Phyllis Conley: Osteoporosis

“Everyone I encountered at Henry Ford Allegiance was so nice, from the receptionist on down. That is really important when you are unsure and anxious.”

Phyllis Conley is 85 and has osteoporosis, a condition that weakens bones and makes them more prone to fracture. In fact, she broke both of her wrists in a two-year period. Like most people in her age group, Phyllis feared breaking a hip and losing her quality of life as a result.

Phyllis’s family doctor referred her to the Henry Ford Allegiance Osteoporosis Center, located in the specialty center across from the hospital. There she received a bone-density scan and a complete evaluation. Her care team determined that the best course of treatment for Phyllis is a once-a-year intravenous treatment to reverse bone loss.

“We go through a continuous process of breakdown of old bone and regrowth of new bone,” said nurse practitioner Leslie Thompson. “As we get older, bone loss occurs faster than the regrowth, which can lead to osteoporosis.” Thompson further explained that the IV treatment, “slows the bone loss and allows the regrowth to catch up, therefore encouraging bone strength.”

Phyllis said she worried that “the process would be long and complicated,” and she was pleasantly surprised to learn it takes only about 20 minutes. “It was really easy and quick,” she said. “The needle is very thin and the process is painless.”

Just as important to Phyllis was that “Everyone I encountered at Henry Ford Allegiance was so nice, from the receptionist on down. That is really important when you are unsure and anxious.”

While some people experience temporary flu like reaction after the treatment, Phyllis said she felt fine. “I was so surprised that the nurse practitioner took the time to call me the next day, on her day off, to see how I was doing.” 

Phyllis goes to exercise classes regularly to build strength, she does balance exercises at home, and she worries less about breaking a bone. “it’s great to know my bones are getting stronger,” she said. “This has been a good experience, and I would recommend it to others who have osteoporosis.”

Regular exercise, such as walking, playing tennis, weight lifting, yoga or using a rowing machine can reduce the likelihood of bone fractures in people with osteoporosis.