As I was leaning over the bed reaching for some clothes I heard three loud cracks and felt a searing pain. My initial reaction was to glance at the ceiling and ask ‘what the f*** do you want with me now?’ After two years of awful rib pain, this was not welcome.
Next, I called my osteopath, she treated me later that morning. We made a second appointment just in case the pain did not go away. The pain got worse. The following week I saw her again. A few hours later I was in agony. The following day I was driven to the doctors who was shocked at the state of my spine and he immediately ordered x-rays.
The x-rays revealed two compression fractures and porous bone. I was scared. At 57 I had thought that because of years of weight training and a good diet that this would not happen to me. In 2016, I turned around an overactive thyroid naturally in six weeks. What I thought could have caused this?
Because of the distance of the doctor, I found a local doctor to see me. He referred me to a rheumatologist and, I was sent for a bone density test. They only scanned my lumbar, which confused me as the fractures were in the thoracic region. They said ‘that’s all we do.’
Next, I went back to the rheumatologist who prescribed Boniva, calcium and vitamin D.
How did you feel?
Scared, confused and overwhelmed. I felt alone and swimming in a sea of evil demons. It didn’t make sense to me. Plus, the rheumatologist didn’t read all the documents I had painstakingly written out and translated into Spanish. I felt unheard and unsupported and worse yet, I felt like I was just a number in their drug sausage machine and this made me angry. This anger lit a fire of determination that I would be heard and I would heal naturally.
What were some of the first things that you did?
I cried a lot. The release from the tears was cleansing. Then I got myself a new journal and I wrote and wrote. Next, I joined a few forums, but I soon left many of them as they made me so sad. The one I stayed in has been fantastic. Next, I researched by watching videos and reading books. Because of my naturopath nutrition training, I consulted books and other nutritionists and settled on a way forward.
What were (or are) the challenges you faced with osteoporosis?
Fear was my biggest enemy. That and pain. Pain is debilitating; it robs you of a normal life. I choose to not take painkillers instead I chose an anti-inflammatory diet and getting better hydrated (at a cellular level).
My biggest challenge has been living alone and having to keep asking people for help. I am a strong woman and asking for help has been tough. Now I do it. As we speak, there are two massive bags of dog food in the car and I am waiting for a friend to bring them in.
There are so many adjustments to how I live that I still have to make, but challenges aside, I could not have done this without my friends. Also, yesterday my electricity went off and my reverse osmosis water system was off and the only water I and was in a large bottle that I couldn’t lift. Although it was funny trying to pour water into the dogs bowls.
What other health challenges do you face?
Tiredness. Absolute and utter exhaustion. I know that I am healing and I know that I have to take it easy, but this wracking tiredness is hard to deal with.
Thinking back why do you think you got osteoporosis?
I have a saying that life causes osteoporosis. I was born into a family who have osteoporosis. My life has been very stressful. From my teens to my thirties I partied hard and although I weight trained and ate well, it wasn’t well enough. Twice I have been diagnosed with an overactive thyroid (now under control) and once with pernicious anaemia. When I hurt my ribs, I purchased a water filter and for a little over a year I drank this water that I later discovered contain 999ppm of calcium. This I believe overloaded my system and was the nail in the coffin.
Describe working with your doctor/specialist?
My main go to doctor was fabulous when I had an overactive thyroid and supported my desire for a natural approach. When I couldn’t see him, I saw a local rheumatologist. She was a nice lady but didn’t listen to me. All she did was prescribe drugs and say next patient. This was scary.
When I could drive again and could get to my main doctor, he was brilliant. He read my notes, listened to me and is supporting me. You just have to find the right doctor.
Have you ever taken prescription drugs for osteoporosis — what was your experience?
What does a natural approach mean to you?
It means that I am in control of my healing and my body will not be destroyed by these unnatural drugs. It means that I get to enjoy a wide variety of foods that feed my soul. It also means taking supplements which I was never very good at, but I reckon if the soil is depleted and I cannot cram that much food in, I must so that I can rebalance my body.
Describe your diet, supplements and exercise routine
This is what I do
- Water with apple cider vinegar
- Magnesium citrate x 3, boron, vitamin B complex
- Lemon in hot water
- Another glass of water
Omega 3 with vitamin D3 (5000iu) I started with less
Smoothie with all kinds of stuff in it or buckwheat porridge with all kinds of stuff in it. Some of that stuff is — Lecithin, MSM, camu camu, baobab, cissi quadrangulis, turmeric root, pepper, coconut oil, pea protein, ginger root. Also added is something green — celery leaves or kale. I mix and match depending on what I feel like. I do have other things like pea protein pancakes with chocolate sauce.
During the day
- Juice — celery, cucumber, ginger and something sweeter like grapefruit
- 1 hour later linseed tea
- More water and water 20 minutes before lunch
- Salad or soup with lots of green things
- 1 hour later linseed tea
- More water and water 20 minutes before dinner with K2 and Evening Primrose oil.
- Something healthy, lots of vegetables and green things.
- Dessert leftover smoothie with fruit or I make something with avocados so that it is a mousse. I like my desserts…
Water with 3 x magnesium glycinate. I rub magnesium oil on my body.
I am dairy, gluten, meat, sugar, alcohol, nightshade, tea/coffee free and there’s lots of things I don’t like e.g. prunes (ug). I make cake as I love a slice of cake every day.
It took some time to work this out for me. I had to try different things and swap things around, and I am guessing that I will change things again.
At the time of writing this, I am just back to walking again and challenging myself to 8000 steps a day. Next week I start Pilates and then the Pilates teacher will come to my home to give me a routine to do with my exercise equipment — ball, bands and a mini trampoline.
What advice do you have for other people with osteoporosis?
Include at least 3 tips.
1. Change your diet
This is often the hardest thing to do. Review what you eat and how you feel for a week and then look at how you can reduce the rubbish with a view to removing it. Be gentle with yourself, make changes that feel right for you and try not to get obsessed. You will be faced with lists of good and bad food. Remember that one man’s ‘meat’ is another man’s poison. You may be gluten, dairy, grain, meat, nightshade, alcohol and sugar-free. Your diet should always support you.
2. Hydrate yourself properly
Being adequately hydrated is a crucial factor in all healing. Start to drink water properly. This will help you to absorb food better and eliminate waste. Not only that, you will feel more alive as your body moves out of a dehydrated state and into one where water is flowing in abundance from the smallest cell to the whole of your being. When you drink, imagine sending the water into your bones to nourish them. Being properly hydrated will also help with pain relief.
3. Sort out your gut health
The gut is key to better health. Get this right, and lots of things will fall into place. After years of abuse it will take time, so be patient with yourself. When your gut health is back on track, you will have more mental clarity, and your food will be better absorbed which will show up in all body systems.
What health books have influenced and supported you the most?
What do you do for fun?
I love being in Mother Nature and walking with my three beautiful rescue dogs. I also love watching bands (dancing is currently too hard), Netflix box sets and being with friends.
Where can we find out more about you?
Twitter: — https://twitter.com/daledarley1
Originally published at naturalosteoporosisawareness.com.