One of the things I found while researching osteoporosis was the number of opinions (experts, authors and lay people) that others had which often seemed to conflict and the amount of research that I had to wade through to work out what I needed to know.
To make life easier for me when I research, I always draw a body map and add in everything I know about me, no matter how unrelated it seemed to osteoporosis, remember we are always looking for clues.
I create several of these, one for the past – body, mental/emotional and spiritual. And one for now. Sometimes I split them up further – it depends on how I feel in the moment.
The past – I make a list of all of the things I can remember on the left health-related – traumatic birth, ear infections (antibiotics), lactose intolerance, water and kidney infections (antibiotics), painful and heavy periods, pernicious anaemia diagnosis (B12 injections), parasites, IBS, insomnia, overactive thyroid, high platelets, low blood pressure, gluten intolerance and low blood glucose. On the right anything stress or mind/emotion and spiritually related – sexual abuse, anxiety, relationships, anger, divorce, workaholic, self-hatred and betrayal.
Next, to each of these, I put the age I was if I could remember. This acts as an aide memoir and to remind me that for example if I was looking at a food that supposed to be great for osteoporosis to make sure that it was equally beneficial for say an overactive thyroid.
On the other side of the past body map, I create two columns one for mum and one for dad and write in their illnesses and also add in other generational stuff for each parent. For my mum, I wrote traumatic birth, acne, bad back from childhood, osteoporosis, arthritis, thyroid, cholesterol, low blood pressure and interstitial cystitis. For her mum and sisters, I add anaemia, pernicious anaemia, thyroid, osteoporosis, IBS, reflux, depression, celiac, Parkinsons and a few other things.
This picture shows me that I have been born into a picture of toxicity, dehydration and inflammation from a naturopathic perspective. It also connects lots of dots, not only am I looking at my life I am now looking to ensure that I covered any other potential genetic conditions.
My aim was and is to heal what I know and prevent anything else biting me on the bum…
My now picture is similar, except I am looking at what is happening and how I feel right now.
With these pictures in front of me, I can pick out the things that I feel or sense are important to consider when researching how to heal osteoporosis or whatever my underlying causes are (more in another blog).
Next, I like to consider things from a science, medical and nutrition basis. For example, when I look at a vitamin I also look at any available scientific research, read several nutrition books and consider it in conjunction with hormones, thyroid (overactive), blood pressure, cholesterol and bone health and often I will add in other things that occur as a result of something I read while doing this.
Imagine if you find what you think is your magic bullet only to discover that it also lowers blood pressure and you already have low blood pressure.
First and foremost you need to understand how to research (our way) and then chunk it down. Then write things out in a way that makes sense to you. For example, you may read lots of things about cortisol, I write them out as a mindmap (visual right brain) and then in a bullet point fashion (logical left brain):-
No one is asking you to become a researcher, more to screw on your detective’s brain and become YOU and YOUR BODY aware.
Look at any research online and they will show you the process they went through. For example, they will have:-
Because if they don’t then someone will pick holes in their research and that can be costly.
They may also do things like surveys, look at comparative studies, consider historical data, experiment, consider causal links and anything that might be related.
When I had this basic information (and I am still experimenting for my way to take supplements) I was then able to piece together a possible eating and supplement plan. Once I had this I looked at each nutrient in depth. I asked:-
After which I experiment to see what happens when I take or eat various things and I keep a record of these in my journal. I also don’t take or do everything at once, I start with the basics and consider how these go and then I add something else and consider that. For example, I tried an iron drink and that created constipation despite the amount of water I drank and I eased up my magnesium supplements on the advice of a naturopathic nutritionist.
My mum for example recently retired taking b-complex and ended up aggravating her interstitial cystitis. She now knows without a doubt that this is a problem for her and she needs to get her b vitamins another way…
When I go out I occasionally eat potatoes and live with the reactions. However, I would never eat gluten as the reaction is very uncomfortable.
In fact, designing any diet can be confusing. The best thing to do is to rehydrate your body, remembering this can take a long time, eliminate waste effectively, sort out your gut health, eliminate rubbish foods and once your system is clean (or cleaner) you can test how you react to certain foods. It is trial and error because we are all unique. Do your research and create your individual way of eating. Do not give up, it will get easier over time.
Becoming an osteoporosis or any chronic condition detective is a lot of work, it is confusing, but if you read widely, make lots of notes, reflect and ask what do you think, you will find your answers. Remember if your body does not like something it will tell you.
Always trust yourself. Happy researching.
In another blog, I’ll look at researching when you have uncovered more of your root causes.
We often struggle to see the gifts in our challenges. But that is just what I have done with osteoporosis. I see it as a gift to bring the balance back to my life – so that I can heal all of me.
– Hey, this is Dale here from daledarley.com, soulwritersacademy.com, and naturalosteoporosisawareness.com. This video is all about seeing the gifts in everything and especially seeing the gift in osteoporosis. Now, you might think I am completely barking mad to say that we should see a gift in a chronic dis-ease. I’m not going to call it a disease, I’m going call it a dis-ease.
So there’s an imbalance in the body, but before I do that, I want to take you back in time and talk a little bit about some other gifts that I was given that have really helped me in this present time with the things that are going on.
So, it’s currently May. If I take you back to 2014, this is two days after I made a discovery about the man I was living with and on Friday night, I had opened his computer and there was a picture of his penis in a Facebook conversation with another woman. Well, you can imagine what that was like. Although I’m smiling now, I’m smiling because it was, as I came to understand, one of the greatest gifts I have ever been given.
I later went on to discover that he had, for all the time that we’d been together for the five years, he’d been living a double life and that’s not just with this particular person, that’s with many people doing lots of things simultaneously. So, we’ll leave that at that, but that was a great awakening and as a consequence of that happening, six weeks later, I’d left him and moved into the house that I now live in.
The house really wasn’t ready for occupation. It was a house that I had purchased and we were going to reform it together. However, I had a house. What a gift.
So, I arrived at this house and lots of things happened that weren’t very pleasant. You know, one of the things that happened was that I’d had lots of falls. The dogs had seen something in the rambler and they’d gone chasing after it. Next thing I know, I was flat on the floor and that happened several times and I actually was being very smug and my mother has osteoporosis and I was like, “Yeah well, it might be in the family, “but I don’t have it because look at all the times “that I’ve fallen over and nothing’s happened.”
Anyway, that was soon to change and one day, foolishly, I put the dog’s lead around my wrist. I was putting the key in the door and the dog saw a cat and went chasing after it. Splam, I was on the concrete. I can tell you that hurt. I had a hematoma on my knee. I hurt my right ribs and I smacked my head. It was not pleasant.
A few weeks later, I got flu. I tried not to cough, got a chest infection, and I ripped something on the left-hand side of my rib and that hurt too. That hurt even more than falling over. What subsequently happened was my stomach moved up here underneath my breasts and my spine curved and I was in agony for the best part of six months. I did immediately go to see an osteopath who was very recommended and he actually made matters worse. I left him in 10 times more pain than I’d gone in. So I think he actually did some more damage.
The net result of that was you know, I learned to listen to my intuition and know what kind of therapist I needed to see and for how long and all kinds of other things. I really learned to tap into my body but I can tell you though, it was a pretty tough time. But one of the gifts that came out of that was, I wrote several hundred thousand words which I now use in blogs and different books that I can write over the coming years. My biggest gift was, you see, I stood and looked in the mirror and I hated what I saw. I realised I’d never loved myself.
So, I went on a journey that enabled me to get rid of ‘toxins’ out of my body. It helped me to get rid of toxic people out of my life, declutter my house and really learn to love myself. I got to a position where if I wanted to do something, I’d say, “Do I love myself enough to do,” or, “Because I love myself, I will.” So, that journey continued. I did actually get, I slipped on a wet tile and you know, during that time, I had several X-rays and they told me there was nothing wrong. I don’t have a copy of the X-rays, so it’s done. I don’t know.
In between all of that, I decide to go and have a well woman test and out of that came that I had an overactive thyroid and the doctor was quite fascinated because I wasn’t, I was sleeping well, I didn’t feel unwell. In fact, I had masses of energy apart from all the pain. You know, the blood results were quite frightening. So what I did was, I very bullishly said to him, “I’m not going to see an endocrinologist. “I’ll be back in six weeks and it will be turned around.” He just kinda nodded his head, smiled at me and let me go on my merry way. Sure enough, six weeks later, I went back and completely confounded him. I did, at that point, ask for a bone density test and I was told that there was no reason to send me for one.
Subsequently, what I’ve learned is that you do need to be sending people for bone density tests if they’ve got an overactive thyroid, among lots of other things. I did ask another doctor twice more if I could go for bone density tests and I was denied. So, that’s okay. Again, that’s in the past.
What came out of that is I then went on an intensive naturopathic nutrition course and that was the second time I’d studied naturopathic nutrition and in my 20’s, I did a diploma in human nutrition. So I’ve always been interested in nutrition and how the body works, although I’m a writer and a book coach. So, for me, learning about how to look after myself was key, so I turned the overactive thyroid around, I went on a nutrition course again. You know, that was a great gift. It hurt me a lot to go there because it was difficult to fly and sit in a class and blah, blah, blah.
Anyway, let’s fast forward. It’s January 2018. So I have a great diet. I’m out walking my dogs. The pain in my ribs is diminished. Life actually felt pretty good. You know, I felt like things were really going well. I jumped out the shower one morning, I reached over to pick up some clothes, and I heard three loud cracks and I held onto the bed, I looked up at the ceiling, lots of expletives, “What the mm do you want from me now?” You know, as if somehow God or the universal spirit or there was going be a big message on the ceiling that said, “Yes, young lady. “The reason that this has happened is because of this.” So, I didn’t actually see a gift in it at that time.
I immediately went to see my osteopath. I saw her the following week and the following week, about two hours later, I was in absolute agony, such that I could hardly breathe. My health company said to me that I needed to call an ambulance. My response was, “Ambulances are for sick people.”
I’m in bed, I can hardly breathe. I am in agony from the pain and I’m convinced that someone else needs an ambulance more than me. Long story short, I get a friend to drive me to the doctor. He sends me for X-rays and we discover that I have compression fractures and when you look at the X-ray, you can see that the lumbar spine looks healthy and the thoracic spine looks decidedly unhealthy.
From there, I spiralled downwards. I sank into a pit of, I’m not going say I was depressed, but I would say this is the lowest I’ve ever been. However, there’s one thing hitting the floor, crashing, feeling like you don’t want to be on the planet. It’s another thing realising that you are surrounded by love and you love yourself. So you know, I’ve got my mum, I’ve got my dogs, I’ve got my friends and I’ve got me. So, out of this came this desire that I would heal myself naturally.
Now, I couldn’t get back to the doctor I saw for the thyroid, so I went to another doctor. He expedited things. I went to see a rheumatologist. She didn’t listen to me. She didn’t read any of the notes that I made, but she did send me for bone density tests.
I came back from the bone density test. It was a complete and utter farce. All they did was scan lumbar one through four. The fractures are very obvious and they are in the thoracic region. Went back to the hospital, I asked them to please do it properly and she just shrugged her shoulders and said, “This is what we do.”
So, I had a very pretty piece of paper with not a lot of information on it. I went back to the doctor. She didn’t listen to me again. I did loads more notes about me, my life history, my mum, the way that I ate, my philosophy and I wanted an outcome and that was for her to support me for six months, six months doing a natural approach and if after the six months, that wasn’t working, then we would look at other alternatives. She just shrugged me away, didn’t read my notes, just said, “Yes, you have osteoporosis.” I said, “Well what are my T scores?”
The bone density test shows osteopenia and she shrugged her shoulders because she doesn’t know because they didn’t scan it. She did some number crunching and she just said, “You have osteoporosis.”
What I understand is, if you have osteopenia and you have fractures, they upgrade it to osteoporosis. So, you know, I have this pile of pictures that show things. I have this doctor who is not prepared to listen to me. I’m in absolute bloody agony. I am heartbroken. I don’t know what to do with my life. I feel like I just don’t want to be here.
But there’s this love that is holding me to other people and to myself. So, I decide that what I’m going do is I’m going fight the bloody system. I am not going let somebody tell me that I’ve got poison in my body. I might put poison in my body later on, but I damn sure that I want to try my way first.
The first thing I did was I got a journal and I started writing. I write in my journal all the time. I started a brand new journal that was just for this journey and it’s helped me immensely. I cannot begin to tell you about the clarity I’ve got. You know, I use to for my research.
I’m in some amazing forums. They’re hugely supportive but you see, all our bodies are totally and utterly unique and what works for one person doesn’t work for somebody else, so I’ve screwed my research head on and I’ve gone and researched. I’ve worked with my naturopathic nutrition friends and I refuse to go back to the doctor. There’s no way I’m going be with somebody who does not listen to me.
One of the things I learned about having an overactive thyroid was, I never got listened to and I healed that which is why I am so bolshy about it. It’s like I will be heard. I will do this my way. That doesn’t mean I’m not asking for help. Man, I have asked for so much help. I found it really hard. I’m a strong woman. I find it incredibly hard to ask for help.
Anyway, I got my nutrition background, I’ve got lots of books. I know how to research. I come up with a protocol that works with me in discussion with my naturopathic nutrition friends. So I’m immensely lucky.
So, there are gifts. I’ve learned to love myself. I’ve learned to ask for help. I’ve learned how to research and I’ve learned how to listen to my body and I use this every single day to enable me to get really connected to what I call my divine inner wisdom.
When I’m able to drive, which is quite a long time, I go back to the doctor that worked with me on the overactive thyroid. He listens to me, he looks at the X-rays, he’s shocked at the X-rays, he’s shocked at the bone density test and he reads my notes. And you know what? He said to me, “I don’t know how you did the “overactive thyroid but you did it “and I will work with you.”
What he’s done is he’s sent me away for a month. I go back in two weeks time and we do, we conduct a number of blood tests. I’ve got some great osteoporosis books and the one that I’m going take with me is the one by Lani Simpson and it’s a guide to bone health. There’s a whole load of tests in there. I’ve bought him the copy of the book. I don’t know what he’ll think when I give him a copy of the book, but here’s the gift.
The gift is that I see osteoporosis as a way to heal my entire life.
Everything that is outstanding that has created this imbalance, so remember I said it wasn’t a disease, it’s a dis-ease, it’s an imbalance. My bones are not in balance. I have some other issues with things like high platelets and some other tests that we need to investigate.
I’m extremely tired. I’m learning to listen to my body. I’m learning to take it easy. I’m learning to just concentrate on just the important things, to set those priorities but I am healing all of my life. I’m healing my physical body, my mental body, and my spiritual body.
It is not easy, it is not easy. I get up at, this morning, I get up and I have my water and I have some supplements and I have a cup of yerba mate tea. I think, you know, I would just like to sit here for a while and just enjoy myself. I’ve got three dogs going, “Mummy, mummy, mummy, “I want to go for a walk.” They keep me going.
Being out walking, I have a little watch. I don’t have one at the moment, like a fitness monitor. I set it at 8,000 steps a day. It’s not huge compared to what I used to do but it keeps me focused and motivated and on track as do my three very beautiful dogs. So where do I find myself? I find myself no longer confused, bewildered, overwhelmed and scared. I’m not scared. I love myself enough to do whatever it takes to heal my body. I remain positive. I focus on the now. I’m focused on creating something, you know, a body that I can live in that’s going to carry me forward into my dotage in a way that gives me that lovely inner peace and contentment. That’s, I believe, all we can ask for.
So, I’ll leave you with the, yes I have osteoporosis, yes I’m in pain, yes I feel low. However, I have faith and I know I’m healing. I know I’m doing the right things. I know that my nutrition is good. My supplementation plan is good. I’m asking for help. I’m walking, I’m meditating and I’m writing in my journal. I’m also, out of this, I’m writing a book. The book is called you, me, and osteoporosis. The reason I’m writing that is because there are lots of scared people and I want them to pick my book up and go. This is how we create a healing plan for our lives and our osteoporosis. This is, these are the good books to read, the good forums to go in. This is how to listen to my body and this is how to create something that is totally and utterly unique for me. So I’m going leave you with that.
Please see the gift in what you’ve got. No matter how rubbish you feel and how much you hate this thing, start to see it as an opportunity to heal and please, join me on Facebook, natural-osteoporosis awareness, I have a website called Natural Osteoporosis Awareness. I also have a group called Writing for the Soul.
So if you want to come and get some journaling bits and pieces done, I promise you, when you start to write and you start to bring your story out, you’ll start that healing process. Don’t be alone. Come and join us, be with us. Together, we can raise awareness about Natural Osteoporosis and how to heal naturally, how to use all of that stuff that’s available to us.
Given the right ingredients, our bodies know how to heal. So, try natural first and then do whatever you need to do afterwards.
I’ll leave you with lots and lots and lots of love.
Have you ever asked your body what it wants you to know? Have you ever asked it what it wants you to know about osteoporosis?
The chances are that you haven’t and you probably wouldn’t know where to start. In tools for listening to your body, I provided you with some ways to do this. In this blog, we will consider the physical aspects of being human and in another blog discuss the spiritual elements so that you can pull the two together.
When I began to explore what is going on with me, I initially drew a matchstick woman and plotted out all of the physical and mental issues that I could remember from birth. Physical on one side and mental on the other. I then asked how they were connected and what they each meant to me. This was one way that I was able to ‘see’ my picture of health. This was my starting point for considering ‘how did I get here.’
Then I grabbed a roll of brown paper. One of my favourite ways of discovering anything is plotting a timeline and writing down anything I can remember over the years. I believe as I have said before that life causes osteoporosis and so I wanted to uncover as many clues as possible.
Some may say, why look backwards, but I say, if I know how I got here I can put preventables in place to reduce the impact of this dis-ease.
Once you have a timeline in front of you, it’s time to grab your journal, connect with your muse and explore.
Next, I looked at what Traditional Chinese Medicine and five elements had to say (more on this in another blog – it is fascinating). With this, you can see a clear picture and link from physical organs to emotions. Then it was back to my journal and my muse.
Journaling brings clarity and if you haven’t got one, put this on your today’s to do list. It will help you with the journey ahead.
I decided to leave this line of enquiry for a few days before I sat quietly and simply asked my body what it wanted me to know. First, what is the body and how can it talk to me?
The body is an essential physical structure (we’d be lost without it) made up and numerous systems and components which are all (mostly) necessary for a human to function. The body comes neatly packaged in the skin which helps it to breathe and sweat. The skin (for example) allows us to get vitamin d from sunlight, so very important for healing osteoporosis.
The body has a framework called a skeleton – another vital part of us and certainly key when you have osteoporosis. Bones can become porous, weak and fracture.
It also houses the brain an incredible machine for processing stuff 24/7 and the mind, a construct which we believe to be in our heads and responsible for directing our lives (or so it thinks…).
The mind is where we consider our thoughts, beliefs, habits, emotions, conscience, consciousness, perception, behaviour, intelligence, language, motivation, drive and will to reside. With our minds, we can apply reason, logic and creativity. We can use it to answer all kinds of questions – what, why, how and what if. It is straightforward and sophisticated and works with the brain to manage the systems of the body. I think therefore I am. It’s good to have thoughts; it’s not so good to let thoughts and habits run our lives. Thoughts become our reality, which can obscure our true nature unless we take actions to break poor habits and life from a place of grace and gratitude.
One of the things I have found is that I need to focus on how I am feeling a lot more now. When I was first diagnosed, I was very fearful and full of anger. Now, my job is to remain positive and use various tools to help me to heal.
I can honestly say that osteoporosis has affected how I think, and I have been to a very low place, but writing, journaling and having a purpose has helped me stay on track and helped me to get out of this rut.
Every cell in our body has intelligence, and therefore one assumes, maybe, that it has a mind and memories. Can you imagine what is happening in any cell right now? Or how it does what it does? What we can imagine is that via that intelligence it can communicate with the brain and the big mind to help us to operate and heal our bodies.
Cells hear everything we say, which is why it is important to communicate to your cells that you are healing. You also need to stay hydrated and nourished.
Writing and journaling have helped me see the kind of language I have been using to communicate with myself. We can through writing use good language to communicate with ourselves better.
Our bodies are born (typically) perfect. After years of unconscious abuse and battering, they get a bit worn out. This battering is retained in its memory banks and will take some conscious effort to retrain, but it can be done. Beat a dog long enough, and it will be submissive, just as if you shower it with love, it will return your love a hundredfold. Your body will do the same. For every adverse action that you impose on your mind and body, there is an equal and opposite affirmative action that you can employ. This comes down to choices, awareness and taking action.
Every time I have been stopped through illness (physical or emotional) I have naturally learned more about me and how the body works. When I learned I had an overactive thyroid I took radical action, with my diet and it worked.
No matter what happens I ask questions and listen.
By this I mean use your mind’s eye and take a trip around your body to feel any pains. When you take your attention to any part, it will wake up and acknowledge you. Make a note of what comes up.
Do as I did, sit quietly and ask. Turn off your inner critic and listen to what comes up. You could also try some deep breathing exercises to put yourself into a trance and then write what comes up. Do not judge and reflect on what you hear or write.
Place your hands on the part that hurts, ask your questions and feel the vibration so that you get an understanding of what that part wants you to know.
Get a drink of water and sip it, notice where it flows. What path is it taking, what can you taste, hear, feel or see (inner vision)? Ask the water to flow to where it is needed and ask it to report back.
When you have explored and have the information that you need, say thank you. A bit of gratitude works wonders. I write ten things that I am grateful for every day.
Do something fab for you and your body to celebrate this new level of awareness and understanding. An Epsom salt bath is relaxing and is perfect to get some magnesium into your bones. Add in a face pack, a bit of music and some candles, and you will be in blissland.
Because you know that your mind obeys you, you can give it a new set of instructions. Repeat these, and soon you will believe them. Language and words are potent change agents, use them wisely. Next time you catch yourself saying something negative about your body, pull yourself up by your boots and change the words. Put self-love notes on the fridge, kettle or mirror and say them when you see them.
Sometimes we forget that the simplest things are sometimes the most powerful. Ask and when you get your answers, keep an open mind and consider what you can do to help your healing process.
Please take the time to explore what your body is saying to you, it will help you to put things into perspective. Not only that you will be able to understand what is going on so that you can take action to heal.
One of the things I pride myself on is listening to my body, so you can imagine my horror when I discovered I had osteoporosis and two compression fractures. How had I missed the signs? In my defence, I was dealing with a pain in my ribs which I assumed was unconnected and the osteopath I was working with told me that my spine was ok. This is a big fat lesson in paying more attention to everything. Lesson learned!
What about you? Have you tried listening to your body? There is a lot of advice about how to hear what your body is saying. It’s all useful. However, you have to discover the way in which your body speaks to you. If you have tried numerous ways and they are not working, it is simply that you haven’t found the right way for listening to your body, you have given up too soon, and don’t trust what you are hearing.
Listening to your body is not difficult, more that we make it difficult by not having the faith that we can hear.
Take a moment now and scan your body in any way that feels right. What do you notice? Anything? Any words come into your head? Pain? Tingles? Tiredness? What?
Every day millions of signals are being sent around your amazing body. Think about this, how do you know when you need water or food or what time to go to bed? That is your body telling you ‘hey, I’m hungry or sleepy.’ What you do next with the signal is up to you. Even when your body says it’s hungry, you may punish it for speaking by feeding it a Mars bar instead of something nutritious. Then there are the signs that something more serious is happening, and if you do not heed these messages, then chances are you will get a communication that you do not enjoy.
I used to train like a nutter, going for the burn and pushing myself further and further. It is no wonder that there were times that I didn’t want to get up at 5 am and head to the gym. However, I rarely listened, fearing that I would lose my fitness if I didn’t go. Afterwards, I’d tell myself that it was enjoyable.
It wasn’t until in my early 30’s did I slow up and then it was only because my body said no more. It put out signals that I had pernicious anaemia. As my great grandmother had died from it, somehow it made sense. One day not long after my 3rd B12 injection, I heard a small voice saying ‘you don’t have it, you’ve stressed your body, eat differently and try to relax.’ Being the curious and competitive type, I set out to prove that I did not have this illness. 12 months later and I was proven right.
This was not the first time that I was to prove the doctors wrong after I had not listened to my voice. It was also not to be the first time I changed my diet to find a solution. My problem was that although I learnt that nutrition was one of the keys I consistently waited until pain came.
These days I notice and journal about the pain and what I think it is saying and I act immediately.
Pain can come from an immediate trauma (you fall over), from a hidden and neglected emotional issue, from a fracture from the silent dis-ease osteoporosis. When we choose to ignore emotional issues they find a way of screaming at you and no surprise that a body part starts to hurt. I do also wonder if accidents are a way of highlighting an emotional issue?
Think of this, if you are under constant stress your body releases cortisol constantly and this is not good for your bones. Often people who are stressed reach for the bottle or sugary snacks and guess what? Yeah, not great for your bones.
There are many books that you can refer to which will tell you what the underlying emotion for a presenting physical pain is. These as I have said before, are a good start, in that they get you exploring and thinking. However, you must find your answers and you can only do this when you get to know your body intimately.
Explore your body as you read this, is there a pain or niggle anywhere? Ask it (I know that might seem silly, but try) why it is hurting. Trust what comes back. I pulled a muscle in my back with a resulting stabbing pain and when I asked I was told that I had been stabbed. It wasn’t the first time that I had experienced this stabbing, nor been told that I had been stabbed in a past life; I had just forgotten.
When I went inside this time to explore. The words came back that this was related to a past life, which has come forward now as a wise counsel. I learned that I needed to slow down, and I had to stay away from needy, bullying people. Again this was not the first time my back has reacted to this kind of individuals. I had a pattern of attracting people that were not right for me.
Remember this, osteoporosis is a silent dis-ease and you may not have any pain, but you may have a niggle in your back or hip, get them looked at and have blood tests. Find out before it’s too late.
Not sleeping properly is a clear sign that something is amiss. Persistent insomnia is telling you that you have something to address. When I wasn’t sleeping in my perimenopausal years, it turned out to be because of an undiagnosed thyroid (overactive) issue. After not sleeping for two years, I radically changed my diet (again), and as I started to feel better, I was determined to find out why. I don’t know why, but I do know now that the doctor at the time had ignored my blood test results telling me that all was well. However, through changes I made, I sorted it out. Naturally, I wish that I had changed my diet immediately rather than after trying far too many other solutions.
When my spine fractured I figured out that I needed to make my bed as comfortable as possible to that my sleep could continue the healing process. I have good pillows, one of which is under my knees. The bedroom is dark and airy. I’m using a fit watch to monitor my sleep and delighted to find that I am getting good quality sleep.
“Learning to make space for the breath is fundamental to health. The mind and breath are intimately connected. Our practice should open the heart, calm the mind and expand the breath. If we can do that, we open the door to managing stress, reacting less and sleeping well” Anandi
Being tired all the time seems to be an epidemic. So many people say that they are tired. Chances are they are eating a rubbish diet, not drinking enough water, not taking time out or getting any fresh air. Getting back to a fully topped up battery may seem like an uphill battle. Too weary to prepare nutritious food that your body wants, you may find yourself eating high sugar snacks. All these do is wreck your system. Even if your diet is good, it could be that you are not eating often enough and working all hours. Not only can this be through poor nutrition, but it can also be because you are failing to nourish your soul. Only you can know what is making you tired if you take the time to trust, listen with open eyes and ears.
As you heal osteoporosis you may feel tired. As you change your diet and focus your energy on healing you can feel fatigued. I have noticed that healing fractures has really taken it out of me.
I have been guilty of this. Busy with my nose in my writing or rushing to finish something I ignore the signs that I need watering and feeding. Later when I stop, I find that I can’t be bothered to prepare something good and go for crackers and cheese. After that doesn’t satisfy me, I reach for something else quick, only to wish that I had bothered to prepare a delicious meal. This laziness can become a not so good habit which in time depletes your body of its vitality and leads to feeling tired, not sleeping or any number of aches and pains. It’s way too easy to lose touch with your body’s signals about what it wants to eat. This is also a way of punishing yourself for something else – what might that be?
As soon as I found out that I had osteoporosis, I knocked this reaching for cheese and crackers on the head. These days every meal is carefully considered and prepared.
If you experience these, it is your body telling you that you have eaten something it doesn’t like. Pretty obvious isn’t it? It is also your body telling you that there is something in your life that you are not digesting. Make a note of when this happens. Is it after certain foods or following interaction with someone or something or a combination of things. Just in case you are wondering, yes I have suffered from this and yes I did change my diet.
Gut health is vital to healing osteoporosis, find out what is causing this. It may be that you have low stomach acid and can address it with apple cider vinegar or a digestive enzyme. It may be something else, find out and heal it naturally.
Lack of energy, not sleeping, and not nourishing yourself will ultimately lead to a fuzzy brain. Your stomach is your second brain and where you process food and life. If what you put in is not providing the right nutrients, or that you are not absorbing them then it is no wonder you cannot think. Your brain needs water and glucose. If you refuse it water, for example, it will send out distress signals, which invariably you will interpret as hunger. Fooled into thinking, you are hungry; typically you will reach for a sugary snack. Ouch, once again you have punished your body for talking to you and further fuelling your cloudy vision.
Water is essential to healthy bones and clear thinking. Start to drink water properly now and remember it can take a long time to get your body off dehydration alert.
As you can see your body has many blunt ways of communicating with you. It starts off whispering and when you don’t listen, clobbers you quite violently. It says ‘tough you didn’t listen, so have this, bosh!’
Now is as good a time as any to start to communicate with your body. No matter where you find yourself, make a choice right now that no matter how hard this seems at first, you will get connected and stay connected.
Before you can hear anything you need to be in a relaxed state. One of the simplest ways of doing this is to have a bath. Other methods include massage, reflexology, walking, meditating and sitting quietly in a space that promotes calm. There is something quite powerful about the simple life.
I’ve learnt an incredible amount about breath from my amazing client and friend Anandi (aka The Sleep Guru). She has written called Breathe Better, Sleep Better.
It describes the five vayus (five parts of prana or breath) and how breath can promote wellbeing and sleep. What Anandi and my current yoga teacher, Maya, teach are ways to connect to the breath and how to send it to different parts of the body. In using the breath in a variety of ways, you create a space for communication to occur. Put your hands on your tummy and practice breathing into your hands. Keep it slow and steady and if rubbish comes into your head, count. As you find ways to connect to your breath, you will hear your body talking to you.
I am not quite sure how to describe this. What I do is connect to my third eye which is between my normal eyes and send it off around my body exploring what is going on. You can send it into all of your nooks and crannies. Have an open mind to what comes back. Like the breath, you’ll get all kinds of information coming back to you.
Place your hands on the spot that hurts and ask ‘what’s going on, what do you want to tell me, what else do I need to know?’ Your hands are fabulous communication transmitters. I often put one hand on my heart and one on my solar plexus and have a chat.
Sitting quietly contemplating some of my aches and how I could support my body, I received a message ‘pea protein’. At this point in my life, I am quite used to getting odd words or pictures in my head, so as soon as I heard this, I went to explore it. As a veggie, it was my bodies way of say here is another source of protein that will be useful, please buy me some.
All kinds of messages can come in dreams. How you interpret the words and pictures are as individual as you are. Again, dream books are useful but more useful is asking yourself what the images mean to you. You dream in metaphors, and these are particular to you. I once dreamt of a thing called a yarrow pea; it was enormous. When I researched yarrow, I discovered that it was excellent for hot flushes.
When I am planning something to eat, I ask my tum what it wants. Yeah, I know barking mad. However, as I start to pull a dish together, it gives me a signal of what to put with what. And who am I to argue with a tummy?
A tool that I was introduced to almost thirty years ago is a pendulum. Today I have many and use the one that I feel attracted to for the question I have. I will make a video to show you how I use it shortly. Your pendulum connects and communicates with your unconscious and responds with a yes or no to a question. I typically use it which foods to eat when. Again more on this in another blog.
The only advice I can give you is that you try things out and find out what works for you. My favourites are writing, musing, my hands and my pendulum. However, I am grateful for the words and pictures that come seemingly unbidden.
This human container which is made up of energy which is connected to and resonates with the Cosmos and therefore all wisdom. It has its own innate divine wisdom and as such is an incredible device for telling you what you need to know. Acknowledge it, love it, work with it and you will receive the knowledge about how to improve your well-being.
Begin today. Like anything, the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Ultimately, only you can listen, and work out what your body is saying and which tools to use. Are you listening to your body?
I can’t imagine anyone jumping out of bed and thinking ‘mmm today is a good day to think about my endocrine system.’ That would seem rather odd when you have a business to run and a life to get on with. However, the further along in my journey I went and as I had further tests I began to just how important it was and how having a healthy lifestyle was paramount to it and me functioning properly.
It had never really struck me as important to research the endocrine system when I had the thyroid issue, yet as soon as I had my blood tests done in my search for my root cause, I became like a medical student pouring over this system. It felt like this was another thing that I had to understand so that ‘they’ couldn’t fob me off.
There have been two times in my life when my thyroid which is a part of the endocrine system has been out of whack. On neither occasion did my doctor invite me to have a bone density test or any other tests for osteoporosis. On the second occasion in 2016 and three times subsequently, I requested a test but was refused.
The doctor that I saw did not see the connection between the thyroid and any other system of the body, namely my bones. I wasn’t entirely sure myself, but I suspected that it was important. It seemed that once again I was being treated in a series of unconnected parts which at the time didn’t seem to matter. Once the fractures occurred and I started to dig deeper I found myself wondering about what had originally caused the thyroid to go wrong.
It all starts with the hypothalamus which alerts the pituitary gland to release certain hormones to the rest of the endocrine system, the hypothalamus ensures that the internal processes of your body are balanced and working as they should.
The endocrine system in overview:-
Sadly many a burnt out entrepreneur has discovered that an unbalanced endocrine system can impact their business. The adrenals play a big role in so many things and when we are stressed for example cortisol is released which is ok short term, but over a longer term this is dangerous and high levels of cortisol can contribute to bone loss and osteoporosis. So not only will you feel fatigued you are also potentially creating an imbalance with far greater consequences.
Awareness of these systems enables us to be able to ensure that when we are talking to our doctors and nutritionists we can get the right tests to rule out any underlying issues.
Let’s take another brief look at the endocrine system and how it can impact us and our bones.
The endocrine system contains glands such as the thyroid, adrenals, pancreas and ovaries. In simple terms, each of these glands maintains a balance of many things in the body and is an important area to consider in osteoporosis.
This is known as the master gland and as such ‘manages’ many hormones:-
None of these can be looked at in isolation. You may see growth hormone and think aha that looks after my bones, so that must be the one to consider, but what if that is ok and you have a problem with luteinising hormone which is disrupting your female hormones so that you now have low oestrogen which is impacting something else. We know for example oestrogen production slows down at menopause which impacts bone health. These all work in concert with each other.
Parathyroid glands[i] are four small glands of the endocrine system. Calcium levels are regulated by the parathyroid glands. You may or may not have an issue here. It’s an area that your doctor may be reluctant to explore as one of the underlying factors. The parathyroid keeps a constant check on your calcium activity. When levels fall the hormone is secreted and calls for vitamin D to increase absorption from the intestines (which is why your gut health is important) and bones until the balance is restored. This hormone also works with your kidneys to excrete less calcium in the urine.
Vitamin D (really a hormone) has to be activated by parathyroid hormone so that it can increase the amount of calcium that the intestines can absorb from food. Most osteoporosis advice suggests to not supplement with calcium rather get it from food. But as you can see if your parathyroid is not working properly and you have insufficient vitamin D then calcium is robbed from your bones.
In simple terms when the calcium level in blood decreases, the parathyroid glands produce more parathyroid hormone. When the calcium level in blood increases, the parathyroid glands produce less hormone. PTH causes the release of calcium from the bone into the blood; when blood calcium returns to normal levels, PTH secretion declines.
It is suggested that you ask your doctor for a PTH (intact parathyroid hormone ) test, alongside vitamin D3 25OH (25-hydroxy) and serum calcium in the same blood draw to rule out any underlying parathyroid issue
The thyroid is a gland in the endocrine system. It is shaped like a butterfly and is located at the base of your neck. The thyroid releases hormones which control your metabolism (the way in which your body uses energy). You can have either an overactive or underactive thyroid, those with an overactive thyroid are generally thinner than those with an underactive thyroid.
The thyroid gland makes two main hormones, Triiodothyronine (T3) and Thyroxine (T4). Two glands in the brain, the hypothalamus and the pituitary communicate to maintain T3 and T4 balance. Once again you can see it is about balance. The hypothalamus tells the pituitary to signal the thyroid gland to increase or decrease the amount of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH). If you have had blood tests for your thyroid you will recognise T3, T4 and TSH.
In my case, my hyperthyroid (overactive) issue was potentially causing rapid bone loss[ii] unbeknownst to me. With some changes to my diet, I resolved this in six weeks and it continues to be working properly according to regular blood tests. However, despite asking for a bone density test at this time I was told that this was unnecessary. This is because, as I said earlier, some doctors do not understand the link between thyroid and bone.
Depending on your personal circumstances and whether you have over or underactive thyroid, you can heal these through nutrition and lifestyle changes. The first thing is to get a test, listen to what your doctor/medical specialist suggest and then ask for a period of grace while you change your diet. You may already be taking drugs for your thyroid issue and in some cases (like my mum) have had part of your thyroid removed. Please work with a good naturopathic nutritionist to support you through what changes to make.
The adrenal glands [iii] are responsible help to main a balance of minerals and the secretion of hormones including cortisol, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), aldosterone, oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone and neurotransmitters like epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine. We know for example oestrogen production slows down at menopause which impacts bone health.
They are found above the kidneys. They play a role in balancing sodium and water and therefore hydration. Cortisol is what helps you respond to stress. During the fight-or-flight response, the body releases a surge of adrenaline, followed by a surge of cortisol. In short-term stressful situations cortisol is helpful, however, in long-term stressful situations, cortisol can have negative effects on your health. When cortisol levels rise it can interfere with osteoblast formation [iv] which reduces bone density.
The ovaries are the primary female reproductive organs. One of their functions is to secrete hormones. At menopause oestrogen levels fall significantly. This hormone is important for bone production because it supports osteoblast production. With this essential hormone, osteoblasts don’t produce enough new bone, which is one of the reasons that menopausal women are at risk[v].
Discussing what to do about hormone levels and whether you need to take additional oestrogen is a discussion for you and your healthcare practitioner/nutritionist.
In 2016 my estradiol levels were normal, by 2018 they were low, along with low DHEA and high prolactin. I’ll discuss this more in another blog.
When I went through the menopause I had an undiagnosed overactive thyroid and was given Prozac for anxiety. As a consequence of taking Prozac, I radically changed my diet, reversed the overactive thyroid, improved my sleep and overall health and stopped all menopause symptoms.
However, as I was not osteoporosis awake at that time I did not connect all of the pieces of the puzzle.
What I know in retrospect is that changing your diet and lifestyle can improve how you navigate menopause and reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis. Remembering that we lose bone density naturally as we age.
However, once we are bone aware, we can eat to support bones and our overall health.
The pancreas belongs to both the endocrine and digestive systems. It is responsible for maintaining the balance of blood glucose (sugar) and salt in the body.
The pineal gland is located deep in the centre of the brain, and was once known as the “third eye.” It’s role is in the secretion of melatonin which helps us with our wake and sleep cycles.
The thymus gland is located behind your sternum and between your lungs or breasts. It is only active until puberty after which it slowly becomes fat. Its role is to build up our immunity for the rest of our lives.
You can see that the endocrine system like many systems is important to bone health. Once again, it is all about looking for clues about our health.
The endocrine system is only one part of the osteoporosis story, but as you can see an important part.
References and resources
In the few years before I learned, I had osteoporosis, I hurt my ribs and was in a lot of pain, this pain was nowhere near the pain I had (still have) with the spinal fractures. That ‘experience’ was to come…
Bizarrely, this period readied me for healing osteoporosis naturally and having the right mindset to do what I do and for that I am grateful.
With the rib injury, my body changed shape and it was tough to love me. When I looked at what I considered to be a hideous body, I hated every part of me. With the muscle tone gone, my stomach was distended and under my breasts and my spine curved, it was confirmed, I was ugly.
As I look back I wonder if this was the first spinal fracture, but as I had two lots of x-rays in this period I am guessing not.
When I looked in the mirror, I felt that my body had betrayed me. Then it dawned on me; the truth once again smacked me in the face, I had never loved my body. And I had never loved me and I stayed in a zone of pain because it felt safe to do so.
Later as the conversations with myself in my journal continued, what presented itself more and more was around self-love and loathing. During one meditation, I heard a voice say we are bringing your body to your heart because there is more to hear. Events on the world stage released a howl from the bowels of my being; I could no longer bear the way in which humans were destroying animals, each other and Mother Earth and how that made me feel. As I resonated with the external world, it was reflected internally. My body wanted to tell me that it was time. Time for love, reconnection to my spirit and to take action.
I knew ultimately that I was responsible for rebuilding and nourishing my spirit and body. But something made me seek external help.
I visited all kinds of healers and therapists; all came with a certificate and their view of what was wrong with me. Some of them I had to question how on Earth they had qualified in human care as they clearly had no idea. Others worked in areas I had not considered and helped to release some long-held unexpressed emotions. I began to know what I wanted, with whom and for how long.
It was interesting how the more I listened to myself the more I knew what I needed. As I started to appreciate my wisdom, a more loving relationship with myself emerged.
A part of being able to hear what your body is saying is learning to love yourself enough to want to listen.
When you hate parts of you or even all of you, it’s a tough call to stop, listen to her whispers and cries for help. If you, like me, have been shunning her for years, her voice will be weak, and you will have to listen just that bit harder.
Our physical bodies are born (typically) perfect. After years of unconscious abuse and battering, they get a bit worn out. This battering is retained in the cells memories and it will take some conscious effort to retrain, but it can be done. Beat a dog long enough, and it will be submissive, just as if you shower it with love, it will return your love a hundredfold. Your body will do the same. For every negative action that you have imposed on your mind and body, there is an equal and opposite positive action that you can employ. This comes down to making conscious choices.
Knowing this was one thing, but doing it was not that easy. What was easy was not looking. I did make myself look. I made myself do lots of things daily to boost my self-love. This meant that when my spine fractured and I was able to immediately say to myself ‘I love myself enough to heal this osteoporosis‘ and ‘I love myself enough to heal all of me.’
I saw osteoporosis as a sign that the foundations (skeleton) of me needed rebuilding from a place of deep love.
When you have any diagnosis for anything (in my case osteoporosis) to heal fully, you must be prepared to face your demons and to find a place of pure love and acceptance inside of you. It is from here you will do what you need to do and you will heal.
And if you love yourself, you will do whatever it takes to follow a natural healing process.
Do you love yourself? Are you able to look into your eyes and acknowledge that you are a beautiful soul? Can you look deeply into your eyes and know that you are loved by yourself unconditionally?
Loving yourself is not selfish. It is vital to your well being, and it is the foundation for living your life well.
Our mind, body and souls are all connected. If we are unable to love ourselves, it will affect other parts of our being. So while you may not have a self-love checklist, there is no time like the present to kick-start it and make it a daily habit.
Remember people will treat you the way that you treat yourself. Treat yourself with love and watch what comes back.
When you disconnect from your dreams, life can feel a bit stuck. What would your ‘perfect’ day look like? Start your day with a wander into your dreams and feel, see, hear, smell, taste and sense your life and desires. Doing this takes me into a new story of self, where I get to focus on what I want, and this feeds my soul. For example, imagine that this is the day that you are told that your body has healed. Or see yourself doing things that you can’t right now.
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Do you love yourself enough to...?
Start at the root chakra and say each of these with your words (you will find your words), take your focus to each as you say your mantra
Listen to this affirmation from Rockstar affirmations
It is well known that a smile will change how you feel like nothing else. When I take my dogs for a walk, I make a point to smile at anyone I meet. Generally, they smile back. It makes such a difference. Take the time to smile at yourself, turn it into a laugh and watch your mood lift. Even if you think you look a tad bedraggled and perhaps your mood is not the greatest, do it and your day will change.
It will take you no time at all to clean your teeth, and after your final swish end it with and I love you.
As you shower take time to wash with love. When you get out and before you dry off take a good look and say I love and accept you as you are. As you put on your body lotion on massage yourself with extra care and loving words.
Before you go to bed, write yourself a little note and put it on the fridge, kettle, bathroom mirror, computer screen or beside your bed. Mix it up. It never ceases to amaze me how surprised I am to find one of these. I’ll even sometimes write one before I go for a walk as it is so fab to come back to a note.
Bring to mind something that you want to heal. Ask do I love myself enough to…
It could be something that you are eating that doesn’t serve you. Next time you are offered something that you know is not so good for you ask do I love myself enough to not eat that sickly pretend chocolate? Or do I love myself enough to get off my ass and make a delicious, healthy cake that my body will love?
When your brain screams ‘give me something sweet’, ask ‘where am I missing sweetness in my life and how can I satisfy the bodily urge for sweet stuff now?’ Typically I get up and make something that my body will thank me for rather than irritate it with stuff it will scream at. Likewise, when I feel tired, I use compassion and take a rest.
Think of toxic people. Do I love myself enough to move away from their energy? Toxic people create stress and stress releases cortisol and that does not help your bones.
Apply this question every time something arises that you know instinctively needs addressing but haven’t. Bring your energy to the situation, ask, breathe, let go, ask and reframe.
This works for me in the moment. If I am feeling lethargic and my writing is not flowing, I state because I love myself I will get off my a** and go for a walk. The walk is usually just what I need to clear my head and return my calm. Before long you will have created healthy loving habits that serve you.
When in 2018 my spine fractured I found myself bewildered, overwhelmed and scared with a diagnosis of osteoporosis. My usual doctor sent me for x-rays and then couldn’t see me for two weeks, another referred me immediately to a specialist who put me in her sausage machine and spat me out with drugs. At this point, I felt that I had no choices and my head span. As I wrote in my journal and researched through books, forums, videos and consultations with naturopathic friends, I started to feel empowered. I leaned into my intuition, consulted with my courage centre and decided I would choose. I would choose who I worked with and how.
Nobody was going to treat me like a number or a silly woman. From this defiant stance, I felt my power trickle back in.
When you have listened to what your body wants you to know, self-treatment is one thing. However, science is also pretty cool and fascinating. Combining what the scientists, the doctors, the nutritionists and your divine inner wisdom knows means that you have a much better chance to sort yourself out.
I am delighted to now be working with a doctor who is supporting a natural approach.
The first thing to consider is what do you want to achieve? Do you want a general practitioner who can refer you, do you want a specialist for something specific? Next, consider what the outcome that you desire is. Consider your outcome from the point of the highest good for all concerned, especially you.
Always make an appointment if you can with the same one (although a second opinion can be useful). Choose a surgery/practice that promotes working with complementary practitioners, or is not against complimentary methods, this will tell you something about their mindset and values.
No matter who you are working with, communication and collaboration are essential. Your doctor while qualified does not have the last say. This is your body, and these are your choices. How you approach, this is paramount.
I have a folder which contains x-rays, bone density test, blood tests, my life history, supplement protocol and anything else I think is important. This comes with me on visits, and I get the measure of someone by their willingness to listen and understand me. Hold two-way conversations. Discuss with your doctor what you are going to do and listen to what they suggest.
Just as you want your doctor to listen to you, you also need to prepare good open questions which will get a better response. Although sometimes a simple yes or no is required. I will take in things from books and other websites and ask for opinions and if possible for these suggestions to be carried out. Listen to what they have to say and if you are not sure, go home to research and reflect.
This is your body and health, not theirs. Assertive is not aggressive. It’s about standing in your personal power and knowing that you are being heard and considered. I will often write a script about what I want and practise the conversation before I get there. Also, remember to be polite, a doctor does not want to cause you harm, they are doing the best that they can with the resources that they have. The problem comes when they are unable to see beyond their training. You need to get the best for you, and you have the right to assert that.
Many doctors have well women clinics. Take the tests. I have had full bloods, tumour markers, urine analysis, smear and breast tests and a bone density test. If your family has a history of thyroid problems and osteoporosis get tested early. There are many other potential indicators as well. With knowledge comes the opportunity to make changes.
When you have had a full MOT, then you can start exploring osteoporosis specific tests. I say this because I want to see where I am from a general health perspective and then I want to drill down.
Most general practitioners and specialists within the health service will not have written a book. However, when you come to choosing a specific osteoporosis doctor, check out their website, books, webinars, testimonials and videos. This will give you a good feel for them.
Look to see if they are selling specific supplements or products and remember these supplements may not suit you.
You must be very thorough in your research and listen to your intuition.
At some point, you may be given a battery of blood tests, diagnosis, suggestions for other investigations, drugs or surgery options and in these cases, I like to research before I go back. I am mindful of the vast information on the internet and the many differing opinions. It is important to read and reflect, do not take things as gospel just because Dr Internet or your doctor says so. My research will also include seeking out friends with the same or similar, again what they are doing may not suit me, but it is valuable information to reflect on. If I need surgery, I will research the surgeon and procedure first. Take a review of your research back with you.
The only way you will know if things are changing and improving is if you do things one step at a time and monitor what you do and how you feel.
E.g. If you think your diet is at fault, eliminate the suspect foods, eat cleanly and then reintroduce a particular food. Take your supplements separately and test what happens when you try something new – one thing at a time.
The bottom line is your doctor is working for you (we hope with you) and not against you. You are employing them, and as such, they cannot dictate to you. Make the healthcare (medical and complimentary) system work for you. If this is not the right doctor, find another and please never give up, there is always an answer.
Back in 2016, long before I was diagnosed with osteoporosis I was told I had an overactive thyroid. Even as I looked at the blood test results the only feeling I had was that of curiosity, not fear. I wondered how I could have it when I felt so well? My guess is that because my diet was what I considered healthy (at the time) that I was not suffering any obvious outward symptoms. There wasn’t any fear because I believed that I could sort it out with nutrition, energy healing and journaling. Six weeks later I was proven to be right. I had faith.
The changes I made to my diet were simple, no gluten, nightshades, no processed sugar (it had crept back in via dark chocolate – my weakness), no black tea, reduced alcohol (I still wanted my glass of Rioja with dinner) and more water. In addition, I went on an intensive naturopathic nutrition course to support myself going forward.
However, when I received the osteoporosis and fracture diagnosis, I felt fear creep into my heart. It wasn’t pleasant as you can imagine. I did what I always do and that is research and reflect. My mum was diagnosed with osteoporosis in her 70’s and discovered five fractures. Her spine is twisted and deformed. She found out too late to be able to do what I am now doing and there are other complications. When she first found out, we purchased what books were available at the time and she made her decisions for treatment based on her research.
Mum’s treatment consisted of several different drugs which caused havoc and then she settled on the now withdrawn Protelos (Strontium Ranelate). In five years her bone density did increase. Next, she was given another drug – an annual injection – which has been horrible for her.
I’m lucky that I have my mum to talk to, although she was scared for me and wanted me to consider drugs. I knew that for me drugs couldn’t be the answer, there had to be a natural way. I had faith that there would be another way.
I was relatively calm as I read books, watched videos and participated in different forums. As the trips to the doctors and specialists ambled along I was feeling a mixture of fear and calm. I did cry a lot, but then I was in lots of pain and didn’t know what the specialist would do.
As it turned out the specialist I saw didn’t listen to me or read all of my notes and handed me a prescription without any other communication. I cried in her office and that’s when I felt fear grip me. I could hardly breathe as my head spun and I felt so alone.
It’s fair to say that I am a fighter and I will not tolerate not be listened to. So although I was immobile and relying on others to support me with shopping and getting places, I still had a highly mobile brain and I put it to good use. I also knew that I could turn this around, I just wasn’t quite sure at this time.
Fear of osteoporosis is only fear of the unknown and when you research and reflect fear does dissipate, albeit slowly. With knowledge comes power, but of course only if you take action. The biggest thing that worked for me was having faith and when I visited my normal doctor (when I could drive), he said ‘because you turned around your thyroid, I will support you to do this.’ He had faith in me and that meant I was no longer alone.
Fear releases cortisol, known as a stress hormone, which in elevated levels interferes with among other things bone density and quality. Being in fear is natural when you receive a diagnosis, because what else do you have in those awful moments? Staying in fear is not helpful because as you can see it will only make things worse.
Fear is necessary for survival. Think about how you can harness your fear, turn it into faith and fight for your survival.
Journaling is the lowest cost self-help tool I know. It provides clarity and a place to release your wandering thoughts. When I was first diagnosed with osteoporosis I opened up a new journal and wrote like a demon. Not only did I use it to process my feelings, but also to record my journey and things that I wanted to research. It has helped me and will continue to help me.
Reframe means to look at fear in another way. A popular way from my training days is to say that fear means false evidence appearing real.
This simple exercise is a powerful way to dig deeper into your psyche and find out what is going on and it will help you to reframe your fear.
Stop, let the world pass you by even if it is for only ten minutes. I certainly don’t meditate as often as I think I should, however, I do spend time gazing at the hills and walking in the quiet of Mother Nature, which I class as being mindful. Things make sense when I walk.
Breathing is essential to life, but when we are feeling fearful the breath becomes shorter. Take some time to notice your breathing and when fear arises, stop and follow the breath around the body, it will help you to relax. You can also send healing breath into your bones and if you have pain into where the pain is. I find noticing my breath very helpful.
When I couldn’t get out to walk because of the pain of the fractures it was horrible. I wanted to be in the arms of Mother Nature, but my body said no. When I started to be able to walk again it was such a relief to get fresh air into my lungs, have space to gain clarity and move my body.
Exercise also releases endorphins which give you a ‘high’. Endorphins are neurotransmitters – they send signals around the body. They also change your perception of pain (always a good thing). Endorphins are also released in response to other stimuli which includes fear and that as you know releases cortisol which is not so great in large quantities. To balance the fear, exercise such as walking, yoga, Pilates and Tai Chi will release endorphins which will counteract the effects of fear.
All things in the body and in life need balance, so bringing balance back with exercise increases the feel-good factor and helps with your bone healing.
Humans crave connection. With connection comes love and that certainly does make the world go around. Being connected with others that love, respect and hear you means that you can discuss your fears. When the words are released and reach the hearts of others, they can help you gain perspective, offer ideas, solutions and support.
I’m not sure where that phrase originates but it certainly has described me on occasion – stubborn and obstinate. A strong woman does not need help might as well be etched on my headstone, if I was to continue along that path. Asking for help has not been a strong point of mine. Yet when I stopped being ‘pig-headed’ and asked for help, I realised that I was not alone and that others do what I do and that is they love to help. When you allow others to help and support you it does help to take the fear away. – I know I am where I am as a result of this.
This may seem like a something that is furthest from your mind but looking in the mirror and smiling goes a long way. Find things that bring a smile to your face and then extend that smile to a laugh. Even when I was in the most pain I still managed to laugh out loud – holding onto my ribs. It was worth it.
Faith is complete trust in something. It is an intangible, yet you can feel it – I can. In my journal I wrote things like I have healed, I have strong, healthy bones and other affirmations. I purchased some magnetic letters and wrote ‘healthy bones’ on my fridge. This was to keep my faith focused on healing my bones.
Every evening, no matter how I feel I write 10 things that I am grateful for. Despite perhaps having a day where I haven’t felt brilliant, I write them and I always feel better. It also means that I can sleep on good things rather than rubbish.
Fear can kill us or it can spur us on to be a better person. I know which I have chosen.
When I heard the news that I had osteoporosis, my only guide was my mum who already had it. We’d undertaken some research when she first learned her news some nine years earlier. I wondered how had things changed, unfortunetly I didn’t retain the stats from then, but that doesn’t really matter. What matters is that we raise awareness so that our friends can understand about it and start to think about how they can heal their bones naturally or even (we hope) prevent this dis-ease happening to them.
Osteoporosis is called a silent dis-ease because you cannot see inside your body and often do not know that you have it until you fracture, as I did. Read my story.
Osteoporosis is estimated to affect 200 million women worldwide – approximately one-tenth of women aged 60, one-fifth of women aged 70, two-fifths of women aged 80 and two-thirds of women aged 90. https://www.iofbonehealth.org/references-facts-and-statistics#ref_240
In women over 45 years of age, osteoporosis accounts for more days spent in hospital than many other diseases, including diabetes, myocardial infarction and breast cancer. https://www.iofbonehealth.org/references-facts-and-statistics#ref_11
The great majority of individuals at high risk (possibly 80%), who have already had at least one osteoporotic fracture, are neither identified nor treated. https://www.iofbonehealth.org/references-facts-and-statistics#ref_86
Musculoskeletal conditions are the second largest contributor to disability worldwide, with low back pain being the single leading cause of disability globally. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/musculoskeletal/en/
In total in the EU, it is estimated that, out of the 18.4 million women that exceed the risk level in 2010, 10.6 million were untreated. http://ard.bmj.com/content/76/Suppl_2/29.3
Osteoporosis is not just a menopausal women’s disease it can affect men and younger people. https://www.webmd.com/osteoporosis/guide/types-of-osteoporosis#1
A report published in 2017 states that the ‘global osteoporosis drugs market size was accounted for USD 11.5 billion in 2015 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 3.3% over the forecast period (2025).’ For the sceptics reading this, it makes you wonder why we do not hear more about natural treatments.
‘There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics’ Mark Twain
You could be at risk and don’t even know it, find out what the risk factors are. They way I look at osteoporosis is that it creeps up through your life. I see that constant stress, poor lifestyle (think party animal), inflammation, dehydration, medications, intolerances, menopause, for example, rob the bones of vital minerals and create an imbalance in your body and life.
You may have heard the terms osteoporosis and osteopenia and wondered what they are? Or you may have heard the names and were unaware that this is a silent dis-ease and people only usually discover it when they fracture as I did.
In simple terms, your bones leach important minerals, become porous, weakened and unhealthy. These unhealthy bones which are supporting your entire being are being weakened because they are unable to feed themselves with the nutrients they need. They have become unbalanced. This is the result of a multitude of factors as you will discover.
During the early years of your life, you are building your bone matrix and then it has been suggested that after about 30-35 this matrix starts to naturally decline. Because we can’t see our bones we do not know if this is happening to us.
The medical industry classifies osteoporosis[i] into two types primary and secondary, although your doctor may just clump them together.
What they mean by this is that primary is the form that mostly affects menopausal women and is linked to oestrogen deficiency or if it’s a man then testosterone. Plus, it’s called this because there is a rapid loss of the spongy inner part of the bone called the trabecular bone. Another form of primary osteoporosis is thought to be because of vitamin and mineral deficiencies, again mostly in older women.
It is thought that the oestrogen form causes wrist and vertebrae fractures and the vitamin and mineral one causes hip fractures.
Then there is secondary osteoporosis which is where lots of other conditions such as Hyperparathyroidism and Hyperthyroidism which are lumped together. But also bone marrow conditions such as Thalassemia, Multiple myelomas, Leukaemia and Metastatic bone disease. It is also thought that those that have been through cancer treatment are also susceptible. Then there are many other conditions which can lead to it with or without taking drugs which have been prescribed to ‘cure’ you.
When you read things like this it can freak you out and give you a false sense of knowing – meaning you draw false conclusions. Let me explain. In 2016 I was diagnosed with hyperthyroid, I’m post menopause, I have had gut absorption problems practically all my life which I now know has led to vitamin and mineral deficiency. My spine fractured, but was this because of all of this or was it from the many falls I had from 2015 onwards? Is it because of stress, unresolved emotional issues or poor gut health? Was it also exacerbated by the fact that I drank water with 999ppm of calcium in for over a year or that I was dehydrated and carried an inflamed body around most of my life?
There are many factors which influence our bones and these are discussed throughout my book. To my mind, it is all very well seeking an answer, but there are clues everywhere and each one contributes to this imbalance. Everything you do and eat leaves these clues and it is my belief that there is not one singular cause, rather that there is a series of progressive issues which bring your bones to this place.
What I also believe is if the bone matrix naturally declines because of ‘life’ to my mind we can rebuild it.
Ok, we can’t make our wrinkles go away but similarly, we can improve the texture and elasticity of the skin. Likewise, when you start to exercise again muscle strength returns.
But first, let’s look at the ways this has been described.
The bottom line is that our body is telling us that vital vitamins and minerals are missing and we must go back to nutritional basics. Not only that but our environment has been compromised and must find a way to restore harmony and balance.
There is a lot of technical data to explain this. Most research that I have looked at call it a disease and a disorder. I dislike this as immediately it puts you in a flight or fright state (stress). What I prefer instead is to separate the words dis-ease and dis-order and therefore we have a body out of ease and one that is out of balance. However, it is important to understand what happens in your body even at a basic level. We are going to keep this simple. I am keeping it simple because if you want and need to dig deeper there are some fantastic books written by doctors (which I am not) who can explain all of this in greater depth. I want to inspire you to undertake your research and find your solutions.
Osteopenia is one of your early warning signs. It’s a diagnosis that says your bones are becoming porous and your body is not in balance. This is a time to study osteoporosis and put your healing plan into place so that you create a well-balanced healthy body. Ignorance is no excuse.
You may have fractured and have osteopenia in which case it will now be classed as osteoporosis and once again, do your research and heal your bones so that you prevent any more happening.
Dr Susan Brown ‘You can’t predict fractures by bone density.’
Sadly, doctors will prescribe the same drugs for osteopenia and they do for osteoporosis. That to my mind is dangerous.
Not everyone with low bone density will develop either osteopenia or osteoporosis. It may be an indicator of something else. However, it is an indicator that something is amiss and needs addressing.
Get yourself tested and change your diet and lifestyle today. Think strong, healthy bones.