Friday, May 27, 2016

Bacteria worse than shape-shifters? Identity shifters? What not to do. MIDNIGHT SPECIAL

from STAT

"Superbugs for Dummies..."

This article is so clear - I learned a lot (scary and scary).  Exactly what can they do that other bacteria can't do?  That we don't want?

And I also salute the writer @HelenBranswell for giving us another elbow in the ribs:

We have to stop demanding antibiotics for diseases like colds, and
We have to stop accepting broad-spectrum antibiotics when a specific one is best and SAFER.
And another elbow about giving drugs to food animals is NOT just something we can forget.

We can't put these rotten bugs back in the bottle after they start to take over.

I think I picked this up first on Twitter.

I wish you health.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Is Your Hospital "The One for cancer survival?" How can we tell?


On Twitter today: Good-looking graphics with a clear legend took me into the Memorial Sloan Kettering article from last fall on how we measure a hospital's five-year cancer survival rates.  You can access it from the TW post.    Their numbers indicate that one type of specific cancer hospital has better 5-year survival outcomes for cancer.

I had to look online for a definition of PPS. The hospital type with the best survival rate is exempt from the Medicare PPS system which is:

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
May 19, 2015 - A Prospective Payment System (PPS) is a method of reimbursement in which Medicare payment is made based on a predetermined, fixed amount. The payment amount for a particular service is derived based on the classification system of that service (for example, diagnosis-related groups for inpatient hospital services).

I opted for a local hospital for my DCIS, rather than the "big name" cancer hospital "near my area."   I suspect mine may be one of Other...remaining hospitals including community hospitals.  I salute their outstanding outpatient surgery, but I don't know their cancer records.

Would I do the same again?  Maybe not.  I didn't want the "team" setting, which can be rather hard to manipulate if one seriously wants to leave a doctor on the team.  (Okay, I'm also a coward about driving to the big city.) 

See the graph an read the article:

I wish you health.

Sunday, May 22, 2016


I was at the front desk of one doctor's office when the voice mail came from the other doctor:

You're pre-diabetic.  Avoid processed sugar.  Avoid processed flour.  Uhhh.  okay.

I knew how it happened to me:  too many Lara bars, getting back onto the Ice cream.   Oh, and my croissant sandwich and croissant without sandwich addictions.

I had to get serious:  Have a plan.

Got on the web for advice.
 Lose 5% of your body weight.
Okay,  I had a secret target -  137 pounds.   Other women consider that number a good reason to hide indoors forever. )  But I had frequently weighted more than that, even in high school.  And at one job, I had gained 40 pounds.

Into Body Mass world and went right to the top guys:  the National Institutes of Health.

BMI Categories: 
Underweight = <18 .5="" span="">
Normal weigh= 18.5–24.9 
Overweight = 25–29.9 
Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater
Standard MeasurementsView Metric Measurements
Your Height: 

Yikes.  I was not only pre-diabetic, but even after losing five per cent, they call me overweight.

Ice cream went. (Memories of secret toffee chunk ice cream supper.)

I found a year-long program on line, decided it would devour my life.  But it suggested that I should

Lose 7 percent of my weight,  So I lost another 2% from original. 

My daughter got on board, and we all ate only coconut sugar and almost none of it.


Another phone from doctor's office.  Sugar still high. Desperate, I read labels as seriously as life insurance, focus on any mention of sugar.   There is sugar in everything.  Everything sour, sweet, hot. Crackers, potato salad. 

Here's my current plan:

Bananas or multi-grain bagel at Starbucks.
Half or less of a Lara bar per day.
No artificial sweetener (can increase our natural sugar hunger.)
Made sure that sugar was down at the end of ingredient lists.   
Dip 10-grain bread in olive oil.  Lettuce wrap sandwich.
I grind plain peanuts at my grocer's.  Helps with the Lara craving.

I put 2/3 of a teaspoon (that's teaspoon) of sugar and 1/2 cup frozen berries in my oatmeal.
I dip strawberries in a bit of the low-sugar coffee yogurt from my grocery.
My only wheat has loads of seeds & grains.
Did I mention I eat a banana? 

The B plan
Back up from the table (this one is still tough when the 10 grain bread is so good.)

The E word

Plug in the coffee maker and march out the door to walk at least 15 minutes.  (With my feet, 15 minutes can be plenty. )
I always park far away.  Lugging all this healthy food means several long trips to and from the car.

Luckily a doctor who didn't even like me hooked me up for physical therapy.  I actually did their  indoor exercises, hanging onto the back of my reading chair so as not to fall on my face.  I got more PT by saying  the word "balance" to my primary doctor.  Just like the bed-cercises I've mentioned here,   turns out you actually have to do the PT exercises at home. I did.

THE BEST PHONE CALL:  You are no longer in danger of diabetes.  

Nuff  said.
I wish you health.

Friday, May 13, 2016

CANCER - No, it won't be this week but it's a big step

The LA Times this week announced that a tech bigwig is donating millions to USC for a new cancer research center.  According to the Times, oncologist Dr. David Agus was the inspiration for the gift, as he had treated a relative of the donor and also a famous friend..  

The doctor mentioned some expectations of the coming center - possibilities like sequencing cancer and studying huge blocks of data.  

A google search today showed a picture of Oracle founder Ellison, the donor.

I wish you health. 

Monday, May 2, 2016


This is so simple I wish I'd thought of it:

"The only way to find out if the cream or lotion works is to use it on only one side of your face for a while."

From my beloved CA MD, Dr. Kuraishi