Updated: Nov 19, 2019
What Is Osteopenia?
Cancer and Bone Density
What Is A Hormone Blocking Drug & Why Do I Have To Take It?
Do Post Menopausal Women Still Make Hormones?
How To Decrease Your Exposure to Hormones
What The Heck is Osteopenia?
Break as few bones as possible and make as much noise as you can.
Imagine my surprise when I found out I had Osteopenia, and I was .4% away from having full-blown Osteoporosis in my left hip. Check it out, I'm posting the results of my latest bone density tests that were done on April 29, 2019, at Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Osteopenia is when your bones are weaker than normal but not so far gone that they break easily, which is the hallmark of osteoporosis.
A T-score between +1 and −1 is considered normal or healthy. A T-score between −1 and −2.5 indicates that you have low bone mass, although not low enough to be diagnosed with osteoporosis. A T-score of −2.5 or lower indicates that you have osteoporosis. The greater the negative number, the more severe the osteoporosis.
Cancer and Bone Density
Once I overcame breast cancer, I wasn't afraid of anything anymore.
The contributing factors to mine and possibly yours!
I was diagnosed with invasive breast cancer after my first lumpectomy to remove hi-grade ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS). In October of 2016, breast cancer as follows: invasive cancer, grade 1, ER 75.02%, PR 0%, HER2 3+ Genomic profiling analysis (Oncotype DX) revealed: "recurrence score" of 70.
I am so grateful to have Mayo Clinic in my backyard. They have a fantastic cancer division that took great care of me during all of my treatments. My oncologist, Dr. Northfelt, who stays abreast (no pun intended) of the newest research and trials in the field of breast cancer, enabled him to suggest a chemotherapy protocol for me that didn't wasn't going to obliterate me. The protocol was lighter than what had been recommended by other oncologists.
Yes, my hair fell out, yes there was a myriad of complications, but I know it could have been much worse. Not wanting to go the cut, burn, and poison route, his recommendation seemed to be my best bet.
My breast cancer diagnosis was as follows:
invasive cancer, grade 1, ER 75.02%, PR 0%, HER2 3+ Genomic profiling analysis (Oncotype DX) revealed: "recurrence score" of 70.
What Is A Hormone Blocking Drug & Why Do I Have To Take It?
Preventive medicine isn't part of a physician's everyday routine, which is spent dispensing drugs and performing surgery.
Due to having estrogen positive cancer with a recurrence score of 70, the standard protocol would be to follow up surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and Herceptin therapy ( for the HER2 #+ component) with taking a drug known as Anastrozole for 5 years.
Anastrozole comes with a slew of its own inherent side effects. LOSS OF BONE MASS BEING ONE OF THEM!
Anastrozole is used to treat breast cancer in women after menopause. Some breast cancers are made to grow faster by a natural hormone called estrogen. Anastrozole decreases the amount of estrogen the body makes and helps to slow or reverse the growth of these breast cancers.
A few side effects (just so you get the picture)
Hot flashes, headache, trouble sleeping, dizziness, stomach upset, nausea/vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, loss of appetite, weight gain, tiredness/weakness, increased coughing, or sore throat may occur. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
Ok, a few more (it's almost comical if it wasn't so serious)
Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: bone pain, easily broken bones, joint stiffness/pain, muscle pain/stiffness, mental/mood changes (such as depression), numb/tingling skin, swelling hands/ankle/feet, shortness of breath, unusual vaginal discharge/bleeding/burning/itching/odor, pain/redness/swelling of arms or legs, vision changes, signs of liver disease (such as nausea/vomiting that doesn't stop, stomach/abdominal pain, yellowing eyes/skin, dark urine).
Apparently, from what I can tell from all of my research and from talking to my doctors, it blocks you from making testosterone, which turns into estrogen in women. This is all very complicated. Thank goodness there are some incredibly brilliant doctors out there figuring all of this out!
I was prescribed Anastrozole, a hormone blocker, and took it for 1 year. I have decided to stop taking Anastrozole. This decision was not made lightly. I am not giving medical advice, I'm only sharing my journey and I'm doing what feels right for me.
Please always consult with your doctor's before making these types of decisions.
I'm a patient of Dr. Shallenberger's and Dr. Dan Rubin, who is my Naturopathic Oncologist and we have collectively decided that I am so healthy that cancer could not possibly live in my body.
We are doing blood work and monitoring my hormones almost monthly. This decision was made on May 8, 2019. My blood work was done at that time, and I had very negligible amounts of hormones. My hormones in September are about the same as they were in May. So I'm still off of the hormone blocker.
Does A 60 Year Old Woman Even Make Hormones?
I want to die young at a ripe old age.
So they say a woman my age 60, is most likely only making hormones in her bones, muscles, and organs and most likely very little. That is why Mayo doesn't test your hormone levels, they only prescribe the medication and then test you a couple of times a year to see if the damage being caused by having no hormones still outweighs the risk of your cancer coming back.
Hormones, ahh beautiful hormones. What a love-hate relationship we women have with hormones right from the time we first become a woman! They make us happy, sad, want to make passionate love, and then possibly explode at the ones we love the most. Hormones make us compassionate, want babies, and in some cases, go out of our minds. Hormones sweet hormones... ok and that's just our moods...
We also need hormones, to think clearly, for our brains to actually work, and we need them to keep our bones dense and our muscles strong! Our skin supple and our vaginas moist. Ah... yes, what a love-hate relationship we have with our hormones.
Then suddenly we can't have them anymore and OMG! Osteopenia... with the possibility of future Osteoporosis! They actually ask me if I've broken any bones... I'm like what?
Uh no...Brain fog... hot flashes… night sweats that no one could ever imagine until it happens to them... is it possible I actually have that much fluid to leak out of my pores in the night time? I don't care for the word "sweat" LOL ...It's truly unimaginable.
Then there's the crepey skin, the sagging skin because there's no muscle...what the hell! Are you kidding me!?
Ok, I digress... I had to rant just a little. Thanks for listening. Now back to it.
How To Decrease Your Exposure To Hormones
Just say no to drugs!
Mind you, I stay away from as many things as I can that are known to increase hormones, such as hormone fed meats, eggs, milk, yogurt, soy, plastics, well you get the picture. I just had my blood tests done and will update with the results in a day or two! I'm super excited to see what's happening inside of me... are there hormones, or are there no hormones? I secretly wish I had some.... I would love to have the benefits of hormones... I know to be careful what you wish for... we shall see. UPDATE...After going off the hormone blocker, 5 months later, I'm happy to say my hormone levels are the same!
I have also started at Osteostong in Venice Beach (that's where I am for the summer), remember? Biohacking! I'm so pumped that I found this place as it is the ULTIMATE BONE BIOHACK! It's a super cool chill place, and with certain levels of membership, you can come in and use the PEMF Mats, Joov Red Light Therapy, Lymphatic Drainage, X3 Bar and you start and end your 5-minute workout, ONCE A WEEK on a vibration plate! Love it!
The science Osteostrong machines are fascinating... stay tuned. We shall see if it works when you have no hormones! Uh hello... that's me.. fascinating fact... Did you know that you cannot build more muscle than bone? What does that mean... weak bones, weak muscles... they go hand in hand. If you do not have strong bones, your body won't allow you to put on more muscle mass than they can handle. It makes sense when you think about it...Most of us just haven't given it much thought, I suppose.
If you or someone you know is dealing with the aftermath of cancer, or another illness, or is experiencing what some like to call "the signs of aging" (not me) please check out my SuperWoman Retreat, it may be the perfect place for you to learn all the skills to a longer healthier life!
So OSTEOSTRONG is my ULTIMATE BIOHACK TO BUILD BONE DENSITY! I'LL KEEP YOU POSTED WITH UPDATES!