Bigger isn’t always better in life.
I’m not talking about weight size or the size of your bank balance or home, I’m talking about bigger bones.
If you research bone disease on “Dr Google” you’ll find copious amounts of information about Osteoporosis, low bone density and the importance of having good healthy bones.
Try researching high bone density and there is such limited information.
Walking An Unknown Path
There is a small amount of information on rare bone diseases, like Osteopetrosis that causes extreme high bone density and low bone turnover but not a great deal. I guess the word “rare” is the reason for that. So much research needs to be done in this area.
My case is being used for that research purpose and I pray that my story will eventually help others in the future, who find themselves walking this unknown path.
My disease is closely linked to the rare disease Osteopetrosis, but it is too severe for the benign adult version and my bones are doing things that my medical team have never seen or heard of before.
While being a Leader has always been a big part of my personal and working life, being a disease pioneer is however not the best position to be in when you need to find a way to halt the progression of the disease now.
What Does Bone Density Actually Mean?
So what is considered healthy bone density? A Bone Density Scan provides you with a T Score which lets you know if you are in the healthy bone density range or if you require treatment or further investigation.
The criteria of the World Health Organization is: Normal is a T–score of −1.0 or higher. Osteopenia is defined as between −1.0 and −2.5. Osteoporosis is defined as −2.5 or lower, meaning a bone density that is two and a half standard deviations below the mean of a 30-year-old man/woman.
I recently had a follow-up Bone Density Scan, to see how my bone disease is progressing. We know the nature of my bone disease is causing my bones to be excessively dense. It’s affecting my bone marrow in a malignant pattern, my muscles are atrophised and it causes my bones to break and not heal. It’s pattern is the complete opposite to the well known Osteoporosis.
It is a rare disease. It is a conundrum to my medical team. It has no treatment and no cure. We hope and pray that it will at least stop progressing but my physical disability and pain levels are increasing on a daily basis and I am now being treated as a palliative patient.
So when my husband and I headed off to the xray department on the day of my bone density scan, we did so with a little trepidation of what those results would be.
It’s Wasn’t Great News.
My spinal bone density from L2 to L 4 had increased significantly since my 2014 scan. Normal range is -1.1 to +2.5. Remember, anything under -1.1 is Osteoporosis or Osteopenia. Anything higher than +2.5 is a rare bone disease or possible cancer. I had a full cancer review in 2016 and the Oncologist was comfortable that my bone disease was mimicking a malignant pattern.
So my score card was I guess at least impressive, if you’re looking for high scores, but in reality it is a good example of bigger not being better:
My T Score is +4.34
My L3 disc is sitting at + 5.40. 😯
They couldn’t scan my femurs because of the rods but that doesn’t matter, they scanned my spine from L2 to L4 and my wrist. Two areas need to be scanned. The spine however gives all the information my Specialists need.
My medical team are scratching their heads.
The Radiographer couldn’t believe what she was seeing but she, like so many others who treat me, was fascinated by my case and I enjoyed chatting with her. She apparently works closely with my Endocrinologist on difficult cases which I didn’t know so that was handy!!
Nothing Changed But Everything Changed!
As a new week stared and I looked ahead to what the week held, I knew it would be full of pain. I knew I would have to plan carefully every movement, every activity around the home.
Nothing changed the week of the scan. The results were expected but everything changed. My circumstances were the same but they were different.
My symptoms tell me daily that my disease is progressing and I live happily enough with it but seeing the facts of that reality on paper…….it did change things slightly for my husband and I.
Silly that numbers on a piece of paper can make something even more real but they did.
My feet fracture and re-fracture regularly and my broken femurs grate bone on bone with the slightest movement. My jaw bone pain makes talking difficult and painful and my spine has countless disc herniations impacting nerve roots. More recently I have been diagnosed with severe central and lateral spinal stenosis at L4/L5 and L5/S1 with bone spurs compressing the spinal cord. The pain is disabling and excruciating and recent spinal surgery has fixed one area but made others worse.
So it’s not like I wasn’t aware things weren’t great but I was holding out hope that maybe the results would be stable…not bigger.
Bigger is not always better.
What Hasn’t Changed
What hasn’t changed is my resolve to enjoy the simple things in life at home with my husband.
What hasn’t changed is my faith in God and the knowledge that He is with me every step of the way. God encourages me to look to Him for strength and peace and not dwell on the things that I can’t change.
What hasn’t changed is my desire to reach out to others living with complex diseases to provide support and understanding.
I love my forum, Medical Musings with Friends . It’s a safe place to connect with others living with chronic and complex diseases, who truly understand the constant challenges. The 1600 plus members from around the world are amazing. They inspire me daily and give me a wonderful purpose for which I am so grateful.
My big bones might not be great and weigh me down physically but my big ideas of living a fulfilling life of faith, despite disease, are well worth growing.
If you’re looking for genuine support, care, understanding & friendship, you are so welcome to join my closed Facebook support forum, Medical Musings with Friends . It’s a safe place to connect with others living with chronic & complex diseases, who truly understand the daily challenges. A warm welcome awaits.
I’m a regular Contributor at “The Mighty”. You can check out my published articles at My Author Page
I also write @ Blogs by Christian Women
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