"Treat the disease, you win some, you lose some. Treat the patient, you always win."
~Patch Adams~

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Bone Density Study!

Hi, everyone, I have not forgotten you----life has been a bit hectic (mostly good stuff), and I simply have not had time to sit down and write a post.  My goal for the rest of the year (and beyond) is to write a minimum of one post every seven days!

I mentioned in an earlier post that I had been to Charlotte Radiology for a bone density test (DEXA--dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry).  I hadn't had one in four years, and I think I was a little obsessed about knowing what my bone density was after I fell at the gym in August and broke my arm.  Both Dr. Carr and Dr. Hines (my pain management specialist) assured me that my arm broke because of the existing plate from a long ago car accident, but to calm my fears Dr. Hines ordered the test.  

If you have never had a DEXA scan, it's painless and quick.   You lie down on an x-ray table and a machine makes several passes over you.  The whole process takes about 15 minutes. Actually, the worst part about it for me was filling out the damn paperwork beforehand---seriously, if they want my social security number, then give me more than a half inch space to write it down. 

Got my results back about two weeks ago............and drum roll, please......I have normal bone density!  Here's the report:

  • Dr. Hines and Dr. Carr said that it was likely that I had localized osteopenia in my right arm because of the plate that has been in there for 21 years.  That does not, however, automatically mean I have systemic osteopenia/osteoporosis, and the DEXA scan bears that out.  I was irritated when the surgeon who repaired my arm in August told me that I needed to start taking calcium.  Dr. Carr has long said that calcium is not what builds healthy bones (testosterone, Vitamin D, and weight training exercise), and I feel like the surgeon just looked at my arm bones and made an assumption that all of my bones were weakened.  In fairness, I need to add that other than that, I really do like the hand surgeon who is taking care of me----he has taken the time to explain what is going on with the arm, and has been honest to tell me why my thumb is still not moving very well (later post).

  • Although my bone mineral density numbers (BMD-first column) are down just a little bit from my scan in 2009, I am still pleased that they are above 1.0.  It's incentive to work harder in the gym.  My T scores are down a little bit too, again, incentive to work it! 
  • Note that my "Z" scores are better now than they were in 2009, that's because I am four years older, and the "Z" scores compare my bones to others the same age as me.  
I will be honest to tell you that I am still not at full tilt with my workouts since I fell in August.  I'm struggling still with being in the gym (I am back at the YMCA, cannot make myself walk back into the Gold's Gym where I fell, and that has nothing to do with them---the thought of it just flips me out and I am afraid it will make my flashbacks worse)----I'm having flashbacks about falling.  I had a pretty bad flare up of arthritis in my right knee about a month ago, and that has also slowed me down.  I was very concerned that I had torn the meniscus in my knee, or had done something that would require surgical intervention, but a visit with Dr. Hines revealed that it wasn't a surgical issue (he did say, however, and not for the first time, that I will eventually likely need a knee replacement).  I have had extensive surgery done on that knee from the car accident in 1992, and the x-ray revealed that I do have some localized osteopenia in that leg also, as a result of the pins/screws and wires that have been in that knee for many years.  At my request, I went to see a physical therapist for a consult about what was safe for me to do in the gym knee wise, and so I am trying to tailor my exercises to making the compensatory muscles around the knee, as well as the hip and gluteal muscles as strong as I can.  For the time being, my fitness walking has to cease, it puts too much strain on the knee and will exacerbate the problems that are already there.  C'est la vie.  

How did it get to be the end of October already?  I can't believe Halloween is Thursday (the scar on my arm is my costume, I'm going as a zombie).  We've had our first freeze of the season here in NC, that doesn't usually happen until early November.  Brace yourselves, as soon as Halloween is over, the Christmas holiday commercials begin----ugh.  Have a great week!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Jars for your hormonal creams!

Hi everyone, no, I have not forgotten you! Life has been a little chaotic lately.  I'm still in physical therapy for my right arm rehab (for those of you who don't read this blog regularly, I broke the arm in a fall at the gym in early August).  I do very little at the computer on the days I go to PT, it is helping me regain the strength in the arm, but boy, does it hurt afterward!

I have very good news, however, I had a DEXA (bone density) scan last month, and it is normal!  I do have some localized osteopenia in my right arm because I have had a large plate in that arm for 21 years, but the osteopenia is localized, not systemic.  I will write a more detailed blog post later this week (along with a good link that explains how to read your DEXA scan), but wanted to share the good news with you!

I know many of you, like me, use creams as your method of taking one or more of your hormones.  I use progesterone cream several times daily, and it comes from the pharmacy in large jars that are too cumbersome to carry around.  At one time, I was able to get small jars with screw on lids from the pharmacy, but they no longer have them and the ones I had were getting worn out.  I finally found some that fit the bill............through Amazon.com (they have everything!.

Here is the link for the smaller jar (came in a package of 10).  The jar holds 1/2 ounce, which for me is about 8-10 doses of my progesterone.  The jar is 1 1/8 inch high, and 1 3/4 inches in diameter. I also used one of these smaller jars to keep some coconut oil next to my bed, much better for chapped lips than lip balm (I use it on my cuticles too).   The larger jar on the right holds one ounce (good size if you want several days worth of cream to travel with) and this jar is large enough to hold a day's worth of supplements for me.

Hope this helps, I accidentally left the little jar I was using with progesterone at a friend's house, and it made me nuts to not have it in my purse for a couple days!  I am usually out and about around lunchtime, which is when I take my second dose of progesterone.

Hope the weather wherever you are is as lovely as it is here in NC-----but I must say, it was a little nippy this morning!  I think the low hit just below 40 degrees.  Our leaves don't hit peak colour for another week, but the trees are showing signs of turning.  Love this time of year.  Enjoy!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Pfizer's new drug for menopause..........

Oh, good, Pfizer (with FDA approval) is introducing a new drug to the market for post menopausal women. They haven't done enough damage with their drugs Premarin and Pempro, which, if you are a regular reader of this blog, know are synthetic hormones made from the urine of pregnant mare's.  They are NOT hormones, they are drugs, and they were the substances used in the Women's Health Initiative (the study that was halted because of the increase in health issues and deaths).  Now Pfizer wants menopausal women to take Duavee, which is a combination of horse pee and a drug known as a selective seratonin receptor modulator (SERM), which is supposed to prevent post menopausal osteoporosis.  Bone stressing exercise (weight training), testosterone optimization, and Vitamin D optimization are known to prevent osteoporosis too, but most women would rather just pop a pill (even a pill containing horse piss) than make the effort to prevent osteoporosis in a more natural way.

Besides the fact that ingesting horse pee has been proven to be unsafe for humans, the methods to collect the ingredient necessary for making Premarin/Prempro is abusive to the horses involved.  I shared a video with you about that in my last blog post, and Dr. Carr shared another one with his patients :

I had a rather interesting conversation with a woman recently----she shared with me that she takes Premarin cream for vaginal dryness. I mentioned that I have successfully used estriol cream for a number of years for vaginal dryness/atrophy, and was dismissively told that her doctor wouldn't prescribe that. I got the sense she had never heard of estriol cream before I mentioned it, and therefore had never asked her doctor about it, so how does she know he/she won't consider prescribing it.........but never mind, that's another issue.  I told her that the methods used to collect the urine from the pregnant mare's was very abusive and tortured the animals involved, and she held her hand up and told me she did not want to hear me talk about it in a tone that said she wished not to be informed so that she was not inconvenienced.  That's fine, I stopped immediately;  the woman owns a dog and says she is an animal lover.  I guess that means dogs.  In the conversation, I also learned that Premarin runs about $100-$125 per tube, my estriol cream is much less than that and has the added benefit of not torturing animals.  For me, that's a win-win.