I had a DEXA scan recently to check for bone loss in my spine and hips. The chemotherapy I endured in May 2007 plunged me into menopause and may have been a contributing factor to my newly diagnosed osteoporosis. Yes, my bones, particularly my spine, are deteriorating.
While this news comes as no surprise (I am after all 54), my transplant doctor's recommendation to begin hormone replacement therapy (HRT) on top of a bone-building med gave me pause. I'd thought my running would protect me from bone loss. I had this crazy notion that drinking a cow's-worth of milk every day would fill in the potholes. Maybe I'd be a pile of dust by now if I hadn't been doing any weight-bearing exercise and consuming a fair amount of calcium. What shocked me though was the HRT. Wouldn't that increase my risk of developing cancer? I've been down that bumpy road and couldn't imagine taking a drug that might steer me down it again.
My doctor explained that while there is some evidence that HRT slightly increases the risk of breast and ovarian cancers, the risk of me suffering spinal fractures just by sneezing was greater and more pressing. Did I want to be the Incredible Shrinking Woman, or possibly develop a dowager's hump? Well, no. But I had been looking forward to finally being drug-free after my latest clinic visit, when I eagerly anticipated being cleared to stop the preventative meds I've been on since transplant.
So it's off two drugs, on two more. I chose the lesser of two evils, something I've grown accustomed to doing on this crushing journey. Fix the immediate problem, and deal with the consequences when or if any occur.
In the words of the Rolling Stones, what a drag it is getting old. I have to keep reminding myself that getting old has its benefits, the main one being that you're not dead yet.
Des bones are gonna rise again.