Noreen - Interview 25

Age at interview: 77
Age at diagnosis: 75

Brief outline: Diagnosed in 2006 following a compressed T11 fracture in the spine; experienced severe pain. Surgical procedure; Kyphoplasty. Oral medications provoked adverse side effects. Currently on intravenous drug; ibandronate 3 mg once every three months plus calcium tablets.

Background: Widow, two children, lives on her own in a small rural community. She enjoys the support of neighbours and friends. Noreen recommends Kyphoplasty, it has reduced her level of pain.

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Noreen was diagnosed with osteoporosis following a spinal fracture. The GP started her on alendronic acid 35 mg once weekly, but continued to be in considerable pain. Noreen explained that her compressed fracture was healing in wedge shape which was nipping nerve endings. She describes her pain at that time as ‘absolutely awful’. Noreen remembers that she couldn’t do much because of it and used to spend most of her time sitting on an armchair. Her GP referred her to an osteoporosis specialist.
At the clinic, Noreen was pleased to find out that the specialist and the osteoporosis nurse understood her pain. The specialist suggested a new procedure called Kyphoplasty and, asked if she would like to be referred to the spine specialist. The specialist osteoporosis nurse explained the procedure to her and Noreen decided to go ahead. She says that the osteoporosis nurse was excellent at explaining the procedure and answering her queries. She has found her overall medical care excellent.
Noreen highly recommends Kyphoplasty because whilst, it has not made her pain free it has made an improvement to her quality of life. She had the procedure six months after her fracture and says that ideally it should be done soon after a fracture occurs.
Noreen has tried several medications; alendronic, Bonviva and what she describes as ‘a powder’ she took every night (presumably Strontium ranelate). All these medications affected her stomach and gullet and she currently is on an intravenous injection; ibandronate 3mg once every three months.
During that period of severe pain Noreen enjoyed the help of friends and neighbours who came round to prepare her some lunch, do her shopping and kept her company. Her next door neighbours continue helping by sending their son to cut her lawn and taking the rubbish bins for her.
Apart from osteoporosis, Noreen also has rheumatoid arthritis of the spine and says that she is learning to pace herself to avoid flare-ups. Also she has made changes to her domestic life by having someone to clean her house and do the garden. She has a good circle of friends and continues to enjoy a varied social life but she no longer wants to go on holidays or away from home because of the difficulties in packing and the lifting. Noreen says that she is a happy person who enjoys being at home and being part of a close community. She has lived in the same village for the last thirty years.


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