Thursday, April 28, 2016


I apologize:  Full credit for the four main headline questions on  this morning's post goes to Breast Cancer Action, who originally created and posted the Four Questions.

BEFORE YOU WALK FOR CANCER, Demand full disclosure!! 4 Questions to Ask... A RANT

1. How much money raised from the walk will go to breast cancer programs?

 Get it in writing!  

 You should receive something (you know, written) that says how many DOLLARS.  Or an exact percentage of ALL proceeds.

this goes for events and prize meetings, too

2. What breast cancer programs will the walk fund?

Will it all go for more talk events and ads, or will real live women be helped?

Even hospital programs get sidetracked into publicity sometimes

3. Do the walk’s sponsors increase women’s risk of breast cancer?

 There are websites including one for safe makeup and personal products.  Now I believe one even exposes household products.

I once bought (and returned) an exercise mat that California had judged full of cancer-causing chemicals and ingredients.  Now I "beware" before I buy.

4. Does the walk present a one-sided picture of breast cancer that leaves some women out?

 Every time I go on twitter, I remember my sisters with metastises, and I remember the new research that suggests I may not be safe from it, even after the surgery and radiation and good old Tamoxifen. 

Am I next?  Will the organization I walked for help me?

I wish you health.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

COFFEE BREAK Does Dr talk really affect us?

My new doctor seemed surprised to see me the other day; he thought we were going to do labs, and told me which ones he likes to do every three months or so.

I told him I had made an appointment with my eye surgeon (instead of his referral)  for my suspected eye problem.  He urged me to go ahead with that.

I spoke to him about some of my stresses.  He asked me why I don't look at the bright side. I told him that a turning point was the day I first saw him, when he asked:  What else is going on?  Showed me another MD in my new state values the patient viewpoint.

He looked again at my file update he was holding - (he likes patients to fill out their main ills and hurts at each appointment.)   Then he said some new magic words: 

You're good.

And I said "For my age..." 

And he said: "Not for your age.  You're good."

And I thought--Wow he thinks I'm healthy, at least sorta healthy.  Off to the lab where the lab tech and I laughed a lot.

The next morning the nurse called to say:

You are no longer in danger of diabetes!  

No diet? Just keep doing what  you've been doing.  (Wow, I do know how to take care of myself!)

Went to the eye doctor, got a list of to-do at home.  Also an Rx that made me call the pharmacist twice in a mild panic.  Pharmacist said cut open the capsule and stir the medicine into a mashed banana.  Panic stopped.

Today, thinking of that week of modern medicine, I thought: Yes, I am pretty healthy.  And all those people helped me move to more health.

The punch line:  For some contrary reason, the idea that I'm pretty healthy makes me determined to take even better care of myself.

I wish you health.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

HOW DOES YOUR DOCTOR TALK TO YOU? What your doctor should ask... What to say to your doctor.

On April 5, in their e-mail MedicineMatters, Mt Sinai mentioned that medical students toured the hospital "Learning to Give Compassionate Care."

The key word in the mention was ' "tell me more"  messages." '

By a happy coincidence, I had just had a first visit with my new doctor.  I said I wondered if it was time for my blood sugar test...(I was really there to see if I would like him at all).  He said it wasn't quite time for the test.  Then he won my heart!

He asked:  What else is going on?

The perfect words.  In all the current patter about patient engagement, there is no better key a doctor can use than those.  I unloaded my current tormenting problem that I think is the eyelid disease (horrid Demodex mites.)

He asked me to describe the symptoms - I was so amazed that I had trouble putting the just plain icky symptoms into words.

Then he said he would refer me to an ophthalmologist in their group.

He asked some other questions, like why does my oncologist monitor some meds and tests, and I gave him a bit of info on that.

No judging, no contradicting what's been done so far.  Just kind questions.

Does your doctor do that?  If not, what to do?  Long ago my California doctor told me firmly:
 "It is important to be heard."

And I had gotten up the nerve to tell a certain surgeon in mid-rambling: 

"I need to speak."  

 Those four words spoken without anger did wonders. 

You can practice them in front of the mirror if you like.  If they don't work, you can do what we sometimes have to do.  Say goodbye.

I wish you health.