Alexis Davis, played by Daytime Emmy-winner, Nancy Lee Grahn, has been having wrist pain for weeks on General Hospital. Unfortunately, some soapy drama that included finding Neil Byrne dead in her bed, kept her from getting that wrist checked out.
It took Ned’s pushing and prodding when he noticed her pain to get her into GH for an X-ray. She learned she did indeed break her wrist while at the gym, but Portia wants Alexis to now be tested for osteoporosis and she will receive a diagnosis next week.
ABC, General Hospital, and biotechnology company, Amgen, have teamed up for this story that is here to inform with a character most of us can relate to.
Nancy Lee Grahn Is Ready To Educate And Advocate
“I was thrilled to be the venue character that they were going to use to do this because I’m an advocate for women’s rights, which includes women’s health,” Nancy Lee Grahn tells Soap Hub.
“Osteoporosis is a critical issue in women’s health right now, I mean not right now but always, and we are bringing it up right now because we need to be talking about it and talking about it and talking about it.
“It’s a bone disease that causes bones to become weak and more likely to break. And they’re going to have Alexis go through the story and get diagnosed with osteoporosis after she falls at the gym. You’re going to see her wrap her head around that and then have a healthy case of denial.”
Grahn finds Alexis’s upcoming denial to be completely in character, but also completely realistic for women everywhere.
“There is a lot of denial when talking about osteoporosis. It’s not a conversation that I think women have with each other because it brings up age and our society isn’t particularly kind to women who age, which is why we have to talk about it,” she says. “And we have to demystify it, that there’s any shame to it, that it’s this old women’s disease. Let me just run through some facts.
“This is what I learned and I didn’t know this. How prevalent it was, that 1 in 2 women over the age of 50 in the United States will break a bone due to osteoporosis during their remaining lifetime.
“When I talk about breaking a bone, that’s a big thing. It can be life-altering. It can lead to pain, loss of mobility, change in lifestyle. Then the other thing is, osteoporosis is chronic,” Grahn explains. “It’s a progressive disease that can lead to fractures, so those are the things that I learned that I thought were important, but the good news is there are lifestyle changes and treatment options that can help.”
And that’s what Grahn wants women to know and is thrilled to be able to educate them on the disease and how to live with it through Alexis and her own Alexis-like way of dealing with things.
“That’s the value of doing this story because the way you can prevent osteoporosis from getting out of hand is going to your doctor, by talking about it, bringing awareness, having the conversation, getting your bone density tests, and if you already have osteoporosis, by staying in treatment.
“Even if this is a 3-day story and it doesn’t define her and it’s just something that happens in her life, think about the messaging here with women and the age range of woman that are watching are the age range of women who need to be paying attention to osteoporosis and its effects. This will make them hopefully go get a bone density test and call their doctor. So there’s great value in this and I don’t often get to do that. I am doing the sturm and drang of my part every day, so whatever soapy things happen.”
Speaking of soapy things, Alexis will keep doing them as she also has a mystery to solve, and that just shows that women can live with this disorder and still do what they have to do in their lives.
“It is kind of a clever way to put the messaging in there because it is real. Also, I think my character’s very relatable, my character is most like the audience, most like the women we know, so it was kind of a good idea to put this message through her character. Also, it’s age-appropriate. I am clearly over 50, I do my due diligence with bone density tests and now I am going to do more.”
“AMGEN has a really good motive here, and so does ABC, and General Hospital did a good thing. So we can stop regular programming to say this important message in a way that is not an infomercial and instead through my character that can make people think and take action.”
Grahn thinks this is something women need to discuss and also be aware that osteoporosis doesn’t just affect much older women. Alexis immediately made that comment to Portia, that she thought women older than her are affected, and she learned the truth fast. And Grahn is grateful to talk about it.
“We need to talk about it. We lose our estrogen, so what? That doesn’t make us less sexy. We lose our bone density. That doesn’t make us fragile. We’re strong. Women are strong and women are vital.”
To learn more about osteoporosis and how you can take charge of your life if diagnosed, go to Takechargeofosteo.com. General Hospital (GH) airs weekdays on ABC. Check your local listings for airtimes.