"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!