Prescription Dollars Wasted By 913 Doctors
This kind of thing really pisses ticks me off. Everyone in the country is trying to do their part to help reduce medical spending. Most people really do try. Patients get generics, are taking better care of themselves, doctors think about costs when suggesting treatments, hospitals are trying to manage their costs in many ways, insurance companies are managing and lowering their overhead costs.Then we have a bunch of 913 loser doctors who prescribed name brand drugs without allowing for substitution by generic. Now I realize that some people need the name brand drugs  because the generics are not the same for them. Bu...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 23, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: doctors medication costs prescriptions Source Type: blogs

Best cancer blogs nominations
HealthlineThis year Healthline has nominated my blog as one of the best health blogs of 2013. While I am very honored to be nominated again, I never quite understand why they include me.Now they are running a contest for the best blog. The winner gets $1000, second place gets $100, and third place gets $50. You can vote from any US based Facebook or Twitter account once every 24 hours. While any bit of money is welcomed, I know there are others who are not as well off. If I had my choice I would say to vote for Ann over at Breast Cancer? But Doctor I Hate Pink! and vote for her blog.The reasons are this: She was diagnosed ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 22, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: blogging contest Source Type: blogs

I made it
The past six weeks of my life have been indescribably stressful and fatiguing for numerous reasons. All I needed to do was get to November 21 (which is today you will note) and I can relax and life will go back to its normal pace. The reasons for my stress were:Both my parents had health issues - the exact issues are their stories to tell, not mine but I will say they both have a long road ahead of them but they should be fine in the end.I had three craft fairs recently which took entire days out of my weekends and made me want to crawl back into bed for a week after each.I have had a few minor medical issues to deal with ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 21, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: death family fatigue life stress Source Type: blogs

Cancer staging - take two
When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, I was overly concerned about staging. We all were. 'What stage were you? How long has it been?" we carefully asked each other and compared notes. We introduced ourselves to each other and whispered "what stage are you?" and "how do you feel?".[There is more on my staging here. If you want a basic overview of how they get to staging read this or go to cancer.org and look up your type of cancer.]Now I will talk about reading between the lines in my non medical point of view. I never went to medical school but like any cancer patient I feel like I am me...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 20, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: breast cancer cancer diagnosis staging Source Type: blogs

I'm still me.
I may not be the same as I was ten years ago, five years ago, or even a year ago but I am still me.I don't work as much as I used to. I go to the doctor more than any normal person. This year I should end up with just under 50 doctor appointments - which is down from a high of 80 or so a year.I don't get out and do as much outside as I used to - skiing, skating, hiking, biking, roller blading and more have gone by the way side.But I still do the things I like to do that I can. I just know they can take a lot out of me.I feel sometimes I am the recipient of blame or finger pointing for all my health issues. Its not intentio...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 19, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: fatigue quality of life Source Type: blogs

Oopsie, they made a boo boo
Last week, it was announced by those that be in power that many millions more Americans need to take statins to reduce their heart attach risk. I suspected that this might be an evil ploy by pharmaceutical companies to earn a few bucks....Well now it turns out that made a big fat boo boo and the calculator/algorithm that was proposed, doesn't work. They did things like using data from the 1990s when more Americans smoked and drank and all sorts of other basic things. This is an example of why more research is often need to confirm things.So there isn't a  magic pill in statins for millions. Just like there isn't a mag...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 18, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: exercise medications pharmaceutical manufacturers recommendations Source Type: blogs

Off I go
Today is the start of four days of a crazy schedule for me. Its 545 am on a Sunday and I am up and have to leave to a craft show in 1.5 hours. This means I will be carrying things, standing, and being perky all day. I hope to make some money and should be home by 3pm or so. These always exhaust me.Tomorrow morning I need to get things ready for the cleaning lady (meaning cleaning for the cleaning lady) and leave for the airport around 7am. I am going on a business trip which is full of meetings. I see an airport and a hotel so it doesn't matter where I actually am (which is Dulles). (Note to burglars my husband is not goin...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 17, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: cancer research fatigue pain levels stress Source Type: blogs

Damn, more meds!
And an expensive one at that. My pain doctor put me back on Lyrica. We tried it about four years ago for the nerve pain issues I was having with my back. We decided it didn't really work for me after about 9 months so I went off it. But now that I have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, my doctor is suggesting I try Lyrica again.I don't have a problem with it. My fibro pain has been pretty bad. Just sitting still, knitting, watching TV, driving, or whatever, all of a sudden I will get a bone deep pain in my arm that shoots up to about a 9 or so. Then it goes away. So its no like you can treat it specifically. Sometimes I ic...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 16, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: doctor appointments prescriptions Source Type: blogs

Gimme the paint!
This may look like a slightly disgusting picture but its a picture of a tumor as it would be inside one's body with and without the new tumor paint. The left shows a tumor image on an MRI. The right shows the bad stuff lit up with the toxin from the Israeli Deathstalker scorpion (I'm not making this up) and shows the bad stuff - the stuff the surgeon wants to cut out. The other colors represent the good stuff.This works on brain, breast and other tumors. I find this incredibly cool. Now surgeons go in and look at MRI and other imaging and figure out which are the good cells and which contain the cancer cooties. They would ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 15, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: medical research progress surgery Source Type: blogs

Coping or not
Sometimes life just gets very complicated, full of ups and downs, stress and more stress. I don't cope as well these days as I used to. In a spurt of optimism this summer, I told my therapist I didn't want to see her monthly but every six weeks instead.Then every thing around me has gone to hell in a hand basket so to speak. I have some new issues with my ailments so the medical roller coaster keeps on going. I have family members who have new health issues. I volunteered for a huge project which ends next week.Its peak craft fair season and I have a fair every other weekend. And one car had its check engine light start fl...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 14, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: coping medical roller coaster stress Source Type: blogs

There is no magic pill! Sorry!
I admit I often ask my doctors for a magic wand to make bad things go away. They tell me they cannot provide it no matter how nicely I ask. There is not a magic pill, no matter what the pharmaceutical industry wants to make us think.In a perfect world, I would like to have a magic pill or magic wand for the following: breast cancer, thyroid cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, degenerating disk disease, and fibromyalgia. None exist. So I am whing.The use of tamoxifen to help reduce breast cancer occurrence in high risk patients is a smart idea. It is a relatively small portion of the population and something that can't really be ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 13, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: exercise medication pharmaceutical manufacturers recommendations Source Type: blogs

Delays can cost lives
Back in early Pinktober, Good Morning America had a 'Pink' Day and had one of their staff, Amy Robach, have an on air mastectomy. Now she is told that she has breast cancer and that the mastectomy saved her life. Now that may be a bit overly dramatic but she had skipped her mammogram at age 40.A family member, who shall remain nameless, was given a pass by their PCP for a colonoscopy at age 51 instead of age 50. At 51, they had a giant malignant polyp and they could not get clear margins, so they had a colectomy to ensure there was no more cancer. What if they had continued to skip their colonsocopies?A new study found tha...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 12, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: cancer diagnosis testing Source Type: blogs

The transfat debacle
The FDA wants to get rid of transfats because they are bad for us Americans and cause all sorts of problems. I don't have a problem with that because they are in things that either I don't eat or can be easily made without them.I used to use margarine but decided it had too many ingredients. Now I use unsalted butter. It has one ingredient - cream. I don't buy frozen pizza, microwave popcorn, coffee creamer and all sorts of lovely prefab foods including baked goods. It helps things retain their shape and improves shelf life. I prefer things that are fresh with few ingredients.McDonalds has gotten rid of transfats so you ca...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 11, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: FDA food labels Source Type: blogs

When to pull the plug?
The ever so smart 'them' tell us to have the important discussions ahead of time. You know the discussions about life support, casket choices, funeral ceremonies, and all that. Those uncomfortable discussions that should not be avoided.The young man in this video was taken off life support at his request and died shortly after. You need to watch the video to get the whole story.I fully support this decision. He made his opinions known prior to his fall. He repeated his wishes twice to the doctors and to his family members.I am so glad that there was no dispute, no need to call in lawyers and get a judge to sign off. This i...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 10, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: death dying last wishes life support Source Type: blogs

Parity
in health insurance is required. This week Washington announced that Mental Health a/k/a behavioral medicine would be treated the same under Healthcare Reform as physical health issues. That's good but there is still a ways to go for full parity:Dental coverage - why do we have such crappy dental coverage? Its not just your teeth needing cavities or replacements but the state of your mouth and tongue and potential tumors or other health issues.Eye care - why can I only get my eyes checked every two years by a limited number of providers? The doctors want me to get my eyes checked yearly but the insurance company only cove...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 9, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: being a patient health insurance insurance costs Source Type: blogs

Addendum to stigmas
As Lesley commented yesterday, the same can be true about chronic problems. People just don't understand. Then they forget you still have a problem or ask why it isn't better. Chronic problems do not go away.A good example of this is that I have lymphedema in my left arm. I used to go for acupuncture. When I started I had to fill out a big long form with all my health issues on it. We talked about all my ailments and including lymphedema and how there could be no needles on that arm.The acupuncturist would 'forget' sometimes and go to put a needle in my left arm. The last straw for me was when she said to me 'this hasn't r...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 8, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: ailments chronic loneliness Source Type: blogs

Stigma over health issues
No one deserves any health issue. However I can say there are two types of ailments:The ones which just happen - whether a cancer diagnosis or a car accident. There is not much you can do to avoid them. You may have increased your risk by smoking or driving without a seatbelt but the stars aligned for you.The kind of ailment which is preceded with alcohol or other intoxicants and the statement along the lines of  'hey, watch this!'.The first category there is no blame. Should be no stigma. Nothing. The patient needs to accept that it happened, and learn to cope with the treatment and resulting lifestyle changes. Some ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 7, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: being a patient blame Source Type: blogs

Stress
I have a favorite coffee mug these days. It says "I didn't survive cancer to die of stress". It is true. I try to avoid stress at all costs these days. Ten years ago I was working downtown with a relatively high pressure job where my boss believed yelling at people and making people cry would motivate them.  I didn't like that, nor did I like the way my commute aligned with my  new husband's - he was home an hour and a half before me. I found a new less stressful job which was shortly followed by a  highly stressful cancer diagnosis.Since then my health has been less than ideal and I have to live w...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 6, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: doctors happiness relax stress Source Type: blogs

The misled consumers - courtesy of big pharma
I wish to say a big "thank you" to Johnson & Johnson and their marketing departments for misleading so many patients and nursing homes on three of their drugs. For their efforts, they will pay $2.2 billion in fines."The settlement involves the schizophrenia drugs Risperdal and Invega, and the heart failure drug Natrecor, the company and Attorney General Eric Holder said.  Johnson & Johnson and two subsidiaries "lined their pockets at the expense of American taxpayers, patients and the private insurance industry," Holder said." You think they would have learned from their $1.2 bill...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 5, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: insurance costs medication pharmaceutical manufacturers scammers Source Type: blogs

The mislead consumers - courtesy of big pharma
I wish to say a big "thank you" to Johnson & Johnson and their marketing departments for misleading so many patients and nursing homes on three of their drugs. For their efforts, they will pay $2.2 billion in fines."The settlement involves the schizophrenia drugs Risperdal and Invega, and the heart failure drug Natrecor, the company and Attorney General Eric Holder said.  Johnson & Johnson and two subsidiaries "lined their pockets at the expense of American taxpayers, patients and the private insurance industry," Holder said." You think they would have learned from their $1.2 bill...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 5, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: insurance costs medication pharmaceutical manufacturers scammers Source Type: blogs

Keeping the brain alert
Keeping your mind alert is supposed to help with memory and other effects of aging. I hae always been a fan of crosswords and sudoku. Six years ago while I was in chemo a friend told me I needed a hobby (so I would stop calling her so often to whine I think) but she meant well.I had learned to crochet, knit, sew, and embroider back in elementary school a long time ago.  About 14 years ago I decided to ask my sister in law for help in relearning crocheting as she is very crafty. I started a baby blanket. In chemo it then made sense to try crocheting again. I made scarves for the whole family. Then I added knitting and ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 4, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: brains fatigue hobbies pain Source Type: blogs

More breakthroughs but where are the cures?
Every day the news is full of new announcements and breakthroughs. They sound promising but they never seem to solve a problem. Here's one on new drug under development which offers hope for fibromyalgia patients. Or this one on measuring hormone levels to determine which women may be at higher risk for breast cancer.But they so rarely get through testing and end up in your pharmacy or given to you by your doctor. I'm tired of waiting. (Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog)
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 3, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: medical research Source Type: blogs

I was bad yesterday
No, not that bad. I didn't break any laws. But I will be recovering from yesterday into tomorrow.Yesterday morning I went to the gym. Then I came home and got some work done. And ate Halloween candy.Then I got mostly organized for today's craft fair (at Thornton Ferry Middle school in Merrimack, NH if you want to stop by) where I have  a table.Then I went for a long walk with a friend. Then we brought take out pizza and salads to my parents.I came home and had a couple of glasses of wine (and I never drink any more).I was very bad.Today I am stiff and sore. I am tired. I am achy. I have to get up and leave here shortl...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 2, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: pain resting tired whininess Source Type: blogs

Deciphering the new health care plans
Finally after years of bickering, litigation, threats, name calling, elections, fear of change, and all sorts of nastiness, we are finally at the point where Americans should be able to sign up for the new health care plans. For the icing on the cake, the morons engineers who put the site together obviously did not do their jobs and few can sign up.Once the first sign ups occurred, we hear all about the stories of how bad the new plans are. One woman in California went on TV to complain about her new plan. She has to pay more and doesn't like her new coverage. Here's the real story. She currently has a catastrophic plan th...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - November 1, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: insurance costs health care reform change Source Type: blogs

Happy Halloween!
Today is Halloween. There should be no more Pinktober. There should be lots of kids around here dressed up in Red Sox uniforms with fake beards. There should be no more Pinktober. There should be candy bowls everywhere making dentists cringe. There should be no more Pinktober.I am wearing an orange shirt and black pants and sweater to work to add to the mood. If I can find my hat from Cirque du Soleil, I'll bring that a long as well. There is no Pinktober. I'm just happy all the Pinktober crap is over. Let's see if we can minimize it for next year. (Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog)
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - October 31, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: pink washing holidays Source Type: blogs

Waiting for the end of Pinktober
At the beginning and end of September I asked all to take a pledge to avoid pinkification and wasting money on pink things that do not help cancer research. It is still not too late to take the pledge for 2013.I (state your name [and not the Animal House version]) promise that during the month of Pinktober, formerly known as October, I will not arbitrarily purchase pink items or donate to pink causes with out first researching how much actually goes to breast cancer research or screening services. I will first research them using services such as Charity Navigator (www.charitynavigator.org) to ensure they are legitima...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - October 30, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: activism cancer awareness cancer research donating Source Type: blogs

Sleep - ever so elusive
A side effect of all my ailments seems to be fatigue. I get tired. I mean I get really tired. Meaning last night I came home from the gym after work and put on my PJs at 530 and convinced let my husband that he should cook dinner because I was so tired.I was so tired I went to bed at 7pm (seriously). I read for a while and could not fall asleep. I shut off the light about 830. At 945 I was still awake. I think I feel asleep around 11.  I didn't sleep very well.The alarm went off around 5 when it always does. We ignore it until 530. My husband got up, took a shower, read the paper, brought me coffee, and alternated try...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - October 29, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: fatigue resting sleep Source Type: blogs

I needed a time out
My  life has been a little crazier than normal recently. Both my parents have had health issues. My health has been its usual (un)cooperative self meaning if its not one ailment its another which speaks up and ruins my day. It is craft fair season and I am actually trying to make some money selling my knitted and crocheted projects at them. I am in the middle of a huge paid volunteer project with a very strict deadline. And I never seem to get enough rest.I needed a time out. I also thought my husband had been a bit neglected and wrapped up in his own stuff as well - at least he is healthy.We ran away for the day. Yes...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - October 28, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: relax Source Type: blogs

Don't believe everything you read or hear
The majority of that 'research' online and in the news is wrong. Or biased or incomplete. In other words, not credible.This is what happens. Journals which are peer reviewed, meaning a medical journal where all articles are reviewed and approved by a board of doctors before being published, are full of credible information. That is good information.But then there are many other magazines and journals where researchers send their results to get published. If you get published as a researcher it adds to your credibility and CV so you can build pages of publications so it gets to be nice a long which is a positive think the r...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - October 27, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: errors hype research Source Type: blogs

Politeness and compassion matter
Its not your imagination but people these days I think are ruder in general than in the past. You heard about the rant by the woman her husband put on Youtube.... Or the trolls on Facebook who snipe at innocent people. Never mind the people who cut you off in traffic or exhibit road rage to a life threatening degree. Manners including please and thank you seem to have gone by the wayside. Thank you notes? What are those? Compassion? What's that? Privacy boundaries are gone as well. But do not let me get too far off track.But its not just the general public. The newer doctors are exhibiting lack of politeness and compassion...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - October 26, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: caring politeness young doctors Source Type: blogs

Fear of cancer
A by product of raising cancer awareness can be increasing people's fear of getting the disease. I think that often in the back of people's minds as they donate or pinkify in someways is "I really hope I don't get it". With Angelina Jolie's decision to have a prophylactic bilateral mastectomy because of the BRCA gene and the ensuing publicity, more and more women are concerned about their risk of getting breast cancer.While breast cancer eventually impacts one in eight women by the age of 80, it is much less common in younger women. Most cancers are also discovered at the early treatable stages.The BRCA gene, whi...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - October 25, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: being active fear of cancer happiness Source Type: blogs

I am skilled
In the past few days I have had the opportunity to share knowledge and decipher the oncology department. It turns out hanging out in the Cancer wing gives you ins on all sorts of special information:I know the receptionist - not just because she has been there since I started going there in 2007 but she also used to work out at the gym I go to where her cousin was a trainer. I could explain about the special amenities in the oncology waiting room - the lunch and snack trays that come through earlier in the day. I know they do validate parking - its the least they can do for their oncology patients.They have the nicest...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - October 24, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: being a patient cancer diagnosis education knowledge Source Type: blogs

Is Pinktober less Pink this year?
I know I have seen a fair number of pinkified items - my mother was horrified to find her newspaper printed on pink paper earlier this month. There is an absolutely horrible and disrespectful pink ribbon Halloween costume - a clear example of pinkification. I have read many articles on local events for breast cancer. I have heard of a few buildings lit up in pink. I have been approached by fewer people to participate in pinkness.But it seems like less pink than in the past.Anyone else?I sincerely hope that the peak of pinkification and pinkwashing has passed. The rise and fall of the Komen organization I am sure had an imp...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - October 23, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: pinkification cancer awareness Source Type: blogs

They did it again
I hate it when this happens. A medical standard protocol is decided to be not good and may cause long term harm. I find it frustrating. I go to the doctor and get the best care I can. I do my part to cooperate and take my pills or whatever is decided is best.Then they change their minds.For many years, TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) was suppressed as much as possible - to barely traceable levels - maybe 0.3 or 0.4 whatever thingys they measure by. The theory was to keep it as low as possible to prevent possible recurrence of thyroid cancer.Now they say keeping it that low doesn't provide additional benefit in preventing...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - October 22, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: cancer treatment thyroid cancer osteoporosis side effects Source Type: blogs

I am confused
I admit to being confused. I have rheumatoid arthritis. I am on injected methotrexate. Am I supposed to be feeling better? Because I am not. I keep forgetting to ask my rheumatologist about this.I know I have other pain causing ailments - degenerating disks in my back cause pain in my lower back. I know all about these pains. If I bend over to pick things up, my back reminds me I should not - never mind that you are supposed to squat and lift with your knees. But that is one set of pains.Then I have the fibromyalgia induced pains. Those are the ones which are not back pains or rheumatoid pains. They appear as things like b...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - October 21, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: confusion doctor questions pain rheumatoid arthritis Source Type: blogs

I still think there is something else...
I know I have chemo brain. I had chemo and my brain has gaps and I cant remember things. I know I have fibro fog. I have fibromyalgia and now I can't remember names or words for things.But now I know I also have 'cognitive decline from breast cancer hormone treatment' due to my Femara treatment.""Decline in cognitive function is common in patients receiving adjuvant therapy for early-stage breast cancer," concluded Dr. Rugo, director of the Breast Oncology Clinical Trials Program at the University of California, San Francisco. "Ongoing hormone therapy appears to be a risk factor for worse cognitive func...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - October 20, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: femara fibro fog chemo brain Source Type: blogs

The emotional breakthrough
In a few weeks I am going to get together with some friends. When we were all diagnosed with breast cancer, we belonged to the same 'introductory' support group. Six years later we are still in touch and get together. I have been bad recently and haven't made it to some of the recent get togethers - between being sick and on vacation, I missed more than a few.One member of the group passed away a few years ago. When she was in our group, she was on her second diagnosis and later had a recurrence. We supported her through more chemo. We still miss her.Another member was diagnosed with stomach cancer a year and a half ago wi...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - October 19, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: metastatic cancer cancer treatment death being a patient Source Type: blogs

Breathing causes cancer
I knew it would come to this. Everything has been researched to the nth degree, millions of researchers have been employed, everything has been dissected, ressected and digested. We have been told that no salt, no wine, no chocolate, lots of vegetables, lots of fruit, get exercise, no we were wrong red wine only, dark chocolate only - and only in moderation (whatever that means), not those fruits but blueberries and other things you have never heard of. We have tried to decipher diets, pyramids, and scams.But now they tell us. Breathing causes cancer. Actually its not the actually breathing that causes caner but what we br...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - October 18, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: cancer risk research Source Type: blogs

The impact of the decision.
The doctor makes a decision but do they stop and think about the impact? We hope so. But not always.Here's the story of a 51 year old man who was admitted to the ER with liver and kidney problems. He needed to be stabilized before they could do necessary surgery. Stabilizing was not easy and not even sure that it could be done. He was in intensive care. Two internists stopped by to see him and in less than ten minutes decided what he needed was comfort care and not intensive care. So they moved him out of the ICU and into a regular ward where he died the next day.What went wrong? Several things but the main one was the dec...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - October 17, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: doctors young doctors medical decisions Source Type: blogs

Passports should be required for Cancerland
Cancerland should require passports, visas, and planning. Its a strange world of different cultures, languages, and mystery. The never ending wait until the next scan, procedure, adventure. We'll wait and see what the next tests show and then decide on the next steps. I have tried to describe it before but never come close. This is the absolute best description of life in cancerland in the hospital I have seen:"At diagnosis, incomprehensible words resound — HER2-positive, stromal, non-small cell, BRAF, astrocytoma, myeloma, lymphoma, sarcoma— followed by equally baffling prescriptions of drugs that have tw...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - October 16, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: cancer treatment cancer bonds being a patient Source Type: blogs

Someone else is getting rich here - and its not the patient
I have often wondered why medications are so expensive here and so cheap in other countries. I read this really long article, which focuses on asthma drugs but can be applied to any prescriptions:I learned this:"In all other developed countries, governments similarly use a variety of tools to make sure that drug manufacturers sell their products at affordable prices. In Germany, regulators set drug wholesale and retail prices. Across Europe, national health authorities refuse to pay more than their neighbors for any drug. In Japan, the price of a drug must go down every two years. Drug prices in the United States...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - October 15, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: manufacturers prescriptions medication costs Source Type: blogs

Making your own medical decisions
The newest trend in medical care is to involve the patient in the decision making process. Sometimes it can be easy to just go with the flow. The doctor says you have this so we need to do that. Simple?But what if the doctor says 'what do you want me to do for treatment?' Eek! Now you can't sit there passively you have to become a participant. This can take research. It can take time online. It can take deep thought. And it can impact your life significantly.Using the example of a woman with breast cancer where the choices with relatively equal outcomes are lumpectomy and radiation or mastectomy. Shouldn't the patient get ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - October 14, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: medical decisions being a patient Source Type: blogs

National Metastatic Breast Cancer Day
Today is the one day for metastatic breast cancer in the middle of all the pinkification. Metastatic breast cancer or any other metastatic cancer is not fun. Its not pink. Its a life of going from scan, to treatment, to scan to treatment.When one treatment stops working they go on to the next one until there are none left. They hope there are new clinical trials available. They endure some pretty nasty procedures and medical (mis)adventures. They grit their teeth and keep on going. They don't plan for 20 years from now, they hope the make it to the next holidays, next birthday, next family milestone.  They usually lea...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - October 13, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: metastatic cancer cancer bonds cancer research Source Type: blogs

World Arthritis Day
Every year on October 12 is World Arthritis Day. I did not know this. I think last year on October 12 I was still waiting for my final lab reports back. This year I know a lot more about arthritis. More than I ever wanted to know. I am getting more specialists to deal with my arthritis as well. I feel (as) healthy (as a horse on the way to the glue factory) someetimes.Anyway, I think I am supposed to wear blue in honor of World Arthritis Day- another reason not to wear pink. If I was really good I would have planned to attend an event or even planned and organized a WAD event. I'm just not that good about these things.The ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - October 12, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: events rheumatoid arthritis Source Type: blogs

Patient's skills
This is one of those weeks where family members are the ones requiring medical care and I am the one providing the care. Well, I do a lot of driving. I do not provide medical care. I provide access to medical care. I have found I know lots about the hospital and dealing with hospitaization.I know the best way to get to the hospital to avoid any traffic. Other family members may disagree but I never sit and wait.I know how to work the TV/computer in the patient rooms without help. I even know how to deal with the separate key board.I know when and where to find the nurse to get the real story.I know to prompt the patient to...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - October 11, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: being a patient care giving health Source Type: blogs

Staying pink means staying positive
This has now been decoded. I don't think so.Fellow blogger, Katherine O'Brien, wrote to Good Morning America recently about the pinkification of the set and show, which I think was Monday but I could be wrong. She asked about why there was no mention of metastatic breast cancer and it was all about awareness. They wrote back:"The focus of today's report was breast cancer awareness and the visual affect to highlight the need for more research.""A patient's positive attitude is beneficial in any medical process."We are supposed to think positive and the world will be full of sunshine and roses and kittens...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - October 10, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: attitude pinkification Source Type: blogs

The numbers behind pinkification..
The NFL has decided to cut back on their pinkification... They will stop using pink penalty flags in week 6 - I have no idea when week 6 is but assume it is sometime around now. That is how much I know about football. But do not be too upset as they will still use pink cleats, wristbands, gloves, sideline hats, helmet decals, captains' patches, chin cups, shoe laces, skull caps, sideline towels, eye shield decals and quarterback towels.The reason given for the stop is that pink penalty flags can easily be confused by players with the other flashes of pink. Out of the corner of your eye, was that a pink penalty flag dropped...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - October 9, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: pinkification donating pink washing Source Type: blogs

Forcing the decision of putting a value on a patients life
Pharmaceutical companies are forcing the decision of what is the value of a patient's life by putting the huge prices on new medications. There is a new cystic fibrosis drug out, ivacaftor, from Vertex Pharmaceuticals. It costs a paltry $294,000 per year. Doctors are even pushing back to the company about the high cost.If you are one of the patients with CF who would benefit from this new medication it probably is a life saver. But then you look at the price tag it puts on your life and wonder how you can afford it.My question to Vertex is how do you justify this cost. I am sure their reply will be somewhere along the line...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - October 8, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: medication costs Source Type: blogs

Professionalism expected
No matter why we end up in a medical facility we expect professionalism in return as we bare our bodies and medical secrets to receive care. We expect zipped lips and snicker free countenances.I know I have been a moron at times when really stressed and at an appointment. I am sure there have been those who struggle for a straight face in front of me. And then I hope they store those moments in the memories of ridiculous patients and not share them....I also know my doctors talk about me. This I do not mind. I like it when my doctors compare notes on me because my ailments are overlapping and due to some of them, and toss ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - October 7, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: professionalism doctors manners humanity Source Type: blogs

Do I have to be an adult all the time?
Do you remember as a child when there was a monster in the closet? You could close your eyes very tightly and hide under the blankets and it would go away.Wouldn't it be nice if it worked as an adult. Sometimes I wish I could just walk away from it all - like a vacation from all my health issues. The problem with health issues is they go on vacation with you. How annoying.Sometimes I wish i could be a child and climb a tree, hanging up side down. Or run and jump into the pool - the jumping is the hard part. (Also being a chicken about cold water doesn't help.)  Or being double dared to ride your bike down the hill, no...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - October 6, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: childhood healthy living sarcasm Source Type: blogs