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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Sites are out there to assist with caregiving

I saw this article in the Boston Globe: The Web gives boomer caregivers a boost

Two Nebraska - based sites that didn't get listed in this article:

Go Local Nebraska - Use this database if you are looking for health care professionals, facilities, support groups near you or your loved ones living in Nebraska.

Home Instead Senior Care - -help with taking care of elderly family members in their own home. This service is located in over 800 cities around the world, and is based right here in Omaha.

The Boston Globe article links to the following sites that might prove useful if you are a caregiver, or if you want to keep track of your own care online:

CaregiverHelper -

Lotsa Helping Hands - -

Parent Care Call -

Houseworks -

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Scion has landed

We have a new car in the garage - a golden car, Borsheims-gold, number 390 out of a limited edition of 2500 in the world. Pretty nifty. We bought it at Performance Toyota of Lincoln (, where Dennis Gormley would be happy to get you set up with your very own Scion! This has been a very happy day - beautiful sunshine, driving with my guys (husband and number one son), eating out for lunch, and to top it off, driving a car that started with only 4 miles on it! Sweet. This is the kind of stuff I went through cancer treatment for, folks, and I am enjoying myself to the max!
With the sunroof, I imagine that the Ninja Librarian will be back this summer, but having the wind blowing around will make wearing the head covering worth it. I think I will go back out to the garage now and check to see if this was all some sort of Willy Wonka dream, and I didn't really get the golden car.
Watch for a golden Scion sighting near you - now that we have good wheels, there is nothing stopping us from jumping out on a road trip.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Topic of the day: Peripheral neuropathy

I have been treated for neuropathic pain since after radiation ended back in the fall of 2oo6. Damage to nerves on the left side of my head and neck either happened because of surgery, or the radiation, or a combination of both, and the drug they had prescribed, amitriptyline, was doing the trick. However, it doesn't play well with the medication I take for a long-standing hypothyroid condition, so I have been off of it for roughly a week, waiting for the next visit to the doctor to figure out what might be prescribed instead. This has not been a fun week. Not much over the counter helps with cutting the pain, so I have been sleeping only a few hours a night, waking up and then waiting around until it is time to go to work again. This reminds me of the years before surgery, when I would be up due to the pain in my cheek, never knowing how bad it really was until after the tumor was removed. I know that one of the choices I have will be to not take any medication - but after this week, I don't know if I will sign up for that option. I really miss sleeping through the night!

If you have been treated for cancer, be sure and discuss neuropathy with your doctor, if the topic hasn't come up before. There is a page of more information on peripheral neuropathy at

Friday, February 15, 2008

Online book: Responding to the Challenge of Cancer in Europe

I thought some of the readers of this blog would find this new European cancer information resource interesting:
Responding to the challenge of cancer in Europe
European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies, 2008
Available online at:
PDF file [361p.] at:

Chapter 1 Responding to the challenge of cancer in Europe
Chapter 2 The burden of cancer in Europe
Chapter 3 The causes of cancer and policies for prevention
Chapter 4 Cancer screening
Chapter 5 Drugs for cancer
Chapter 6 Organizing a comprehensive framework for cancer control
Chapter 7 Changes in the management of cancer: the example of colorectal cancer
Chapter 8 Survival of European cancer patients
Chapter 9 Information on cancer
Chapter 10 Cancer patients - partners for change
Chapter 11 The role of psychosocial oncology in cancer care
Chapter 12 Dying with cancer, living well with advanced
Chapter 13 Closing the gap: cancer in central and eastern Europe
Chapter 14 Cancer control in Slovenia: achievements, shortcomings and opportunities
Chapter 15 Researching cancer
Chapter 16 Making progress against cancer

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Links on the sidebar for those that can't see the sidebar

In some browsers, readers of this blog cannot see the links I have posted on the right side of the screen, so I enter them occasionally as a post so all can access them.

More information on how to blog from a fellow cancer blogger

Jeanne Sather, author of The Assertive Cancer Patient blog, is teaching a class in the Seattle area this Saturday: Blogging 101: If I can blog, you can blog. She has posted a very informative entry on her blog, linking to many types of blogs: Check out her recent post, and really check out her entire blog - it is full of great information, especially her experiences finding ways to deal with what cancer tries to throw at all of us.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A picture of the titanium plate that is now in my head

Don't worry - it isn't the exact piece of mesh in my head! If you are as curious as I am, you want to see what the mesh looks like. This is a sample of titanium plate that the Head & Neck Resident Coordinator requested for me from one of the mesh salesmen (you knew they had those, didn't you!). I scanned it next to a half-dollar, as the surgeon had told my family that that was about the size of the hole in my head, and also included one of the tiny screws that hold the thing on to the skull. Pretty amazing engineering, in my opinion. You can click on the picture to see a larger image.
I am working out just exactly what I am going to do with this plate - coming up with some sort of good luck charm or jewelry tickles my fancy. The plate itself is very flexible, so I would have to put it in some sort of frame to strengthen it.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Updates to previous blog posts

A student of Dr. Scott Odom (English professor dies of rare cancer at 49) wrote a tribute to him in her blog, Kirsten E's Weblog: . I really like it. I also like the subtitle of her blog: The Best Medicine is Prevention.

The Blogging Your Dreams contest ( ) is over, and they announced the first winner yesterday - Marty of Pennsylvania:
Her dream is to renovate an old building in her city's recovering downtown area, turning it to housing for the needy and a business center for jobs. What a cool dream! You can click on the blog link above to follow her progress as she blogs about her dream coming true.

Cheeky Librarian is in the Omaha World-Herald news

The Omaha World-Herald printed a story today by Sandra Wendel on why it is important to access health information, and how to tell what you are looking at is real: Knowledge is Powerful Medicine
The link will only be live for 7 days - after that, the newspaper wants you to buy it to see it. The story is good due to the author's skills with such an important topic and the collaboration of professionals at my library - Roxanne Cox, Tom Gensichen, Rose Fredrick, and Kari Stavneak. I am so glad that the author, Sandra Wendel, asked for our library's assistance.

Sandra Wendel is an author of many articles and books, an editor, and the publisher at Heath eHeadlines:
A link to her books or books that list her work as listed on Amazon:
Nebraska has some great talent, and Ms. Wendel is a prime example!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Last year, it was a Gypsy bicycle; this year, maybe a Scion?

It has been many years since my household has had a new car - definitely not within my 20 year-old son's memory. So we have been sneaking up on the subject of purchasing a new car (never mentioning the search in front of the other cars, of course, as it may encourage them to lose a water pump or worse). Part of the trouble we have had is trying to fit a 6 ft 3in dad and a 6 ft 3in son in the same car, only with one each in the front seat and back seat (I refuse to give up either of my front seats-there, I said it!). For many years now, the car manufacturers seemed to think everyone was shorter than 5ft 7in, and kept sloping those windshields down and lowering the roofline. When we got exasperated a few years ago (tried out the new PT Cruisers, but no leg room for driver or back seat), we asked the salesman what pro basketball players were driving. He (as tired of us not fitting into his wares as we were) snapped back, "They either have chauffeurs, or drive minivans!" Well, we have never had a minivan, and aren't going to start now, thanks to the new 2008 Scion xB. 4 inches of headroom over number one dad's head; plenty of leg and head room for number one son in the back seat BEHIND number one dad. And the pluses for me: a car under 20k that is CHEAP to insure for full coverage, a manual transmission, a built in iPod connection, and (ta da!) a moonroof. After a solid year of covering up the face, I need to have some air and light come in, while wearing my Coolibar hats, you betcha. I want freedom, not skin cancer.
I am so totally spoiled. We haven't signed on the dotted line yet, but I think it will all go through. If it does, this is what will be in the garage next to the Gypsy: Who ever knew that I could get a car with Mizzou colors while living in Nebraska???

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Stemcells grow a new jawbone - Finland research

From Reuters:

I thought this might be of interest to the adenoid cystic carcinoma fighters, since many of us end up (or start by) losing a jawbone. The research spokeswoman said that "the patient was recovering more quickly than he would have if he had received a bone graft from his leg." The stem cells were isolated from the patient's own fatty tissue. (Ahem - I have plenty of mine to share, if they ever develop a stem cell bank.)
Another interesting bit: the bone transplant was grown inside the man's abdomen.
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