Lean On Me

24 Jul

Well it has been about a month since I wrote. I am not sure how the summer got away from me, but I sure am happy to be back and will try not to take such a long break in the future!

Last month, Comedian Ali Wentworth documented her eye surgery on the blog babble.com. One thing she stressed was that she really needed help because even though she had a minor day procedure, when she got home she was very out of it and couldn’t tell her pain killers from her vitamins. Going to any doctor’s office can be exhausting and coming home with a lot of instructions is very confusing, so having someone to help you is very important. Unfortunately, not everyone follows this mantra.

 This is a conversation I have had more than once with both family and friends:

Friend: On Monday I am going to through a little thing (insert biopsy, scan etc).

Me: Who is going with you?

Friend: No one I am fine to go by myself.

Me: Can you drive home? Who is going to help you?

Friend: No one but I will be fine.

Yes, of course they will be fine but having someone go with you is still very important.  They can drive you home, hear about your post operative instructions, fill prescriptions or just ease your anxiety. Some doctors will not release you from the hospital unless you have someone physically there to take you home.

So if you find yourself in the position of having a medical procedure, don’t go it alone. Have a family member or friend accompany you.   They won’t mind being there for you because that’s what friends are for (cue sappy music).

Check out Ali’s surgery and recovery at http://screen.yahoo.com/daily-shot/

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Inspirations and Pinterest

10 Jun

Recently I have been on Pinterest a lot! If you don’t know what Pinterest is check out my friend Julia’s blog All Things Social here http://juliacantor.com/2011/09/10/pinterest/

As Pinterest states on their site: “Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.”

Just like Facebook and Twitter you can follow other people and groups. One of my favorites to follow is the nonprofit “I had cancer”. They have an “Inspiration & Quotes to Share” board. Here are some of my favorites.

Create your own boards at Pinterest.com.

The Amazing Adriana

1 Jun

My friend from college, Adriana, was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when she was 27 years old. . Some people would let this define their life, but not Adriana. Four years after her diagnosis she is living in China as a teacher and mentor to young students. She now has one more mark to add to her impressive resume, author. She was recently published in an American Diabetes Magazine Forecast.

Not surprisingly Adriana has already been contacted by young teens who want to travel and have read her essay and been inspired to pursue big goals while making management of their disease a priority.  I am so proud of Adrianna and encourage you to read her article.

Adriana’s Essay can be found here http://forecast.diabetes.org/reflections-jun2012

Matching For Money

24 May

On May 4th I wrote about bone marrow transplants (BMT) and the matching process.  Every year, thousands of people of all ages are diagnosed with blood cancers like leukemia. Many patients will die unless they get a bone marrow or cord blood transplant from a matching donor. Seventy percent of people who need a transplant do not have a donor in their family and depend on a stranger to save their life.[i]

Anyone who meets basic requirements can join a national registry and volunteer to donate their bone marrow to those in need. Those who donate their bone marrow are not financially compensated. Well at least they weren’t… until now.

In December, a three judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in California ruled that people who donate bone marrow through a new technology can be paid for doing so, overturning a law that makes it a felony punishable by prison sentence to pay donors for bone marrow and organs. There are multiple plaintiffs in the case including parents of children with diseases that can be deadly without bone marrow transplants and a doctor who is a bone marrow transplant expert said at least one in five of his patients die because no matching bone marrow donor can be found. [ii]

MoreMarrowDonors.org,  a nonprofit group in California, is an organization who would like to take advantage of this new ruling. Their website states the goal of the organization is to “to increase the number of bone marrow donors, especially among those with rare marrow types, offering donors small scholarships, housing allowances, or gifts to charity. After a person registers with MoreMarrowDonors.org and proves that he or she has given bone marrow, we would give that person a small scholarship, housing allowance, or make a gift to another charity in their honor.”[iii]

I am in support of anything that will motivate more people to join the registry. However, I am concerned that in time, getting a bone marrow transplant is going to be only available for those who are wealthy. Take for example men and women who need assistance conceiving a child. Those who are having trouble can turn to clinics to purchase eggs or sperm. This however is a very costly process and only some can afford it.  In a decade will the only way to receive a BMT is to work with an agency and a pay a large sum of money?

This will definitely be an interesting case that I believe has the potential to change the course for many people. I just hope it is for the positive. I will keep you posted as I read more.

Thin Mints

14 May

USA Today had a very interesting piece on their front page. They broke down Girl Scout Cookie sales for 2011. The winner?

Image

Thin Mints! Let’s be honest though, I would gladly eat any of them.

Transplantversary

4 May

Today is the 29th anniversary of my bone marrow transplant. My mom calls it my real birthday and in a way it is. It’s the day I got my life back. I was lucky, beyond lucky. I have a mom who wouldn’t give up on saving my life and found a hospital who accepted me into their transplant program. I was equally lucky to have a sister who was a match and therefore could donate her bone marrow to me.

Unfortunately not everyone is as fortunate as I am. Every year, thousands of people of all ages are diagnosed with blood cancers like leukemia. Many of them will die unless they get a bone marrow or cord blood transplant from a matching donor. Seventy percent of people who need a transplant do not have a donor in their family and depend on a stranger to save their life. [i]

It is a good thing then that the National Marrow Transplant Program exists. The National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP) is a nonprofit organization that provides bone marrow and umbilical cord blood transplants to patients in need. NMDP operates the Be The Match Registry®, the world’s largest listing of potential marrow donors and donated cord blood units.

So I know what you are thinking, how can I join the registry? I am happy to report it is VERY easy, just three steps.

1)      Confirm you meet basic registry guidelines.

2)      Complete the online form and order your registration kit. When you join, please also consider making a financial contribution.

3)      Follow the instructions in your kit to collect a swab of cheek cells and return the kit.

The registry especially needs people between the ages of 18 and 44 because younger donors produce more and higher-quality cells than older donors.  Click here for more information http://marrow.org/Join/Join_Now/Join_Now.aspx

The Amazing Suleika and In-betweenners

25 Apr

The New York Times has recently started publishing a new column in their Wellness section. The column is titled “Life Interrupted” and is written by an extraordinarily brave woman, Suleika Jaoaud. Suleika is facing Cancer in her 20’s and documents her journey.  Her writing is powerful and raw.  You can read her first article “Life, Interrupted; Facing Cancer in your 20’s” here http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/29/life-interrupted-facing-cancer-in-your-20s/?ref=health

 Something that Suleika wrote in her article really stuck with me. “Cancer magnifies the in-betweenness of young adulthood: You’re not a child anymore, yet you’re not fully ready to live in the adult world, either. After my diagnosis, I moved back into my childhood bedroom. And as I get sicker, I increasingly rely on my parents to take care of me. But at the same time, I’ve had no choice but to grow up fast. Daunting questions that most of my peers won’t have to consider for many more years have become my urgent, everyday concerns: How will I hold onto health insurance if I’m unable to work? Will I be able to have children? How long will I live?”

 I think many of us can identify with being an “in-betweenner”.  For 22 years I was luckily naïve. I went to school, I did my homework and hung out with friends. One of my biggest worries was how was I possibly going to wake up for my 9:00 am class. Then I turned 22 and became a college graduate and had to become an adult. As excited as I was to get my first job and business cards (not joking) I didn’t feel totally prepared to become a “real adult”. I think this is pretty normal.  All of this is heightened when you’re in a crisis.

 In the past few years I have had more than one serious surgery. Like Suleika, I temporarily moved back into my Mom’s house and she became my caretaker. At the same time I was over 18 so I was also in charge of making the ultimate decisions about my care. I was now responsible for signing consent forms, making health care decisions and ultimately deciding my fate.

 I have heard a similar sentiment from many friends who have had to go through difficult situations. Parents and loved ones no longer talk behind closed doors shielding us from unpleasantries. Instead we hear and see everything, sometimes even being pushed into the middle. Even when we catch a common cold it is normal to regress and want nothing more than our mom’s TLC and chicken soup. The challenge of growing up is learning to do stuff on our own but also being honest with ourselves and knowing when to ask for help.

 Which brings me back to Suleika. I HIGHLY suggest you read her new column. It has been a great lesson for this in-betweenner on becoming an adult with honesty, humility, poise and grace.

Graphic Campaigning

18 Apr

On March 19th the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began running a new series of anti-smoking ads. The campaign is called Tips From Former Smokers and features former smokers who are now experiencing smoking-related diseases. Besides just showcasing the challenges that these people are now going through, the stars of the campaign also give advice or “tips” to help people quit smoking. [i]

I was surprised to read that this is the first time the CDC has run a paid, comprehensive national anti-tobacco advertising effort. This is especially shocking because marketing and promotion of cigarettes in the United Sates exceed $1 million an hour—more than $27 million a day.[ii]

You can see the videos at: http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/resources/videos/.

Terrie

Terrie

One of the most graphic ads is called “Terrie’s ad”. We watch as a woman named Terrie who has lost her hair and teeth to throat cancer which developed due to smoking, get ready in the morning. Terrie had to undergo a laryngectomy and speaks through a stoma.  Seeing such a young woman so sick is shocking and sad but that is the point. These ads stay with you and hopefully will stay in the minds of those who are thinking of beginning to smoke or those who want to quit.

I was not surprised to read that these ads seem to be having an impact. On April 2, The CDC released a press release which stated, “Two weeks after The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched the ‘Tips from Former Smokers Campaign’, calls to the 1-800-QUIT-NOW quitline have more than doubled. Previous experience from state and local media campaigns promoting quitlines shows at least five to six smokers try to quit on their own for every one person who calls a quitline.[iii]

It will be interesting to see if this campaign can maintain its impact. Perhaps it can be used to help combat other life threatening habits such as drugs or wearing jean on jean.

 

The Peeps Are Back In Town

29 Mar

It’s backkkkkkk.  The Annual Washington Post Peeps Diorama Contest.  Is there anything greater than pop culture and sugar?  I think not.  Below are the highlights from this year’s submissions.

OccuPeep D.C. (Shot 1)

 OccuPeep D.C. (Shot 2)

Peepius Maximus

Just Peep’d (Shot 1)

Just Peep’d (Shot 2)

The Beach Peeps

Marine Corps Marathon: The Peep-les Marathon

Le Tour de Peeps

Welcome Home Peeps

Mount Peepmore

Peepton Abbey

To see all of the other finalists, CLICK BELOW

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/peeps-show-vi/2012/03/27/gIQAswMmfS_gallery.html#photo=1

Happy Birthday

16 Mar

Last week my favorite cookie, the Oreo, celebrated a milestone birthday – turning 100. The very first batch of Oreos was made at the original Nabisco bakery in New York in 1912. I believe an appropriate celebration would be to consume 100 Oreos, unfortunately this would have an adverse effect on my waist line. Instead, I have researched some of the most original Oreo creations.

  1. Oreo Pancakes
  2. Oreo cocktail ring
  3. Oreo Milkshakes
  4. Oreo Biscotti
  5. Oreo Cookie Martini
  6. Oreo Lattice Pie Cookies
  7. Oreo Muffins
  8. Oreo Cameos
  9. Oreo Donuts

And for the finale….

10. Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie n’ Oreo Fudge Brownie Bar

References: http://blog.springpadit.com/2010/03/fifteen-creative-ways-to-use-oreos/ http://picky-palate.com/2011/07/13/oreo-and-peanut-butter-layered-baby-lattice-pies/ www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/ http://www.runningwithspatulas.com/2012/02/oreo-cheesecake-cookies.html http://www.diyinspired.com/dessert-martinis/ http://www.kevinandamanda.com/whatsnew/new-recipes/ultimate-chocolate-chip-cookie-n-oreo-fudge-brownie-bar.html#ixzz1p7CbgdEP http://jgklausner.com/work/oreo-cameo#p25 http://shop.confectionjewels.com/product/oreo-cookie-time-cocktail-ring http://pinterest.com/pin/130604457913435349/

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