Osteoporosis

Diana - Interview 22

Female
Age at interview: 77
Age at diagnosis: 72

Brief outline: In 2003 Diana was diagnosed with severe osteoporosis of the spine. She paid herself to have the Forsteo (teriparatide) treatment that consists of daily subcutaneous injections for 18 months. Describes Forsteo as 'marvellous' Currently on Actonel once a week.

Background: Diana is retired, a widow and has two daughters. She walks everyday and once a week, she and a friend go with their local walking club for a longer stroll.

Audio & video

Diana developed severe back pain while on holiday in Spain. She was admitted into hospital for tests. Two days later doctors informed her and her daughter that she had severe osteoporosis of the spine. Diana suffered from backaches for many, many years prior to her diagnosis but put it down to a slip disk or simply viral infections and didn’t seek medical advice.
 
Back in Britain, she consulted a private doctor that advised her to have a new osteoporosis treatment called Forsteo (teriparatide). This treatment consists of one daily subcutaneous injection for eighteen months. The consultant informed her that she wouldn’t be able to get this treatment under the NHS and that she would have to pay for it. Diana consulted with her daughters and decided to go ahead and have the treatment. In 2003 the cost for the Forsteo treatment was £5.500 and she paid for it by direct debit and in installments.   
 
Diana says that one lady from the pharmaceutical company – probably a nurse - went to her house and showed her how to inject. To start with she was anxious about injecting and every evening during the first week, one of her daughters went to her house while she did her injection, just for support. After that she was all right with it and established a routine of time and place to do her injections.
 
At the end of her treatment she had a series of blood tests that indicated that she no longer has osteoporosis in her spine, but only in her hips. Diana is trilled with the outcome of her treatment and describes Forsteo as ‘marvelous’. Diana admits that financially it was difficult but says that her health is more important than money. Her current medication is Actonel and calcium tablets.
 
Nowadays, the effect of osteoporosis in her everyday life is minimal. She is able to do most things around the house, except gardening. She has good friends and together they go on holidays, walks and sightseeing. One thing that Diana doesn’t do anymore is to take holidays abroad because she can’t lift heavy things such as suitcases and she knows of no travel company that offers such a service.

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