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Sunday, June 29, 2008

Stormy weather, tree damage, and power outages hold no fear for me anymore

I went in on Thursday last week to check on a pulled muscle in my chest, and ended up with a surprise chest x-ray, CT scan and blood tests to make sure there were no mets that had crept up when we weren't looking. My family physician (the best at UNMC, hands down) joked with me that she might be calling for a CT scan for what might not turn out to be anything more than a case of shingles - but the circumstances called for it (thanks, Dr. P). About 4:15 on Friday afternoon, we were told that the report showed no cancer, nothing out of the ordinary since my last CT scan in 2006. Pretty cool news (thanks for meeting with us, Lois). About 4:45, we were at a grocery store, and the tornado warning sirens went off. Nothing out of the ordinary in the midwest on a summer day - you just take cover. But then the wind came up, and the rain and the hail. The parking lot looked like a hurricane shot on the Weather Channel - you could not see your car that was 15 feet from the store window. Trees were bent over by the wind like a row of Allen wrenches. Power went out. Tried the cell phone to reach number one son, but it was busy, meaning lines were clogged. Storm passed, and with the remaining power trickling to the computers in the store, we checked out and drove home. What greeted us there was a new skylight in our kitchen, courtesy of the maple tree in the back yard. When I surveyed the damage, it wasn't that big a deal for me. Paying an arborist to remove the tree from the roof - sure, no problem. Locating and paying for someone to repair the hole in the ceiling and sheathing - you bet, we will do it. After what we had faced for 24 hours, my 36 hours with no power was a walk in the park. We now have power, unlike many in Omaha at the moment. But lack of power did not keep me from The Good Life. I doubt anything ever will. My appreciation goes to our Omaha Public Power District for their round the clock work, and the Arbor One Tree Service (no website that I could find) that labored to remove the trunk that was giving me a rustic theme to my kitchen. And of course to the health professionals that once again looked me over, and didn't find anything of interest. Man, I love being boring to health professionals. Here's to everyone getting back to their normal life. I am so glad I get to do that, too.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

FDA Warns Individuals and Firms to Stop Selling Fake Cancer "Cures"

A news release from the FDA: .
They have sent letters to 23 U.S. companies and 2 foreign individuals to stop selling fake cancer cures on the web. They also link to 125 fake 'cures' that consumers should avoid at this site: .

I know now what it desperate feels like, and wanting to do ANYTHING to make the cancer go away. I usually joke that if someone had told me 2 years ago that I could cure it by dancing naked in the moonlight, I would have done it. But before you send money for something, or take advice without talking with your health care professional first, please contact a library to find out if the information you are looking at is valid. Believe me, if someone is successful in 'curing' cancer with an alternate treatment, I will be shouting it from the rooftops. Until that day, buyer beware. That stuff you see offered on the 'Net could do much more harm to you than the cancer or traditional treatment can do.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Update on recent activities

First, the storms have been coming pretty regularly through Omaha, but nothing bad has happened at our place. The worst thing that happens is that the computer and cable modem are unplugged, in the hopes that any lightning will not find its way in to cause damage.
Second, I attended a Cancer Survivorship conference for health professionals (attending as a member of the medical center faculty) - more on that momentous occasion in another post.
Third, less than 30 days until Number One Daughter comes back from her year away as an exchange student in Austria. Yep, I am happy, and looking forward to that homecoming.
Finally, I have had an MRI and a head/neck surgeon visit recently - and nothing was out of the ordinary. I will claim that No Evident Disease (NED), thank you. The only thing that I wished hadn't happened during the visit: the physician assistant, who is new enough to maybe not know how to take me, made the comment that maybe I 'knew too much' about my cancer and the many ways it can sneak back in. Possibly she thought because I knew about the possibilities, I would be worrying for nothing. On the contrary-knowing things keeps me from worrying. It is when the health professionals are not straight with me that I spend sleepless nights, wondering what is coming next. I think we will get along fine - she and I will meet again in July - but I wish I had had someone with me during the visit to bolster my will to address her statement directly. I agree with a statement in a book I reviewed for the recent Cancer Survivor's Day (June 1), 100 Questions & Answers About Life After Cancer : anyone who has had cancer should get to ask as much about signs and symptoms as they wish, without being considered a hypochondriac. Face it - we have different lives after diagnosis and treatment, and those differences need to be respected.
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