my last scan. Do you have regular bone scans? I have had these scans for years and have kept the records for them since 2003 so I’ve been tracking my steady progress towards osteopenia and osteoporosis.
Yes, it’s no surprise to me that my scores continue to move towards the inevitable loss of bone as I have really small bones. If you ever thought being called ‘big boned’ was a negative, and not a compliment, just don’t think that way, instead praise the heavens for your good fortune. I inherited from my really quite small mother her bones on my father’s taller frame. So I have dainty hands, small thin feet, thin arms (more about those in a minute) and thin legs.
I mean I like my legs and love wearing skinny jeans and last week I found some skinny jeans in my local charity shop.
They were new and still had their price tag so quite a bargain at £4. Also the spare tyre that I got during our lockdowns has gone.
Anyway, while I’ve been happy to have slim legs I am not quite so happy with the way these thin limbs are shaping up in my older age! However, after reading the doom-laden letter from the consultant I looked closer at the test results and actually parts were not as bad as I thought they might be. My hip score is no different to how it was 3 years ago, and surely that is a good thing, and my spine has only slightly increased its score, it’s the forearm that is an utter disgrace – in the consultant’s words I have severe osteoporosis of the forearm. And of course, they want me to take that med, alendronate (fosamax).
Now, do not follow what I am doing – because what I’m sharing with you is considered to be so very wrong. The thing is I thought about it, and I visited my GP and told her that the med was really not for me and she said it’s your body and ‘you can decide’. Although she spoke of all the reasons why I should take alendronate, she accepted what I said to her, and for my part I promised that I would reconsider in two years time after my next scan.
Ok so what in the meantime am I doing about these pesky forearms. Because I am not going to sit around and bemoan my fate. As we all know bone is made when you weight bear, so obviously all the walking I do and all the exercises I do during Pilates and my 1-2-1 with my PT has paid off, even on my spine where the deterioration has slowed. And over the past six months I have paid particular attention to these hips of mine with that instability I had, yes, that’s right, had, as that instability has gone, and all due to the daily exercises I’ve done to build up the muscle around my hip.
Well, now is the time to turn my attention to upper body weights. And so far I have been doing the weightlifting every other day. Also note that during Pilates classes I do planks and press-ups on the floor and at home I do standing press-ups with hand claps as you move away from the wall. Furthermore, at my 1-2-1 with my Personal Trainer we will now be concentrating on strength and resistance, and yesterday I was doing a lot of weights using a bar. Maybe I’ll take some pix of these one day to show you that 75-yr-olds really can take the strain! Actually of course you don’t strain, as you engage every muscle in your body to protect your back as you do your deadlifts and biceps curl-ups plus all the other weights that I am putting in my armoury to prevent any further deterioration and build up that protective muscle. Indeed why I’m sharing this is to encourage everyone to i) be aware of your bones and ii) take control and be pro-active as one ages. And of course, please listen to your medical practitioner.
So, to sum up, I shall be working those forearms in as many ways as possible to i) build up muscle and ii) get those osteoblasts working (those are the cells that build the bone). Actually the many ways might also include gardening and hammering nails into planks of wood, the former I do once a month at my son’s abode, not so sure how I can do the latter though! But there’s plenty of work needed in my son’s garden as it needs a lot of attention.
And then there’s the food one can eat. Sardines, with the bones in, of course, actually I love those, and other oily fish including mackerel, salmon, herring, pilchards and sprats. I could eat that kind of fish every day but Mr F is not all that keen and once a week is enough for him. Then there’s milk, cheese, green vegetables and any vegetable really with a little meat each week, but not too much. And then course, foods to avoid are sugary foods and not too much coffee and as for cola and other soda drinks the word is ‘avoid’ which I do now, but I do admit to being almost addicted to coca-cola for about ten-years. Awful really, I don’t know why I was like that, but thank goodness I have stopped, as cola strips the minerals from your bones.
So there you are. I would be very interested in those of you who take alendronate and find it does you the world of good, that might make me change my mind. I’d also be interested in any of you who have not got on with this med. Finally, I leave you with another message. Do listen to your medical practitioner if they suggest a med and don’t do as I do! And for any sensible advice on health and ageing always look at the Age-Well Project blog – they really know what they’re talking about. Btw I’m pleased to tell you that Susan Saunders is speaking at the Lewes Speakers Festival in January 2022 and I’ve already booked my early-bird seat to hear what she has to say.
You all take care now – of every part of your body 😊
With love, Penny, the Frugalfashionshopper