An update on me
Its a blog about me so every so often I write about me. So if you are expecting something profound about the state of the world or cancer research, you can stop reading now. I had a fun summer with lots of vacation time. In fact my job finds amusement in how much time off I have been taking. It has been enjoyable but exhausting. I am now at the point of recovering from fun.I took a six week doctor appointment hiatus and now am back to the grind. I had four this week. I saw the dermatologist who trimmed a thingy on my face that didn't look suspect but had bled this summer for a while. She burned a wart (icky poo) on my toe ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - October 5, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: health being a patient Source Type: blogs

I am annoyed about pink already
On day 4 of Pinktober, the month formerly known as October, and I am already annoyed by pinkification. Boston's Museum of Fine Arts was lit up pink last night. The NFL has already made an announcement on their support of pinkification. I get way too many emails and FB posts about pink things.Damn. I'll go live under a rock for the rest of this month. It is so annoying! (Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog)
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - October 4, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: pinkification pink washing Source Type: blogs

The gap in breast cancer research
There is a growing gap in breast cancer research. Get past all the pink awareness bullshit and look at research that is currently going on. There has been lots of progress in the past four or five years where scientists are beginning to understand the complexities and unpick some reasons on how cancer cells work divide and spread. But they also realize the most important research gap is to find out how cancer progresses.They identified 10 key gaps that need be plugged: better understanding of genetic factors pinpointing sustainable lifestyle changes targeted breast screening to those who will most benefit understanding ho...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - October 3, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: breast cancer cancer research change Source Type: blogs

Do you want an eulogy or a resume?
This is an interesting concept and I read an article on Huffington Post about it. A friend of mine died a few years back from her asthma. She was single and not close to her family. Her funeral was well attended but one of the few speakers was her boss at her job.We thought that was weird. He did talk about her at her job and a long lost love. But it was a resume.I don't want my eulogy to talk about my life in marketing and non profit work. I don't want my eulogy to be about living with my medical history (where they always have to be sure). I do want my eulogy to be about meaningful things I have done - lots of time outdo...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - October 2, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: death remembrance Source Type: blogs

Accountability
means the state of being accountable, liable, answerable. Accountable means being able to explain. That is what I am asking for.The people who brought us pinkness, a/k/a Komen for the Cure, claim they are out for the cure of breast cancer. They spend 18% of what they take in on research. That's it. The rest is on pinkness.Twenty two years ago they started handing out pink ribbons to help find the cure for breast cancer. In that time they have painted the world pink, and introduced us to pinkwashing and pinkification. There is no cure, treatments are still horrible. Mortality rates are unchanged. And they have sued other o...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - October 1, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: pinkification donating pink washing Source Type: blogs

Ethical dilemma on a cancer drug
I have been mulling this over for a few days. A woman in Texas, Andrea, with stage IV ovarian cancer wants BioMarin to allow her to receive a new drug BMN 673 which has not yet been approved for treatment. Her doctor thinks it  might help her. She hopes it will help her. She understands that it may not help her but it has helped others. There is a big debate going on.I completely sympathize with her that she wants to try everything possible to stay alive. She and her doctor have been lobbying BioMarin to get the drug. The company is not agreeing , saying it is still in clinical trials and has not yet been proven. They...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - September 30, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: cancer treatment ethics medication Source Type: blogs

Bracing for pinkness
Today is September 30. Back at the beginning of September, I asked all of you to take a pledge against pinkification and focus on real needs. Here is the pledge again: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 legitimate.I also promise that I will not support p...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - September 29, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: pinkification pink washing cancer awareness Source Type: blogs

We are what we eat
We really are what we eat. Here is a (hypnotizing) gif of how American eating habits have changed since 1970.I find this hypnotizing and fascinating. I know my eating habits have changed in the last dozen years. I probably eat more vegetables and fruit than I used to and know I eat more yogurt. In the big picture, Americans eat a lot more  yogurt and oils than they did in the past. We skip the shortening. But we still have bad eating habits. You can read more here.This is a lame blog post today because I am back from my trip and all distracted with too many things to do and a neglected (in his mind) cat. (Source: Caro...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - September 28, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: diet food Source Type: blogs

I'm tired
We have been on vacation - an old friend (not old in the sense of aged, but in the sense I have known her more than 30 years). Now that we have vacationed, I am tired.We haven't stayed up late drinking. In fact last night was the only night we have had anything alcoholic to drink. We really haven't stayed up late either. But we have had some (mis)adventures.Day one: My friend left her purse and bag in a store. When she went back to get her purse, the cashier was chasing her out the store again about the bag she left behind.Day two: We went into downtown Burlington VT and did some shopping. When we stopped for lunch I reali...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - September 27, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: travel fun brainless Source Type: blogs

Its not the patient's fault
It is never the patient's fault [unless their ailment was preceded by vast quantities of alcohol and the slurred statement of 'watch this!']. So why do people persist in being so insensitive to sick people? And then there are the people who know what you need to get better even though they never went to medical school. Or their religion will solve your problems. "You have lung cancer, how many years did you smoke?""You have breast cancer, didn't you get your annual mammograms?""You just need to exercise and eat better and I'm sure the first 100 pounds will easily come off.""You didn't pra...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - September 26, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: bias blame ailments attitude Source Type: blogs

My story is that I have chemo brain, fibro fog and something else I don't remember....
Now I might be able to also claim Tamoxifen fog. I was on tamoxifen for two years so now I have something else. But I think there is still something else. I just can't remember. (Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog)
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - September 25, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: confusion fibro fog chemo brain Source Type: blogs

Going without health insurance
One of the biggest arguments with the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare is that some people do not like to do what they are told. I fully support the freedom of choice and if people choose to go with out insurance and pay the annual fine because they want to, why not?The main goal of the ACA is to make health insurance affordable and accessible for more Americans. I think it will do that. People have not gotten insurance because they were told they had pre-existing conditions, low income, or whatever reason. Now there are options for all.A recent story listed some people and why they did not want to have health insurance. T...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - September 24, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: health care reform choices health insurance Source Type: blogs

Things with a cure
The CDC recently warned of these new germs that are resistant to treatment - the superbugs as they are called. They are out there and killing more and more of us as they resist most treatments. While the pictures of them are pretty cool, the germs themselves are not. There are other ailments with out a cure. I have a few:FibromyalgiaRheumatoidDegenerating disksThere are lots of others that I don't have for which I am grateful.They have treatments to ease the symptoms but not cures. Medical research is needed for these nasty germs and the incurable ailments.Perhaps I am feeling a little down this morning because when I got ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - September 23, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: depression research cure fibromyalgia back pain rheumatoid arthritis Source Type: blogs

Changes
I am going on vacation again (and a note to burglars - my husband is not and will stay home and be protected by the cat while I am gone). This time I am going with a friend who I have often vacationed with over the years and have known for more than 30 years (now I feel old). We have gone on various adventures in the Northeast and Midwest over the years. These have included a trip to Duluth (with a Deliverance moment), a trip to Bayfield, WI and to see the headwaters of the Mississippi in Itaska, MN.Just last year we went (with our men - they are not always allowed) to Boothbay Harbor, ME and took a day trip to Monhegan Is...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - September 22, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: aging tired change Source Type: blogs

But I'm not that sick (or I didn't think so)
Yesterday I had lunch with a friend. She is someone who has had breast cancer twice, two mastectomies and every complication on the planet. We talked about all sorts of things, including our health. We had a 'healthy' meal of Chinese food. Not to say that Chinese food in general is bad for you but we ate the unhealthy things like fried egg rolls. And we gabbed about all sorts of t hings.At the end of lunch we parted with the intent to get together for lunch in a month or so again. She said to me 'take care of yourself' in a way that made me realize, she really meant it. I guess she thinks my health is really that bad. I do...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - September 21, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: healthy living ailments being a patient Source Type: blogs

That sucks vs. I'm sorry
One thing that drives me crazy is when I say something about my health and I get the reply of "I'm sorry". I always think, WTH are you sorry about? I don't want your pity. Its my life and I'm living it as best I can.Yesterday I went to the gym which I love and is full of dilapidated people like me, and worse. There are people that come in with oxygen tanks, one leg, club foot, orthotics, lymphedema sleeves, you name it and its a fashion statement there. Everyone is there with the goal of getting healthier. That is everyone but me.  I am there to prevent losing more health - the basic things like flexibility,...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - September 20, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: pity healthy living strength Source Type: blogs

Things cancer has taught me
I found an article written about what she learned from her mother's cancer. I can tell you its also things I have learned:Doctors do not have all the answers but that can be okay. I think we are taught that doctors know everything and will have the answer for every ache and pain. But with cancer we quickly learn they do not. But that can be okay. We can educate ourselves and remain satisfied with our care. Also we cannot expect the doctors to make the big decisions for us. They suggest courses of treatment but we can make our own decisions as to which ones to choose. I have learned not to follow blindly the medical guidanc...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - September 19, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: cancer diagnosis coping normal change being a patient Source Type: blogs

I overslept or life with fibro and RA
What an exciting blog post you say? She over slept. She is boring. Well I never claimed to live an exciting life. I really don't. I am boring in general - except for the medical stuff. My life is a veritable snooze button.Yesterday I was exhausted. I mean I worked longer than I normally do and felt exhausted. I drove myself to the gym and actually worked out - through some miracle. I came home and put on my pjs and got in bed at 5pm. I did get up and eat some left overs around 7, watched Jeopardy and was back in bed at 8. Then we  overslept.I did not hear the alarm go off repeatedly. My husband is in charge of the sno...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - September 18, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: lack of sleep aging fatigue Source Type: blogs

A peek at life with cancer
This study also looked at anxiety in both patients and their caregivers. The caregivers also tend to cope with anxiety.If you have some sort of other chronic illness such as rheumatoid arthritis or fibromyalgia or many others, patients tend to deal with it as a chronic illness. Cancer patients also deal with it as a chronic illness but its also a chronic threat because there is no way to control or prevent it from coming back or showing up with a new cancer some place else.How pleasant.It took this fancy research study to tell me something I know well, 32 years later, that it still looms over me. In 2005, 24 years after my...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - September 17, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: depression recurrence quality of life anxiety Source Type: blogs

Medication management
There is all kinds of advice out there on how to safeguard and manage prescriptions. One article I read recently even advised keeping them in a safe. I thought that was a bit of overkill but I am careful.I have several issues with my medications. One of them is toxicity to others. My cat can't recognize a chipmunk under his nose these days but there is a family joke about the vioxx incident* that he survivied. I wouldn't put it past him to try to ingest something he finds on the floor. I am currently on methotrexate which is actually a chemotherapy drug which comes in little sealed bottles and has all sorts of warnings.I m...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - September 16, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: prescriptions medication Source Type: blogs

Recurrence prediction 10 years out
The Oncotype DX test came around a while back which could help predict whether women were  likely to have recurrence of their breast cancer. This score is also used to suggest different treatment options.Now there is another option using the ICH4 gene which helps predict recurrence during the first ten years after diagnosis. Most breast cancers recur during the first three to five years so having a test which can extend well past that time frame is a wonderful option.I will need to have a conversation with my oncologist about this when I next see her.  I am sure I will get the same answer I always get - my criter...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - September 15, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: breast cancer recurrence tests Source Type: blogs

I try to be flexible
In July I went to see my new rheumatologist.  We talked about all sorts of things related to my rheumatoid and fibromyalgia. Among other things, she wanted to see how my flexibility is doing. She said my knees are 'snap, crackle, and pop' which did not surprise me at all.However she was impressed with the flexibility I have retained in my shoulders and hips.  I said it was due to the gym that I go to where they work with the members and their ailments. My back pain doctor is also impressed with my flexibility.Yesterday I was at the gym doing all sorts of complex things like balancing on the flat side of the BOSU ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - September 13, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: gym exercise flexibility Source Type: blogs

But you don't look sick
One of the first complaints I heard from other cancer people was that how could they have such a bad thing when they didn't look sick? To this day, I may feel like crap but I don't really look sick.If you have cancer, you usually don't look sick unless you are in the middle of chemo that gives you that lovely pallor and hair loss. Some chemos don't even give you that look these days. I met a woman a couple of years ago with stage IV lung cancer who looked great and was on an oral chemo. She said she took a daily pill and felt pretty good as well.We are wired to look for visible ailments in people. Do you ever look at someo...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - September 12, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: appearances being a patient coping Source Type: blogs

Too many of us aging
We are getting older so will there be enough doctors to care for us?  Especially for cancer care?And will we understand our options?Us baby boomers need to stop aging to doctors can catch up with us. We are reaching the, and I quote, 'tumor prone years' as a generation. (I hope I have already had my share of tumors, thank you.) In addition, oncology is a quickly evolving medicine these days - personalized medicine being on the forefront - as scientists are racing to find a cure for cancer. The doctors have lots to keep up on. Patients do too. They need to stay informed on their options and understand what treatments a...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - September 11, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: aging cancer research cancer treatment treatment options Source Type: blogs

And it won't cure you
I wonder how doctors are communicating to patients about the benefits of late stage chemotherapy. A study (because we need more studies) last year showed that 69% of late stage lung cancer patients and 81% of late stage colorectal cancer patients did not understand that their treatment was not likely to cure them. Obviously there is some kind of communication gap here.The question is are the doctors communicating but the patients aren't hearing it or are the doctors not communicating? I am not too sure.I think the patients want to hear the good news and may not really hear what the doctors are telling them - that it will o...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - September 10, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: cancer treatment chemotherapy cancer cure Source Type: blogs

First mammogram at what age?
This will open up a new debate I am sure. A new study is due out today from Harvard showing that younger women should get mammograms. The thought process being start the screening younger to build better habits."This new Harvard Medical study looked at more than 7,300 women diagnosed with breast cancer. Just over 600 died. Among those who died, 65 percent had never had a mammogram.Researchers concluded earlier screening could have saved lives."An additional note is that half of the women who died were under the age 50 as well. In 2009, research suggested that women should not get mammograms until age 50. That cau...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - September 9, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: breast cancer cancer screening mammogram Source Type: blogs

There can be humor in cancer
Cancer isn't supposed to be funny. But to patients it can be. People in cancer treatment are still people. They keep their sense of humor. Here's some proof.A 12 year old boy from Milton, MA self published a joke book while in chemotherapy. He got other children in the pediatric cancer center to leave jokes for him each day. He compiled them and published a book. You can buy a copy online here. All proceeds from the book sale go to pediatric cancer research. For $8.95 you can get a few snickers and laughs and help a worthy cause. If you don't like jokes for kids, buy a copy and donate it to your local hospital. (Source: Ca...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - September 8, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: cancer support donating humor children Source Type: blogs

Life with the damn cat
Today he is the damn cat. Last night he woke me up throwing up next to the bed. This morning he was annoying enough to get me out of bed - I thought he wanted breakfast. No, he wanted to go outside and eat grass so he wouldn't throw up inside. I didn't understand. He threw up inside. Then I let him out and he ate grass.He is an indoor cat and he has a plant pot that is growing grass for him on the window sill. But grass is better on the outside. However he can be very determined.He is also approaching the ripe old age of 19. He can't hear - we can tell because he is no longer capable of walking quietly. Nor can he tell how...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - September 7, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: cat Source Type: blogs

About that risk assessment
There is all this talk these days about what you can do to reduce your risk of cancer, dementia, chicken pox, or the common cold, among a million other things. You know all the advice - eat broccoli, exercise, don't drink, lose weight, exercise, eat margarine no eat butter, drink red wine no white - and all it does is confuse the crap out of us.Then they start to give people personal risk assessment for an ailment and expect us to believe them. How much conflicting medical advice do you hear on a given day? A lot. Eat red meat and chocolate, no don't, yes, well a little, and the famous words - in moderation. How can you be...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - September 6, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: confusion assumptions risks Source Type: blogs

Not a profound thought in my head
Some days I actually write a profound blog post that is coherent and other people read and share. Today is not one of those days. My brain is full and I haven't even left for work yet and here is why:Weather: Tonight's low is going to be down around 50 - this means I need to start bringing in some plants from outside - particularly my Ponderosa lemon and my Key lime plant. They are just starting to produce fruit and I want to be able to enjoy them. But they are tropical plants and aren't supposed to be out in temperatures anywhere in the 50s. There are even some frost/freeze warnings near by.Its New England and the summer ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - September 5, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: nothing brainless Source Type: blogs

Privacy and support
With a cancer, or other 'icky', diagnosis, life has significant ups and downs. Sometimes people want support and sometimes they want privacy. It depends on lots of things - patient and family member's personality, type of diagnosis, current state on the medical roller coaster, among other issues. So the outsider is left to figure out when to intrude and when not to.I have a friend who is coping with her husband's Stage IV cancer diagnosis and on-going treatment. It is hard to get together with  her these days as she can't tell day by day how he will be doing and if she will be comfortable leaving him. We communicate b...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - September 4, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: helping support being a patient privacy Source Type: blogs

What RA does
As I approach my one year anniversary of being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia (because I didn't have enough ailments prior to then), I can reflect back. Although my mother has had RA for more than 20 years and I thought I was fairly educated on the subject, its different when you are the one living with the disease. To be fair, I will say I had long since moved out of my parent's house when my mother was diagnosed so I was exposed to less of the day to day issues. For many of those years, I was busy with a career which involved lots of travel and pressures. But now that it is affecting me, I find I ha...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - September 3, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: fibromyalgia side effects medical treatment rheumatoid arthritis Source Type: blogs

Insurance wars and woes
This morning's news includes a story on a gentleman with stage IV esophageal cancer who is disputing with his insurance company to cover the costs of his treatment. He is treated at Dana Farber and is pursuing alternative treatments. I am fully supportive of efforts to prevent insurance companies from making medical decisions.Also, I am a big fan of preventing bloated insurance costs where people expect everything to be covered and then can't understand why their premiums keep going up in leaps and bounds. There has to be a happy medium while is why insurance companies need to be allowed to draw the line somewhere.As you a...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - September 2, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: insurance costs cancer treatment treatment options Source Type: blogs

An annual pledge against pinkification
As we approach the month of Pinktober (with 30 days advance notice), it is time for all of us to raise our hands and pledge the following. Please join in.Raise your right hand and repeat after me: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 legitimate.I also prom...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - September 1, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: pinkification breast cancer pink washing Source Type: blogs

Sharing the burden
Recently UPS was criticized for dropping employee health insurance coverage for spouses who are eligible for health insurance through their employers. But that's only 15,000 people. The majority of their drivers and other employees are covered through Teamster's Union benefits so they will not be affected by the change.A recent article called Employers Play Obamacare Blame Game discusses reactions to the shared costs complaints and how other companies are reacting to the upcoming changes.The whole point of mandatory health care is to have a healthier population. This requires change. So of course employers are going to sta...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 31, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: change health care reform health insurance Source Type: blogs

Dieting and such
Here's a theory: skip focusing on which diet is best and start focusing on changing eating habits.This translates to stop focusing on what we eat and getting the balanced diet and change to focus on how we can get people to make healthier food decisions. Are we eating because we are stressed? Do we have bad habits related to the drive through where we make a quick stop on the way home and eat the food in the car?Researchers look at all sorts of diets - Paleo, Atkins, Weight Watchers - and compare them all. The FDA issues the nutrition pyramid which is now a plate. But does anyone stop and look at the eating habits we have ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 30, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: diet fat healthy eating stress Source Type: blogs

Hospital visitors
When I am hospitalized, I have a list of people who can visit me. They include my husband, my parents, and my siblings. Anyone else has to call and ask. I am serious about this. If people visit unannounced, they will find out how rude I can really be.My strong feelings about this are due to the fact that once, after a significant surgery, a friend had to stop at the hospital for an early morning appointment, the day after my surgery. So she decided to stop by my room at 830am. I was not ready for guests.I was talking to someone who was a friend and a nurse who was giving me some information. I did not want to socialize. Sh...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 29, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: friends hospital Source Type: blogs

Trust
Most people you meet, you generally don't share lots of private information until you have gotten to know them. Your doctor is different. You go see a new doctor for whatever reason and then you start spilling your guts on the state of your gut and other body parts.If you think about it they are a stranger. I sometimes have to scrape doctors off the floor when I start telling them about my issues and allergies - they all love the fact that I am allergic to benadryl. I have had them start laughing too - with me, not at me.But it is all about trust. How much do you really trust a stranger?I think we believe doctors are ethic...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 28, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: doctors honest trust Source Type: blogs

So are you an inpatient or an outpatient?
The hospital and Medicare get to decide. Not your doctor who is actually treating you.I found this pretty appalling. Medicare patients can be in the hospital for DAYS and be called and an outpatient because they are only being 'observed'. They get the same care as everyone else. But then they get a big fat bill if they were an outpatient.Their doctor can even admit them and make them an inpatient but then the hospital can change it back to outpatient. Hospitals like this because they get reimbursed more that way."Medicare originally intended observation care as a way to give doctors time to evaluate whether a patient ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 27, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: medical care hospital health insurance medical costs Source Type: blogs

Geographic variances in breast cancer
Recently a  new strain of triple negative breast cancer was found in Ghanian women. This is a strain that is not found elsewhere. The result - a new treatment needs to be developed.It is a fact that different groups - ethnic and racial - are diagnosed with different diseases or types of diseases at different rates. For example Ashkenazi Jewish women develop breast cancer at a higher rate than other women. But I have never heard of a new variant of cancer being diagnosed by geographic area.This opens a whole new direction for cancer research. Women from different parts of the world could be influenced by their local ge...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 25, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: breast cancer cancer research Source Type: blogs

The guilt factor
This is a less discussed issue relating to cancer diagnosis and treatment - the guilt factor. Sometimes its not even mentioned, while other times it is just brushed off as something you need to learn to live with.Guilt is what got you to do what you were supposed to when you were a child. Guilt is what your morals use to keep you in line.But then we feel cancer guilt which is different. Why didn't I get it and they did? Why did they have a recurrence and I didn't?The more cancer friends I have gained, I have also lost some. I have the little list of in memorium blogs I used to follow, the group of friends on Facebook that ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 24, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: cancer diagnosis guilt death friends Source Type: blogs

New Breast Cancer Guidelines
The St Gallen International Breast Cancer Guidelines were recently updated to include the Oncotype DX test for breast cancer as the only screening tool for women with early stage ER+/Her2- breast cancer to determine the benefit of chemotherapy.On some levels this is great news but again it is not for all women. The criteria for the Oncotype DX test for breast cancer are:"You may be a candidate for the Oncotype DX breast cancer test if you are medically eligible for chemotherapy and:You have been diagnosed with stage I,II or IIIa invasive breast cancer.* Your breast cancer is estrogen-receptor positive (ER+) and Human ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 23, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: chemotherapy testing breast cancer treatment Source Type: blogs

Its all about the language
Who calls it a relapse when cancer recurs? I didn't know anyone did. It has a different connotation. But maybe in Australia its common.There is a new bit of medical research (because we have to keep those researchers working) in Australia where they found a gene that half of women with estrogen positive breast cancer have. If women have the gene, they could alter the timing of chemotherapy.Basically a basic blood test could determine if patients have the gene.  "The test would be used to determine when cancer cells are most vulnerable to chemotherapy, which would be used to kill them off and prevent a relapse.At ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 22, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: breast cancer recurrence cancer research Source Type: blogs

The Battle of The Bulge in History
I never know where I am going to end up on the internet these days. Its really amazing - even without the cat here to help - he is very helpful in websurfing.Yesterday I found the historical battle of the bulge or "A Slim History of Dieting" on Ancestry.com (see you never know where I will end up). Its pretty funny. I can tell you that we are much safer these days in our dieting techniques. Previous diet tips have included that fat people should move to swampy areas or "daily cold baths, lots of exercise, chastity, temperance, and hard mattresses".Personally, I would prefer watching what I eat vs. daily...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 21, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: diet history healthy eating food Source Type: blogs

Stupid me
I have excuses. I have chemo brain. I have fibro fog. But sometimes I am just plain stupid. This was one of those times.We are on vacation (note to all the burglars - we have a house sitter and our neighbors know we are away and we don't have anything valuable anyway). Two weeks before we left I made a big project to make sure we had enough of prescription medications to get us through our trip. I checked all of the bottles, refilled a couple.The day before we left, I went through and filled up our medicine boxes - daily ones - with enough pills to get us through. I carefully packed my break through pain pills. We then des...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 20, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: pain relief stupidity Source Type: blogs

When Its Not News!
But you think it is. Yesterday I was cruising through the Health section of cnn.com, reading an article here, and another there. At the bottom of each article were links to more articles. I was reading titles, clicking, and reading some more.I always look at the cancer one, in case they have discovered a cure and I missed it while sleeping or something. The one I saw yesterday was called "Chemotherapy Game-Changer for Stage IV Cancer". Immediately intrigued, I clicked the link and landed here.Its looks like a lovely article on chemotherapy and stage IV cancer patients. ITS NOT! Its a paid ad or blog post or whate...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 19, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: medical news lies Source Type: blogs

Time for a change
Through the past forty years, there have been changes in the way we view and treat breast cancer. It started with the 'lets cut out as much as we possibly can'. Radical mastectomies were carried out regularly, permanently disfiguring patients - both emotionally and physically. And leaving them with life long health problems of lymphedema and more.Gradually, times changed and focused more on detection with the advent of mammograms. My original cancer book printed about 1980, says that they were just beginning to recommend regular mammograms as screening for breast cancer. After this the Komen foundation began to promote ear...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 18, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: breast cancer treatment cancer awareness change pinkification Source Type: blogs

Let's put it all in perspective
If the lifetime risk for a woman of getting breast cancer is about 12.5% or one in eight and it increases as you age, and you can reduce your risk by losing weight, cut out the refined sugars and booze, how much better off are you really? I mean, let's keep it all in perspective here. (Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog)
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 17, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: cancer risk Source Type: blogs

Starting my big break
I am about to leave for my last doctor appointment for, drum roll please.... SIX WEEKS! I have not had a break like this in years. You may think I am kidding but I am not. I have to go back to like February/March of 2007 since a break like this.I resolve to stay healthy and not need any medical care until October.And I only have five more appointments scheduled for the balance of 2013. Plus at least two more set of blood work. I wonder what miracle caused that? Maybe I am getting healthier.  I will also add that my back is significantly better than it was after the trigger point injections.No time for a big blog post ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 16, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: doctor appointments time Source Type: blogs

Chemical food
I have never been a fan of what I call 'chemical food'. Well not now. I admit there was a period in my life where I lived on Tab and Diet Coke and went to fast food restaurants occasionally. (I also admit that my favorite food of this lifetime is fried clams.)I am snickering sarcastically these days at the idea that Coca Cola is trying to reposition their artificially sweetened sodas as not being so bad. Ahem, what is that they say? Its not bad? Oh, come on.In my personal opinion and I am neither a nutritionist nor a doctor of any sort, coke and diet coke are not health foods. A healthy food has to meet one of three rules ...
Source: Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog - August 15, 2013 Category: Cancer Tags: nutrition healthy eating Source Type: blogs