We writers work hard to craft turning points in our stories, the moments when characters must make life-altering decisions. Those that carry the most emotional impact force our heroes and heroines in new directions. They have no choice but to change. Going back to the lives they led before is not an option.
What? Me? At my age?
Yup! I’m only 52, but I have already experienced some loss in bone density, enough that I meet the criteria for a diagnosis for osteoporosis but not enough that my doctor rushed to put me on medication.
I had three treatment choices: hormone replacement therapy, prescription drugs such as the one Sally Fields advertises, or Calcium and Vitamin D supplements coupled with exercise. The first two options are short-term solutions since they have side effects, including increased risk of cancer. The third is the one I chose.
The diagnosis rocked my world. I know this bone disease isn’t life threatening, but I have to face significant lifestyle changes. I don’t like to exercise and am not excited about the need to work an exercise regimen into my daily routine. However, I have no choice.
The alternative is continued loss in bone density and an ever-increasing risk of a hip fracture as I age. My grandmother, who had an advanced case of osteoporosis, experienced this break, and it was a tough time for her.
So how did I face the news? I did my best to emulate my characters, who are far stronger people than I am. I accepted the fact that a decision needed to be made. Granted, I groused more than my characters do, but I made a good choice.
Since my doctor said I have to incorporate resistive, weight-bearing exercise into my life, I opted to join Curves. I’ll be heading to the gym 3x a week for circuit training. On the other days, I will be walking for at least 30 minutes.
I’ve covered the physical changes, but the emotional hurdle has been hardest on me. I dealt with guilt and remorse. My sedentary lifestyle could have contributed to the bone loss. However, being a small-boned woman over 50 and having a family history of the disease, I was at risk anyhow. Even so, I wonder if I could have prevented the loss of bone density had I exercised.
My life from this point won’t be the same. If I want to arrest the progression of the disease, which I do, I must exercise daily, whether I want to or not. Going back to the way I used to do things is not an option.
My goal is to learn from my characters. Their lives improve when they face hardships and overcome them. They grow stronger and end up happier. My exercise-loving hubby tells me I may find that I enjoy exercise. I do hope he’s right.
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What life-changing situations have you faced, and how did you deal with them?
Have you experienced a health issue that forced you to change your daily routine?