Osteoporosis

Jane - Interview 19

Female
Age at interview: 42
Age at diagnosis: 36

Brief outline: Jane's excruciating back pain that started during labour wasn't investigated until after six weeks later. Eventually she was diagnosed with osteoporosis through pregnancy but also with Coeliac disease. Jane says that she had coeliac symptoms for many years but again, these were not investigated. She is on Calcichew D3 Forte but not on medication for osteoporosis.

Background: Jane is a university lecturer and lives with her partner and their son. Both her maternal grand-mother and her mother have osteoporosis. Jane feels let down by the healthcare system.

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Jane’s back pain started during pregnancy but says that people put it down to her having a low pain threshold. She had a normal delivery but says that she only remembers having the back pain instead of any labour pains. A few hours after given birth to her son she went on to developed excruciating back pain that left her unable to move. This was not investigated and she was sent home with a baby and a Zimmer frame.
 
Jane remained undiagnosed for the next six weeks. The pain and lack of physical steadiness meant that she fell down several times. She attended the A&E department at her local hospital twice but says that she was treated as ‘being some kind of nutter parent who has got post-natal depression or something.’ While staying with a friend she fell down and was taken to A&E but this time her friend insisted that Jane needed to have an x-ray before leaving the hospital. The x-ray was seen by a specialist who described her bones as those of an elderly woman. It revealed that several of her vertebras have been fractured during and after labour – hence the excruciating pain.
 
Diagnostic tests found out that she had osteoporosis through pregnancy but also undiagnosed coeliac. She said that none of the doctors she saw before her two diagnosis were able to notice and linked her symptom creatively. Regarding coeliac, she says that she had dermatitis herpetiformis but it wasn’t in the ‘classical’ coeliac places like the elbows and knees and her GP failed to refer her for further investigation. Jane feels that she has being let down by the healthcare system.
 
Her illnesses and physical pain distorted family life and her experience of motherhood. She was unable to take care of her son and she herself needed full-time care. So after the initial learning process of managing two conditions at the same time, she had to go and lived in another city for six months so, she and her baby could be looked after by her parents. Her partner stayed behind because of work and travelled at weekends to visit them.
 
Before her pregnancy Jane described herself has being fit and adventurous but after her diagnosis she says that she has limited her physical activities for fear of falling and fracturing. Jane’s osteoporosis has reversed to osteopenia and she takes calcichew D3 forte and has a DXA scan every two years.
She would like to be put on medication for osteoporosis to ensure that she keeps or improves the bone density she has gained.

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