THIS MESSAGE POPPED INTO MY INBOX
Osteoporosis and cancer
Osteoporosis can be caused by certain types of cancer treatments or their side effects. When my Oncologist told me I had the disease, I had no idea what an impact it would have on my life, but cycling home after my appointment I suddenly realised I hadn’t asked what should I do about it?
Phoning him, he told me there was nothing. Luckily Dr.Google was there, and I read up about this condition with mounting horror. Then it was back to the hospital Chaplain, who told me that Italy was good at dealing with the problem. Work took me off there next week, so I went to Casciane Terme, and then Vila Eden in Merano, to find that specific exercises were what was advised.
At both Italian centres they told me weight bearing exercise was the key. I learnt that Italians are given the same drugs as I was prescribed, but if they don’t attend exercise classes these could be stopped. No mucking about with the Italian health service! It was interesting to see the difference between the State centre at Casciane, and the very luxurious private Vila Eden. Both centres gave me exercise classes in a gym, and at both we had classes in warm waters with special exercise for osteoporosis. These are centred on jumping up and down as energetically as possible, especially doing star jumps and high-stepping whilst attemting running up and down. You try it some time!
At Casciane Terme I joined a class of twenty jumping around in the huge outdoor hydro pool. Who says exercise is boring!!! Of course we kept on falling over, but with the water to cushion you it was up again and keep on. You never would dare to be so energetic on dry land, where similar falls would have resulted in fractured bones.
At Vila Eden I was startled to see lots of handsome young men, and was told as it was near Milan these were the pampered footballers from Inter-Milan and A.C. Milan. Their doctors are so renowned that these stars are sent there to recuperate after injury; makes a change from the usual OAP contingent. During my treatment I was wired up to a computer for half an hour. Thinking this was just an expensive gimmick, I was astonished next day when my doctor read of my life’s medical history – and even told me about illnessess I’d forgotten about. Can’t remember the name of this computer, but one of the serious papers had an article saying that it was being trialledy the NHS – but I tried if first four years ago!
So well done to this relalively small charity.
Back home, the National Osteoporosis Society have been more help to me, trying to make sense of all the medical struggles I am faced with because of cancer treatment, than any of the ‘big boys’ with their multi-million pound advertising budgets. Most survivors know cancer treatment ends up with a cocktail of side effects we have to deal with, yet it is left to the N.O.S., Lympoedema Support Network and similar relatively small organisations to give us the practical help we need to deal with our problems.
Go on one of their websites, and it is full of helpful links which we can click on to get sensible advice. Go on a ‘big boy’ site, and you soon notice a strange thing – their websites are covered with oportunities to fund raise or volunteer, and there is always the all-important DONATIONS button – but their advice on survivorship is slim in comparison with US cancer charities.
Boogie for your Bones
Craig Revel-Horwood is a fantastic Ambassador for the NOS, and had devised this energising work-out
And if you have Osteoporosis, the NOS has support clubs all over the UK. Moving to Oxfordshire I have found my local one is thriving, holds a regular monthly lunch in a lovely pub, and has lots of good advice.
Find a support group – https://nos.org.uk/help-and-support/find-a-support-group/