Bone Health Clinic Provides Hope for Those Suffering Bone Fragility
Judith Seeburger is thankful for the care she’s been received from MidMichigan Health’s Bone Health Clinic. She wants others to know that there are options to help prevent bone fractures.
Since the 1990’s, Judith Seeburger had been looking for support in how to keep her bones strong. When a bone density test showed she had decreased bone density, she knew she needed to find help or risk breaking a bone.
Decreased bone density leads to bone fragility and an increased chance of breaking a bone. In fact, as many as two million fractures every year in the United States are caused by osteoporosis.
“As I get older, my thinning bones are not a good thing, but it’s something I have been dealing with for many years now,” Seeburger said. “For a while, I was able to take Boniva, but when my physician took me off of it, there was nobody in the area specializing in bone health to put me on a new program.” While in between treatments, she continued to search for support and identified three alternatives. Unfortunately, they all appeared to be too expensive.
According to Seeburger, things got serious in 2015 when she fell at home and broke her left hip. During her visit to the emergency department, she was assigned to Orthopedic Surgeon John Murphy, D.O. “My surgery went well and I recovered without issues,” she said.
Seeburger recounts that the situation further escalated in 2017 when she stumbled at home and broke her right hip. “This time, I requested Dr. Murphy perform my surgery since he had done such a nice job on the first one,” she said. “It was then that Dr. Murphy mentioned that there was a new Bone Health Clinic starting and that he would enroll me after surgery because I needed to strengthen my bones.”
“Honestly, I was excited because prior to this, nobody had been able to give me any viable options. Dr. Murphy set me up with a consult to see Bone Health Specialist DeeAnna Kenny, M.P.A.S., P.A.-C. at MidMichigan’s Bone Health Clinic,” says Seeburger.
The Bone Health Clinic is a fracture prevention clinic that screens, counsels, treats and monitors osteopenia and osteoporosis-related fragility fractures. The Clinic is based on best practices for treating patients at risk for secondary fractures caused by weakening of the bone due to osteoporosis, osteopenia or other bone disorders. The program is designed to assist patients in monitoring response to treatment, modifying behaviors, adjusting medications, coordinating care with their primary care providers and facilitating referrals if needed.
“I was given literature on everything I needed to know and support to get insurance approval to cover the cost,” she said. “DeeAnna was very thorough and knowledgeable. She went over everything with me.”
According to Kenny, the outcome of any patient’s life can be impacted by educating them and providing them tools to prevent further pain and damage to their skeletal system. “There are many options now when it comes to treating osteoporosis,” she added. “I think changes in medication that range from oral, to IV, to injection can really impact a patient in a great way by allowing them to be compliant without making too many life changes.”
Seeburger’s treatment plan involves medication injections. “By the tenth day of giving my own injections, I felt good about it,” she said. “At first, I was intimidated by the medication. The needles seemed frightening, but a registered nurse was sent to my home to walk me through the process step-by-step. The first injection was nothing. It was like accidentally pricking your finger sewing.” For Seeburger it was especially reassuring when the home nurse shared that she herself had gone through the program after an ankle break with great success. “After she shared her experience with me and walked me through the program, I felt at ease,” she added. “All the information and resources she brought were really good and very thorough.”
Seeburger shared that she has been on this regimen every day for one whole year. “I do have to commit and be determined to carry it out, but it’s just like any routine that you get into and stick with,” she said. “My husband was supportive and helped me get on a morning routine of waking up and getting it done first thing in the morning.”
“I am thankful every day, first of all to God, and secondly, to Dr. Murphy for referring me to DeeAnna and her team,” Seeburger said. “Everyone has been so kind and helpful. I believe it’s important to spread the word about this option for qualifying patients. Many older adults face bone thinning problems and they don’t know there are options out there. They think they just have to wait for the inevitable fracture from a fall and that’s not the case. There are options.”
Those who would like more information about the Bone Health Clinic may visit www.midmichigan.org/bonehealth or call (989) 837-9192.