Osteoporosis

Victoria Iris - Interview 30

Female
Age at interview: 83
Age at diagnosis: 64

Brief outline: Victoria Iris was diagnosed in 1989 and at that time the only treatment available was HRT. Over the years her treatment has changed; Didronel, daily Fosamax and weekly Fosamax. Currently she is on the 18 months Forsteo (teriparatide) treatment. Victoria Iris developed Kyphosis but she didn't become aware of it until it was evident.

Background: Retired deputy head of a large secondary school; widow, regularly attends exercise classes and a tea dance session every week. Victoria Iris has been an active volunteer of the National Osteoporosis Society for many years.

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Victoria Iris diagnosis came about when she was looking after her mother who had osteoporosis. Victoria Iris  was diagnosed in 1989 and at that time the only treatment available was HRT. Over the years her treatment has changed; Ditronel, daily Fosamax and weekly Fosamax. Currently she is on the 18 months Forsteo (teriparatide) treatment. She doesn’t have any problems administering the daily injections but finds that there is a lot of paperwork to do for patients on this treatment.
 
Victoria Iris says that osteoporosis has made her life much more difficult. She has less mobility and finds that her movements are less agile. She says that she used to be very energetic and mobile but now finds that she needs help with things like certain household tasks, when travelling in trains or planes and in reaching products in high shelves when shopping. In her experience she has found that people are kind, that everyone, including young people is more sensitive to the needs of the elderly
 
She says that not to be able to do things for yourself and having to pay others is expensive and consequently the condition does have a financial impact. She has hired the services of a window cleaner and a gardener. She manages the cleaning of the house by keeping two vacuum cleaners; one upstairs and one downstairs and a dust buster but knows that the time will come when she will need to hire a cleaning lady.
 
Victoria Iris is 4 foot 10 and says that because of her height as well as old age she feels particularly vulnerable in hazardous weather conditions such as strong winds. Also she tries to avoid going out in rainy weather due to fear of falling. In her experience hotel’s bathroom can be ‘lethal’ and someone with osteoporosis needs to be extra careful.
 
About 15 years ago Victoria Iris developed Kyphosis but she didn’t experience any discomfort or pain in the process and so, she became aware of it only after it was evident. She wears smart and comfortable clothes and feels the more confident for it. She has found one firm that has made or altered most of her clothes to fit well but it’s expensive. Victoria Iris also has her hair done regularly but says that visits to the hairdresser aren’t without its problems particularly when they shampoo her hair because she is not able to get right over to get a back wash and can’t cope with a forward one.
 

Despite limitations and practical difficulties Victoria Iris lives an active and independent life. She understood early on that it was up to her to cope and manage her condition. She attends a regular class based on an adapted version of ballet exercises and attends every Friday a tea dance session at her local civic hall. Her social activities also include dining out with her brother and sister-in-law and friends, church events, etc. Victoria Iris also travels by plane and ship on her own. Last year alone she went on two cruises. She flies to the Caribbean and then transfers to a cruise liner. She says that the ship’s crew is ‘brilliant’; helpful and thoughtful about her needs. In her experience she says that the most important thing is to plan ahead and make others aware of her condition and her need for assistance with such things as help with luggage throughout her journey and wheelchair service at airports.

 

Victoria Iris has also been an active volunteer and campaigner for the National Osteoporosis Society for over twenty years.
 

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