Thursday, October 8, 2020

O.J. Simpson - an American Tragedy

I just watched a TV show made recently, called. "OJ and Nicole: An American Tragedy".  I'm sure we all remember the football player, OJ Simpson and how he was accused of murdering his ex-wife and boyfriend.  This TV show, played the trial in which Simpson was accused.  He was later acquited because they had no evidence except a drop of Simpson's blood (he had a small cut on his finger and this was supposed to prove that he had committed a pair of very bloody murders???) and a pair of gloves supposedly left by the murderer which did not fit Simpson's large hands.  Evidence was brought forth that he had hit Nicole on some occasions but according to the photos of injuries, and considering what a strong man Simpson was, he had never delivered any serious injuries, not even bad bruises. We were never allowed to hear Simpson's side of the story.  They were divorced when the murder was committed and with a lack of evidence, Simpson was acquitted.  Later his ex-wife's family sued him for liability of the wrongful death of their daughter and sister and were awarded 33 million dollars to be paid by Simpson.  Simpson, likely broke after that, tried a robbery, was caught and went to prison for a few years.  What struck me was, if he hadn't been African American, he would have likely not been accused, let alone, instructed to basically pay what money he'd made to the family.  The show was biased against Simpson and even at that, I saw little reason why he was accused at all.  Bottom line, if he had not been African American, this case would have likely never gone to court.  I, even as a Caucasian person, am really weary of the ongoing prejudice against African Americans.  Because God made us in different colors?  Cut any of us open and we all look the same under the skin!  My heart goes out to O.J. Simpson.  Despite what was likely difficult odds, he made a great career and was a great athlete.  And got a raw deal as do many African Americans.  Like Martin Luther King's niece says "We are all of ONE race - the human race!"


Thursday, October 18, 2018

Preventing dementia and Alzheimer

Alsheimers and dementia are on the rise in our aging society, but scientists, not any closer to a cure, are focusing on prevention...which appears to a simply a healthy lifestyle with 150 minutes of exercise weekly, both cardio and resistance training, eating more veggies and less food with a high fat content, getting enough sleep, reducing stress, generally staying away from fast food and transfat....these things also are heart healthy and thus, one would wonder why we don’t hear this more often from medical providers....
Here is the link to the article....which is recommended reading...

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Marijuana not a safe drug, ongoing studies find

Ongoing studies find marijuana causes brain damage...
For those who think marijuana is a safe drug, a new article summarizes several studies, including one from 2016 which found that regular users suffered narrowing of the blood vessels to the brain, which could cause brain damage in regular users by slowing the brain’s flow...studies as early as the 1980’s found brain damage in regular marijuana users.
Article from the American Academy of Neurology in 2005....

Here’s the link to the recent article....

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Transgender? Johns Hopkins says biologically impossible!

"Lost in Transition" is a new show on TLC which follows several couples in long term marriages, in which the husband decides he's really female!  He then commences on a regimen of high doses of estrogen (which seriously raises the risk of breast cancer) and testosterone blockers, puts on heavy makeup and wigs etc.  The wives are all suffering... one lady says she fell in love with a guy and cannot stay with her husband who now thinks he's female.  Another lady is trying to stay with the marriage but having a rough time with it, and one of the other couples has decided to divorce if the husband "transitions".  All the wives are having a rough time with their husbands' transitions and the question lingers in my mind - "why would the husband do something like that, to the person they supposedly love and have committed their lives to?".

Statistics tell us that four times as many men, transition to females as do females to males.  Johns Hopkins medical institute reminds us that transgenderism is biologically impossible.

One question, often asked of these female wannabes, is "how long have you felt this way?"  Most of them say they had these feelings since childhood and their parents reacted in various ways.  Many parents were judgmental of their kids with transgender feelings, some becoming extremely punishing, applying the strap etc.  Which of course, did the opposite of what they intended.  The head psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins states that 80% of children have transgender feelings.  I remember I told my mother I wanted to grow up to be a male and she laughed and said I had no choice in the matter and that was that.  She was a very wise lady! 

All of these couples seem ignorant of the biological truth - that you cannot change genders because the gender is coded into all five billion cells of our bodies... simply put, in the DNA, males have an XY combination and females have an XX combination.

I have known several "transgender" males and they are still male... in their mannerisms, in the way they transact with other people, even in the way they cross their legs.

Let's look at a few "transgenders", I've known in the past.  One of them, a handsome young man, began calling himself "Alice".  I chatted with him and told him, "You know you are a handsome guy - why would you want to mutilate yourself?" Turns out, he hadn't thought he was handsome because he had a sensitive face etc.  I told him if I wasn't married, I'd go for him.  After several talks with me, he went back to being a male! 

Another, older gent, had fought in Vietnam and one order he was given was to blow away an entire village, men, women and children.  He came home and decided to be "transgender".  I asked him if it was that as a woman, he would never again have to face the horrors of war, and he admitted that was a large part of it. 

Another fellow, was confused because he was a sensitive, highly intelligent person who felt he was more female than male because of his interests.  But he felt male also and was attracted to females - he just wanted to fit in.  I had long chats with him also, assuring him that because of his very high level of intelligence, he would never fit in so he should simply deal with it.

Finally, another fellow I knew quite well, decided at one point that he was a woman - he was the owner of a bike show I frequented.  He ended up dying of breast cancer a couple of years after he "transitioned", a result of the large amounts of female hormones required in male to female trangenders.

Bottom line - these individuals, usually sensitive artistic types, need to be chatted with and reassured that instead of mutilating their bodies and dressing in costume, they should understand and celebrate the concept of human diversity.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Care giving and me

My hubby by Feb 2014, had had 3 strokes. He had lost some brain and could no longer drive, but still was a great best friend...we’re in our 51 year of marriage and both are 73 years old... what he didn’t tell me was he was suffering a lot of angina, like for 2 hours at a time. Finally, diabetic and like many men, non compliant to a healthy diet and exercise (he hates veggies and loves fast food and although he was about 30 lbs overweight, he could get away with things like pizza etc, which I hadn’t been able to eat since High School) ... I have a weak gall bladder and a hiatal hernia and a hereditary condition called eosinophilic esophagitis which causes immune challenge and narrowing of the esophagus.... He seemingly got away with his less than healthy lifestyle...he first experienced erectile dysfunction in 1994 which the doctor laughed at and offered him, Viagra...(great for a diabetic prone to heart disease right...😩😩) ED is actually was the first symptom of vascular disease and CAD... no medical provider ever warned a toe turned black in 2016, we were totally unprepared for what was to the ER, they gave him a heart cath test (I later found out that when there is blockage in the legs, there is likely blockage in the heart - another thing no one ever warned me about) and announced to me that he needed a quadruple coronary bypass! Imagine my shock --- he walked into the hospital and seemed "OK".  *sigh*  They also did a popliteal to femoral bypass in the left groin and amputated 3 toes. He came home for a couple of days in the end of February, 2016 but with no wound care, so he came down with septicemia and osteomyelitis and back to the a toe on the right foot turned black!  He lived but was 8 months in the hospital and came home sort of a different person...even his voice had changed, was more high pitched, probably from intubation...and I was thrust into the role of caregiver and had no clue how hard that would be! Not only losing my best friend but tons of work, living with being very tired etc.and grieving the life we had together only a year previously.  He came home from the hospital in November 2016 and I am just getting over the grieving. The shock of a new life in the last few months...very difficult...probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever done in my life but I AM feeling better now and enjoying life more...I suffered depression though, for a long time. I want to write about this because no one prepares you for things like this, and least of all, the medical profession.  I watch TV with him...he’s lost large parts of his brain so I have to explain the story on TV to him often ...I do my workouts...40 minutes a day or 50 minutes and that’s my “me” time, important for care givers. I take a short drive in the car also some days, errands but also "Me time". I sneak some therapy in for him, like hugs for his upper body (he loves that), making him walk to the kitchen, he uses a walker, for his meals, changing his “briefs” while he’s standing up and I do have a CNA come in twice a week to give him a “bed bath.”  I take it a day at a time...sometimes an hour at a time...all we can do. Caregiving is hard! But there is life after the first difficulties.  We even go out together on mobility scooters (those are really nice) and his favorite outing is a scooter ride ending up in a fast food place (what can I say... he still loves fast food... I have been on a low fat diet since 1994 so I don't indulge except an occasional Wendy's junior frostee -only 165 calories and yes, I count my calories daily to keep my weight down - am 9 lbs below my WW goal and about 11 lbs higher than what my physician wants but frankly I don't think I'll ever get down there again. The current WW program doesn't work for me.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Gilenya (Fingolimod) for MS - worth the side effects?

Gilenya, or Fingolimod, was originally developed to treat cancer but in the trials, was considered "unsafe" (too many side effects) for cancer patients.

So now they are really pushing it (heavy TV advertising) for MS (Multiple Sclerosis).

It's, at best, what they call a "disease reducing" drug meaning, it MAY reduce the symptoms of MS and now they apparently have a couple of trials of short duration (1 or 2 years) suggesting this in some patients. Were you to read the trials, you would likely, find they were on newly diagnosed patients who don't have many relapses anyway.  But the side effects, if you read them through, should scare anyone away from this drug (especially if one considers that it was too dangerous for cancer patients!).

Here are some of the side effects...

1. the slowing of heart rate (especially after the first dose). In the safety info they warn the patient to get an ECG to make sure all is OK.  Good stuff, not! Heartrate "usually returns to normal rate". Usually is not "always" and patients are warned to immediately seek attention if they feel dizzy or tired or feel like their hearts are beating slowly. They suggest 24 hour monitoring for the first dose at least. UH, I don't think trading heart disease for a slight reduction of symptoms would be worth this drug, and living with someone with heart disease, I can attest to the fact, it's not pretty.  MS patients are often desperate enough to grab at straws... this one may not be worth grabbing at.

2. But we are not done with side effects.  People with MS tend to have a compromised immune system so I'm not sure they will be pleased to find out that Gilenya might FURTHER compromise their immune system that is, they may get other diseases (including meningitis). Just what you always wanted, right? So the safety info says to warn your doctor if you are feeling confusion, dizziness, neck stiffness, or light sensitivity. (which you can have anyway with MS).

3. Gilenya can cause a usually rare but serious illness called PML because it works by reducing ALL the lymphocyte cells in your blood.  The lymphocytes are kind of like the police officers which go through the blood stream searching for invader bacteria - they attack the bacteria before it can cause a lot of damage.  You don't want to reduce these cells.  They are important and especially in folks with weakened immune systems to begin with. Symtoms of PML can include, lack of balance, weakness on one side of your body, or trouble using your arms and legs (according to the Gilenya safety info)

4. Macular edema or swelling of the macula part of the eye can also occur with this drug, causing vision problems including blurriness, shadows or a blind spot in the middle of your eye.

5. Swelling or narrowing of the blood vessels of the brain which they warn, in the safety info, can cause a stroke (and you do NOT want a stroke which can cause serious disability ADDED to any disability MS may be causing or worse.).

6. Gilenya can also cause shortness of breath or breathing problems.

7. And liver problems - Gilenya can cause liver problems too.

8. Finally last but not least, Gilenya can cause cancer (basal cell carcinoma) so you have to be on constant cancer watch.

A no brainer is, if you are pregnant (which if you have MS you should consider NOT being), Gilenya can harm the unborn baby.

And for all these risks, you are not guaranteed, it's going to help your MS.  The safety info states it CAN cut down MS relapses by 50% - Those don't seem good odds for me.

Not when the old advice the MS society used to give (before they were uh, "romanced" by the pharmaceuticals) of "some sitting, some standing, some lying down" worked the best (with no medications!).  MS typically starts earlier in life than diagnosed - sometimes even in kids and runs a course of about 25 years (as long as it takes your body to replace the lyphocyte B cells some of which are affected by the virus).  It's well worth waiting it out because after it runs its course, you can pretty much regain your former health.  I know that from experience.

Buyer beware - be very careful because in today's crazy society, risky medications are being heavily sold on TV. Knowing that MS goes into arrest after 25 years, if carefully handled, may make it worth waiting for and light range of motion exercises while you are waiting, are a good idea in addition to good diet, lots of rest and patience. And perhaps not indulging in a medication which isn't all that effective and can cause side effects you don't want.

Sadly, some MS patients are desperate for immediate relief of symptoms - so they don't bother reading the small print - I met a lady who had 2 boys and was using a wheelchair.  When she told me she was on "Gilenya", I said,"But that's a risky medication." Her response?  "Who cares", she said, shrugging her shoulders.

Bottom line, medicine is a business, first and foremost.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Medications which can cause hearing loss and balance impairment...

According to an article in the AARP Magazine, certain medications, including some antibiotics used for serious infections like Septicemia, can permanently impair balance and cause hearing loss. Also included in the group of medications causing damage to hearing and balance are large amounts of pain killing NSAIDs like acetaminophen, ibuprofen etc... To check the list of medications, click here.