A Diagnosis of Severe Osteoporosis

Kirsten has her bones scanned

Today Kirsten had a bone density scan before our visit with Dr. Rockwell, her endocrinologist. When Dr. Rockwell came into the small exam room, she started with, “It’s not good.” No, it’s not.

Kirsten has severe osteoporosis. We knew that before the scan, because it’s typical with Cushing’s syndrome, and also because Dr. Florman, her neurosurgeon, put screws into her vertebrae during surgery to fuse her C4 to C6 vertebras (the fact that she broke her neck is indicative itself). He compared the softness of her bone to normal as what drywall is to solid oak. The diagnosis is very hard to hear, and worse than anticipated, perhaps because we could see the data and get an objective sense of the severity. Her z-score is -3.8 standard deviations (another way of saying “off the chart low”). Her L4 lumbar vertebra is -4.3. The drugs normally given to old menopausal women with low bone densities haven’t been studied on women Kirsten’s age. And the rats given them suffered “weird hip fractures.” It’s not encouraging. Dr. Rockwell is going to check Kirsten’s estrogen levels and do some lab work to measure bone remodeling. After all that and the biopsy of the iliac crest tumor next week, she’ll recommend some therapies.

Dr. Rockwell is also going to begin the process of getting Kirsten approved for a medicine that might help. However, the insurance company will need to approve it. What pisses me off about that is that right-wing Republican idiots are constantly yammering about how Obama’s Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) will place the government between patient and doctor. It’s isn’t true, but it ignores the fact that profit-motivated corporations are already in that position, and I don’t hear the GOP complaining about that. I digress.

One day at a time.

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