Just a few months ago, not long after turning seventy, I was diagnosed with mild osteoporosis. I had thought that all my yoga, my occasional forays to the gym, my daily walking, my frequently consumed leafy greens and yogurt , my calcium supplements would protect me. I had thought I was different from most other women my age, that I could avoid taking the medication that I knew was sometimes problematic. But the bone density scan revealed what I had feared, and because both of my parents declined and died shortly after hip fractures, because I had once broken an ankle, I decided to accept my doctor’s sober recommendation: that I begin a weekly dose of alendronate. It would be the first chronic medication I would ever be prescribed.
But right before I actually began taking my weekly pill, I noticed a strange new pain across the instep of my left foot. For the first few days I ignored it; I felt it only when I walked, and I assumed it was a strained muscle or tendon. The pain increased; when, after ten days, it persisted even when I was not walking, I decided to see a podiatrist.