Shelia - Interview 29

Age at interview: 71
Age at diagnosis: 66

Brief outline: For the last five years before her diagnosis in 2003 she suffered from severe and painful backaches. She was in a wheelchair and her husband was her main carer. She was eventually referred to a consultant who secured funding for her to go on to the teriparatide treatment (Forsteo).

Background: Married with six grown up children, worked part-time as a domestic but took early retirement due to ill health. Two of her daughters have also been diagnosed with the condition.

Audio & video

Sheila was diagnosed with osteoporosis in 2003 but five years previously she starting experiencing bad backaches. Gradually the pain became unbearable to the point that she was unable to walk and had to spend her days on a wheelchair or in bed, and the GP had to give her morphine injections to help her sleep.
Sheila remembered that she became depressed due to the constant and intense pain and lack of mobility. She explained that all her life she had been used to working hard; she held a part time job as well as looking after a household of eight people. She hated to be confined to a wheelchair.
At that period her husband became her main carer and, apart from helping her with her washing, dressing and so forth, he also took care of the domestic chores. Her daughters used to come around to lend a helping hand. Sheila and her husband said that they are a close family, ready to help one another in times of difficulties.
Eventually Sheila was send to have a bone density scan and referred to a consultant. The consultant admitted her to hospital and conducted further tests; assessed her pain and decided on the appropriate treatment. Sheila was not responding well to any of the medication and consequently the intensity of her pain didn’t diminish. Her consultant told her that he would tried to secure funding to put her on a new, eighteen months treatment called; teriparatide (Forsteo).
Sheila had to wait a number of months before funding was granted to start her on the Forteo treatment. Her consultant told her that this treatment would help her gain bone mass and therefore provide her with a better quality of life. Sheila had not problem with injecting herself and as the months passed, she started to feel better and stronger. Also, during the eighteen months she had several more bone scans that were recording her improvement. Sheila describes Forsteo as a ‘wonder drug’.
After finishing her Forsteo treatment, her consultant put her on Actonel once a week and she takes calcium 5mgs, twice daily. She is also on Omeprazole 2 tablets daily for her indigestion.
Sheila no longer needs to use a wheelchair and she manages her pain by resting rather than by taking strong painkillers. She is able to do some household tasks such as washing up and baking, but her husband continues doing the most physically demanding ones like hovering and gardening. 
She and her husband go to the town centre twice a week but Sheila says that she needs to do some more walking and hopes to be able to go out for at least thirty minutes every day.


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