Jane Ryan, 66, author of teen spy thrillers. Lives in Gloucestershire, married with three grown up sons, Dan, David and Joe.
‘I’ve been a bone breaker most of my life and recall breaking the fourth metatarsal in one foot at just 11 years old simply by hopping and the same bone in my other foot at the age of 22’ says author Jane Ryan, now 66. ‘The real extent of the problem didn’t strike me until 2011 when my femur snapped like a matchstick after a fall: tests revealed I had full blown osteoporosis in both my femurs and wrists but, strangely, not in my back. It’s certainly a funny beast.’
Jane started taking calcium tablets ‘the day I hit 50’ as she thought from that age, women become more susceptible to brittle bone disease. However, in Jane’s case it was a little more severe: she broke ribs from coughing and her GP said her muscles were stronger than her bones.
Jane had a DXA scan when she was just over 50 and was then told she was verging on being diagnosed with osteoporosis. After her femur broke in 2011 she had a scan that revealed the extent of her osteoporosis.
“The NHS wouldn’t do another scan for me for a few more years and basically told me to get fitter. I couldn’t risk another major bone break so set about taking more exercise. I did walking mainly – brisk walking that is. I’ve always liked to walk – it’s when I get my best ideas for my writing and I enjoy the stunning views by my local river.’
As well as stepping up the pace of her walking, Jane made a conscious effort to look out for potential risks that might cause her to fall – such as uneven ground, slippery surfaces and ice.
‘It’s a balance to strike – being aware of risks but not stopping your life in its tracks,’ says Jane. One hobby she has had to stop is horse riding. ‘I have been riding horses for most of my life but obviously as an extreme sport there is a high risk of falling and that would be a disaster for me.’
Jane concedes there are many people far worse off than her and she feels that as she has strong muscles and a good level of fitness, she is able to do something to counteract her osteoporosis. And when she discovered the Marodyne LiV she admitted it was a ‘godsend’.
Jane found it by accident online when the device was being used in the US. ‘I was fascinated by the fact the treatment had been developed for NASA to help astronauts overcome loss of bone density when in zero-gravity conditions. The calibre of people developing and researching the science behind the device carried massive credibility and the amount of testing going on in the US gave me great confidence. I was all set to go to the US to buy one when I was offered the chance to try one of the UK devices.
‘The beauty of Marodyne is it takes effect in a short space of time – just 10 minutes a day does the trick. For someone who is busy, like me, that’s a real bonus. Every day I can do something about making my bones stronger – and without having to resort to any of these wretched drugs often prescribed.’
Jane did take bisphosphonates for a brief period but they made her feel dizzy and not too well so she stopped. ‘Googling about I realised that many women who try bisphosphonates can’t get on with them and given my experience that didn’t surprise me,” says Jane. ‘Just look at what they’re made of – that should make you think twice!”
And that’s before you consider the very regimented way you have to take these drugs: after just 12 months’ use, only one in six women is still keeping up with taking them properly. Such low adherence brings low chances of success.
Jane kept on with taking calcium tablets but was increasingly aware they were only part of the solution and weren’t able to stimulate her circulation, muscle activity and cell production in the same way as a lot of exercise and a little Marodyne LiV treatment.
Now she does 10 minutes of low intensity vibration training on her Marodyne device each day, half an hour Pilates at home and half an hour brisk walking.
‘I really enjoy the Marodyne treatment: you can feel the vibrations but they’re very gentle and you can easily read a book, listen to the radio or watch the morning news on TV at the same time,” says Jane.
‘I feel much better these days and think the Marodyne LiV treatment is part of that. It gives me a great start to each day and sets me up nicely to eat well, get my walk and Pilates sessions in and feel that I’m doing all I can to address my osteoporosis without have to resort to any medication.’