Thirty years ago, I was impressed to hear a panel of cancer survivors declare that they were glad they had developed cancer. Looking back, they appreciated the cancer because facing this serious challenge caused them to move ahead and improve their lives in unprecedented ways. Recently, I was equally impressed by a call from a client of mine (I’ll call her “Sally”) who declared that she had come to see a recent leg fracture as a challenge with hidden blessings.
Seeing a bone fracture as a wake-up call and a “window of opportunity”
Two summers ago, Sally, at age 57, knew she had osteoporosis. From her work with me that summer, we discovered that her vitamin D level was inadequate, that her parathyroid hormone was elevated and nearly out of the normal range, that she was losing excessive calcium in her urine, and that her acid-alkaline balance was less than optimal. Her tests also showed, as I expected they would, that she was experiencing an undesirably high rate of bone breakdown. All of these factors not only suggested on-going bone loss, but also indicated increased fracture risk.
From consulting with me that summer, Sally knew that she had an excessively low bone density, that the bone loss was on-going, and that there were at least four causes for this bone loss, which I could help her correct. All this she knew from our work together, yet at that time she did not implement the Better Bones approach I developed for her. Her bone health concern was overshadowed by other seemingly more important health issues, including chronic fatigue and debilitation, multiple chemical sensitivities, allergies, and a heavy metal burden. For the next 19 months, I did not hear from Sally.
In the spring of this year, Sally called me. She had experienced a low-trauma leg fracture two months earlier. The fracture repair was a bit complicated, requiring surgery with a bone graft, a metal insert, and screws. While untoward and painful, this fracture experience catapulted Sally into high gear. Although limited by chronic fatigue and environmental illness, she realized she had to, and could, take care of herself during this time of challenge. Financially she could not ask her husband to stop working in order to take care of her; she had to find the energy and fortitude to do it herself. With this burst of clarity, she began to take her bone health challenge seriously.
For starters, she began the complete Better Bones nutritional supplement program I had suggested 19 months before. She also optimized her vitamin D level, normalized her urine calcium excretion, and worked our Alkaline for Life® diet with great earnest. Further, she implemented an adrenal support program that I had suggested early on. Even more, she saw the fracture with all its pain and disability as a challenge—a wake-up call to move forward and improve her overall health. She came to see the fracture as a blessing, instead of a curse. Today, some months after the fracture, healing is going well and Sally is seeing the overall health benefits of her fracture-inspired, positive changes. She is actually feeling more energetic, healthier, more positive, and more invigorated than she has in many years. As she mentioned to me, she has come to see the truth of the old Chinese proverb that a crisis can become an opportunity.
As we at the Center for Better Bones like to say, “It is never too late to begin building and rebuilding bone strength.”
For further information on the Better Bones perspective, see my article, A natural approach to bone health.
I’m Dr. Susan Brown. I am a nutritionist, medical anthropologist, writer, and speaker. Get my free weekly newsletter here.