Osteoporosis Foundation
A Lifetime of Strong Bones
My Story and My Fight Against Osteoporosis

Originally published on Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Updated on March 26, 2007
Updated on March 02, 2011

In 2005, I was diagnosed with Osteoporosis, a disabling condition of the bones, also called metabolic bone disease or disorder, where the bones become brittle due to lack of calcium absorption and lose their density. My symptoms included decreased bone strength, extreme pain in lower back and hip joints, and lack of mobility. I just went to the doctor complaining of pain, decreased strength and mobility. A serendipitous Bone Density Scan (typically not even conducted in people my age) showed that I had Osteoporosis of the lumbar spine, and Ostopenia in couple of other areas. Even my doctor was surprised by the findings. I also discovered I had Arthritis in my knee joints, and suffered from ACL tear in the knee. I was only 37 at that time. I took medical leave from work to determine the secondary cause of Osteoporosis (through a multitude of lab tests and even an endoscopy to determine whether I was having mal-absorption, MRIs of hips and knees), and then to tackle the mobility problem, and determine a sustained plan with my physicians to overcome the Osteoporosis. After advice from specialists, sustained physical therapy over six months at local physical therapy centers and in India in 2006, strong faith in God, support and direction from National Osteoporosis foundation, parents and family, disability benefits for a few months, and healthy diet that now includes adequate calcium, I was able to establish a baseline and regain some of my strength. Importantly, I am somewhat mobile again. Whereas before I even had to use a walking stick to help me with stability and mobility, before I could not sit in one place in one position for more than a few minutes without pain, before I could not even drive for more than half an hour, now I am able to walk some distance without pain, now I am able to sit in positions without much discomfort, and now I am able to drive for extended periods (at least couple of hours). I still cannot jog or run or jump or bend forward or bend with my knees or hold heavy objects without intense pain. I sometimes by habit may bend abruptly forward only to realize a lasting pain for a few hours. But I don't give in to pain. I overcome the pain. I am very thankful to God, the therapists and the doctors that I have been able to overcome the mobility problem and regain my strength. Now, I am trying to build myself from within literally with good calcium-rich diet and moderate exercise that typically includes light walk in and around the house, in the backyard, and around my neighborhood.

I learned that Osteoporosis cannot be overcome overnight. It is perhaps like a Diabetes or Blood Pressure or High Cholesterol where maintenance is required over the lifetime. I also learned that it can possibly get worse. It is even called the "silent disease" that can be debilitating with multiple fractures that can essentially make a person bed-ridden for lengthy intervals. So far, I am lucky. And I have God to thank. Most people don’t know they have Osteoporosis until they break a bone. I repeat the Bone Density Scan test every year to confirm on whether Osteoporosis is spreading or maintaining, or by some miracle, perhaps even reversing, and some of the lab work. There are treatment options available; however, not recommended for men my age yet. Perhaps the medical research will get better, and there will be something available for men by age so that there are no implications of taking something over more than twenty or thirty years. Or better yet, with adequate calcium diet and light exercise, with increasingly weight-bearing training, I may be even able to reverse this condition in a few years. I am hopeful. I am a believer. And I have faith in God. If Lance Armstrong can fight cancer, and come out fully recovered and then go on to win Tour De France several times, I can do better in my fight against Osteoporosis. I also have two young kids who are growing and who provide me every incentive every day of the week to become active, get better physically, and play with them. I have my friends from college and Bay Area who share my passion for Football (we have been playing Fantasy football for the past ten plus years), and bonding with them gives me hope, warmth and confidence. I am very thankful that I am able to walk again, do fun activities with my kids by walking around, and able to take one step at a time, in my fight against Osteoporosis. And best of all, I have only become stronger from within, have become more confident of my abilities, and am determined to reverse this bone disease.

Last week, I was able to go out with my daughter on a Field Trip with her school friends to the Bear Factory in San Francisco. I even chaperoned my daughter and her best friend throughout the trip. We took the BART on the way to the Bear Factory. Then we took a small walk to the local Muni, and then took the Muni to arrive at the final destination. I even got lost as I stopped on the way to buy a camera from local Walgreens, and could not find the way to the Factory. I walked painfully a few blocks and had enough strength to walk back to the Factory (which incidentally was round the corner). The trip tested my limits. I was limping on the way back as I was walking back from Muni to the BART, and in particular climbing down the stairs of the BART station to take the train to Fremont. I was in real pain. The Field Trip tested my resolve to the fullest. But the smiles on my daughter and her friend's faces, and the abundance of fun they had as they made their first bears after selecting the type of the bear, stuffing them with cotton, getting them hand stitched, and dressing them with cool clothes of their choice was an experience that has no equal. A similar experience was when I took my son and his friends to the Field Trip at the Tech Museum in San Jose. Not only the IMAX movie was great as we sat together and enjoyed the climbers of Mt. Everest, but also some of the tech exhibits including the Sphere (this is a huge sphere where you can see Earth, various planets, weather patterns and more - a must see innovative exhibit at The Tech). Experiences like this drive me to do more, one step at a time, and help me build my confidence to fight against Osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis is a disease of the bone and a disease of posture. A speed bump, definitely not a dead end. And when I realized that, I have not looked back. I recently enrolled and completed Professional Certification on Leading Management Teams online with Cornell University. I am a member of the Fremont Technology Advisory Committee for the entire Fremont School District seeking bold new technology initiatives for all the schools. I worked in the capacity of Vice President at an E-Learning company leading their Interactive Learning business. I enjoy playing Bridge with my son and on the computer because it is a card game that engages the mind, and just like chess, has infinite possibilities. I even play Ping-Pong with my son and my daughter (albeit with limited movement) and enjoy every moment of it. And I began this blog on Creativity and Innovation because it is a subject that is near and dear to me. The passion to create new innovations built with creativity and ingenuity driven by a great team in unexplored markets is what keeps me up at night. And the learning that one can have from all the great innovators of our times is infinite. I am actively looking for full-time occupation at an established corporation for the long term where I can lead my creative energies as a team leader, and create new and exciting software and service products built with creativity and innovation.

I came to USA in search of a dream in 1987. I came here in search of greatness, in search of opportunity to excel in what I do. My father sent me here with my sister while I was only 18 and gave me the opportunity to learn and grow, and create a career that will make him and the family proud. I went to school initially at University of Oklahoma, and then the University of Texas at Austin. I graduated with Bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering with emphasis on Computer Engineering and Science. I studied hard while I was in school, obtained scholarships that provided me relief in non-resident tuition (I am quite thankful to the faculty and International Student's office at UT Austin for providing me the scholarships), placed first regionally in the Putnam Math Competition (I was inspired by my professor Dr. John Albert at Oklahoma University to participate in this competition), achieved President's Honor Roll and Dean's List, and worked during my undergraduate studies including first job in the Library, and then as a Computer Lab trainer and manager teaching students programming languages that provided me money for room and board (Dr. Terry Wagner at EE Department in UT Austin provided me this opportunity). I met my wife to be while she was doing her Bachelor's in Accounting. My father also studied in the USA back in 1957, when he was only 21. He graduated with his MBA from Stanford University and later worked here for a few years (he obtained Rotary Foundation Fellowship and Scholarship to attend Stanford). My father and my mother got married in Washington D.C. He went back to India since his father passed away, but later came back and studied at Harvard University. Eventually, he settled back in India. Now, my father and mother visit us (my sister and my family) every year in Summer. Their biggest incentive to come back is the grand children that they dearly adore. I am proud and thankful of the opportunity that my father gave me to come to the USA, and that USA has given me at such a young age when I went to school here, the scholarships and beliefs of professors who I studied under, and work occupation with managers who believed in my ability to deliver. As I tell my friends in India that USA perhaps leads the world in integration of culture, values, work, lives and religion. And I plan on living the dream of my father where I can excel at work, family, kids, friends and relationships, and create new opportunities.

I thank you for reading my story, your belief in me and my resolve, and your encouragement to climb higher. I am a believer. And remember to thank God for great health, happiness and peace.

2011 Update:
After moving to Irvine, California in 2007, I have been walking regularly, thanks to sunny and beautiful Southern California weather
, and although I have had setbacks owing to continuous pain due to spreading Arthritis in my joints, I feel blessed that I am mobile, and am able to walk! My orthopedic doctor has recently advised me to bike, wear orthotics in my shoes, and do less walking. I am staying mobile and active, and that's what really matters. I am taking additional calcium / Vitamin D (although not regularly), and have increased intake of dairy (although too much causes stomach aches). I am hoping to continue this regimen and mix it up with additional supplements such as Magnesium, Joint Juice, and anything that helps strengthen my bones and joints! I am a believer, and have a great positive, fun attitude about fighting Osteoporosis and Arthritis, living well, and overcoming the odds. More about me on OGoing. Jai Sri Krushna!