Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Guest Post

It has been a long and emotional journey getting to the point where I consider myself a cancer survivor. I was afforded the best medical treatment available through The Zimmer Cancer Center and Dr Ungaro, but I was left dealing with the emotional side of the issue on my own. I'm sure the path would have been much shorter and easier if I had been involved in a survivor's program. For this reason, when I was contacted by David Hass wanting to guest post to my blog in order to pass on some valuable information to those still early on their journey, I was eager to open up this small venue to him. Below is his article on the subject of survivor programs.

The Importance of Cancer Survivor Programs

A cancer prognosis often elicits feelings of sadness, confusion, worry and hopelessness. Aside from the doctors and nurses who can provide you with medications, information on treatments and other possible “next steps,” where do you go to get the really tough questions answered? Questions like: How am I going to get through this? What can I expect to experience emotionally? Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? This is where cancer survivor networks and programs come into play. These types of organizations are phenomenal resources for connecting with individuals who have had similar experiences and are willing to share them, along with tips, suggestions and even a shoulder on which to lean.

Maintaining a strong and stable support network while undergoing treatment, and even once in remission, is imperative to “surviving” cancer and everything that comes along with it, especially if you are a child. Each type of cancer, whether it is breast, prostate, lung or mesothelioma, has its own symptoms and offers its own set of unique struggles. That being said, individuals faced with a cancer prognosis do have some of the same psychological, economic and spiritual questions.

One organization, whose mission is to “change the parlance from cancer ‘victim’ to cancer ‘survivor,” is the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS). They “deal with the full spectrum of survivorship issues related to living with, through, and beyond a cancer diagnosis.” This organization has even expanded its reach to include family, friends and caregivers in its definition of survivors.

Not only does their website, http://www.canceradvocacy.org, provide lists of worthwhile publications, workshops and countless resources, it also houses their Cancer Survival Toolbox—“a free, award-winning audio program that teaches skills that can help people with cancer meet the challenges of their illness.” The program encompasses six key topics: “communicating, finding information, making decisions, solving problems, negotiating, and standing up for your rights.” Canceradvocacy.org also houses numerous links to websites for other cancer-related organizations and serves as the perfect starting point for delving into research on specific types of cancer, treatments and other support networks.

Therefore, whether you are facing a mesothelioma prognosis or a skin, liver, testicular or ovarian cancer prognosis, there are resources out there to help you navigate the difficult journey from prognosis to treatment and ultimately through survival. Remember, you are not alone; you really are surrounded by people who care and organizations ready to lend a helping hand, many just a mouse click away.

By: David Haas

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Again, No News is Good News.

It's hard to believe that it's been close to 6 years since I was diagnosed with lymphoma. I haven't posted here in quite a long time, again this is a good thing. I'm scheduled to visit my oncologist September the 18th and thankfully I have nothing out of the ordinary to report.

The only reason for this post is to plug another blog I started where I tend to rant & rave about anything and everything. It's a different venture for me as the truth be known, my writing sucks. All is not lost though, as I do incorporate my artistic skills into each post in the form of a badge design which I shamelessly offer for sale. Hey, a man has to make a living. Not an easy thing to do these days.

I hope everyone coming here will take a minute on the lighter side and visit Round Words. You could even put up a link to Round Words on your blog or site. I can use all the help I can get.

If you need help with the necessary code to create a link, just copy the code below and paste it into your blog roll or sidebar:

Many thanks!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Frustrated With Health Care In America

It's been quite awhile since I posted here which is a good thing considering the subject pretty much requires a decline in my health in order to spawn a post. I have to admit that the main purpose of my writing today is self serving and an attempt to relieve some of my frustration with the health care system in what has been billed as the greatest country in the world. I certainly have my doubts on that statement at this point.

Over the last several months I have been suffering from cold and flu like symptoms that I and many seem to suffer from at this time of the year. Not having health insurance and having my health fail at financially catastrophic proportions within the last few years, I find myself in a position of not being able to afford basic medical care. For many, this basic care has become a luxury. Last month as my symptoms developed to the point of needing immediate attention, I broke down and went to what I call a "Doc in a Box" or an urgent care facility. My only other alternative would have been the local hospital emergency room which has become so over burdened with the uninsured that I would have had to wait 6 to 8 hours to be seen for a condition that really can't be ranked as an emergency.

As I drove myself to the "Doc in a Box" with what I figured was strep throat along with an ear infection and who knows what that was causing me to cough a lung up, I reminesed about better times when my mother was still with us. She used to claim that the seasonal flu was really a chemical weapons experiment composed by the Russians that had gone awry. She had me wondering if I was now suffering from some type of terrorist attack by Al-Qaeda. Come to find out though, the only attack I had to worry about was the one I was about to take to my personal dignity and wallet.

I ended up on the door step of MED-CARE of Wilmington, North Carolina, 5245 South College Road. I point out the address so that I may forewarn anyone thinking of doing business with these people, be advised you will get much better medical care if you take your sleeping bag and wait your turn at the local emergency room.

What a nightmare this place turned out to be. As I approached the reception area I notice a sign that says "No Checks", great, there goes the plan of using the charity of my sister that she was so kind to offer up. I ask the young lady behind the counter if I can use my debit card, she tells me that's fine but I will have to be billed and sign a charge statement for $150.00 before I get any farther in the process. This in it self should have told me I was about to get screwed. I did momentarily consider heading to the hospital. I instead asked how long of a wait I could expect. I was told no more than an hour. Ok, I can deal with that, so I proceeded with the paper work.

Three hours later, in walks a short little frail man that introduces himself as Dr. Blackmore, it's soon apparent that he is quite gay and is way to touchy feely during the exam, there was nothing wrong with my knee yet he felt compelled to rest his hand there. Up to this point the only thing that had been done by the triage nurse was to weight me and check my blood pressure. Dr. Blackmore proceeded to tell me he was obligated to discuss my high blood pressure results. After a five minute speech on the dangers of high BP, I begin to explain of the three heart attacks, two angioplasties and CABG surgery that I had under gone in the past few years. All while being treated for non Hodgkin's lymphoma. Obviously you don't go through these procedures without getting a pretty good education on heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and the associated treatments. In other words Doc, this aint my first trip to the rodeo. I explained the impact that these health problems had taken on me financially, you know, like how I had become unable to continue with my business as I was self employed. It's hard to keep the doors open when your constantly in the hospital. Or how the bank forecloses on your home when your income suddenly stops and you can't make the morgage payments. Or how the bank also reposes your car when that loan payment can't be made as well.

I thought I had really gotten through to him, my uncontrolled BP was not due to ignorance on my part, but merely a lack of financial resources. Doc Blackmore said he understood. Stated he would be glad to help in any way possible, just let him know what he could do and with another pat on the knee he sent me on my way with an antibiotic that he had filled by his on site pharmacy. I was told the $14 price would be the best in town. Yeah right, I paid 14 bucks for a prescription I later found out I could have got at Walmart for 4 dollars.

Two weeks later still suffering from what he described as the worst ear infection he had seen in 4 years (both my ears). I call back at 10am, leave a message with his nurse, I had found a generic form of the blood pressure medicine I had been taking and could get a months supply for $4. All hail Walmart. I also told her I had a blood pressure cuff, would take daily recording and bring them in a month or so as a follow up when I had some money, could Dr. Blackmore please call in a prescription for me. Guess what? no return phone call. At 6pm, 8 hours later I call back. Bad idea, at this point I'm pissed off. How hard is it to return a fucking phone call. I finally get up with the witch that is only know as the "NURSE" Know where or at any time does this bitch identify herself by name. I again go through the explanation of my request. She tells me to wait and goes off to find the Doc. She comes back and says he will have to see me in his office. Here we go, I tell her I can't afford a office visit, I just saw the man two weeks ago and I have a written diagnosis stating I have uncontrolled blood pressure, can I please speak with the doctor. Hang on, she tells me. She returns to the phone and again tells me I will have to come in for a office visit and blood tests. Ok, if my blood pressure wasn't high, it sure as hell is now. I lose it, what part of "I can't afford it" don't you fucking understand. I'm not sure of the remainder of the conversation but it's safe to say I wont be on Med-Care's Christmas card list.

Later in a conversation with my sister, a registered nurse. I complain of the difficulty in getting simple medical care in this country. I wonder why, if I can't have access to professional health care, why I must go with out any treatment at all. Why can't I treat myself. If I have infection, why can't I buy a antibiotic and treat myself. It's not like Dr Blackmore preformed any tests to verify I had a bacterial infection. The bitch nurse didn't even bother to take my temperature. A sure sign of infection. He merely went by my statement that my ears and throat hurt. I didn't have to look at my throat to tell it was red, or in my ears to tell they had fluid in them. What harm could I have done by self administering an antibiotic. I can hardly afford them, so it's not like i'm going to take them like a daily vitamin for Christ's sake.

My sister told me that in many foreign countries you can treat yourself and many do. In Costa Rica she was able to purchase IV fluids, needles and tubing to self administer. Antibiotic and my blood pressure medicine would be available over the counter. Lord forbid we do this in America. I guess their afraid I might kill myself as I'm to ignorant to administer medications that might kill me if I don't have them to start with. Even the eye doctor told me my cholesterol was high during an eye exam but will anyone prescribe medication without having their pockets lined? Of course not, how would Doc Blackmore pay for his Mercedes if such behavior were taking place.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Writing helps cancer patients cope with illness

"It's been almost two years since Mario Duran of Vista learned that he had lymphoma, a type of blood cancer that occurs when white blood cells behave abnormally. Getting through all the physical and emotional aspects of having cancer hasn't been easy, but Duran has found something that helps." Read More...

Friday, April 20, 2007

Marijuana May Be an Effective Therapy for Lung Cancer

"Researchers at Harvard University report that THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, reduces lung cancer tumor growth by at least 50%, and also reduces the ability of the lung cancer tumors to metastasize, or spread, to other areas."Read More...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

High-Dose Aspirin Lowers Some Cancer Risk

"Recent studies have shown that a low, regular dose of aspirin may not lower cancer risk. But a newer study finds that taking a higher dose for at least five years may lower the risk for people at high risk of colon, prostate or breast cancer."