It’s been 5 years since I last posted on this website and 15 years since my initial diagnosis… and I’m here to tell you that an osteoporosis diagnosis is NOT a death sentence!

Do I Still Have Light Bones?

Do I still have light bones? Yup. But do my light bones affect my lifestyle? Only in the most positive of ways! Knowing the importance of taking care of my bones and my overall health provides motivation toward optimum nutrition and daily exercise. Furthermore, this serious diagnosis put me in touch with my own mortality, pushing me to make the most of my limited time on earth. I knew that I needed to live each day according to my deepest values and ultimate goals. Unfortunately, “knowing” and “doing” are two different things! Consistency in taking care of my health had never been my strong point until something happened to change my health regimen from fickle to faithful.

What Has Changed?

In February of 2017, I traveled to Costa Rica with my husband, George, who is an avid surfer. One night George arranged for us to have dinner in Tamarindo with a Catholic priest that he had met the previous year, saying that I simply must meet Father Jeffry Moore. I made up my mind to be friendly and conversational during dinner despite my inner awkwardness at meeting new people in social situations.  I need not have worried.  It turned out that Father Jeffry was outgoing and genial enough for both of us!  Indeed, the talk and camaraderie during dinner was so relaxed and interesting that I barely noticed what we were eating.

To make a long story short, Father Jeffry eventually became my spiritual director. In one of our early meetings, I asked him, “Father, can you teach me how to live?” The words spilled out as I explained how I couldn’t seem to find a way to balance work and family life.  I didn’t know where to draw the line between taking care of other people and taking care of myself.  I couldn’t ever seem to get enough sleep.  I never seemed to have enough time to split between my husband, my children, my tutoring business, and the ministries I was involved in at church. I took a breath and summed it up: “I just don’t know how to make life work.”

I thought Father Jeffry would start fixing my life by calling me to deeper prayer, or something like that. To my surprise, he started by establishing regular sleep. I was to set regular hours for sleep, go to bed on time, and STAY in bed. In a few weeks, I was rewarded with my first full night of seven straight hours of restful sleep. He also highly recommended an afternoon nap…just a half hour, or I wouldn’t sleep well at night. For the first time in my life, an afternoon nap became part of my schedule.

What does all this have to do with bone density? Everything! According to Andrea Singer, MD, Chief Medical Officer of the National Osteoporosis Foundation, “Adequate sleep and good sleep habits are important for our overall health. This suggests that the same may be important for bone health.” She suggested that more data is needed to determine if positive changes in sleep patterns (i.e., increased sleep time, improved quality of sleep) can improve bone density.

In addition setting a sleep routine, Father Jeffry helped me to end my “yo-yo” coffee addiction. Always before, I would swear off coffee for a while, then drink “just one”, then a double. Before I knew it, I was drinking six or more cups of coffee a day, wired but tired. So, I would have to go cold turkey and suffer the inevitable headache from caffeine withdrawal. But then the cycle would start all over again. Now, I thought Father Jeffry would make me stop drinking coffee, but no. He said coffee in the morning and after nap time would be good for me…and he was right. We agreed that I could have two cups in the morning and one after my nap, but that’s all…except on Sunday, when I could have an extra cup in celebration of the Lord’s Day.

This amount of coffee seems to be perfect for my system. It keeps me energized and alert during waking hours, and allows me to fall asleep easily when it’s time for rest. What’s more, researcher Chad Deal, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic has stated that, according to their research, “Coffee, in general, probably good for bone health.” Dr. Deal added that a potential benefit of the clinic’s research comes from identifying three specific metabolites in coffee that are good for bone health.

October Dexascan Results

So, this October I decided to get a Dexascan after nearly a decade of avoiding bone scans… just to see. I wanted to see if three years of regular sleep was resulting in rebuilding bone and thereby increasing my bone density. This scan was going to serve as a sort of “baseline data,” but already I found out that over the last 10 years, I lost bone density at a lower rate than other women my age. That was a major surprise from this scan! So, now I am looking forward to seeing what next October’s scan shows!

The deeper question, of course, beneath the improvement in my maintaining the habit of regular sleep and a healthy limit on coffee is: Why now? I knew I needed less stress and a full night’s sleep every night. Doctors had drilled it into my head to no avail. So, what happened during spiritual direction that made changes that had previously been impossible to achieve to come about and remain steady?

The Amazing Benefits of Spiritual Direction

Answer: In his latest book, Life Is Messy, Matthew Kelly writes, “You are a spiritual being. Life is not just a physical experience. It’s clear that it is also an emotional experience and an intellectual experience, but we neglect the reality that it is also a spiritual experience. We are obsessed with the physical aspect of self, while ignoring the spiritual aspect. You cannot live life to the fullest if you ignore your spiritual self…The greatest threat to your happiness and wholeness is your unrecognized spiritual needs.”

You see, that’s what happened! Over the last four years, Father Jeffry has dealt gently, steadily, and firmly with the unmet spiritual needs that had undermined my physical and emotional health. Sleep and coffee were just the beginning! Meeting periodically either in person or online, Father Jeffry discussed all sort of things, from caring for children -to- dealing with an elderly parent -to- fear of rejection -to- trusting God -to- sex in marriage -to- defeating procrastination…and much more. As a result of growing deep spiritual roots, my life is flourishing above ground in all directions!

I pray the same will be true for you! In my desire to share Father Jeffry’s teachings with you and others, I wrote a book entitled, Father, Can You Teach Me How to Live?, as well as a companion study guide, Yes, Live in Joy and Happiness!” To read Father Jeffry’s healing prescriptions for living a joyful life, you can order my books in paperback, eBook, or audiobook format by clicking on this link:

Happy reading!

Questions? Ideas? Please leave me a message in the comments below.

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