Since birth I have suffered with a disease called Oseteogenesis Imperfecta (OI) or to the everyday person, Brittle Bones. To this day I have had 99 fractures. This may seem like a lot, but when it comes to Brittle Bones its far from a lot! This is a disease that causes bones to be brittle and break easily. OI is caused by a defect in the collagen in the bone. Collagen is what causes you bones to be strong. A lack of collagen will mean that the bones are weaker. OI can also cause your teeth to be brittle and affect hearing. In the more extreme types it can also effect muscle strength.
OI is caused by either being inherited from your parents or if your (un)lucky like me a gene mutation. This happens when a gene dominant mutation is paired with a ‘normal’ gene. When a mutation occurs it only has to be one faulty gene to have the genetic disorder. For most people with OI this is the case. They will have one faulty type 1 collagen gene and one normal type 1 collagen gene.
Over the years I’ve had numerous fractures. 99 to be precise! I’ve come to realise that with these fractures usually comes a sort of grieving process.
- Anger / Frustration
The denial is pretty short-lived when it comes to breaking a bone. For me, I’ll hear the crack of the bone and think ‘Oh sh*t, did I imagine that or did it actually just happen?’ Then you’ll get a bit of an adrenaline rush, (weird I know) and then the pain kicks in and you realise that yes, it did actually just happen.
Anger, Frustration and Depression. Ah the terrible three’s as I like to call them! The three of these sort of go hand in hand with one another. When I was younger, before I started my medication I was nearly coming out of one cast and would be back into another one before you could blink. That’s how regular my fractures would have been. Thinking back to then, I would have gotten frustrated a lot with my breaks. I felt as if I was always on my back foot. I would make the slightest bit of progress and then end up going back two steps. I always felt as if the world was against me so to speak. It was very debilitating, as a kid being bed bound at some stages for weeks on end was absolute torture!
The depression of breaking a bone did not really hit me until recently. Fracture #97 and #98 were definitely when I realised that I was not ok after breaking a bone. These fractures happened in the build up to European Championships and it completely wrecked my mind-set. Not so much the fact that I broke my leg, but it was the sense of I worked my ass off for months on end to have it all taken away from me in a blink of an eye.
Acceptance, a bit of a weird one for me. I accept that it has happened as soon as I break a bone, but I still go through the other stages at the same time.
From realising that this was happening, I came up with a routine I go through now to try to counteract this from happening in the future.
- Set Goals
- Create a routine to go through every morning
- Practice mindfulness
- Eat healthy
- Continue training and exercising to your ability
There is no point in getting worked up over the things you cannot change. I’ve come to terms with this and that I will almost certainly have more fractures to come in my life. But I will not let them get the better of me, life, in my view is too short to keep getting down and knocked backwards after every upset.
If you would like more information on OI here are a few links to check out.