Hormones Gone Rogue Part 2

Oh, where to begin. We heard the beginnings of Sarah’s story last week and this week is the beginning of my story. I am currently 37 years old and have had 4 kiddos starting at age 29. So my body has been through quite some changes in the past 8 years. I have always prided myself with health and wellness during my pregnancies and with “bouncing” back after babies with resuming exercise and healing my core etc. I have done a number of activities throughout my years including swimming, biking, running, aka triathlons with occasional running races. I actually did my last half marathon post baby number three and then changed my routine to lifting 4 days a week and walking twice a week. So for the last 4 years I have religiously lifted 3-4 days a week and walked. I have found freedom in a good hard walk vs running. Occasionally I get the itch to run again or participate in a sprint triathlon but I love my strength training and feel strong for my girls and have the ability to keep up with them. 

Last October we were on fall break at the beach. We arrived on Saturday evening and Sunday was the day my husband went to dig oysters with a friend. So Monday morning was my first real day on the beach to play. It was a beautiful day and I was holding my baby because she wouldn’t dare put her feet on the sand or in the water. My bigs were loving the sand and water and we were in the surf jumping the waves. And when I say jumping, I mean surging with the water as it lifts you up and brings you back down. We had been out there at least 20 min when the next thing I knew I surged with a wave and upon coming down, felt a snap in my foot and instant pain. I yelled for my husband to take the baby and hobbled to the sand. To my dismay there was already a small bump forming on top of my 5th metatarsal (pinky toe bone) along with a throbbing pain. Due to my background as a physical therapist, I was 99% sure I broke a bone. I had no ankle swelling to indicate a sprain, etc. I sat on the beach while my body shook in shock and my brain was wrapping itself around what might be in the coming weeks. My sister in law drove me to the ER and we got the x-ray to confirm my suspicion of a broken bone. I was given a walking shoe and crutches which was the talk of the week from my kids. Short walks on the beach with crutches was definitely a new adventure. I would literally crawl on the soft sand from our house steps to where the sand hardened in order to “go for a walk.”  

My next surprise came when we got back home and I followed up with an orthopedic doctor. She looked over my x-rays and said my bones looked “soft.” She prescribed me a megadose of Vitamin D. And when I say megadose I mean, I thought my body would turn magical and fly with the amount of Vitamin D I was taking. Her prognosis made me very concerned about my bones. Getting established with a GYN was on my list of things to do since moving to Knoxville. I was not expecting to break a bone, but that urged me to find a GYN sooner. I had not had any formal physician care so to speak since my last baby which would have been 1.5 years at that time. I was ready to move on from the baby stage, just not move on as quickly as I thought. 

My appointment for the GYN was on February 1, 2024. I had blood work completed as well as a mammogram and Dexa Scan for my bones. Over the course of a month of several doctor appointments and scans I was relieved to find out that my mammograms (yes I had to have two and an ultrasound) all came back normal. Genetic testing for breast cancer was also negative. Praise be! I also found out that my estrogen level was on the lowest end of normal but still “normal” however, my “bad” cholesterol was elevated. The only result that I did not know about was my bone scan. I had this unsettling feeling in my stomach that my bones were not ok just from the series of events last fall as well as genetic history. 

Real quick on genetics…my mother is a walking textbook of every checkbox known to the female world. She has osteoporosis that started at age 40, menopause age 40, breast cancer age 32, current cardiovascular problems, high cholesterol, and general arthritis. So, the lineup I am facing genetically feels like Mount Rainier standing in front of me. 

Fast forward to the end of the month of February, I had my followup with my GYN after all the testing. She opened up our conversation with “how are you doing?” I was unsure of her tone because as far as I knew all my results were positive. We happily discussed my results from the mammogram and genetic testing and other results. When we were done with the first discussion, I was eagerly awaiting my bone density results. I asked about them and she looked me in the eye with a gentle kindness and said, “you have been diagnosed with osteoporosis, not even osteopenia.” I know my eyes welled up with tears, but I held them back from just bursting in the office. My insides were screaming and I truly felt gut punched. I was completely in shock. Full on osteoporosis at age 37. What a day. We came up with a plan to start an estrogen patch due to my low number and other perimenopausal symptoms such as night sweats and the condition of my bones as well as a bone medication. She ordered a follow up with rheumatology to further handle the bone medicine and plan, but she knew getting into rheumatology would take 4-6 months, so prescribed bone medicine asap. Leaving the office that day felt like my head was spinning through a cyclone while my feet walked the path to my car.  I had texted my husband because he was at home watching the kids so I could go to this doctor appointment. I then called Sarah and we both had a good cry, because ironically that was the day she found out she needed a hysterectomy. The brain fog that followed was unreal. My mind reeled over how could this be? I am too young! Genetics are the pits! Shaking fists at the Heavens! Truly my pride in my health and “control” were completely broken and shattered. Don’t get me wrong, I am ever so grateful for modern medicine in that I will be able to work on my bone density as my mom does to this day, but the initial shock of this news was still debilitating. I still have many questions that will possibly never be known. I.e. How fast did my bones deteriorate? What does this mean for my four girls? How soon do they need to get checked for bone density? Will my bones ever “heal” in that I don’t have to take medicine? Etc. etc. etc. So that’s where I am at in life. Still lifting 4 days a week, still walking 2x/week, still eating clean but adding in high fiber goals for my elevated cholesterol, also added a regimen of supplements to help all the things including Vitamin D, K, and omega 3s, magnesium, turmeric, and creatine (for my bones). My rheumatology follow up is not until September. I basically went from child birth to old lady bones in the matter of 1.5 years. It’s like my bones have gone through menopause but my uterus has not. Whew!

This is my story so far and Sarah and I will continue to keep you posted on our journeys. Till next time.







Hormones Gone Rogue Part 2

  1. Susan truesdale says:

    Please enlighten us on the minerals you are taking for bone issues. Especially creatine . Thanks! Susan

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