Friday, January 29, 2016


This site from International Osteoporosis Foundation is the mother lode of photos of exercises real people can do:  Show the doctor the pictures and get a strong on.

CAUTION:  If you have had or need spine surgery, some of these are not for you!  In fact all of them need to be shared with a doctor, and then with the very finest Physical Therapist in your county.  (Not everyone with initials is good at what he does, I've learned the hard way.)

Be sure to add the whole link into your browser. osteoporosis ::

And with all the advice we get on line, I was delighted to find a section on


Of course, curling up tighter on the sofa is also not recommended for us bone people. And here I am doing the other bad habit - leaning toward the laptop screen instead of moving the chair closer.

I wish you health.  

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

OSTEOPOROSIS - BUILD BONE, Proof of the old nagging

My doctor said the other day that if my feet weren't so bad, she'd prescribe vigorous exercise.  I reminded her that I climb stairs some days, that I want referral to the great physical therapy place I went to last year, and that sometimes my feet let me walk 25 minutes.

But...that isn't 5 hours a week, even counting household chores. Besides, it's so cold out there that the wind on my face aggravates my rosacea.  I'd like some proof payoff before putting on mittens and venturing out even in Texas winter. 

Then along comes the article from Mone Zaidi, MD, PHD and Mt. Sinai professor, working with researchers from Italy.

How Might Physical Exercise Stimulate Bone Synthesis?

One sentence hit me right between the eyes:

 "Conversely, off-loading muscle, such as in astronauts, can lead to bone loss." 

 Good timing!  Just last week, I learned a new word Sarcopenia -- astronauts are not the only ones. Older people offload muscle, too!. .  Wikipedia calls it degenerative (a word I hate.)  Worse Wikipedia says we might lose as much as 1% skeletal muscle every year after 50.  So if I've lost 17%!!! Holy cow !  What to do?

The doctor and some Italian researchers have found what I hope is a magic molecule: irisin. You guessed it:  Irisin is "released from muscle after exercise."   

Giving mice low doses of iricin, the team found increase in muscle strength and strength of cortical bone.

And the part I like to hear:  they aren't quitting with lab learning on what irisin does.  They suggest that treatment might be possible for osteoporosis and Sarcopenia. No more 90-pound weaklings?  I want to be one of the strong ones.  Gotta get up off the chair!

I wish you health.

The short, easy to read article is from Mt. Sinai Medicine Matters.  I just Googled Medicine Matters iricin

Thursday, January 14, 2016

PROLIA SHOT- So easy I could almost forget what strong stuff it is. MIDNIGHT SPECIAL

Thursday, January 14th

Off to oncologist
1:15 Pay my Medicare deductible
1:30  Blood pressure (not high considering I'm nervous).  Weight
Nurse assures me I want this in "your gut" as in front of my stomach.  "Everyone wants it there because it doesn't hurt as much."
Proceed to chairs in tiny corner across from Infusion Dept. desk
She hands me a tiny cylinder, about 1/90th of what I expected. "Hold this.  Keep it warm."

Five minutes later, she's back.  Tells me to pull up my sweater.  First time I've ever displayed my bare midriff in a doctor's hallway, with a somebody's hairy son sitting right up against my knee.

It doesn't hurt at all.  Over in 2 seconds.  No bandage.  Nothing. She tells me I don't need to sit and wait to see if I'm allergic (unlike the flu shot).

Home again.

Yes, it would be easy to say I'll do this every 6 months.  Not so sure. I still remember all the research I did on possible side effects.  Effects my oncologist has never seen.  Still, I might want a little
vacation to get my osteoblasts and so forth back to normal, before I get another shot in 6 months.

Anyway, time to thrash that out next summer.

I wish you health.


My friend will pick me up before one pm.
 I don't even know if they give me a choice of putting it in my arm, or thigh, or torso.  The torso sounds WAY too vulnerable.The left arm doesn't wake me up in pain, so maybe I'll request that.  (Besides, it's too easy to watch the thigh while it's going in.....)

At least I'll be in my own doctor's building, a familiar place, even though I never dare look right into the infusion unit.

More later.

Monday, January 11, 2016


After seeing my bone scan, my primary doctor said she was going to prescribe the pills, and if I couldn't take them, she would send me to someone in my area to get the shots.  The prospect of a new doctor who knows nothing about me, and who seems to mostly give shots, makes me want to run.

I have inherited significant sinus irritations that can fill my throat for weeks with heavy mucus.  As a bonus add to that a hiatal hernia that keeps things slowed down in my esophagus at times. Both problems are good reasons not to take the pills.

The decision was simplified when I told my oncologist I didn't want the pills, and he told me he doesn't allow them for his cancer patients. (I'm a patient even tho the DCIS is supposedly cured.)  And so I spent weeks of digging through the web for serious statistics on Prolia.  They were not comforting.  What comfort I got these past weeks was his tireless reassurance that no one in his whole group has seen any signs of the horrid side effects we read about.

I hit a snag when I found that patients with a certain side effect of bone meds were being sent to my dentist for some jaw repairs.  This stressed me out, and I don't even know if those people were on the pills or on Prolia.  I don't know if they already had dental problems.

On the other hand, there are reasons for me, especially, to take some meds for my bones:  I have foot problems that can interfere with weight-bearing exercise (more about exercise later.).  And, my lower spine could not be scanned for density because of screws from a lumbar fusion.

So in three days, I'll be in the infusion room (I've even been afraid to Look in there.)  Luckily, that room is really part of my oncologist's office, so I'll be in a familiar place with people who can reach him if I have a problem. That's comfort.

 And then we'll see.

I wish you health.

Friday, January 8, 2016

PROLIA - too late to turn back. Probably.

Friday after dark.  Medical offices closed.  I didn't cancel the Prolia appointment.  I have a ride, as the primary doctor and the internet advised.

My doctors put so much gentle energy and time into reassuring me.  And lately I've learned that We can't know how we'll feel about something until it's here.

I feel like a sissy when I think of other women's diseases.  But I also feel that plenty of caution and investigation about Prolia was the mature approach to the whole thing.

Today's joke:  I just paid a fortune for a tiny vial of eye antibiotic, and although I haven't opened it yet, my eye feels better.  (Except for the unfortunate, unpleasant new bifocal lens prescription, that is.)

When I look up a med in the Rx formulary (insurance word for how much we're going to charge you if we let you use this stuff) I always think of the people who are taking all the other meds in there that I've never needed.

I wish you health.

Thursday, January 7, 2016


Wonderful visit with my primary doctor this PM.  It's seemed a little strange at times with PMD and Oncologist both weighing in on the Prolia issue.  Spent so much time agonizing on this issue.

It was especially hard to decide after I learned recently that some people with ONJ had been sent to my dentist for "repairs."  The truth is that I don't know if any of those in the dentist's chair were on Prolia - maybe on the pills.

Before the holidays, my Oncologist talked with me for a long time about Prolia.  He assured me once again that out of his big medical group, no patients have had the horrid side effects I hear about - especially no jaw problems.  He suggested gently that I don't think about it over the holidays.  Then if I can't make myself keep my appointment for the injection, I can cancel.

Today I learned that my primary doctor is still concerned about it, too.  She gently mentioned that breaking a hip would be more trauma than effects of one injection. She also ordered a blood calcium test which was a relief for me, since I don't know when the oncologist gave me a recent one--very important before starting Prolia, which slows the bone loss, resulting in less blood calcium.

 I asked her if people drive themselves to Prolia.*  She suggested that get someone to drive, and she mentioned my sort of secret fear - that if I'm seriously allergic to it (yes, I know that's rare) I don't want to find that out while I'm driving.

So tomorrow will go by, and I won't cancel.  And I hope I won't have to take a cab over to the oncologist's office for that under-the-skin injection.

This has been a long struggle for me, especially since I read** that the RANKL that we're trying to disable temporarily is somehow tied in to my immune system.

So, like so much of the rest of medicine, Prolia is a tradeoff

I wish  you health.

* is where I got the hint about not driving until I know what the stuff does to me.

 **14Jump up^ EntrezGene 8600 TNFSF11

Friday, January 1, 2016

OVER 75? OSTEOPOROSIS? My secret On the Midnight Special

There are times when a woman just doesn't feel like running (or marching) aroound the block a couple of times.  (Thanks to Marie Ennis-O'Connor JBBC for reminding me that BC meds can cause such a time) like for instance late at night when the others are trying to sleep.  And it's cold.  Or before dawn when the others are trying to sleep and I wake up, and it's cold.  And the bed is warm.

That's when I whip out my secret weapon - bed exercises.  Some of them were taught me by a PTh who was working on my tendinitis.  He didn't cure my bicep, but taught me some neat things to keep away frozen shoulder.  Like pressing shoulders into the mattress 20 times gently, and sliding shoulders toward waist and back also 20 times.

And in spine fusion rehab I learned to press the back of my knee gently into the mattress 20 times each.

And never skip the butt squeeze 20 times.  Just squeeze those cheeks together to help any nerves in that area. Not to mention making you look better.

Then THE REAL, TOP SECRET for people like me who also have arthritis:  When I do my toe exercises, curling toes under, for instance, I curl my fingers at the same time!   And pull toes up away from the ball of foot while pulling fingers gently back from palm.  (Did I mention gently?)

There are so many easy stretches to do flat on your back.

I can feel the blood circulating (a nice feeling at my age.)

And, naturally, if you want to get fancier than that, check WITH THE DOC first.  In fact, I'm supposed to warn you to check with the doc before you do anything!

I wish you health.