Medical errors - and what if they didn't tell us?
Massachusetts General Hospital archivesDr. Ernest Amory Codman. We all are aware that, unfortunately, medical errors can and do occur. A recent example is of this New Zealand woman who was never told of her Her2 positive diagnosis for two years and didn't receive the correct treatment until it was too late. But what if doctors never told us about treatment outcomes and what their error rates were? That would be pretty damn scary. No one likes to admit they made a mistake but as 'to err is human', it does happen.But that's the way things used to be:"Dr. Ernest Amory Codman was in his mid-40s when his golden career as a...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 22, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: change medical errors Source Type: blogs

Specialty Drug Prices are Killing the Patients
I know I have blogged about this before but it just irks me of the inequalities that I see in this system. I do not have a grudge against big pharma. I really do not. I just wish there was more change in the system where drug companies seem to be tightening the noose on patients who are trying to survive.Is your life worth $100,000 annually? Can you afford $1000 monthly in drug copays? If you ask the big pharma companies, it is. The majority of the new drugs approved last year by the FDA are specialty drugs, 19 of 28 (which is an appallingly low number of approvals to me but that's another story for another day). These com...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 21, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: billing empowered patient medication costs Source Type: blogs

Sleeping, or not
I have problems sleeping these days. On a good night, I get to sleep for a solid 12 hours. I'm not kidding. I hope to do this once a week at least. Not this weekend. If I can, I save my big sleeping nights for the weekend because I don't have to get up in the morning.Friday night I slept from about 10-330. Then I dozed off and on until 6 when I gave up and got up. Last night, I slept from about 930 to 4. Then I couldn't sleep so I played games on my phone (because my phone was nagging me to get caught up on words with friends) for about half and hour and then dozed for a while and finally got back to sleep for a bit. I am ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 20, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: crabbiness crankiness lack of sleep medical tests Source Type: blogs

Why do I bother to ask these questions anyway?
This week I saw my oncologist for my annual check up. I am happy to only see her once a year... Except when I nominated her for an award last winter or when I ran into her in the hallway at the hospital. So, I, who am never afraid of the direct question, asked her "so what are my chances of more cancer?". Why not ask? I would prefer to know what can be known. This little question of what could be coming in the future has been irking me for years.The answers I got were:Even with my medical history of two cancer diagnosis and family diagnosis of a parent with cancer, there is no way of knowing if I am likely to get...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 19, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: cancer doctor questions recurrence Source Type: blogs

VA Hospitals
The message here is do not go to a VA hospital. Especially for cancer care. I find this appalling. We send men and women off to war and they are supposed to receive their medical care at VA hospitals around the country. What do they get? Poor and delayed care. And this results in deaths. The waits are twice what they are at other hospitals.The saddest part of the video above is that there are probably so many more stories like this. What is going on at the VA hospitals? Bureaucracy? Paperwork? Employees who don't care? No sense of urgency? I don't know but you won't catch me near one. Yesterday I blogged about the best hos...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 18, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: being a patient hospital poor medical care Source Type: blogs

The Best Hospitals
US News and World Report just released its annual list of the best hospitals in the US. The hospital I go to is not in the top ten.And I am not concerned. I mean what is the benefit of going to one of the top 10 hospitals inthe US? My bet is it comes down to two issues:More expensive billsLonger waits for appointments.I have been told by someone who worked at one of the big name Boston hospitals that unless you are related to a senator, you can expect a long wait to get in to see a doctor. And a recent study of Boston hospitals showed that the big name hospitals offered the highest fees.With all my medical crap, I am very ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 17, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: being a patient doctor appointments hospital Source Type: blogs

The mammogram benefit discussion
There have been a few (thousand) discussions on the benefits of regular mammograms in the past few years. There are all sorts of claims on the problems of false positives, over diagnosis, false negatives, and all that. So stop the presses and read the results of this latest survey. Its a bit of a statistics lesson so allow me to break it down with my stellar liberal arts education and marketing backgroundThis survey looked at the incidence of breast cancer and the increased diagnosis trend from 1941 on. The first half of the time studied was from 1941 to the 1970s before mammograms - the base data.* Then it looked at the r...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 16, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: breast cancer cancer diagnosis mammogram Source Type: blogs

Living a better life
I have decided I need to take steps to improve my life (well our lives because this includes my husband). This has taken some thought to get here but I have come up with these:We need to eat better. I talk about it. I try to but not there yet. I can tell this because of my bulging waistline. My husband has a similar problem. More vegetables and grains. Less fats, etc. You know all of that but there is always room for improvement.We need to do more things together. Last weekend we on a day trip adventure to an ocean front state park in New Hampshire, just over an hour away. We walked on shady trails, sat on the rocks and wa...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 15, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: fun healthy living quality of life Source Type: blogs

Good or bad, I'm not sure
I'm not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. There is a new program available called Smart Scheduling for doctor's offices. What it does is:"Smart Scheduling mines patient scheduling histories to determine who is more likely to cancel or miss an appointment. It then sends alerts to the scheduling programs that doctor offices use to book appointments."So it digs into your history and looks at your background to see if you are likely to show up for an appointment or not."If a patient is in a high-risk category, for instance, it prompts office schedulers to call with a reminder. If the patient cannot be...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 14, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: being a patient doctor appointments politeness Source Type: blogs

I'm running out of doctor's appointments
I got my latest appointment list from the hospital. I was shocked to realize that I only have eight scheduled appointments. Total. That's amazing. I haven't had less than ten scheduled appointments (which is the most shown on the appointment list) in years.On one level this makes me very happy. I am sick of being sick and going to the doctor. I spend way too much time there. I have been making a concerted effort to cut back on unnecessary doctor appointments. I have opted out of some doctors simply because I don't think they do me much good. I cancelled my appointment with my radiation oncologist because I have no idea why...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 13, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: being a patient being me doctor appointments Source Type: blogs

'Chasing Life' or Coping with a Cancer Diagnosis
I have been watching a new show on ABC Family called 'Chasing Life'. I was drawn to it for two reasons - its based in Boston and its about someone with cancer. I always like to check out the shows based locally - to see how good or bad a job they do. This one doesn't even attempt Boston accents which is good (because they never get them right) and is entire unrealistic in that a three generation family lives in a townhouse on Beacon Hill, which probably lists for a few million.Here is the 'official' show description:"Chasing Life follows twenty-something April (Italia Ricci), a smart and quick-witted aspiring jou...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 12, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: cancer bonds coping television Source Type: blogs

I'm not dead yet
"Bring out your dead"... my favorite Monty Python quote is actually "I'm not dead yet".Yesterday was my annual physical. And the verdict was "I'm not dead yet". Yes I'm still here. And there doesn't seem to be much new that is significantly wrong with me. (The key word in that statement is 'new'.)It was nice to talk to my PCP this year. Last year she was on maternity leave so I met with her NP who I also saw this past winter for a bad cold. And who I also saw over the winter and spring when taking my father to his PCP's NP (they share the same NP). So other than going for cholesterol blood wor...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 11, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: healthiness Source Type: blogs

You don't understand, don't worry, your doctor doesn't either
With all the new medical advice out there, they always end with two statements:More research is neededAsk your doctor if this is right for you.Well in this case, more research was done and it turns out doctors aren't as smart (or Gods) as we might think. First of all how are doctors supposed to keep up on all the latest research. Second all the numbers come out in percentages - which are generalizations - and not round numbers.This new article is long but very interesting (and definitely worth the read) about some new research showing how doctors do not necessarily understand the benefits of screening tests, as used as the...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 10, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: doctor questions medical research test results Source Type: blogs

Age makes a huge difference
At both my cancer diagnosis, I was told 'you are definitely too young to have this type of cancer'. Gee thanks. Was that supposed to make me feel better? Because it didn't.At my second diagnosis, I joined a support group for newly diagnosed patients which included a 28 year old. Then there was me and then everyone else was a decade or two older. I could relate to the 28 year old's concerns more than some of the older women. We still remain tight as a group but the youngest of us, now nearly 35, is thinking about starting a family, if at all still possible. She has a completely different goal than the rest of us.I know a 22...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 9, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: cancer bonds relationships young cancer patients Source Type: blogs

Fatigue, needing sleep, being tired
I drag my butt out of bed these days as opposed to jumping out of bed. It is harder and harder to get up in the morning. I have never been a fan of snooze alarms but my husband introduced them into my life when we got married. Apparently now I need a snooze alarm. As I slept through the first four alarms this morning.There is a difference between fatigue, needing sleep and being tired. To me the differences are:Being tired means you need to rest to recover from exertionFatigue means chronically being tiredNeeding sleep means needing sleepI blame it on fibromyalgia predominantly. It causes fatigue. I get sleep and then I am...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - July 8, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: fatigue healthiness sleep tired Source Type: blogs

I'm on a yarn crawl, I'm on a yarn crawl!
No I am not at home. My husband and the giant cat are home to guard the house so burglars forget it. They are also supposed to be repainting the upstairs bathroom.I left Friday morning to visit my brother who lives in Rochester, NY. I have to drive 400 miles in each direction. When you get to Albany, after over 2 hours in the car, the GPS says "Take I 90 west for 200 miles, then take exit 45". That's very depressing. I don't use the GPS any more until I get off the highway. (Just don't tell my brother I don't know how to get to his new place from the highway without directions.)So with anticipation of this fun dr...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - March 23, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: family stress vacation Source Type: blogs

Please take a nanosecond to feel sorry for Myriad Genetics
They have become lawsuit happy. The Supreme court has said no company can hold the patent to a gene last summer. This means that Myriad Genetics has lost their monopoly, huge prices, and ability to strong arm the breast cancer population with their patent on the BRCA genes Okay that nanosecond is now long over. Now we can get on the road to reality. Myriad has decided that since they have lost their patent, their lawyers are going to get rich. They are in the "let's sue so we can keep our monopoly as long as possible"."Last week's ruling by Judge Shelby is perfectly clear about all that is at stake for Myria...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - March 22, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: change genetic testing laws personal protection personalized medicine Source Type: blogs

OMG A picture without makeup? How scary!
Okay, this is just dumb. As far as I am concerned this is right up there with the Facebook fad of a few years ago where women posted their bra color or purse color to show their support for women with breast cancer. It was a secret and men were not supposed to know.But if you are daring you can post a picture of yourself, a selfie, without makeup (!!!) and text it to a UK charity to donate 3 pounds (think of this as $5). The charity has raised over 15,000 pounds (which is somewhere in the $25-30K) range depending on the day's exchange rate.While I support small organizations which provide local support for those with cance...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - March 21, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: donating fad pictures Source Type: blogs

How do you envision your cancer?
When I was in chemo, I would think of the chemo drugs as Pac Man icons going along eating up all the bad cancer cooties in my system. The cancer itself was some dark looming elephant in the room. Well not an elephant but a big looming grim reaper with the scythe running all over from the good guys.I always thought that on a slide in the lab, they would be big and black. Always ugly, never pretty. Never able to become pretty.It looks like I was wrong."A University of British Columbia professor designed and created 10 dresses inspired by microscopic lab photos of cancer cells and other body systems for a project called ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - March 20, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: art cancer cells image Source Type: blogs

Cancer death rates down but...
Cancer death rates are down for the more 'popular' cancers in general in the last few decades. But then the old 80/20 rule kicks in and these cancers get most of the research and as a result the 'unpopular' cancer death rates aren't really going anywhere.So here's an article on how colon cancer rates are down. It used to be the most common cancer killer in the US. Now it is dramatically down because of screening - those lovely colonoscopies that we all love so much.However as this Australian article points out the cancers that are not as common, don't have ribbon decorated walks, runs, months, etc, often don't get as much ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - March 19, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: cancer cure cancer research death news Source Type: blogs

Am I supposed to be suffering?
I read stories all over the internet and in print about people who are suffering from, a victim of, or a survivor of some ailment I have. I do not consider myself to be suffering, a victim of, or a survivor of any damn thing. I am just living.I do have a new ailment.... Oh joy. But its not that exciting to me. Its called... drum roll.... are  you ready.... well.... its.... dry eyes. See, its not exciting just like I said it wasn't and I probably blogged about it before. But its just another little pain in the ass thing in my life. A sign that my body continue to fall apart at an amazing rate. Dry eyes don't sound that...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - March 18, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: ailments annoyance dry eyes medication costs suffering Source Type: blogs

Elusive sleep
Once again a night of oh so elusive sleep. I can't even blame the cat. Saturday night he insisted on trying to wake me up all night long, alternating with periods of sitting on me that made my back hurt. I was a tad grumpy as a result and ended up cancelling on long scheduled plans with friends to go to a museum which I would have enjoyed.One of the lovely benefits side effects of fibromyalgia is disturbed sleep. I know I have blogged about this before but I blog in the morning and lack of sleep is often on my mind. Maybe I don't feel as well because I want to go pick up some test results from last week  that I want t...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - March 17, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: crankiness lack of sleep work Source Type: blogs

I need to start my own
Not that I have any plans on going anywhere soon. But I read this obituary yesterday and, after laughing at several points, decided I need to write my own.Someone's death, while sad, doesn't mean they should be remembered with sadness but by how they lived their  life. Walter apparently lived his life with humor and that is how he is remembered.I want to be remembered how I am and not by little bits of information such as marital status, cause of death, blah, blah, blah. Let's keep life interesting. I better start writing stuff down now so I remember what I want to include....I just wonder how long Walter's family wil...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - March 16, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: death humor Source Type: blogs

They want to take it back
Its pretty hard to say something that makes international headlines and then say "I want to take it back"Back at the beginning of February, I blogged about this awesome new stem cell discovery on how they can be made but dumping cells in an acid bath or something equally scary. It was such a huge discovery, other disgruntled scientists who didn't make the awesome discovery themselves immediately started protesting saying it can't be possible and other less than polite terms.Now the big news. The first guy was wrong and is trying to 'unannounce' what he said - and since its on the internet, you know it will NEVER ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - March 15, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: cancer research Source Type: blogs

Fibromyalgia foibles
I have been taking my time to deal with fibromyalgia as it is somewhat complicated. Its not easily understood by most people - as it can have many differing symptoms - all of which have one thing in common: PAIN.My husband knows that he doesn't understand fibromyalgia either and he wants to. He signed us up for a community education course at a local school on fibromyalgia. Originally only he was going but then it turned out both of us were going. I mean I should probably learn as much as possible about one of my many ailments. I know how to spell and pronounce it but there is obviously a lot more.We went to the class. As ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - March 14, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: fibro fog fibromyalgia learning pain Source Type: blogs

The cancer patient's interpretation of the doctor's advice
I came upon this article by a surgeon who has partnered with some cancer patients to come up with this advice when you are blindsided by cancer. While I agree with it overall, of course I have a few comments.His advice is summarized as:Take a breath, seriously Own your cancerDon't run to the internetSelect your physician partnersUnderstand two critical features of your cancerI agree with to take a breath and try to relax.  You are not going to die tomorrow (unless the bus doesn't miss). You have time to breathe and try to figure out what is right for you. You can take the time to absorb with what you have just learned...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - March 13, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: cancer diagnosis coping doctors opinion topics Source Type: blogs

Today my attitude is "I don't care"
I would have started with some extra adjectives in there but didn't think they were appropriate for the title. How has my week gone? Well if you are reading my posts, you can tell it hasn't been the best week. By the time I got to work yesterday afternoon my co-workers said I looked either very tired or "enough already".But I still had to work for the afternoon and go car shopping. I was exhausted before car shopping and ended up in bed early - maybe I am over this 'spring forward' crap.What was the medical roller coaster like yesterday? Hmmm well the part about me was that my doctor's office called about my bloo...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - March 12, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: apathy blood tests car stress Source Type: blogs

Do you ever have one of those days?
Yesterday I blogged about how it was supposed to be the worst day for the year because of the time change. I was right, it did end up being a really aggravating day but it had nothing to do with lack of sleep.First it started with we couldn't get the (damn) car started. Its my Saturn that I bought new in September 1999 so it is a bit old. It has a paltry 156,000 miles on it and I thought it should go for a few more years. It needs an ignition cylinder because the (damn) key won't turn on a regular basis. We are sick of pouring money in it so it is time to move on. But its my favorite car. I am not ready to give it up but i...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - March 11, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: aggravation Source Type: blogs

The worst day of the year
Today is the worst day of the year for Americans. We are all going to be wandering around sleep deprived. Watch out and stock up on coffee. I heard yesterday on the radio (which is much more reliable than the internet) that it takes about a week for a human's internal clock to adjust to this hour ahead business. Monday is the worst day for accidents nationally as there are many sleep deprived drivers out there. Productivity will be down as well.I have always hated the time change weeks. I just never get enough sleep for a week. It makes me whiny or even cranky. Crabby too!To top it off, I am looking a weather map which sho...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - March 10, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: crankiness lack of sleep time Source Type: blogs

I took a step back
Even though I only work part time, sometimes I feel as if I am rushing from one thing to another all week long. Recent weekends have included family and other events where I have not had the downtime.The problem is at the end of the weekend I do not feel rested physically or emotionally.This weekend we ran away. Yesterday had a predicted high around 47. Based on that and the fact that it was low tide at 1030am, we ran away and walked on the beach for an hour. It was a sunny day. It was low tide. There were people with horses all over the beach. It was amazing. It was what we needed. You will note the snow on the dunes in m...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - March 9, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: beach relaxed resting Source Type: blogs

I used to be jealous
Back in 2007 when I had radiation for my breast cancer. I had to undergo the traditional radiation treatment which meant 37 visits spread over 7 weeks - five days a week that lasted FOREVER. I knew people online who were getting the short version and getting radiation for five days - brachytherapy - with two visits a day. I was jealous because I was (and still am) sick of going to the (damn) hospital.I had asked at the time and was told by my radiation oncologist that they did not offer the shorter option nor did most hospitals in Boston at that time. A few years later I attended a conference where I learned they were star...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - March 8, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: breast cancer treatment radiation side effects Source Type: blogs

Being prepared for the realities of chemotherapy
I have always thought being proactive was a good thing. Planning ahead is good, not bad. I try to do this whenever possible - occasionally my husband has accused me of hoarding because I stock up when things are on sale.Sometimes this is not possible. An example of this is when a cancer diagnosis turns your life upside down. You hop on the cancer roller coaster and are sent to surgeons, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, and more. You are told it will be stressful but nothing prepares you for the realities of chemo.In chemo, you go from feeling normal to feeling like you are run over but a bus and a herd of elepha...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - March 7, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: chemotherapy side effects Source Type: blogs

Now that is a misconception
Yesterday afternoon I went to the gym after work. I know a bunch of people there, mostly women, that I chat with while there. Do I remember their names? Of course not. I am sure we introduced ourselves in the past. I recognize them, they recognize me. We chat about the latest  news, weather, our inabilities to balance on one foot as much as we should, and more. And skip addressing each other by name gracefully.There is one woman who is always relatively stylish, excessively thin, and very much a doer - always on the move. I can't remember her name if you paid me a million dollars. She always says she likes talking to ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - March 6, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: gym perkiness Source Type: blogs

Reunions and what has shaped my life
It sneaks up on you. This year I have both significant year reunions for my college and high school. I am getting requests to attend both - which I probably will. Life has changed greatly for me since then - 30 and 35 years ago.I am still in touch with just a few friends from high school. Some of them know about my life and health issues and some do not. I went back late for my sophomore year in college due to thyroid cancer treatment and it was a much smaller school so more knew about it. I am in touch with more college friends (they are the most interesting part of my Facebook feed)So the question looms, when one goes to...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - March 5, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: being a patient friends Source Type: blogs

Thoughts on mammograms and false positives
There has been a lot of controversy in recent years about the benefits of mammography and false positives. I read Dr Susan Love's take on how "Mammography is like the TSA" and the comments left by women. It made me think.I started having annual mammograms at age 22 because of a benign fibroadenoma so I am sort of out of the discussion. My breast cancer was discovered 23 annual mammograms later at age 45. I went to all those mammograms without any concern until the one in 2007 (and if you are trying to figure out how old I am, currently I am 37) which turned into an ultrasound, a lot of denial on my part, followed...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - March 4, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: breast cancer cancer screening controversy mammogram Source Type: blogs

Participating in the post cancer life without criticism
Yes we must participate in our lives post cancer. We need to do the right things in order to stay healthy and help reduce the chance of recurrence. The best things we can do are the things that all adults should do - they simply become more important:eat rightmaintain a healthy weightexercisereduce/avoid alcohol consumptionBut as an additional stressor, we tie in the emotional impact of our cancer diagnosis.Dr Bechold, here, writes about life post cancer as not a passive sport. I agree with her points but disagree with her tone. First of all, clearly although she has been a doctor for 30 years, she clearly has never been d...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - March 3, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: being a patient being active blame healthy lifestyle stress Source Type: blogs

A look back on blogging
When I started blogging almost seven years ago, I wrote for my friends and family. Now my blog is read by people I don't know. There have been ups and downs. Some days I have brilliant ideas and write about them and no one comments. Some days I have brilliant ideas and forget them before I can start writing and end up writing some pile of drivel that people read for some reason.Some things I write about I believe are really boring. Sometimes I have attempted to be controversial. I think I am mostly boring. But hey I am not writing a screenplay or anything so I can be as boring as I want.My blog has been picked up by places...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - March 2, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: being a patient blogging Source Type: blogs

Life Changes
As I look back on my life for the past few years, I see changes. Back in the dark ages, before that second evil cancer, I used to be a focused business person. I was the marketing manager or director for different companies and non profits. I worked full time, in downtown Boston, and I dressed up for work every day. I went to the doctor maybe 6 times a year. (I have never been the one doctor appointment a year girl).Now I go to the doctor on the average of weekly. I have held my current part time job for almost five years where I work 18 hours each week when I can which has gotten more and more difficult. Even in the five ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - March 1, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: change quality of life Source Type: blogs

On not being normal
If you find a truly 'normal' person, please let me know. No one is normal - its just a fact of life. But some people are more abnormal than others in different ways. Take me for example, I am very abnormal in the medical world. I have more medical ailments than my 80 something parents.  All those health articles with tips for healthy living usually do not apply to me. I mean I can hydrate more but I can also floss more too.Anything that relates to jump starting your metabolism to lose weight - um, I don't have a thyroid so its not going to do anything. Or more or different exercise - sorry, between RA, Fibromyalgia, l...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - February 28, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: exercise fat normal Source Type: blogs

When do events take over their causes?
Here's a poser for early in the day: when do events take over their causes/ailments? Allow me to clarify a few things:I think there are two kinds of events:The local event - a fundraiser for the family of someone with cancer or another ailment for example or for a local charity. The events are run by the people who know the family/organization and are close to them. The participants are mostly their friends with a few others thrown in. The amounts given are dug from deep down in their pockets with the concern for the monthly budget and mortgage payment. Every cent raised is handed over to a happy individual or family who m...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - February 27, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: events funding Source Type: blogs

A brief list of fibromylagia symptoms
[Note I did not write this list. It was on Facebook shared by Creaky Joints. But I find it to be very true.]I have highlighted the ones that I experience regularly. So if you ever wonder how my day is going, just think about this list. PAIN- in the muscle: often described as aching, burning, throbbing, gnawing, shooting, tingling. Almost always exacerbated by exercise and may or may not be present at rest. Can be migratory and differing from day to day.FATIGUE- From feeling tired to exhausted and requiring rest periods during the day.SLEEP DISTURBANCE- not being able to fall asleep and or able to stay asleep. Unrefreshing ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - February 26, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: being a patient coping fibromyalgia Source Type: blogs

Thyroid cancer and life with out a thyroid
A pop quiz: What does your thyroid do anyway?Something to do with weight.Some weird gland thing that we all have but doesn't do much.I have no idea.The master gland of metabolism and energy.If you answered #4 you get a gold star. If you answered any of the others, you are not that different from the average person.The thyroid is our master gland of metabolism and energy. Every single body function that requires oxygen and energy -- basically, everything that goes on in our bodies! -- requires thyroid hormone in proper amounts. That means we need the proper balance of thyroid hormone in order to feel and live well. We need ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - February 25, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: chronic thyroid cancer Source Type: blogs

What was I thinking?
In 2008, I participated in a weekend long retreat run by Casting For Recovery on Cape Cod where we learned fly fishing. It was a retreat for women with breast cancer and had such an impact on me, I went back and volunteered in 2009, 2011, and 2012 (no retreat in 2010, 2013, and 2014). The woman who lead the retreat for 15 years resigned in 2012 and the group sort of fell apart as others also resigned because they had been volunteering as long and it was time to move on.Now, me, yes, me with all my health ailments has volunteered to be the new retreat coordinator for Massachusetts and Rhode Island and get the retreat going ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - February 24, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: breast cancer cancer bonds casting for recovery coping healing volunteer Source Type: blogs

Not enough rest
The combination of all my ailments requires me to make the most of downtime and get enough rest. When I don't the fatigue just piles up and I end up collapsing for a few hours. I try to schedule myself with enough rest breaks built into my week so that I can stay on top of what my body needs. I focus my life on working part time, going to the gym three days a week and fitting in all my damn doctor appointments. This gives me two afternoons in the week where I can do nothing.If I have a few hours of doing nothing - meaning sitting around and watching tv, knitting, reading, surfing the internet, or whatever that does not req...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - February 23, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: fatigue overscheduled resting stress Source Type: blogs

We can learn from the children
I found this article written by an adult with a pediatric cancer so she was in the pediatric cancer ward with all the kids with cancer. It was an educational experience for her with her cancer avengers and the article is a learning experience for the reader.The author, Ann Graham, moved into the pediatric ward for a year of treatment: "Then I became one of them: No hair. Giant, treacherous scar. Wheelchair. Ever-present IV pole, and dusty-rose colored kidney-shaped bowl to throw up in. These were all outward signs of a fraternity of warriors that no one wants to belong to. They all were enduring the same grueling trea...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - February 22, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: cancer bonds cancer treatment chemotherapy children Source Type: blogs

Exclusivity of clinical trials
I think the concept of clinical trials are great. I have tried to get into several and have always been told that I did not meet their criteria so I wasn't eligible. Very frustrating.I understand why pharmaceutical companies are insistent on their strict criteria. They want to make sure if they take a group of similar people they can monitor for effectiveness and adverse effects. If they have a very diverse group, it can be much harder to determine the results.The FDA is interested in changing this policy and forcing companies to include patients with chronic conditions (possibly me?) in clinical trials."Pharmaceutica...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - February 21, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: change clinical trials FDA pharmaceutical manufacturers Source Type: blogs

Weight gain is a side effect of cancer.
Weight gain is the side effect of everything these days - even breathing. I am on too many medications which have a side effect of weight gain.... So here I sit in my slightly tight clothes two sizes larger than I used to wear in dire need of a drastic deflabbification project."People with certain cancers – such as breast, prostate and colon cancer – are more likely to gain weight during treatment due to the therapies used to combat their disease. Hormone therapy, some chemotherapy regimens and medications such as steroids  all can cause weight gain, as well as water retention."THEY  DI...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - February 20, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: cancer diagnosis side effects weight Source Type: blogs

Prescription drug commercials
Doesn't anyone wonder why we have to put up with the warnings on drug ads and commercials? The FDA is considering shortening these lovely side effect lists that we all like to make fun of.I have a better idea. Why don't they ban direct to consumer advertising for prescription medication. I found out that it is illegal everywhere except the US and New Zealand. So why can't they just get rid of it?"Those who dislike the practice, according to ProCon.org, might argue that the money spent on advertising is passed on to consumers. Ads cause people to pick medicines based on the effectiveness of the ad rather than the effec...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - February 19, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: advertising pharmaceutical manufacturers prescriptions Source Type: blogs

A Post on the Olympics
My blog wouldn't be complete with out a post on the Olympics. At this point, I am waiting for the gamesmaker or Professor Dumbledore to show up and a few deatheaters hanging in the shadows.I have seen all the pictures of the tiny athlete village beds, the athlete stuck first in the bathroom and second in the elevator, and the nasty colored water which I wouldn't want to use to flush the toilet, never mind personal hygiene.I have sort of followed the events - I simply do not have that much time in my life to watch that many sporting events.  I have watched a few things that I find interesting and rarely seen.But what I...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - February 18, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: regrets sports television Source Type: blogs

A weekend of eating badly ends
We eat healthy as a rule. We have lots of fruits and vegetables. Breakfast and lunch includes a piece of fruit for both. Dinner always has a green vegetable and salad. We eat fish and chicken. We do all the right things.This weekend we did not. Friday night for Valentine's Day we had a picnic dinner of cheese, pate, and smoked salmon. I meant to cut up a pear to go with it but forgot. Saturday we met friends for a late lunch at a burger place. I had a grilled chicken sandwich but did eat fries and onion rings. We never had dinner Saturday night because we were too full.Yesterday we celebrated Valentine's again with a fancy...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - February 17, 2014 Category: Cancer Tags: food healthy eating Source Type: blogs