On Friday I had a bone density scan. These were being offered free by a medical research company, looking for women with Osteoporosis to take part in medical trials.
In the NHS in the UK does not offer routine screening for osteoporosis at present.
The good news is that I don’t have osteoporosis, but the bad news is I do have something called Osteopenia. Which means that the minerals content in my hip is just below the acceptable level. Ironically the mineral content in my spine is very good. Therefore the even better news is that I can make lifestyle changes to stop the onset of osteoporosis Which basically means Vitamin D and calcium supplements and weight bearing exercise.
I try to keep fit and healthy and eat a good diet, but I have been a smoker, (forever feel guilty about that!) had an early menopause at 43, I am white and female. All risk factors. Thank goodness I have not really been a serial dieter, never really had the self control. I have watched my weight, but have controlled it by stopping eating cakes and sweet things and increasing exercise, rather than cutting out essential things like dairy foods or good fats and feel concerned for the young girls of today who do.
This brings me to smokers guilt.
I was introduced to nicotine by my driving instructor at 17 and over the years have stopped and started smoking for long periods of time. The longest period of abstinence being 7 years.
At my worst I was smoking 50 full strength cigarettes a day, but that was when I was severely depressed and ill.. Usually I was a 20 a day girl, but as smoking became more unacceptable socially and it became more difficult to smoke in the in the workplace or in public places, my habit was cut to about 5 a day.
To my shame I smoked during my first pregnant 38 years ago. To be fair it was not known exactly how harmful smoking in pregnancy was then, but I should have known better. I didn’t smoke a lot, no more than 5 a day as I went off the taste. Then I gave up completely six weeks after the baby was born.
This is when I stopped for 7 years.. Not sure why I started again. This was a bad time in my life, I was drinking heavily and I can’t really remember.
Then I stopped and started with monotonous regularity. On for a yesr or a few months, then stopping for two years, five years. Strangely I found it more difficult not to start smoking again than I did drinking.
*I think of it as the monkey on my shoulder. out of the blue he would whisper “nobody will know, one will not do you any harm, you can stop any time and off I would go again and get hooked. Usually on a girls weekend away or night out.
Every time I just knew haw stupid I was. But nicotine is a very powerful drug. Always waiting to pounce when I least expected it and once I was hooked I had to go through the withdrawals again, making everybody around me miserable. Nicotine replacement never worked for me. I just got hooked on the replacement.
The worst bit was smoking in secret and not at home, so by 8pm at night I was grumpy and angry causing so many arguments.
Eventually I would only smoke when in Paris. Just for a weekend usually. Those very attractive slim feminine Vogue cigarettes. I could easily stop when I got home, then about three years ago I found had a persistent cough and panicked thinking I had emphysema or lung cancer.
Eventually an x ray showed a chronic chest infection which was easily cured with antibiotics, but there WAS damage and I now hope I have managed to kick the monkey. But I never say never, just one day at a time! I don’t feel I have a second chance. If you ever see me with a cigarette in my hand again, kick me!
So now I am off to dance around the living room!