Monday, April 12, 2010

Welcome to My World

Transcript of a voice message left on my phone earlier:

Hi. Ummm…. I am not sure if this is the right person to talk to but I was
transferred over to you by a guy I talked to at environmental health? Yes, well,
my name Jeanie and I am calling to report that we found some Hornets from Hell
in our backyard and I think you should alert the emergency rooms in the area
they should watch for people with stings. If you just Google that, Hornets from
Hell, you can see what I mean. They are these new, killer hornets that are
normally found in Japan? But we have them here. My husband said you can come
over and try to catch one and that will prove they are in America. Please call
me back, I’m at….

I never know exactly what to do with these calls. I feel bad for the woman, I could tell by her voice she was upset, but what am I supposed to do about this? And gee, thanks environmental health, for transferring her to me.

I googled it and found this.

I did not alert the emergency rooms.

I also did not go to her house to catch one of her hellacious hornets.

Friday, April 9, 2010


Having an MRI is an unpleasant experience. This is what people told me before I had mine:
1. The machine makes noise.
2. You have to lie real still.
3. It's a pleasant time out of your day. I fell asleep.

Here's the reality:
1. The machine makes a deafining symphony of grating mechanical shrieks that despite the earplugs will still bother your ears the next day.
2. You have to lie perfectly still for like 45 mintues or you have to start the whole thing over again. Because of this your nose will itch like a swarm of pregnant mosquitoes had a recent blood feast and you will shiver uncontrolably due to the crazy fan they have going on you (that's right, no one mentioned the fan).
3. Number three is an out and out lie unless there were heavy sedatives involved. I'm just sayin.

After all that, I got a disk of cool pictures. Like this one.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Pain, Pain, Go Away....

Yes, I realize it has been a crazy long time since I've posted anything. Sorry about that. I have been battling the sage of Unexplained Facial Pain (is it or is it not Bell's Palsy, MS, or a brain tumor? Stay tuned for MRI results!). I have contemplated blogging about it, but I get so tired of even thinking about it that it has been tough to write about. Maybe I will one day.

Until then, enjoy this fabulous rendition of a pain chart. I have been going to the chiropractor too many times to count and each time I go I have to circle my pain on a scale like this (well, not like this, just 1 to 10 without the awesome drawings). Mine has ranged from This Is Distressing to I Am Actively Being Mauled By A Bear. Hilarious.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Pink Virus

A number of risk factors make one person more likely to develop breast cancer than another person. Being female, for instance, is a biggie. Age. Family history. Use of artificial hormones. Obesity. Some people will have few or none of the risk factors and still contract the disease, although their chances of getting it are lower. Some people will have many of the risk factors and never develop the disease.

Cancer results when a mutated gene proliferates. But what causes that mutation to occur in the first place? I have written before about viruses that are known to cause cancers. If we knew that some breast cancers were caused by a virus, there would be the potential for vaccine development and anti-viral treatments.

Dr Kathleen Ruddy, founder and president of the Breast Health and Healing Foundation, was kind enough to give me a copy of her book, The Pink Virus: Does a Virus Cause Breast Cancer in Women? An intriguing tome, which I highly recommend for people interested in this topic. Ruddy provides a primer on viruses and cancer before discussing specific research into a breast cancer virus, in accessible language with practical examples. The book is well-tuned for both a professional and lay audience.

Dr Ruddy has been a breast cancer surgeon for 15+ years. She notes that in her field the emphasis has been on breast cancer treatment and cure, with little attention to the primary cause of the disease. In fact, she writes that less than 2% of the funding for breast cancer research goes to work on breast cancer’s cause. Is breast cancer preventable? A person could work to reduce some risk factors, but not all. And what of the people without risk factors? Something else must be at work.

The research is compelling, and disturbing, for the line of thinking begins in the 1930s, yet this research is absent from most textbooks on breast cancer. Ruddy notes that in the 1930s, a researcher discovered that baby mice, when fed milk from a mouse with breast cancer, would also develop breast cancer. He called this the “milk-agent.” The milk-agent was later found to be a virus, mouse mammary tumor virus (MMTV). In the late 1960s, another researcher discovered particles similar to MMTV in human breast milk, particles indicative of a related virus. The following decade, more researchers discovered positive reactions to MMTV in cancerous breast tissue but not in benign breast tissue. In the 1980s, researchers found women with breast cancer were more likely than women without breast cancer to have evidence of MMTV in their blood. In 1988, researchers found that 97% of the breast cancer patients studied showed evidence of a retrovirus, further implicating MMTV. In 1996, researchers hypothesized that a significant number of human breast cancers were associated with viral sequences similar to MMTV, which may in fact be a human mammary tumor virus (HMTV). In 2000, researchers noted breast cancer incidence was positively correlated with mus comesticus (house mice).

Ruddy provides an extensive reference list for anyone interested in reading the scientific literature.

More than 1.3 million women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. Nearly half a million women will die from breast cancer this year. The line of research into a HMTV is compelling, and should be supported.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Thormahlen Family Fundraiser

A very old friend of mine, Peter Thormahlen, was shot in a convenience store robbery while buying juice for his toddler. He suffered spinal and other internal injuries. He had just started a new job, which he has since lost, along with it, all his health insurance. If you are feeling generous, please contribute below. Every penny goes to his care. Thank you.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

On Running

I have started up a second blog (which doesn't make much sense since I don't post regularly on this one) about my attempt to run a 5k. Forgive the URL -- it is very difficult to find an original one on Blogspot.