Is Motorcycle Use Linked to Cancer? – Part II

November 30, 2007 by  
Filed under CANCER

Earlier this week, I talked about Randall Dale Chipkar’s awkwardly entitled book, “Are Motorcycles Killing Us With Cancers of the Prostate, Colon, Kidney, Bone, Etc?” which claims to link motorcycle use to cancer.

At the time that I wrote that post, Chipkar’s promotional website (found here) didn’t seem to have much up other than a press release and a checkout cart to buy the book. However, I found that Chipkar’s been shilling a protective motorcycle shield for those who buy into the EMF theory:

From Strange New Products:

“EMF” stands for electromagnetic field. [Chipkar] claims that EMFs can cause cancer, and that motorcycles are emitting enough of these EMFs to put riders in danger. His EMF shield can be fitted inside a motorcycle seat to provide riders with “peace of mind”.


And, that’s how scare tactics work as a marketing technique, folks. Like I said earlier, I’ll believe the claims when I see the data.

Can this metal shield decrease bikers’ incidence of cancer? Leave us your opinion in the comment section! Also, don’t miss our upcoming content makeover, including regular features like Research Roundup, Living with Cancer, and Ask the Experts. Subscribe to our RSS feed!

Heat-Holding Knee Sleeve May Alleviate Arthritis Pain

November 29, 2007 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

According to preliminary testing of a team from the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, a heat-retaining sleeve worn around the knee is useful in reducing joint pain and stiffness in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee.

Said Dr. Steven A. Mazzuca of Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis and colleagues:

Although there is support for the use of heat in treating osteoarthritis pain, there have been few controlled studies in knee osteoarthritis.

To investigate further, the researchers randomly assigned 52 people with knee arthritis to use a special heat-retaining infrared-reflective knee sleeve or a cotton-based sleeve.

Because statistically, the improvement in pain was not significantly different from that produced with a standard cotton sleeve – which may indicate the further investigation is necessary.

After 4 weeks of use, people given the heat-retaining sleeve reported a 16 percent decrease in their score on a standard osteoarthritis index. Participants using the cotton sleeve reported a 9.7 percent decrease — a difference that was not statistically significant.

Subjects who correctly believed that they were given the heat-retaining sleeve, reported a 27.5 percent drop in the osteoarthritis score. Those who had the new sleeve but believed they had been given one made of cotton reported a 13 percent score reduction.

Therefore the researchers concluded: although this pilot study was “insufficiently powered” to give definitive results, the outcome shows that the heat-retaining sleeve “merits further scientific investigation.”

Findings are reported in the October 15th issue of Arthritis and Rheumatism.


Getting Something Off My Chest: A Mother and Daughter’s Opposing Outlooks on Mastectomy

November 29, 2007 by  
Filed under CANCER

I’m still stuck here on the couch sick, but I’ve got great news — because she had such a great time guest posting for me last week, Amanda is back to Battling Cancer for another essay.  Having worked directly across her benchtop space for years, I’ve always told her that she’s got way too much personality for her stodgy lab environment.  Maybe I can talk her into joining the ranks of bloggers who actually are encouraged to have a good time on the job!  At the very least, be expecting her and her unique views as a regular contributor for the new content makeover that we’ll be rolling out soon.

I am one of the lucky persons out there who absolutely adores her mother. She is not only my mother, she is my best friend and the one that I turn to when life is just crumbling around me. About 10 years ago, my mom had to have a hysterectomy to correct some problems associated with the birth of my sister (she was messing things up even way back then [Ed. note — just kidding!]). I didn’t really give it much thought until my grandmother developed breast cancer and had to have a mastectomy. To me, it is a no-brainer. Cancer in boob, get rid of boob. End of cancer = happy me.

The surgery was extremely upsetting to my mom, though. She swore to me that if she developed breast cancer, she would not get a mastectomy, no matter what the prognosis was. She said that if she were to lose her breasts, too, there would be no parts of her left that made her a woman. Naturally, I sat there in shock. How could my mom not opt to save her life? They are just breasts! You can survive without breasts! In this day and age, they can replace them, and make them perkier to boot. I even offered to go through the procedure with her. I would gladly give up both my breasts to save my mom. No matter how much I argued, she would not back down, and to this day maintains that in the event of cancer, she will proceed without the mastectomy, even if it means certain death. I cannot comprehend how anyone would take this kind of gamble with their life, but the ultimate choice is hers, and I have to respect that. Read more

Possible Complications From Diabetes

November 29, 2007 by  
Filed under DIABETES

One of the possible tragic consequences of diabetes is the effects the disease has on various organs and body functions. They cover a wide range of systems and conditions. Fortunately, most are treatable and/or manageable.


Hypoglycemia, for example, is a common side effect of diabetes medications. Since diabetes is characterized by too much glucose in the blood (hyperglycemia), treating it can produce too low a level (hypoglycemia). It can be mild and adjustable by changing diet or medications. But careful monitoring of blood glucose levels is essential to proper management.

Heart Disease and Stroke

Cardiovascular problems are more likely among those who suffer from diabetes. High glucose levels can gradually lead to increases of fatty deposits on blood vessels, constricting flow and possibly leading to atherosclerosis (clogging or hardening of the blood vessels). That increases the odds of heart attack or stroke. Those who have diabetes are twice as likely to have heart disease or a stroke, and often at a younger age than average.

Here again, though, the condition can be managed to minimize the odds of heart disease or stroke. An appropriate exercise regimen can help keep your cardiovascular in optimal condition. A heart healthy diet will reduce the odds of atherosclerosis. A good diet also reduces the chances of a stroke. In some cases, simple aspirin treatments may be helpful.

Eye Problems

A variety of eye problems are possible complications of diabetes. Indeed, one of the common symptoms is blurry vision. Excess glucose in the blood draws fluid out of tissues, including the lenses. That makes it more difficult to correctly focus. But there are other areas of the eye that can be affected, as well.

The retina (the lining on the back of the eye) may have its proper function impaired. As a side effect of elevated blood pressure caused by diabetes, small blood vessels in the eye can be damaged. That harms the retina. It may manifest itself in the form of blurry vision, but it can also appear as rings around lights or dark spots in your field of vision.

Careful monitoring of glucose levels and blood pressure can help minimize the odds of eye problems from diabetes. Here again, an appropriate diet, including lowering cholesterol and a good exercise routine will keep blood pressure under control.

Nervous System

One of the follow on effects of continual high blood pressure may be damage to the nervous system. When blood vessels are impaired they’re less efficient at performing that essential function. Blood oxygenates the nerve cells. When deprived they will be impaired.

Controlling blood pressure will help reduce the odds of nervous system problems.


Kidneys help filter the blood to eliminate waste products and remove toxins. Diabetes can impair that filtering function. That may lead to protein leaking out of the kidneys and into the urine where it’s no longer available to the body for useful purposes. On the other hand, since the filtering function is less efficient, some waste products may go back into the bloodstream rather than being eliminated.

Keeping blood glucose level and blood pressure to the right level can help reduce the odds of kidney problems. In some cases, special medication (such as an ACE, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor or ARB, angiotensin receptor blocker) may be appropriate.

In all cases, the best course is to seek professional guidance for diagnosis and the appropriate treatments.

Lyme Disease + Arthritis = Lyme Arthritis

November 29, 2007 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

Caused by a form of bacteria (the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi) infecting humans by tick bites – Lyme Disease – typically begins with a bull’s-eye skin rash, accompanied by fever, muscle aches, or other flu-like symptoms.

Sound scary. BUT, if diagnosed early, Lyme can be treated successfully within a month with either oral or intravenous antibiotics.

What does arthritis have to do with Lyme disease you might ask?

Because if Lyme patients do not receive antibiotic therapy early in the illness, they will develop intermittent or persistent arthritis — particularly affecting the knees.

Nearly 60 percent of patients who do not receive antibiotic therapy early in the illness develop intermittent or persistent arthritis, particularly affecting the knees.

Moreover, a small percentage of Lyme patients who do receive antibiotic therapy suffer from persistent arthritis for months or even several years after 2-3 months of oral and intravenous antibiotic therapy.

This confounding condition has been termed antibiotic-refractory, or slowly resolving, Lyme arthritis.

Therefore to find out more clues in to the survival of spirochetes following antibiotic therapy, researchers at the Center for Immunology and Inflammatory Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and the National Center for Infectious Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, collaborated in order to study antibody responses to Borrelia burgdorferi in patients with antibiotic-refractory or antibiotic-responsive Lyme arthritis.

The said study’s findings – presented in the December 2007 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism – indicate that joint inflammation persists in patients with antibiotic-refractory Lyme arthritis after the disease-spreading spirochetes have been killed.

As observed by Dr. Allen C. Steere, the senior author of the study:

“In Lyme disease, there is a great need for a test that could be used in clinical practice as a marker for spirochetal eradication. Yet, ridding the body of the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria and its surface antigens does not always bring relief from arthritis.

Increasing antibody titers in patients usually suggested the presence of live spirochetes, whereas declining titers suggested that they had been killed.

Thus, patients with Lyme arthritis who have a sustained, gradual decline in antibody reactivity probably have the nearly complete or total eradication of spirochetes from the joint as a result of antibiotic therapy, even if joint inflammation persists after the period of infection.”

Find more details from EurekAlert.

Breast cancer patient gives birth while undergoing chemotherapy

November 28, 2007 by  
Filed under CANCER

Moving from a state inhabited by less than 2 million people to a city that’s home to more than twice those numbers is quite a shock, and little drives that point home more for me than the news.  Since I’ve spent the last few days parked on the couch with my laptop (I’ve got strep throat — it’s my right to stay in my pajamas all day), I’ve seen video footage of arson, murder, suicide, a hostage crisis at the mall, and a building collapsing in on itself.  It can be downright numbing to see all those bad vibes. 

But today, I just heard the most uplifting news from that little clinic down the road:  University of Texas-MD Anderson breast cancer patient Linda Sanchez gave birth to healthy baby Isabella Marie last night after having been in chemotherapy while pregnant.

From the Houston Chronicle:

Isabella became the 70th baby born under a University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center program that once was controversial, but which last year formed the basis of the first national guidelines for the treatment of pregnant women with breast cancer. Until this program, women with cancer who learned they were pregnant were told to abort.

[Isabella] was delivered with a full head of hair, a trademark of babies born in the program and a sign that the chemotherapy doesn’t have the toxic effect on them that leaves their mothers bald.

Sanchez will resume chemotherapy next week, then have surgery at its conclusion. She had six rounds of one therapy, then was off treatment for 7 1/2 weeks before Monday’s delivery. Ultrasounds showed the cancer, which has shrunk to about one-third its original size, didn’t increase during that time.

News like this is truly amazing to me, and I’m sure that everyone at the MDA is buzzing right now.  I’m supposed to be volunteering there today, but opted out due to this annoying cough-wheeze.  Congratulations to the Sanchez family! 

Battling Cancer will soon be getting a content makeover, including regular features like Research Roundup, Living with Cancer, and Ask the Experts.  Don’t miss a thing — subscribe to our RSS feed!

Obesity, Bad for Bone Health

November 28, 2007 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

Since bone health covers osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, I would like to cover bone health in this post.

Already known risk factor for heart disease, diabetes and a host of other health conditions is obesity.

Now, obesity could also be bad for bone health.

Researchers conducted advanced three-dimensional bone scans on 115 women ages 18 and 19 with normal (less than 32 percent) and high (greater than 32 percent) body fat.

After adjusting for differences in muscle mass surrounding the bone, the researchers found that the bones of participants with high body fat were 8 to 9 percent weaker than those of normal body fat participants.

Such were the findings of a new study published by the University of Georgia in the November issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

According to study co-author Richard D. Lewis, professor of foods and nutrition at the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences:

“Obesity is an epidemic in this country, and I think this study is critical because it highlights another potential negative health effect that people haven’t considered.

The fact that the two groups had similar bone strength measures is remarkable in itself, because you would expect it to be higher in the heavier person.

When you’re young you have the capacity to change the shape of your bones, but when you get older you don’t have that capacity.

And because of that, childhood obesity could have a significant, long lasting negative impact on the skeleton.”

As explained Doctoral Candidate Norman Pollock, lead author of the study:

“Muscle exerts force on bones, which stimulates bone growth. Overweight people tend to have more muscle surrounding their bones than their leaner counterparts, leading most researchers to assume that being overweight is good for bone health.

When we corrected for the amount of muscle, we found that the obese person is not making as much bone as they should be for the amount of muscle that they have. People haven’t observed that in the past because they weren’t using the three-dimensional scan.”

Dr. Lewis further explained:

The exact mechanisms by which excess fat hinders bone strength are unclear, but studies of obese rats show that they produce more fat cells in the bone marrow and fewer bone cells.

Since fat and bone cells originate from the same precursor, it may be that fat cell production is favored over bone cell production in obese people.

Well I think it’s just goes that obesity is bad for bone health because as you gain more and more weight in adulthood, your bones in place will not change anymore. Your bones will definitely take the toll of heavy weight because bones do not expand even if your physical body expands with more weight.

Imagine if your knees are buckling (due to arthritis) and you are obese?

Poor bones!

Source: University of Georgia

Mesothelioma: Recent posts from around the web

November 27, 2007 by  
Filed under CANCER

When I was going to college, the university that I attended was undergoing of a full-scale renovation.  Many of the original buildings on campus were crumbling, and although there were new construction and renovation initiatives in place, many students had to attend classes in buildings at the same time that they were being stripped of asbestos.  To bring light to the hazardous situations, professors and students alike wore buttons satirizing the university’s recruiting motto, “Success — Expect it” with “Asbestos — Expect it.”

The main concern for these students, staff, and faculty members was inhaling the dangerous particulate matter was that was so often indicated in cases of mesothelioma.  Mesothelioma is a cancer that affects the lining of mesothelial cells in the chest and abdomen.  Many mesotheliomal cases are found in individuals working in occupational fields where they come in contact with harmful particulate matter in the air, particularly asbestos.  Earlier posts on Battling Cancer discussed both symptoms and difficulties of diagnosis of mesothelioma.

Here’s a collection of useful posts about mesothelioma that I found around the web:

Eden at the Mesothelioma Portal has a great checklist for patients undergoing treatment for mesothelioma to ask their doctors in an article entitled, “Who Treats Mesothelioma?”

The Mesothelioma Blog has an interesting news story about how a car accident resulted in a truck unearthing asbestos in an elementary school classroom.

What does exactly does mesothelioma litigation entail?  Ask Mesothelioma discusses just that very thing in “Mesothelioma Lawyers Know Exactly What is Going On.”  Also, Wika over at  A Cancer Blog has a really useful article on mesothelioma wrongful death lawsuits.

Got an interesting article to share?  I’m link friendly — share it in the comments!

List of Arthritis Treatments Already Mentioned Here at Battling Arthritis

November 26, 2007 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

Since I started this blog, there are already 4 posts wherein arthritis drugs were mentioned or discuss. And so in this resource –type entry, I would like to put those arthritis drugs on the spotlight.


Anti-TNF drugs are drugs that inhibit the tumor necrosis factor (TNF) thereby preventing chronic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Examples of TNF inhibitors that are currently approved by the FDA to be in the market are the following:

Infliximab (Remicade®)– a product of Centocor Pharmaceuticals. A biologic treatment used for the treatment of plaque psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, Chron’s disease in adults, pediatric Chron’s disease, ulcerative colitis and ankylosing spondylitis.

D2E7 Adalimumab (Humira) – a product of Abbott. A medicine called a Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF) blocker, used in adults to reduce the signs and symptoms of:

  • moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in adults. HUMIRA can be used alone or with methotrexate or with certain other medicines. HUMIRA may prevent further damage to your bones and joints and may help your ability to perform daily activities.
  • psoriatic arthritis (PsA). HUMIRA can be used alone or with certain other medicines. HUMIRA may prevent further damage to your bones and joints and may help your ability to perform daily activities.
  • ankylosing spondylitis (AS)
  • moderate to severe Crohn’s disease (CD) in adults who have not responded well to conventional treatments. HUMIRA is also approved for these adults who have lost response or are unable to tolerate infliximab.

Etanercept (Enbrel®) – a product of Amgen and Wyeth and a biologic oral medication for moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis (RA), moderate to severe juvenile rheumatoid arthritisJRA), psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis (AS) and chronic moderate to severe plaque psoriasis.

Read more

Is Motorcycle Use Linked to Cancer?

November 26, 2007 by  
Filed under CANCER

Hi everyone!  I’m back in Texas, and it’s suprisingly cold and rainy here.  We actually turned our heater on rather than the A/C for the first time, and the shock to our temperature control set the smoke alarm off.  Annoying, yes, but it’s nice to know that it’s not just my burnt pumpkin pies that are putting the smoke detecter to work 🙂 

Anyway, back to business.  While scouring the internet for the latest developments in cancer as I so faithfully do, I came across an interesting story on an online magazine devoted to London Bikers covering an upcoming book that attempts to draw a link between motorcycles and cancer.  


The claims come from a new book by Randall Dale Chipkar entitled, Motorcycle Cancer:  Are Motorcycles Killing Us With Cancers of the Prostate, Colon, Kidney, Bone, Etc?  According to the book’s promotional website, extremely low frequency electromagnetic field radiation is the silent culprit for a host of different cancers.  

While I generally avoid travelling on anything that doesn’t have a protective steel cage around it, my husband’s family is deeply embedded in motorcycle culture.  Harleys, dirt bikes, rides, and races — they’ve done it all, so I have a vested interest.  But clunky headline aside, I just don’t buy what Chipkar’s selling.  While it makes for a good spook tactic (a silent monster — between my legs!), there is not one single study to date that links motorcycle electromagnetic radiation and cancer on PubMed, the single largest repository for peer-reviewed medical studies and scientific journal articles.  There is, however, one 2004 Taiwanese study that correlates motorcycle exhaust to hormonal effects in breast cancer cell lines and female rats  (Take home message to all who ride:  try not to breathe the fumes.) Read more

Leg Exercises

November 25, 2007 by  
Filed under OBESITY

What kind of leg exercises you do will, of course, depend on your goal. Are you trying to build massive thighs or heart-shaped calves? Do you want to build strength, increase running endurance or improve balance and flexibility? Are you a weight-lifter, a jogger or a ballerina?

Naturally, not all goals are mutually exclusive. Building strength can combine well with improving balance, for example. Having toned, strong leg muscles helps keep joints stable and improves appearance.

Remember that any strenuous exercise should be done only after a warm-up period that includes stretching.


One of the best exercises for toning and strengthening leg muscles is ‘spinning’, using a stationary bike. Using an ordinary bicycle is good too, but the exercise is less controllable and involves a lot of other muscle groups.

A 15-minute spin will help tone the calves, hamstrings and quads, improve joint flexibility and (sometimes) reduce cellulite and fat. It’s also a great cardiovascular activity so you get two for the price of one when you spin.

Knee Exercises

If you want something a little less vigorous, say you only want to help strengthen the knee, here are a couple of options.

This first one is really good for those who suffer from conditions such as chondromalacia patella. That’s a roughening of the cartilage underneath the knee cap, sometimes as the result of the bones not sitting properly in the ‘V’ of the knee joint.

Sit in a chair, back straight but not tensed. Your leg should be bent at 90 degrees, the thigh parallel to the ground, the lower leg vertical. Tense the thigh, hold for 5 seconds then release. Switch legs and repeat. Do 10 reps for each leg. Easy, huh!

Be sure to breathe normally during the exercise.

Another exercise does a little more to build strength in the muscles that control bending at the knee.

Sit up straight and breathe normally, then cross your legs at the ankle. Push forward with the rear leg and back with the front leg. (A little tricky at first, but think about it!)

Switch legs by reversing the direction of the cross. If the right leg was in front, move it to the rear. Repeat the exercise 10 times for each position.

Calf Burns

Now for something a little more strenuous.

Depending on your balance and the surface you’re standing on, you may need to do this on a mat or carpet, or on a wooden floor. Avoid using a cement or metal floor.

Stand up straight, heels together, toes slightly apart. Make sure you are well-balanced.

Lift the heels, balancing on the balls of your feet. Imagine a string attached to the center of your head pulling you up. Hold for 5 seconds, then lower slowly. Repeat 10 times. Over time, as you build strength and balance, increase the length of time you’re on the balls of the feet.

Vary the action by bending slightly at the knee while you still have the heels raised. This will bring the thighs (quadriceps or ‘quads’ and hamstrings) as well as the buttocks into play. Straighten up, then lower the heels. Repeat 10 times.

Among the many health benefits of strong, flexible legs there is one that is especially important for the older crowd. Many falls lead to broken hips, one of the leading causes of severe health problems for the elderly. A long-term practice of keeping the legs in shape will help prevent this later in life.

Combined Meds, Often Best Therapy Against Rheumatoid Arthritis

November 24, 2007 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

According to a new report by researchers at the RTI International-University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Evidence-based Practice Center (sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality), combining one well-known, lower-cost synthetic drug with one of six biologic medications — often works best to reduce joint swelling or tenderness in rheumatoid arthritis patients.

Researchers reviewed published evidence to compare the benefits and harms of three classes of medications: synthetic disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDS), biologic DMARDs, and corticosteroids.

Synthetic DMARDS include hydroxychloroquine, leflunomide, methotrexate, and sulfasalazine; biologic DMARDS include abatacept, adalimumab, anakinra, etanercept, infliximab, rituximab; and corticosteroids include drugs such as prednisone.

The report concluded that combining methotrexate, a synthetic DMARD, with one of the biologic DMARDs works better than using methotrexate or a biologic DMARD alone.

The report also found that methotrexate works as effectively as the biologic DMARDs adalimumab and etanercept for patients who have early rheumatoid arthritis.

Adalimumab and etanercept are more likely, however, to show better short-term results as measured by X-rays of joints. The report also emphasized that biologic DMARDs and methotrexate increase the risk of serious infection, including a reoccurrence of tuberculosis.

We already know that rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease affecting about 2 million Americans – of unknown cause that often begins with fatigue, morning stiffness, weakness, and muscle aches. And then eventually, joint pain appears (pain may affect the wrists, knees, elbows, fingers, toes, ankles or neck).

According to AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D:

“Rheumatoid arthritis is a painful, degenerative disease that affects people of all ages and can profoundly impact quality of life. This report establishes a clear, unbiased summary of what is known about current treatments. It also identifies areas where more research is needed.”

The following are also additional important findings in the said report, according to Katrina Donahue, M.D., M.P.H. (assistant professor of family medicine in the UNC School of Medicine and a fellow in the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research at UNC and is lead author of the report):

  • Combining prednisone with the synthetic DMARD hydroxychloroquine, methotrexate or sulfasalazine works better than using only a synthetic DMARD to reduce joint swelling and tenderness and to improve function.
  • No meaningful clinical differences can be found between methotrexate and either leflunomide or sulfasalazine.
  • Combining the synthetic DMARDs methotrexate and sulfasalazine is no more effective than using just one of the medications for patients with early rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Not enough evidence exists to determine whether combining two biologic DMARDs is more effective than using one biologic DMARD.
  • About 17 of every 1,000 people taking a biologic DMARD for 3 to 12 months have a serious infection. Combining two biologic DMARDs can increase the risk.
  • Among biologic DMARDS, rates of painful injection site reactions are more common for anakinra (67 percent) than for etanercept (22 percent) or adalimumab (18 percent).

Find more details from UNC at Chapel Hill.

Typhoon “Mina” Changed Course

November 23, 2007 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

Hello. I’m reporting back. Huge thanks to Hart for letting you guys know. Last night, the electricity here went back so we thought it is a sign of good news. We were like hawk watching the typhoon update on the internet. Last night typhoon Mina was stationary some 200 kms west off Catanduanes (Philippines) island. Which we do not excatly know if that is completely good — because stationary typhoons are gaining more strength.

And it was unusually calm night. You know, that calm before the storm, it’s really scary.

More scary for us because our house is far from secured, we have slowly built it and far from being furnished. After typhoon Milenyo last year, most of my blogging $ went to house building. The US$-PhP exchange last year was 56 that went down to 50 PhP to 1 $. Ask me how much is 1 US $ now? 42 PhP (pesos).


By the looks of it, we haven’t really completely recovered from typhoon Milenyo and now Mina was threatening us. Thank God it changed course this morning and is now moving North-West of Catanduanes – meaning it is not going to hit the Bicol region. Not that it is good that other regions will be hit. We really hope that will get out the Philippine vicinity and explode over the seas before it pester another country.

It maybe unheard of in other countries, but when Milenyo struck us last year, we didn’t have electricity for 4 months. 4 months! Imagine?! I needed to work in internet cafes running on electric generators. It as awful, not to mention expensive.

So, you really cannot blame me if got hugely scared because I didn’t want to go through all that. I do not know if I will still have the energy, I might be cursing each and every minute. Besides, I don’t want for this (see photo below) to go up like smoke. I would hate to start to square one.


Not that its’ all bright and shiny already, in fact it is still dark and gloomy and a bit windy. But all that matters is that there is electricity and I am online. 😉

Addiction Recovery Tip #8 – Home Improvement

November 23, 2007 by  
Filed under ADDICTION

By Dusty Lindemann

Home improvement doesn’t just mean improving your house. The analogy relates directly to your own life in recovery. When you are in recovery from addiction, you are making improvements to your mind, body and spirit. If you don’t tune your mind, body and spirit on a daily basis you may jeapordize your recovery journey. Let’s examine this analogy together.

One of the things that a recovering addict may overlook in the course of their recover are small details like methodologies to manage cravings, control triggers and in building a support system. Obviously, if you overlook these details you may relapse. Think about how you might relate this to our analogy.

For example, if you wanted to paint a room in your house and you forgot the paint, the room wouldn’t look new again, right? No, it wouldn’t. So don’t forget what addiction recovery means. When you get educated about recovery from addiction, it isn’t just words and instructions in your head. Recovery from addiction is an art form that you must execute on a daily basis. It’s no different from applying paint on the walls of your house to make it look new again.

Remember, you CAN and WILL recover if you train yourself in applying the techniques of recovery on a daily basis. It’s all about application and not just observation. If you are dedicated to getting into recovery, you must walk the walk and not just talk the talk. There’s always something you can do to improve your recovery process. What can you do right now? Stop reading and start doing.

Dusty Lindemann writes for SOBRIETY TV at
If you or someone you love is suffering from addiction, please visit this website to learn about recovery and what you can do to stay clean and sober.

Article Source:

Walking Off The Pain—Symptoms, Diagnosis, And Treatment Of Foot Arthritis

November 23, 2007 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

Dear Readers …

Your regular author Gloria D. Gamat resides in the area where Super Typhoon Mina hit the Bicol Philippines region last night and may be without electricity for a short while. Our thoughts are with her and her family and we hope to see her back here as soon as practical! In the meantime, I will be filling in with a few articles here and there until Gloria returns. // HART (1-800-HART)

Arthritis can affect many different areas of the body—the hands, shoulders, legs, and even the feet. In fact, two of the most common joints affected by arthritis are the foot and ankle. This can be extremely painful, and it can take a great toll on the affected person’s ability to walk. However, by knowing the symptoms of foot arthritis, you can receive a diagnosis and treatment plan sooner rather than later.

Symptoms Of Foot Arthritis

There are several symptoms of foot arthritis, and many of them depend on which specific joint in the foot is affected. Some of the most common symptoms are:

* tenderness or pain in the area
* reduced motion or stiffness
* swelling of the foot joints
* also, it will most likely become difficult to move or walk.

Your Doctor’s Diagnosis

Once you begin experiencing symptoms of foot arthritis, you should consult your doctor for an official diagnosis. Your doctor will first review your medical history, and giving you a physical examination. During the exam, he or she will most likely ask you questions such as: “When did the pain start?” “Is it worse at night?” “Have you ever had an injury to your foot or ankle?” “Is the pain in one or both feet?” “Where is the pain centered?” These questions will help your doctor to make a diagnosis.

If this information does not help your doctor to make a diagnosis, than he or she might resort to one or more tests to help with this process. A gait analysis is a common test that shows the alignment of the bones in your foot and leg as you walk. It also measures your stride and the strength of your feet and ankles.

An additional diagnostic tool that might be used is an x-ray, which can show changes in the shape or spacing of bones. Other tools include: a bone scan, computed technology, scan, or magnetic resonance image (MRI).

Treating Foot Arthritis

Once you’ve been diagnosed, the next step is to treat the condition. Foot arthritis can be treated in both surgical and non-surgical ways. To reduce swelling, it is important to take pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications. You can also put an insert, such as an arch support or pad, inside your shoe. Other methods of treatment include: wearing a custom-made shoe, using an ankle-foot orthosis, using a cane, using a brace, or participating in a physical therapy program.

If all non-surgical options have been exhausted, then you should consider consulting your doctor about some of the surgery options that are available. These options include: arthrodesis (fusion), arthroplasty (joint replacement), and arthroscopic debridement.

In The Know

In order to nip foot arthritis in the bud before it starts to affect your quality of life, you should be aware of all the symptoms and treatment options.

Addiction Recovery Tip #7 – Reconnect

November 22, 2007 by  
Filed under ADDICTION

By Dusty Lindemann

Anyone who has ever been addicted to a drink, smoke or a drug has a story to tell about someone they’ve hurt in the past. It could be a friend, family member, co-worker, neighbor or someone you don’t even know. At some point in your recovery, you should take responsibility for the pain you may have inflicted on others or for the way you isolated yourself and lost touch with your peers.

Reconnect with people you’ve lost touch with. Often times when we have an addiction it overtakes other areas of our lives. This can lead to lost contact with old friends or relatives. Make a pact with yourself to call someone each week that you’ve lost touch with. If they seem hesitant to hear from you because they were aware of your addiction, explain that you’ve overcome it and you are working on improving your life. This is also a great technique to try when you are alone and feeling tempted. Hearing the joy in someone’s voice when they realize you are trying to make a positive change is a great impetus for staying clean.

This might be someone you were once very close with or even an old college buddy. Regardless of how much time has passed between conversations or contact, people are generally genuinely excited to hear from someone from their past. It’s also a great way to remind yourself of who you were before the addiction owned your life. This is a great method of reminding yourself of why people enjoyed your company before your addiction and it will likely inspire you to want to be a newer, better and stronger version of the person you were before.

Dusty Lindemann writes for SOBRIETY TV at
If you or someone you love is suffering from addiction, please visit this website to learn about recovery and what you can do to stay clean and sober.

Article Source:

Happy Thanksgiving from Battling Cancer!

November 22, 2007 by  
Filed under CANCER


Happy Thanksgiving!  As I mentioned earlier this week, I’ll be spending today feasting with my husband, parents, brother, and sister then resting and digesting snuggled up on a couch.

As our family has just recently suffered the sudden loss of a loved one, I’ve really been humbled by how much I have to be thankful for:  a truly amazing family that is all in reasonably good health, safe and warm shelter, fantastic career opportunities, and wonderful friends that will pinch hit for me in an emergency.  These last few months have been topsy turvy with a big cross country move and career change, and I’m especially thankful to HART for being such a patient and encouraging teacher during my first month blogging here at Battling Cancer

Now that I’ve officially been writing for a month, I have to say that it’s been quite an experience.  I’ve written a lot about cancer prevention, research, and even my own personal experiences.  For your reading enjoyment, here is a short list of my most popular posts: 

What Your Friends and Family With Cancer Want You to Know

Cancer Patients Pay Less for Surgeries, Feel Better When Hypnotized

Volunteer for Breast Cancer!  Six Ways You Can Start Today

25 Financial Assistance Resources for Cancer Patients, Survivors, and Care Givers

Please let me know which ones you’d like best and what kind of things you’d like to hear about in the future in the comments!  Read more

Avoid Workout Injuries

November 22, 2007 by  
Filed under OBESITY

From some trainers ‘No pain, no gain’ really means ‘you should feel some pain’. While mild discomfort is to be expected, especially for those just beginning a new fitness routine, pain is a natural warning sign. Pay attention to it.

A good workout routine will test you, but shouldn’t damage you. As muscles get used, especially somewhat beyond their usual range, lactic acid, micro-tears and other physiological changes occur that result in muscles being built up stronger than before.

But if you are experiencing back pain, neck aches, knee joint soreness and other symptoms, you should consult with an expert. Your technique may be wrong, you may be trying to do too much, too soon, or you may have a medical problem that should be addressed.

Work up to any vigorous routine slowly. How slowly will vary from person to person, depending on age, experience, prior exercise routines and overall fitness. Get muscles warm and limber before cranking it up. Most strains and rips result from being too cold and not stretching, or extending more than you’re ready for.

Warm-ups should take at least 15 minutes and include very gentle jogging in place or jumping jacks to get the cardio and lung systems working well. They should include some slow, gradual stretching to get joints lubricated and muscles relaxed and gently lengthened. Warm-ups that are too short can easily lead to stretched or torn cartilage that takes a long time to heal.

Don’t let inexperienced trainers, or so-called ‘friends’ embarrass you into believing you have to get out and run five miles two weeks after an injury, surgery or other debilitating condition. Physical therapy and exercise sometimes requires that you work against discomfort, but you don’t leap over tall buildings the first day out.

Every person committed to fitness will want to push him or herself to achieve excellence. But an attitude that leads to overdoing it is counter-productive to your goal. You’re working to improve or maximize health and overall body tone and strength – not proving you are ‘mentally tough’.

Before you begin a new routine that involves activities that are unfamiliar, get guidance from an expert. Next to bad warm-ups or overdoing it, incorrect technique is the leading cause of injury. If you don’t know how to use a station at the weight machine correctly, don’t be embarrassed to ask. No one is born with this knowledge. Anyone who mocks you for ignorance, isn’t someone whose opinions you have reason to heed.

Be aware of your environment while you go through your routine. It’s easy to get into a rhythm, get concentrated on your workout and end up crashing into a wall or a nearby person. Jogging especially requires that you pay attention to the surface you run on and the people and cars around you. No shoe in existence will keep you from slipping on a muddy patch. Only awareness and good reflexes can help.

Stay within your comfort zone as you gradually expand it. One of the foremost reasons people give up on workouts is injuries produced by working beyond their capacity. That makes working out no longer fun. Building up, while you build out, to increase your ability to do more, faster will keep you going for years to come.

Your health will thank you for exercising common sense, while you exercise your body.

Addiction Recovery Tip #6 – Substitution

November 21, 2007 by  
Filed under ADDICTION

By Dusty Lindemann

Many people in recovery look for a substitute to their addiction to maintain their recovery. If you do this however, you should find a healthy substitute. Here is an example of a healthy way to support your recovery from addiction.

If your addiction was to nicotine, there are many substitutes to take its place. Consider sucking on peppermints or chewing sugar-free gum. If you were addicted to alcohol, having a water bottle nearby or switching to diet soda will help. You need to find something to replace the substance you’ve vowed to remove from your life.

You may need some help with this and there are a lot of great resources out there. One is to consult with a medical professional. This is particularly pertinent if you were one of the many folks addicted to prescription medications. A qualified doctor will be able to suggest methods of moving past the pain you may be feeling; the same pain that drew you to the medication in the first place.

Be mindful of not turning to food as a replacement. There’s an old adage that suggests that once a person gives up smoking, they pack on the pounds. This isn’t all that far from the truth. Sugar is a great way to get a quick, albeit innocent rush. Too much sugar will eventually cause havoc with your body and you’ll likely notice the scale inching up. Instead turn to another substitute and save healthy foods for your meals.

Dusty Lindemann writes for SOBRIETY TV at
If you or someone you love is suffering from addiction, please visit this website to learn about recovery and what you can do to stay clean and sober.

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Caffeine-spiked mice rock out on tiny treadmills, increase anti-cancer cellular effects

November 21, 2007 by  
Filed under CANCER


When I was a kid growing up in Connecticut, I had to start my day quite early in order to make it to the school bus on time.  My bleary-eyed dad was usually responsible for making me breakfast in those morning hours, so for years I started out my day with a cup of black coffee and a crossword puzzle.

Twenty years later, I still start my day out with a cup of joe.  Without it, I can be just plain mean.  Recently, I started running, as I have discovered that my metabolism is just not what it used to be.  Those late night binges were really starting to show, and in lieu of buying a whole new wardrobe, I decided that I would just have to start working the pounds off the old fashioned way. 

You can see, then, why I was so happy to read up on a recent study stating that both caffeine and exercise have been shown to decrease the development of skin cancer in mice.  As my friend Amanda says, it’s a freebie!  Read more

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.