Thursday, October 26, 2006Please Visit Mel's Meaningless Ramblings
My blog buddy Mel got some very bad news this week. They found out her father has lung cancer. I am appealing to all the readers of my blogs to visit Mel and send her your thoughts, prayers and best wishes.
I know that some of you have gone through this before. I also know that some of you have had family members go through this before. Mel said her father was a heavy smoker, but as I have been saying for over a year now, smoking should not be a factor in getting the treatment and research dollars to find a cure for this disease. And blaming smoking, though one of the best things you can do to prevent this disease, does not help the people who never smoked a day in their lives. Mel credits her dad for being the reason she NEVER smoked.
So, please take a moment out of your day to visit Mel. Keep her family in your thoughts and prayers, and remember that next month is Lung Cancer Awareness month. What a good time to consider quitting smoking, if you are a smoker, talking to your doctor abouta little nagging cough you have, and being a voice for those with the disease. And even if you don't do all that stuff, still stop by and give Mel your best.
Posted by Lynda (Laurianne's Sister) :: 9:02 AM :: 0 people are more aware ---------------------------------------
Wednesday, October 25, 2006Some of the promised picture
Some part of the Sonoma coast calles Bodega head close to the place we scatteredLaurianne's ashes.
a part of the pier we were walking on at bodega harbor .
some of the pelicans actually I never see them before over there
group of seagulls flying over. Michael Calem and me on the pier in bodega bay close to th place were we scattered Laurianne's ashes .
Above are some of the pictures I promised to download . A couple of days later then I wanted to due to work . As I mentioned it I would like to call it Laurianne's celebration of life day. It was a difficult day but on the other hand also a peacefull day . We enjoyed fairly nice weather.
Posted by Henry (Calem's Opa) :: 9:43 PM :: 0 people are more aware ---------------------------------------
New Scans Could Prevent Many Lung Cancer Deaths
October 25, 2006
New Scans Could Prevent Many Lung Cancer Deaths
By GINA KOLATA
The New York Times
Researchers at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center report that they can save the lives of millions of people by detecting lung cancer early and treating it immediately, when it can still be cured.
The stakes are high — lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in this country, killing more than 160,000 people a year, which is more than 95 percent of patients. And while the death rates for other cancers have fallen, the rate for lung cancer remains stubbornly high, possibly because the cancers are often caught too late. For years, doctors have thought there was very little they could do for lung cancer, but now with more sensitive scans for screening, many are rethinking that view.
“You could prevent 80 percent of deaths,” said the study’s lead author, Dr. Claudia Henschke, a professor of radiology and cardiothoracic surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College.
Her study, being published in Friday’s New England Journal of Medicine, involved more than 31,000 people in seven countries. The participants included smokers and former smokers, as well as people in Japan who had never smoked but had the scans as part of their annual physical exams.
The scans found 484 lung cancers, 412 of which were at a very early stage. Then the researchers kept track of those cancer patients, following them for an average of about three years after the cancer was found. After three years, most were still alive. The researchers projected that more than 80 percent of those with early stage cancer would live at least 10 years after their cancer was detected.
But the report is engendering controversy. Some medical experts and a patient advocacy group saying that because this study is so much bigger than previous studies and so carefully done, it should change the testing landscape. Others are saying that the study did not include comparison groups to clearly demonstrate that there is any benefit from annual CT exams.
Supporters include Dr. James Mulshine, a professor of internal medicine at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. The study design may not have been perfect, he said, and there is more to be learned from other studies that are now under way, but the data from the new study convinced him.
“This is a profoundly important report,” Dr. Mulshine said. “It is a remarkable result.”
An advocacy group for lung cancer patients, the Lung Cancer Alliance, agreed.
“This is the most important breakthrough for the lung cancer community that has ever happened,” Laurie Fenton, the group’s president, said in a press release.
And, says Dr. Henschke’s colleague, Dr. David Yankelevitz, it makes sense that early detection of lung cancer could save lives. Lung cancer screening is analogous to screening for breast cancer, he said. In both situations, he added, “treatment is easier and the outcomes are better when the tumor is small.”
But mammograms are advocated by many national groups, whereas lung cancer screening is not. And while praising the new study’s careful accumulation of data, representatives of groups like the American Cancer Society, the Society of Clinical Oncology, the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer, and the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force say the study is unlikely to persuade them to recommend lung cancer screening as a public policy at this time.
One reason is that everyone in Dr. Henschke’s study had CT scans. And so, researchers say, with no comparison group of people who did not have scans, they are left with a pressing question: Does screening, in the end, save lives or cost lives?
“Intuitively, it makes sense —if you have a cancer, take it out,” says Dr. Stephen Swensen, a professor of radiology at the Mayo Clinic who conducted a study that was similar to Dr Henschke’s but smaller. “It makes sense that if you find a cancer earlier you will save lives,” he added. But Dr. Swensen said, “The science hasn’t backed that up yet.”
Cancer specialists have long known that all cancers - and lung cancers are no exception - include ones that stop growing and never kill or that grow so slowly that they never cause problems if they are simply left alone. So, some of them ask, how many of the people said to be cured were never in danger? And how often will people have operations that can involve removing part of a lung, and that can themselves kill a patient, when their cancer was not lethal? The problem, as with other cancer scans, is that science today cannot always tell the difference between cancers that will stop and those that will go on to kill.
The other question that researchers ask is slightly different: How often did the scans find cancers early but without affecting the person’s life expectancy?
“Everyone knows we can pick up things better with screening,” said Dr. Elliott Fishman, a professor of radiology and oncology at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. “But is picking up the same thing as curing? If I pick up a tumor that is one centimeter today and you live five years or I pick it up four years later and you live one year, it’s the same thing.”
Even evaluating patients with suspicious CT scan results can be risky, much more dangerous than, say, evaluating women with suspicious lumps on a mammogram, said Dr. David Johnson, deputy director of the cancer center at Vanderbilt University and a past president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. In Dr. Henschke’s study, doctors investigated more than 4,000 nodules in patients, finding about 400 cancers.
“This is not sticking a needle in a breast,” Dr. Johnson said. “It is sticking a needle in the chest where it can collapse a lung.” In some cases, that is followed by surgery to further evaluate a lump. The issues become pressing with the uncertainty about whether the screening can save lives.
“How many people do we subject to needless evaluations?” Dr. Johnson asked.
It is not even clear, some researchers said, whether the patients in Dr. Henschke’s study really did survive 10 years on average. The investigators used a statistical model to estimate how long patients would be expected to live after most had survived about three years.
“Ten years should be 10 years,” Dr. Fishman said. “It’s being guesstimated out. Let’s look in 10 years and see what happens.”
More definitive answers about the value of CT testing may come in a few years when another study, being conducted by the National Cancer Institutes of Health, is completed. It randomly assigned its nearly 55,000 participants, all smokers or former smokers, to have annual CT scans or, for comparison, a chest X-ray. Based on previous studies, many researchers consider chest X-rays largely ineffective for the early diagnosis of lung cancer so it can serve as a placebo control in this study.
Another cancer institute study is rigorously assessing chest X-rays by randomly assigning participants to have an annual chest X-ray or to have no lung cancer screening.
In the meantime, cancer specialists say doctors and their patients must decide what to do on an individual basis. They could wait for the clinical trials to be completed. Or they could decide to have scans now, even though the data may not be ideal.
The scans can be expensive. Dr. Howard Forman, a professor of diagnostic radiology at Yale, says that Yale charges a total of $802.39 for the scan and the doctor’s interpretation. And many insurers have not paid for CT lung cancer screening tests.
That may change, Dr. Forman said. He himself is not convinced by the new study — like others, he says he needs to see data from a control group. But Dr. Forman, who is on the Medical Policy and Technology Assessment Committee for Wellpoint, a health insurance company, said it will be difficult to deny paying for the test now that the data were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
“The New England Journal of Medicine is a de facto Good Housekeeping seal of approval,” Dr. Forman said. “This is a big step toward public acceptance. It’s not proof that screening saves lives,” he said. But, he added, “Proof for a lot of medicine is not there.”
For now, says Dr. Robert Smith, director of cancer screening at the American Cancer Society, it might make sense for smokers or former smokers to have CT scans for early lung cancer detection.
Patients, he added, should thoroughly discuss the test with their doctors first, going over what is currently known and not known about the testing, including potential benefits and potential harms. And they should be careful to go to a center that has the expertise and experience to do the scans and any follow-up medical procedures properly.
But, Dr. Smith said, the new study adds to the information that CT scans might save lives.
“There is a lot of promise here,” he said. And so, he said, “it is not at all unreasonable for individuals at high risk of lung cancer to seek testing on their own.”
Others, like Dr. Ned Patz, a professor of radiology, pharmacology, and cancer biology at Duke University Medical Center, say that they suspect patients’ ardor for the testing might cool if they hear the full story about the uncertainties and risks.
“A lot of patients ask about it,” he said. “We counsel them and tell them what the data are. Then they are not interested.”
Posted by Lynda (Laurianne's Sister) :: 4:44 PM :: 0 people are more aware ---------------------------------------
Sunday, October 22, 2006Laurianne's Celebration of Life Day
Laurianne's Celebration of Life Day is what I would like to call it instead of her memorial day. We had a relatively peacefull day. First some friends came over to the house to give their support. In the afternoon we went to the beach and walked over some piers close to the place where we scattered Laurianne's ashes. Personally I felt very sad initially but a feeling of inner peace came over me wich stayed with me the rest of the day. The weather couldn't be nicer today. On the way back we enjoyed some beautiful fall colors in the vineyards. We have to go back later in the week to take some pictures. Then we had a nice dinner with the four of us. We enjoyed a piece of chocolate cake and Josie is watched desperate housewives, Laurianne's favorite show. Looking back on today it wasn't as bad as expected but Iam still glad to have it behind me. There are still a few obstacles to cross but we shall overcome one day at the time. I want to thank all of our family and friends who are reading this blog for their continued support, today and during the past year. I will post some pictures we took at a later time.
Posted by Henry (Calem's Opa) :: 9:28 PM :: 2 people are more aware ---------------------------------------
Unofficial Eat Chocolate Cake Without Guilt Day
Laurianne loved chocolate cake. It is one of the things I have in common with my sister. So, my mom put out a note to the family to eat a piece of chocolate cake without guilt today, in honor of my sister, for the one year anniversary of her death. She said Laurianne was partial to Claim Jumper Chocolate Motherlode cakes. (But I know she liked the Molten Lava cake at Chili's as well. At least until she threw it up because of her brain tumor.)
I told my mom I was going to ask the blogging community. Eat a piece of chocolate cake in honor of my sister. Tell someone about this person you know and about how lung cancer can affect anyone. Share the website http://lauriannes-hope.blogspot.com with people.
Calem will have some chocolate cake as well. He loves it as much as his mommy and his Tante Dynda. Well, maybe almost as much.
Posted by Lynda (Laurianne's Sister) :: 9:17 AM :: 0 people are more aware ---------------------------------------
Monday, October 16, 2006Relay for Life - The Middle
Note: Pictures to be added
Click here for Relay for Life - The Beginning
I bet you never thought I would continue the story! (My mom did, and she was there!) I had the best intentions!
So, Mary Callahan started walking with us, and when we got back to our camp, we talked with her in a circle. My dad was still holding Calem, so, I took Calem from him (because 1 year is a heavy age, remember?) and sat in the closest chair I could find where I could sit safely with a sleeping toddler, and still hear. Well, I found a good seat, but I couldn't hear a thing, except the occasional bits and pieces. At one point I heard my mom say that Laurianne's sister flew out from Indianapolis to be here. So, after Mary was done talking with my parents, my brother, and my aunt, she came over and talked to me. One of the things she asked was why I came to this Relay for Life. I told her it was because Laurianne asked me to come this year, and because she asked, I felt I needed to be here. Mary wrote notes furiously and asked me a few more questions, then thanks us all. (Or thanked me because she had thanked my parents?? I am not sure anymore.)
Eventually sleepy Calem woke up. He looked a little confused, but he wanted to walk. Michael started to take him for a walk around the track, and I wanted to go, so I went to catch up with him. I didn't have to go far, because Calem has short legs. I took Calem's free hand and we walked with him. Michael said he would carry him when he got tired, but Calem did the whole quarter mile. Calem's Oma was quick to get pictures, which made me happy. Soon Calem's Opa came and he was in the stroller, going around and around.
Everyone had a booth set up, and next to us was a massage table, where two ladies were giving massages. Dan was very interested in this, so I gave him some money to get a massage. He was like a loose noodle the whole rest of the time. lol! I went down the way where they had these Relay for Life stars that lit up when you flip the connector around. I bought one for my mom and myself.
After a lot of walking and a lot of looking around, the police came for my uncle. It truely was the Sherrif's Department. But today it was for Relay for Life. You see, someone put my Uncle Piet in jail for being good looking and riding a Harley. It was me. I paid $5 to have him incarcerated for 5 minutes. Piet had the choice of paying $5 to get out, and he declined. In fact, he said, "It isn't like it's the first time." We laughed and laughed. Even Calem laughed. Then when we got there, there was two gals in the jail. I said I didn't think that was a fair incarceration! He would enjoy himself too much. hehe. We took a lot of pictures.
Well, later my dad said that he wanted to do the same thing for Dan. So we went around and around. We took Calem with us. I had been threatening Dan with incarceration, and after Piet was hauled away he thought he was safe. My dad and I went around and he held Calem while I filled out the form. My dad had him incarcerated for being too relaxed at Relay for Life. And my dad paided $20 for 20 minutes. Poor Dan. Well, Dan was ready to do a lap when the sheriff came by. I said to Dan, "Wait here a moment" then yelled to the officer, "He's right here!" So, the whole family followed Dan to the Relay for Life jail. I ran ahead and took pictures, and my aunts and uncle started singing the theme song to Cops. "Bad boy, bad boy. What you gonna to do? What you gonna do when they come for you?" I think Dan wished the earth would swallow him about that point.
Calem laughed some more. We laughed some more. We took more pictures. So, Dan only had to spend 10 minutes in the slammer. First Dan looked really sadly out the chain link. I think he was mad at the world. They had a cot in there and Dan laid across it. I yelled out, "Hey, he is too relaxed in there too!" I think Dan thought this could be his revenge! Then I think my dad started to feel bad for him. He paid half his bail. After Dan was released, he and I walked a lap.
When evening fell, the Luminaria Ceremony was going to begin. We all gathered at the bleachers, but I couldn't find Dan....
(part 3 - coming sooner than part 2)
Posted by Lynda (Laurianne's Sister) :: 8:21 AM :: 0 people are more aware ---------------------------------------
Thursday, October 12, 2006October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
One of my blog buddies, who calls himself The Mindless Dribbler, posted a very touching post* about his mom. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. We hear so much about breast cancer, and it is so funded, it is easy to forget that people still die from this disease. MD lost his mom to breast cancer this past year. I believe it was April 2006.
It is important to remember that lung cancer can affect anyone, even a non-smoker, anyone can get breast cancer. Men typically do not get mammograms, but like women, they can do a monthly self-check to make sure there are no lumps in their chest region. Despite all you hear about breast cancer, there is still no cure!
I am sure after reading MD's story, you would not want to see any loved one have to go through what his mom did. (And if you have a moment, you can see in his comments the effect cancer has had on others as well.)Mom...*(Warning: This isn't his typical style for a post.)
In Honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month...and one of my best friends.
Being breast cancer awareness month, it's bringing about mixed feelings for me. Not that I'd ever declare a month dedicated to breast cancer awareness as stupid, not at all...but just the fact that it raises so many uncomfortable thoughts, I'm kind of feeling....sad and inspired at the same time.
I'll tell you my own personal story for the sole purpose of recognizing how important getting your regular mammogram is. Mainly because I wouldn't wish this on anyone, not even my ex wife and that in itself speaks volumes of the cancer's ability to darken even the brightest of days.
The last month of my Mom's life were the hardest for me. I helped get her in the tub for her baths, I helped set her on the portable toilet we kept by her bed, I helped change her clothes, and Trish and I laid in her bed with her to keep her company. I could understand this if she were 80 years old...but at the time, she was only 56.
For most of her last month, she was incoherent in speech and void of any meaningful conversation.
The night they took her to the hospital for the last time, my sister called Trish and I and told us to come to Mom's house as quick as we could. We showed up and they were "prepping" for her return to the hospital. The last sound I heard issued from Mom's mouth was a scream filled with such agony and pain that I had to turn away. As bad as that sounds, I couldn't look at her. It killed a part of me, mainly because I knew the inevitable was upon us.
Once we reached the hospital, they started the morphine until 4 days later, her last day. I never heard her voice again. The only sounds were of her labored breathing.
I have seen up close and personal the ravishing effects breast cancer has on a person. I have seen eyes that have always shone with such life and optimism turn into windows to one's soul where I could see nothing but sadness and terror. A mouth that had always been so quick to smile and tell you that she loves you, turn into a permanent grimace from the pain endured.
I not only lost my Mom to the vile cancer, I lost an amazing friend who'd call out of the blue and offer to buy me lunch once a week. I lost a guidance counselor and a teacher. I lost an inspiration....a "holy spirit on two feet" as her husband once told me.
On one of her many stays in the hospital, she came shuffling back to her hospital room from the chapel and told us about a family that needed praying for, someone she had met while there praying. I thought "here she is, fighting for her own existance and yet, she's down in the chapel praying for everyone else". That was just her character.....she never changed or waivered from being selfless.
Breast cancer isn't a joke. For your own health and peace of mind, get your yearly mammogram. Breast cancer doesn't just affect the one it inflicts, it takes a part of everyone that's close to that person.
You folks be careful.
Posted by Lynda (Laurianne's Sister) :: 8:52 AM :: 2 people are more aware ---------------------------------------
Tuesday, October 10, 2006For Shame!
I know I promised a Relay for Life continuation weeks ago. Life has been fast paced recently, but I know you will want to hear about how the sherrif came for my uncle and my husband. Those troublemakers!
Today I want to post about showing some restraint. Yesterday, my blog buddy Anne at Supposedly this is good therapy...posted about how she went out to dinner and a family at the next table made FUN of her while she was leaving. I am going to quote Supposedly this is good therapy...: My 300th post here:You know..Ive been thinking that maybe I would do a really nice post for the 300th one. I didnt know it was up next.It amazes me that grown adults would talk about someone with cancer right in front of them. It is one thing to talk about how Auntie Emily had cancer and had to wear something similar on her head. It is a whole other thing to point it out and make a person feel bad.
Unfortunately Im not in a nice post mood.
I am in a blog-about-it mood though. So here goes.
I met AD, Baby Girl and Jackass for dinner tonight at Red Hot and Blue. Dinner was fine until we were leaving. Then (shit you not guys) the family in the booth behind us made fun of me.
Maybe made fun of me is a stretch. They were talking about me right in front of me. And the whole fucking table turned and looked at me. It was like three kids and two parents. And they made it really obvious that they were talking about me and staring at me.
Do you guys know how much that hurts?
And yeah. I was just wearing a scarf thing on my head. So it was really obvious and everything. And Im not trying to hide anything. But I cant believe that they were so obviously rude to me. And I know you guys are thinking that I am exaggerating. But AD noticed it too..and she was bitchy enough to look at them and say "Im sorry..did you say something to us?" and when the mom said no AD said "Yeah..I thought not. " And Im glad that she said that so that they could hopefully be embarassed about it...but really it just embarassed me more.
And I dont know why its bothering me so bad. It just is. I feel like a freak show right now. I cant believe how much it is bothering me. I totally pretended to AD that I didnt care. That they were just assholes. That I wasnt really hurt..just angry. But its opposite.
I just dont want to be like this anymore.
Part of me thinks that I look worse than what I see..you know? Like I am picturing an upgraded version. So I dont know to think right now.
I know Im being petty. I just really wish that they could have talked about me after I left. I dont know why it was so important to have everyone at their table turn and look at me while I was still there.
Stupid fuckers. Okay. Maybe I am a little angry too.
Sometimes it just takes a little reminder. Don't point, don't stare, don't make rude remarks. People like Anne are fighting a battle. Hair loss is just one of the battle scars. If you need to talk about it, wait until the person has left the room, at the very least.
Of course, I do like to think that these people are more of the exception than the rule. At least I hope so.
Posted by Lynda (Laurianne's Sister) :: 7:51 AM :: 2 people are more aware ---------------------------------------