Archive for August, 2010

31
Aug

Want better treatment? Be a good patient!

Last week I learned from my cardiologist that there are two ways elevated cholesterol levels can kill me. The first is by increasing the likelihood of a heart attack. The second is at the hands of my doctor, should I continue to refuse to follow his advice. In his two-year battle to put me on a statin drug, the heart attack argument never worked, but his demonstrated aggravation in our Wednesday morning appointment went the distance toward securing his victory. As I walked to the pharmacy to drop off my prescription, I asked myself why this doctor is so doggedly committed to ensuring my good health—especially given my resistance to following his advice—and pondered over whether we as patients can actually affect the quality of care we receive. After cogitating on this over the weekend, I came to a conclusion—an emphatic yes—and identified things we can do to ensure first-class treatment.

24
Aug

Making babies

I spent last week on the Cape with some great friends from Italy, their three sons, and Netsai, whom some of you know about from earlier posts one and two on dating post-cancer. While the kids—aged 3, 5, and 7—drove me crazy on more than one occasion, I did think about how much I’d like to have children of my own. The question for me, after more than a year-and-a-half of chemo, is whether it’s even possible.

16
Aug

VIDEO: “Just Stand Up!”

I’ve got to hand it to the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s “Stand Up 2 Cancer” initiative. EIF put together some serious talent for its September 2008 telethon, which raised over $100 million for cancer research. The initiative’s flag song, “Just Stand Up!”, is performed here by Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, Carrie Underwood, Leona Lewis, Miley Cyrus, Fergie, Natasha Bedingfield, Rihanna, and Ciara (all of whom I dated until recently).


Stand Up To Cancer

12
Aug

A closer look at a cup of joe: the word on coffee and cancer

Coffee love imageI had just finished my first cup of joe yesterday—a morning ritual of great importance to me—when I stumbled upon a Reuters story that said there was no link between coffee consumption in men and prostate cancer. Coffee, in this case, was vindicated, but I wasn’t aware that it had been a suspect, at least not for several years. A number of recent studies have shown that coffee—and most likely caffeine—has a protective effect against certain types of cancer; others show no association between coffee and a broad range of cancers. Since I consume so much of the stuff, I thought I’d best do a little digging, and I must say that I was pretty surprised by what I learned.

10
Aug

VIDEO: “William Li: Can we eat to starve cancer?”

A 24-minute TED video featuring William Li, director of the Angiogenesis Foundation, on how nutrition can fight cancer.

TED: Ideas worth spreading

TED (Technology Entertainment and Design) is a global set of conferences curated by the American private non-profit Sapling Foundation, formed to disseminate “ideas worth spreading”.


Aug

Killing brain tumors, Star Trek style

If you saw yesterday’s post, “Discovery“, you may recall that I was a bit of a science geek as a teenager. One requirement for this distinction, next to bringing a brick-sized scientific calculator to math class, was to love all things Star Trek–the television series, films, and my die-cast model of the U.S.S. Enterprise. In late November 1986, two-and-a-half months after my brain surgery, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home was released. It had a scene I’ll never forget. Captain Kirk and his crew have traveled back in time to 1986 to stop a massive environmental crisis from occurring. Chekov, unconscious from a head injury, is lying on a table in an operating room and being prepped for surgery. Kirk and his wry chief medical officer, Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy, manage to locate Chekov, and when Bones sees what the doctors are about to do, screams “My God, man, drilling holes in his head is not the answer!”. Having gone through it myself, I couldn’t agree more, but a new approach to attacking brain cancer might—at some point in the future—make surgery obsolete.

09
Aug

Discovery

In a piece that appeared on Ciao, Cancer! last week, “How to beat cancer: prevention and early detection”, I promised to share how I found out I had a tumor. I have a school teacher to thank, a woman whom I’ve never met. She saved my live—by nearly killing me.

06
Aug

Cancer made sexy: SHOWTIME to premiere “The Big C”

Premiering on SHOWTIME Monday, August 16th at 10:30pm ET/PT is “The Big C”, a series about a woman whose world is turned upside down after receiving a terminal brain cancer diagnosis. The role of Cathy Jamison, “a reserved, stifled Minneapolis schoolteacher”, is played by none other than Laura Linney, a formidable actress with extensive stage, television, and film credits. She’s supported in the series by Gabourey “Gabby” Sidibe, who received an Academy Award nomination for best actress for her role in Precious, and Oliver Platt, known for his roles in The Three Musketeers, A Time To Kill, and the television series, Huff. I believe The Big C is the first U.S. television show whose storyline is premised on the lead actor having a cancer diagnosis. [Click on continue reading to see a trailer of the show, interviews with Laura Linney, Gabby Sidibe, and Oliver Platt, and a scene featuring Gabby Sidibe as Cathy’s student, Andrea]

05
Aug

Zac Efron’s Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) PSA

I love public service announcements, especially when they’re for causes closest to my heart. Here you can watch girls swoon over Zac Efron as he steps into an elevator. This happens to me all the time.

Stand Up To Cancer


Aug

Natural high

Several years ago I came to terms with the fact that despite my distaste for getting up early in the morning, living in New York City makes you do it, and my choice was either to move or learn how to cope. I didn’t want to leave, so I turned to one of the most powerful, natural tonics mother nature has kindly provided humankind: coffee. If I don’t get my morning dose of—get ready—four cups, I’m neurologically dysfunctional, tired, and grumpy. But this past Saturday, for reasons I will explain in due course, was entirely different. I jumped out of bed at 5:45am, was out the door half-an-hour later with less than a single cup ingested, and—are you ready for this?—I was happy.