Sunday, April 26, 2009

In case you are following swine flu news

HealthMap is a good site - it is a global disease alert map
http://www.healthmap.org/en

It also has a Twitter account which includes other useful links to news and resources:
http://twitter.com/healthmap


The World Health Organization's site:
http://www.who.int/csr/disease/swineflu/en/index.html

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/investigation.htm

Friday, April 24, 2009

I met the first female Navajo surgeon


Lori Arviso Alvord, M.D. presented "The Scalpel and the Silver Bear: Combining Western Medicine and Traditional Navajo Ceremonies to Create Healing Environments" at the University of Nebraska Medical Center on April 13. More information on the event is at this site:
http://app1.unmc.edu/publicaffairs/newsarchive/view_art.cfm?article_id=1874. Dr. Alvord is a member of the National Advisory Council for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NACCAM) http://nccam.nih.gov/about/naccam/roster.htm. She is Assistant Professor of Surgery and Psychiatry at Dartmouth Medical School. (She is the person in the lower left side of the photo.)

Her presentation really spoke to my heart. It was wonderful to see the images she projected and hear her stories - I haven't had that sort of experience since the Cancer Bloggers Reunion last summer in Seattle.

I attended the event with two great librarians (Nebraska has the best!): Siobhan Champ-Blackwell (lower right), and Marty Magee (upper left), both National Network of Library of Medicine outreach librarians for the National Library of Medicine. (I used to be one - I recommend the job to anyone interested in being on the cutting edge of librarianship!). Dr. Alvord has a connection to the National Library of Medicine - her biography is included in a great website and traveling exhibit: Changing the Face of Medicine http://www.nlm.nih.gov/changingthefaceofmedicine/physicians/biography_7.html. She graciously agreed to posing for a picture with the three of us. Thank you again, Dr. Alvord!

Friday, April 10, 2009

"I don't have access to the same toolkit"

That is a quote from Michael J. Fox on the Larry King show, in response to a question about how it was to act now with Parkinson's disease. That statement, and another he made: "The only thing I don't have a choice about is having Parkinson's - everything else I have a choice", fit my thinking of this life after a cancer diagnosis. I don't have the same toolkit of energy to do the level of outreach I used to do before 2006, for example, but I do have new tools: inner strength that has been proven; empathy; and first-hand knowledge of how becoming an informed patient can improve treatment outcomes. I don't have a choice about having adenoid cystic carcinoma - but I do have a choice about everything else.

An update - I had my annual CT scan (not sure if I ever get another MRI, they figure the CT will be better since I have the titanium screen door on my skull), and no aliens were spotted. I have been having increased headaches, but hey, the docs have done their best to GIVE them to me, so the least I can do is enjoy the things. No pain meds were offered, other than alternating tylenol and ibuprofen. Looking forward to spring someday - and still going without the head covering this year in the sun. I am not out to get the tan of my life (figure that would look weird anyway), but it is so nice to be able to not wear the shade right now.
 
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