Osteoporosis

Chris - Interview 23

Female
Age at interview: 52
Age at diagnosis: 45

Brief outline: Diagnosed in 1999. She is taking Actonel and Calcichew D3 Forte. Initially she was taking Actonel 5 mg once daily but found it impractical, especially during working days. She now takes 35 mg once weekly. She still experiences back pain but not as severe as before diagnosis.

Background: Divorced, two teenage sons; recently completed an MA in Arts, lawyer by profession. Chris says that her diagnosis enabled her to reassess her personal and professional life.

Audio & video

Chris was forty-five years old when diagnosed with osteoporosis. She has been suffering from backaches for many years but when the pain became unbearable she decided to have a DXA scan. She was very aware of osteoporosis because her mother had it very badly. Her mother got dowager’s hump that affected her lungs and consequently her breathing. She said that because of her age she wasn’t able to get a bone density scan under the NHS so she had to pay for it. The DXA scan revealed that she has osteoporosis of the spine but that her hips were unaffected. It also indicated that she has a slight curvature at the top of her spine.
 
Chris GP didn’t see the need to start her on medication so she went to see a consultant rheumatologist –privately - who prescribed Actonel and Calcichew D3 Forte. She wonders what happen to patients who can’t afford to pay for DXA scans or have a second medical opinion.
 
Initially she was taking Actonel 5 mg once daily but found it impractical, especially during working days. She now takes 35 mg once weekly. She still experiences back pain but not as severe as before diagnosis. She would like to find out about the new developments in drug therapy.
 
In 2007, Chris fractured her ankle and this episode has made her more aware of her condition. Whilst since diagnosis she attends a gym and pays careful attention to what she eats, her attitude has changed since her fracture. She is more conscious not to do things that might result in a broken bone and hence, prolong periods of immobility.  
 
Osteoporosis made Chris review her personal and professional life. She says that to be diagnosed with a serious chronic condition; any condition, forces you to reassess your life and what you want to do next. She described her marriage as unhappy and her husband as unsupportive. She separated six months after her diagnosis later to divorce. Professionally she has also changed directions. Before diagnosis she worked as a lawyer and taught law at a technical college but decided to go back to university and do arts. First she did a first degree and then went on to do an MA in Fine Arts.  
 

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