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Thread: Life-Threatening Illness & Reality Check

  1. #251
    Take it easy this father's day, papa Bear.

    I too have suddenly been made painfully aware of the realization that I am indeed mortal. This 'dunker -- especially today -- grateful for a loving, close family around me.
    On pitching to Stan Musial:
    "Once he timed your fastball, your infielders were in jeopardy."
    Warren Spahn

  2. #252
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Bear Up North
    Still getting winded pretty easy
    That might be indicative of anemia -- a common side effect of chemo (and my sister says it is responsible for a lot more of the chemo side effects than she appreciated the first time around). It takes a LOT of iron and b-complex vitamins to rebuild the red blood cells. As a long time sufferer of anemia, my experience is that aggressively treating anemia over a period of time (several weeks if it is bad enough) beats hell out of "waiting for it to get better". If you think that is worth a shot, I recomment that you find a good liquid iron supplement that digests readily and take it with a meal that includes an iron-rich food (liver comes to mind or beef). And also take b-complex twice day -- morning and evening -- until your body starts rejecting it (a good sign is when it gets dumped in the urine -- if it isn't being dumped in the urine, you need that high of a dose and if it is being dumped in the urine, time to scale back your dosage).

    Um, er, what I meant was: I am glad to hear you are doing so much better.

    MZ, who still needs a 12 step program for all these excessively helpful habits.

    ---------------------
    EDIT: I suppose this would be the thread to, um, share news about my own progress towards actual health. Short version: the new apartment is way better for me than the mildew-infested previous apartment. And I will soon need all new clothes.

    MZ, tossing out pants that are falling off my butt.

  3. #253
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Bear Up North
    ...Still getting winded pretty easy (so whipping RJ on the basketball court is still a ways away)....

    Bear
    Nah, just bring a magnum of cabernet and wait until he has drunk it.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  4. #254
    BUN, It's been almost ten years for me and I still get winded easily. One if the chemical poisons that is used is bleamycin [no, I can't spell it] which destroys lung tissue. some days are good, some are not, especially hot, humid weather involving a chain saw or shovel. Keep in there, you are as good as ever.

  5. #255
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nighthawk1959
    BUN, It's been almost ten years for me and I still get winded easily. One if the chemical poisons that is used is bleamycin [no, I can't spell it] which destroys lung tissue. some days are good, some are not, especially hot, humid weather involving a chain saw or shovel. Keep in there, you are as good as ever.
    Thanx for the nice words, 'hawk.....I did have some bleamycin (SIC, who knows!?).....during the course of my treatments.

    Cancer treatment is pretty amazing......they fill your body with enough poison to kill you, so the cancer doesn't kill you.

    Keep smiling, 'hawk.

    Bear

    On Friday evening, this Bear and his wife, Katie, participated in Swanton's "Relay For Life". If you have ever been part of one (1), you know what I am talking about.

    This was the second year the Swanton Relay was held at the Village Park. With all of the shade trees it was a great choice.......temperatures in the 90's. I participated in 2003, but last year I was in the middle of chemo at the hospital when it was held.

    At 6:00 PM everybody gathered by the bandstand. A few very short speeches (short because of the heat) took place, including the story of a small child (now about seven years old) who was diagnosed with cancer at birth. He spent considerable time in the University of Michigan's Cancer Center and is currently in remission. So young, so sad.....so happy that he is still chugging along.

    The group of survivors then did the first lap around the park, holding balloons as we walked. After one (1) lap we (photo-op time) all released the balloons at the same time. What gave me a chill was this:

    It was somewhat windy. We were located in a clearing, but trees were all around us. I said out loud, "These are going to hit the trees." The balloons all hit the trees and entered into the green world of foilage. But, because of the helium, they kept working their way UP......up through the trees and out. In my mind, the balloons represented cancer.....we want to let it go and have it fly away, not taking us with it. The trees represented the struggles, holding you back.....not letting you get better. But all the balloons reached freedom.....

    Sadly, that freedom is sometimes called "the end". Many times, though, thanx to the work of small groups just like this Swanton group, that freedom is a result of modern technology, great cancer-fighting drugs, and the spirit of people, like the little child who was fighting for his life.

    After the survivor lap, Katie and I walked for one (1) hour. All night long many others walked in "one hour" banks of time. Many folks set-up tents and spent the night. There were walkers all night long and on into morning.

    Bear
    Last edited by nerudite; 27 Jun 2005 at 11:22 PM. Reason: merged
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  6. #256
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    National Geographic Stem Cell Article

    The July, 2005, issue of National Geographic's cover story is all about stem cells. There is a great quote:

    Recipients of stem cell transplants are the world's first generation of rejuvenated people, a seamless blend of old and new.

    As a BMSCT survivor (so far ) I feel honored to be part of the world's first "anything". Thanx to technology, you have me to listen to.

    No matter what your opinion on this topic, good reading in this issue.

    Bear Heading Up The World's First Rejuv-Gen
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  7. #257
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Peter Jennings, Cancer Newsletter, Six Feet Under

    Emotions are a strange animal. They stay out of sight, hiding from humans for long periods of time, then when you least expect it.....they POUNCE on you.

    Sunday and Monday brought some interesting emotions to this Bear's core.....and they all reminded me of how close I came to saying goodbye to all of this. To the best of my knowledge, the early January bone marrow transplant worked. I have no conclusive proof, because we are waiting awhile to do any testing. But I have not experienced any symptoms.

    Sunday night's episode of the HBO series "Six Feet Under" dealt with the funeral of a major star on the series. It was handled in the usual manner that this off-the-wall series handles everything.....but it reminded me of my own mortality and it was just another wake-up call that it could all end "in a flash of a second".

    Waking up this morning to the news that Peter Jennings died of lung cancer was another slap. A reminder that when the Big C makes its' move it can sometimes bring a strong person down in a very short time. I thank the stars that my Hodgkins was slow-moving.....although it was pretty strong, to survive all that radiation in 1996, then hang around in my body and come back in 2003.

    To top the 2-day C-Fest off, my newsletter on the net from the American Cancer Society arrived, filled with more sad stories and stories of those that struggled and conquered.

    In summary.....I am doing gosh dang well and proud of it. Yes !!!!

    Bring on the desk fort judging contests, more Stanfests, RJ and his "supposed" basketball prowess, DetroitPlanner's challenges to my knowledge of the Toledo Megaplex (including the little suburb of greater Detroit), and all the other adventures that this great Cyburbian group takes me along on.

    Wheeee..........

    Bear
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  8. #258
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Glad to hear you are alive and all. I've decided I don't want to be sick anymore. So:

    Henceforth, I plan on not having any life threatening illnesses. I think I won't have any more Reality Checks either. Reality bites. I'm going to get as out of touch with Reality as I can get.

    Now you'll have to excuse me as my first (imaginary) date for the evening has arrived. I have a very full social calendar (don't confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up) and much partying to do.

    Later, dude.

  9. #259
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Lucky Man

    As mentioned in the RANDOM thread, this Bear had a small lump. My internet search told me that because I had the bone marrow stem cell transplant AND because of my experience with Hodgkins Lymphoma recurring I needed to see my doctor right away.

    I am a lucky man. Yea!

    The lump appears to just be a cyst, under the skin, along the tendon. Doc says, "Quite normal. Don't worry. Be happy."

    (Was it Jimmy McGrifin? Help?)

    Doc said, "Bear you are lookin' good. You have lost weight. Your hair is back. And those were cool pictures of the Michigan Laefest."

    (OK, he didn't exactly say that last part. )

    But you can tell that I kicked depression out the door.
    _____

    Gedunker.....MZ.....Nighthawk.....how are you all doing? Everything still OK?

    Bear
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  10. #260
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Bear Up North
    Gedunker.....MZ.....Nighthawk.....how are you all doing? Everything still OK?
    Did you even read my previous post? I have decided to not have any more life threatening illnesses nor reality checks.

    On a serious note: I am nearly finished throwing away all evidence of my previous life (thus ridding my home of the musty smell that was contaminating those things and making me ill). It is exhausting and a pain. But I am healing. No prescription drugs of any kind in over a year. Threw away my inhalers. Made many lifestyle changes to prevent me from becoming sick (like we take our shoes off at the front door, vacuum daily, have very spartan furnishings).

    Soon, very soon, I will be able to focus on something else.




    (Be afraid. Be very afraid. )

    EDIT: Oh, uh, yeah: (remembering my manners) I am so glad your doctor liked the laefest pics. He sounds like a sensible man.

  11. #261
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Bear Up North

    The lump appears to just be a cyst, under the skin, along the tendon. Doc says, "Quite normal. Don't worry. Be happy."
    Ganglion cyst, I've had two removed. No biggy. Treatment used to be: Smack it hard with the huge family bible. Now the cut it out under a local
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  12. #262
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by giff57
    Ganglion cyst, I've had two removed. No biggy. Treatment used to be: Smack it hard with the huge family bible. Now the cut it out under a local

    Is the moon doing something strange? Is this "gross out Michele day"??




  13. #263
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Michele Zone

    Is the moon doing something strange? Is this "gross out Michele day"??



    I could have posted a pic!
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  14. #264
    Cyburbian Plus
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    I had a cyst removed from my back under a local.
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  15. #265
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Sad Story

    Actually have a couple of sad stories to tell.....

    My brother, mentioned in this thread awhile back, is not doing well. He WAS in the initial stages of Ahlziemer's, but after spending time with him this weekend, we have to face the fact that his stage is much more advanced than we expected. He confuses very easy, he would just stand in the middle of the concrete area next to the swimming pool.....not sure what he was going to do. His wife would have to walk over and help him figure out where to go.

    Moments later he
    would be sitting at the table with us, engaged in very normal conversation, recalling things we did as kids. I haev struggled with this all day today. He is only sixty-two (62).

    This is obviously very tough on his wife. She told us she is going to sell the house, and perhaps move back to the Toledo area, close to my brother's daughter. They have lived in Painesville Township (east of Cleveland) since the early 1970's.
    _____

    A friend of mine that works at my distribution center had a huge lump on his thumb. It was surgically removed but the doctors could make no good determination as to whether it was benign or malignant. The material was sent to the Mayo Clinic, he is expecting "the answer" on Thursday. If it is cancer, the type that they expect is very agressive and he would begin treatments immediately. (Off-topic: His cousin, a pitcher, just beat the St. Louis Cardinals.)

    He is handling the pressure well. We talked for awhile today. I have been down that route.....but I was lucky. I had (have) a STRONG type of cancer, very resistant to treatment.....he has an AGRESSIVE type of cancer. My prayers are with him now.

    Bear
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  16. #266
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    This Bear had a bit of a scare.....

    Excessive itching in both eyes. Some reddness, some gritty particles, especially in the morning, after sleep.

    Katie said, "Could be 'pink eye'". At first that scared me.

    But, being a Hodgkin's survivor and a bone marrow stem cell transplant survivor, I wandered around medical sites on the internet.

    One (1) of the symptoms of Hodgkin's is.....yep.....and yipes!....."itchy eyes".
    _____

    Off to the doctor I trudged. I was actually hoping it would be diagnosed as "pink eye".

    Good news: It is an infection in my eyes, most likely caused by a sinus infection (that I didn't know I had.....I never had a sinus problem in my life.)

    I have anti-biotic, anti-inflammatory drops that I begin using tomorrow morning, three drops every three hours, for three days.

    Life is good.

    Bear
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  17. #267
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Bear Up North
    I have anti-biotic, anti-inflammatory drops that I begin using tomorrow morning, three drops every three hours, for three days.
    If your opthalmologist has not already suggested it, you may wish to keep your eyelids shut for a full minute immediately after putting the drops in. That way it'll maximize the absorption of the anti-inflammitory medicine.

    Unsolicited advice from Dr. Maister (and his quacky assistant)
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  18. #268
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Hodgkins Lymphoma

    Time for your medical lesson. Today's topic is Hodgkin's Lymphoma, sometimes called Hodgkin's Disease.

    About one (1) percent of cancers that are diagnosed are Hodgkin's Lymphoma. (Do not confuse this with Non-Hodgkins, which as also a cancer of the lymphatic system.)

    The American Cancer Society's official statement says "There are no risk factors identified for Hodgkin's." About 50% of Hodgkin's patients had mono at a younger age, but that doesn't explain the 50% who didn't have mono. (This Bear did not have mono.....which is caused by the Epstein-Barr Virus.)

    If another family member has Hodgkin's, you are at a slightly greater risk of developing it. No other family members have it, that I know of. (We are a scattered bunch and many cousins.....aka distant family.....haven't been talked to in years and years.)

    When this Bear was just a little Cubbie, I probably engaged in some risky activities that probably led to medical issues.....but maybe not Hodgkin's. I was a regular swimmer in one (1) of the most-polluted rivers in Ohio.....the Ottawa River, in north Toledo. Medical research into Hodgkin's shows no relationship to the environment and the disease.

    When I was about seven (7) years olde one (1) of my legs suddenly developed a bunch of boils. Boils have a relationship to an immune system that has a problem. Was that an early warning (DEW LINE!) about my future? Who the hexx knows.

    In my mid-30's I was exposed to some heavy doses of industrial-grade fertilizer. It was in an enclosed area and for about an hour I breathed in some substantial "stuff". Did this lead to my Hodgkin's. Your guess is as good as mine.

    Bottom-line: This Bear doesn't know what the hexx caused the Hodgkin's. I just know that I think about it all the time.

    One Life To Live Bear
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  19. #269
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Kind of a bummer news on Thanksgiving Eve. One (1) of my employees, who has been fighting Lupus off and on for about six (6) years was rushed back to the hospital the other day. We talked with his Mother.....she was in tears telling us that the doctors have told her that it looks very grave.

    Ricardo's blood became infected and that infection spread to his heart. His heart was shutting down.

    He has been an inspiration, because every time he would be released from the hospital (over that span of years) he would build his strength back and eventually make it back to the workplace. Ricardo and I often bantered in good humor about his love of the New York Yankees.

    My prayers are for Ricardo and his family on what could be a sad Thanksgiving Weekend for his family. I hope he pulls through again.

    Bear
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  20. #270
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    One (1) Year BMSCT Anniversary

    This week is the one (1) year anniversary of the beginning of my bone marrow stem cell transplant. A year ago I was admitted to the University of Michigan's Bone Marrow Transplant Center and the process began. After admittance, I was given a couple days of high-dose chemotherapy.....to kill all my remaining cancerous bone marrow. Then, bone marrow stem cells donated by ME (back in December, after a different high-dose chemo regimen), were inserted back in to me, over a two (2) day period.

    After nearly a month, I was released upon a waiting world. (Almost the first thing I did when back home was FEED my Cyburbian addiction. Monkey on my back, ya know. )

    After one-hundred (100) days, I returned to the U of M Center for evaluation. They were very suprised that I went back to work when I did, because most transplants don't make it back to work for months.....sometimes years. I was doing well.

    In December we received a call from our insurance carrier's follow-up team. They didn't have any documentation on tests that I should have gone to during that period from one-hundred (100) days to thre-hundred-sixty-five (365) days.

    That's because I didn't go to any tests. Didn't need to. Feel fine.

    The insurance people were VERY SUPRISED at how well I am doing. But, they did say I still should go see my oncology doctor and go up to Ann Arbor for one (1) year testing. Last week I slid over to my oncology doctor. Same story....."Michael, you are doing super. I am very impressed!"

    In January we will motor up to the University of Michigan and I will go through some tests. Blood counts, stuff like that. I am expecting the same positive comments from the U of M team.

    In late January I can stop taking the drug I take twice a day, to prevent shingles. (Shingles is very common among BMSCT patients.)

    I feel goode. Even though my energy level is still a bit lower than pre-BMSCT, it seems better every week. Long work hours make me tired.....but, what the hexx, long hours shlould make any fifty-seven (57) year old a bit tired. I have even been in conversation with some friends about being a couple months away from resuming basketball court action.

    Life is good. Thank the stars (and the scientists) for life-saving procedures. This cancer would have killed me if I had it back in the 1970's. Now it's just a mosquito. Whack! Got 'em!

    Bear With One (1) Really Big Candle
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  21. #271
    Cyburbian Plus
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    Congrats on your anniversary and many, many more.
    Oddball
    Why don't you knock it off with them negative waves?
    Why don't you dig how beautiful it is out here?
    Why don't you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?
    From Kelly's Heroes (1970)


    Are you sure you're not hurt ?
    No. Just some parts wake up faster than others.
    Broke parts take a little longer, though.
    From Electric Horseman (1979)

  22. #272
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by JNA
    Congrats on your anniversary and many, many more.
    What he said.

  23. #273
    Super news, Bear! I'll be ready as the Official Scorer when you and RJ get ready to mix it up.
    On pitching to Stan Musial:
    "Once he timed your fastball, your infielders were in jeopardy."
    Warren Spahn

  24. #274
    Cyburbian Emeritus Bear Up North's avatar
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    Couple Issues

    Even though this Bear is well-past the one (1) year anniversary of the bone marrow stem cell transplant, I have a couple issues that may need some investigation. Katie says of these issues, "You're weird." But she also says I should have them checked.

    In the last few weeks I have experienced periodic very short bouts of nausea. They last a few minutes and then go away. I never had anything like this in my life. The nausea doesn't bother me.....the weird shortness of the event bugs me.

    Twice in the last week I have had a finger or two (2) suddenly turn bright white, almost as if I had painted them. That lasts for a few minutes and then the famous Bear pink color returns.

    Neither one (1) of these things seem real serious.....but they ain't so normal, either. I will probably have to give my doctor a buzz. Having a BMSCT does xxck with your body.

    Bear
    Occupy Cyburbia!

  25. #275
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Bear Up North
    In the last few weeks I have experienced periodic very short bouts of nausea. They last a few minutes and then go away. I never had anything like this in my life. The nausea doesn't bother me.....the weird shortness of the event bugs me.
    Have you seen that commercial for the TV show "Monk", at the end, the doctor tells a very old woman AND her very old husband that they both tested positive for pregnancy.
    Twice in the last week I have had a finger or two (2) suddenly turn bright white, almost as if I had painted them. That lasts for a few minutes and then the famous Bear pink color returns.
    Makes me wonder if it is some kind of leftover from chemo, the way some kinds of chemo can leave a person with numbness in the fingers.

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