Thursday, 19 June 2008

I Won't Be Beaten!


[Warning: looooooong post. If you can‘t be bothered to read it, I won‘t be offended if you decide to poodle off now]

Yesterday I went for a bone scan. The actual procedure was dead simple although I had to have my hip scanned twice as the machine didn’t read it properly the first time round. It’s just as well it was repeated because it turns out I have osteoporosis in it. Luckily, my back’s ok.

As this wasn’t totally unexpected , I some reading up on the subject beforehand and, knowing the facts, I’m not happy.

The doctor I originally saw during visits to the TPN clinic lowered my calorie intake because she was concerned that my weight would increase my risk of developing this particular condition. At that point I weighed about 15 stone (around 220 pounds) at 5’ 8”. According to this BMI calculator I was overweight to the point where a person’s considered fat. I agreed that losing some of it wouldn’t be a bad thing and as my calorie intake is provided entirely by TPN, I could still eat what I wanted and lose weight at the same time. Finally there was an up side to this short bowel condition. Maybe I’d get back to being the size 16 I’d once been comfortable with.

And I did. What’s more it gave my confidence a damned good boost after having it knocked somewhat by a combination of things that had gone before. For the first time in a long while, I started to feel good about myself again. I had one very enjoyable summer that year that some great memories came out of.

But it didn’t stop there. No, no, no. My doctor wanted me to lose more weight. I protested and said I was happy with my weight as it was but even though I weighed about 12 ½ stone (about 185 lbs) I was still classed as overweight; my BMI was 1.1 over the maximum healthy BMI of 25. Not a lot by any means. But ok, I could deal with losing a few pounds more.

If only it had stopped at a few pounds but that wasn’t to be. I don’t recall how much I weighed when my calories were eventually increased but I was too thin, that much I know. My hips were sticking out and you could easily see my rib bones. I wasn’t happy. It was only when I saw a new doctor that any action was taken. Unfortunately, I developed an infection in my Broviac line that made me dangerously ill and, as a result, I couldn’t feed without intense pain so I lost even more weight. Believe me, I was skinny! In fact, several friends told me that I looked anorexic.

By the time I was admitted to hospital in April, I weighed 7 ½ stone (just over 100 lbs). Things are finally looking up though; I’ve since put on about a stone (14 lbs) since.

Now what gets me is that, according to several websites I looked at, if you have a low BMI below 19 you are at greater risk of developing osteoporosis. My BMI was around 17. In other words, I was in the risk group. Basically, I’d gone from being in one risk group to another.

I am, to say the least, annoyed at the original doctor.

But what’s more, I’m angry at myself. Smoking is another risk factor, y’see, so picking up the habit again isn’t only increasing my risk of developing another blood clot and/or blocked arteries, it’s also increasing my risk of developing brittle bones. My legs are painful thanks to blocked arteries in both so there hasn’t been a great deal of weight bearing exercise over the past five years and neither is there likely to be in the future even though it’s said to reduce the risk. All in all, I’m not in a good place right now. I really must give up smoking.

One good thing to have come out of it is that it’s given me more determination. Not only to kick the fags but to get stronger and be able to take more exercise. I’m not talking mile long walks and aerobics here but I need to be able to walk further than I’m able to at the moment and maybe even dance to half a song (a whole one even?). I have to keep pushing myself. The recent lack of vitamin D hasn't helped either so I definately shan't be missing out on my dose of sunshine whenever it graces us with its presence.

I don’t want to end up with a broken hip just because I thumped it into something and as I’ve already fallen over a couple of times recently, once onto a sack full of clothes and once onto the sofa, I’m not going to keep increasing my chance of a fracture because one day, the landing might not be as soft. I have lots left to do and I'll be damned if I'm gonna be stuck in a wheelchair.

Sometimes anger can be a good thing; it can motivate us to act. I’m motivated now and am already developing a plan of action on both accounts. The smoking will be knocked on the head and I will get stronger.

Sharon J


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