Tag: Cancer

When a Nurse Is the Patient’s Family

 

Over my years at Ricochet, I’ve been very plain about my choice of career.  It’s my handle.  Most nurses feel similarly; being a nurse isn’t just a job.  It isn’t just a career.  It’s an identity.  Much like the military, nursing school tears you down to rebuild you in the form of a nurse.

We adopt this willingly at first, grudgingly later, then with resignation, then with acceptance, and later, far later, with a touch of regret, perhaps.

Real Public Health Risks

 

covid versus public healthTwo people-watching episodes this past week brought into focus the real crisis in public health. WuFlu is not a public health crisis, in itself. Rather the grossly politicized exploitation of this novel respiratory disease virus, in service of the lab coat left system, advocated by Woodrow Wilson in the late 1890s and starkly warned of in President Eisenhower’s farewell address, has corrupted and effectively silenced real public health advocacy. Consider two real public health perennial campaigns, largely lost in the noise of COVID exploitation.

I was in my local veteran’s organization canteen (bar) last weekend, having counted the money and updated the bookkeeping. A woman in her 40s had a cough. Her comment: “it is just a smoker’s cough.” That statement called to mind a much younger veteran, a man in his late 20s, coming in after the previous night’s partying with a heavy cough as he went to the cigarette machine for another pack. We have known, since at least the late 1950s, that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer and a host of other very unpleasant long-term ailments. COPD, anyone? Listen to old-time radio and you will hear the cigarette companies in the late 1940s, early 1950s, assuring you that doctors attested that their customers experienced no throat irritation from smoking their product.

This brings to mind the much larger scope of 75 years or more of public health real science about heart disease, lung disease, and cancer prevention and treatment. Screening and early treatment have long been the message, grounded in real medical statistics. Yet, we saw a vile lab coat leftist bureaucrat, Anthony Fraudci, stand real public health on its head, stopping preventive care for critical months and hyping fear to his tiny bailiwick’s benefit.

When Life Changed: Cancer and Agency

 

Many of you have heard my saga about my bout with cancer and chemotherapy; that is only marginally what this post is about. As a result of my experience, I realized that I had made a major change in my perspective about my own agency in a way I’d never known. It was partly inspired by my husband, who is a skeptic about many things but is big on taking responsibility. But I also began to realize that beyond his support, I had to, wanted to, take charge of my own medical decisions, which meant that I was taking charge of my life in a whole new way.

All along the way, there were decisions that I had to make, some easier than others. Almost immediately, I realized that because I had two tumors on my right breast, with some distance in between, it made sense to both the doctor and me to remove the whole breast. Although we agreed, it was reassuring to me that I was using my common sense to make that decision, rather than relying only on his medical training.

The next decision was whether I was going to have reconstructive surgery. I didn’t want it, and Jerry saw no reason to do it either. The surgeon tried to persuade me that I should at least schedule an appointment with the plastic surgeon. Yet I knew I didn’t want the complication of another surgery, one that could be difficult. Since the plastic surgeon was on the same floor as my breast surgeon, I walked over reluctantly to arrange a consultation with him. As I spoke to the scheduler, I said I didn’t see the point in talking to him since I didn’t want the surgery. The scheduler, a wise woman, said another woman had just come in and said the same thing and left without scheduling a consultation, and then she looked at me knowingly. We turned around and walked out. I never regretted the decision.

Pushing Back on the Medical Establishment Is Not so Easy

 

I should have known that a big decision about changing my chemotherapy regimen, rejecting my oncologist’s recommendation, wasn’t going to be so easy. I wrote about it here, describing a discussion I will be having with him on Monday. But now I realize that there is more involved than just looking at the statistics and research. It means, from a big picture standpoint, that I will be bucking the “science,” telling the experts that when it comes to making decisions about my life, all the numbers in the world can’t determine what is best for me.

Only I can do that. And I am very anxious about telling him my decision to defy his recommendation. I’m even nervous about discussing my situation with my internist on Friday prior to that meeting. Am I just wanting the treatment to be finished? (Yes.) Am I tired of being tired? (Yes.) Do I want life to return to normal? (Yes.) And in spite of all those desires, I believe I know what the best course is for me.

Not a Survivor but a Thriver

 

When the surgeon first confirmed I had cancer, he told me that it wouldn’t shorten my life; actually, he tried to reassure me with that comment on two or three other occasions. I was surprised that he said that, but in spite of all the advances in breast cancer treatment, I guess the first thing a woman might think is, “Am I going to die”? My reaction was, “This is so darned inconvenient.” Maybe that was a thought of denial on my part, but I still feel the same way.

It is inconvenient.

But I mainly wanted to address a phrase that is commonly used to discuss the condition of a person who comes through cancer: Cancer Survivor. Please know that if you know anyone who describes herself that way, I mean no disrespect. We can all choose to see and describe ourselves in multiple ways, but that’s not a term I would use.

Member Post

 

A group of oncologists estimate that 60,000 people in the UK will die of cancer because they were unable to get adequate treatment due to COVID-19 restrictions. I am torn about what to think about this estimate. Why should one trust the prognostications of a group of oncologists any more than one trusts the prognostications […]

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Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman

 

Clever title, isn’t it? Of course, I’m not a doctor nor a medicine woman, and over the last few weeks I’ve learned how inept I am at diagnosing just about anything.

Some of you might have read my post about going to the emergency room on April 12. It was a very unpleasant experience. And generated unacknowledged fear on my part, given the further tests I would need to endure. So this is what the last couple of weeks have revealed.

Round #1

Member Post

 

The ‘staches are back! Movember is a charity raising money for prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and the high incidence of mental health issues and suicide among men. I recently joined my company’s team in the cause and it got me thinking a bit about how we talk about men’s health. The news media, the chattering […]

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Justice Ginsburg Completes Radiation Therapy for Malignant Tumor

 

The Supreme Court announced today that Associate Justice Ruth Ginsburg, 86, has completed a three week course of radiation therapy at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center for a malignant tumor on her pancreas. The tumor was detected during a blood test in early July and confirmed through a biopsy on July 31. In addition to the radiation therapy, Ginsburg also had a bile duct stent installed. According to the Office of Public Information at the Supreme Court, the tumor was “definitively treated” and there is no sign of disease elsewhere in her body.

Ginsburg has had cancer numerous times. Most recently, just last December she had a lobectomy on the left side of her lungs to remove cancerous nodules, also performed at Memorial Sloan Kettering. That procedure caused her to miss oral arguments at the Supreme Court, the first time she’d been absent since joining the court.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America discuss the lineup of the two Democratic debates. They also evaluate Joe Biden’s vow that cancer will be cured if he’s elected president and Joy Behar of ‘The View’ suggesting climate change makes a cure much tougher. And they break down the political battle between New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Rev. Al Sharpton over a proposed ban on menthol cigarettes in the Big Apple.

Member Post

 

I saw my Oncologist yesterday.  My polyp was Stage I.A., the most benign level.  The cancer had not spread to the Large Intestine, which would have been Stage II, or the lymph nodes which would have been Stage III.  With the surgery, I am literally cancer-free.   My Oncologist had been ready to release me, […]

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Member Post

 

I had a colonoscopy a week ago.  I had four polyps, three which were 5 mm which were removed, and one which was 15 mm which was biopsied.  On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I got the results from the biopsy.  There were cancer cells in the tissue sample which was biopsied.  I already knew that […]

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Catching Formerly Fatal Cancers in Time, Curing the Incurable, All on a Budget?

 

We live in an amazing time. Despite all the disputes and anxiety about the health care delivery system, research still brings new miraculous cures. So, can we get the goose to keep laying golden eggs at something more like chicken feed, rather than kale, prices?

Recent news points towards early detection of cancers which usually are not detected until it is too late, and techniques to get a patient’s body to effectively recognize, attack and destroy cancer.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America welcome Arizona Sen. John McCain back to Capitol Hill despite the grim diagnosis he received last week, and are happy that Republicans now have a full roster as the health care debate continues. They also bemoan President Trump’s continued use of Twitter to attack Attorney General Jeff Sessions for being “weak” in failing to investigate Hillary Clinton over her emails and alleged collusion with Ukraine during the 2016 campaign. And they analyze a surprising new Michigan poll showing rock star Kid Rock leading incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America start with an appetizer by cheering the U.S. Navy’s use of a new laser weapon meant to target small watercraft and drones. They also praise the Trump administration for its success in halting hundreds of regulations that would stifle job growth and business expansion. They also address the tragic news that Arizona Sen. John McCain is diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, and they express disgust at the tasteless and nasty reactions from both sides of the political spectrum. And they sigh over President Trump griping to the media about his frustrations over Attorney General Jeff Sessions recusing himself from the Russia investigation.

Member Post

 

Back in October, I wrote a post about a weekend with guys who are battling cancer and the amazing courage of these men who are staring death in the face.   In the middle of all the inauguration hoopla, it’s easy to forget the individual struggles of our fellow Americans.  One family is tonight facing the […]

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In Lieu of Flowers, Please Stop Smoking

 

I learned something interesting earlier this month. If you want to donate your body to medical research, there’s usually a minimum weight requirement. If you’re an adult, you need to weigh at least a hundred pounds. If you’re too emaciated, for example, from a long illness, they won’t take you.

I discovered this because I spent the latter half of January helping to take care of a terminal cancer patient. One day she could walk down the stairs. The next day she needed help. The day after that, she lost all feeling below the waist.

At that point, there’s no point in doing scans to figure out what’s wrong. Everyone involved understood that the end was fast approaching. The cancer had either spread to her spine or her brain. Either way, it wouldn’t be long, so a call was made to hospice.