Monday, January 30, 2006

Flu Wiki and Cytokines

Flu Wiki - Science - Cytokine Storm

The Flu Wiki is an excellent place to find information on what to expect from a Flu Pandemic, how to prepare, and where to get more information.

Cytokines are just MY thing.

Religion Sex and HPV

Effect Measure: ". . . how can you not be for a cancer vaccine?"

Please don't tell me that those "bad people" should pay for their behaviour. Because in the end you all pay anyways when you care for them at your hospitals. Nobody, including King David, was perfect every day of their life. If it is transmissible to children during birth, then get over yourselves completely. No-one should have to pay for the "sins" of the mothers, fathers or anyone else. Why are religious people sometimes so short sighted and just plain nasty?

Sex Is Good For Your Blood Pressure

Relax and Enjoy It - Why intercourse beats masturbation. By William�Saletan

If this is real than it may be the cheapest way to prevent the common cold. And if it isn't, at least it is still Fun.....

But maybe what one person argues is true- lower blood pressure equals more sex???

Sunday, January 29, 2006

GOD or NOT: A Blog Carnival

GOD or NOT: A Blog Carnival

Arguments and counterarguments- This is mostly for me, but you can follow the link too.....

Consensus building In Science- The dangers of Peer Review

EnviroSpin Watch: "consensus in science"

So I asked Tara at Aetiology a bunch of questions about cancer melatonin and fish oil. She was kind enough to reply to the first two. The one about consensus in science bothers me- I think I asked her too many questions, and she is a very busy person. So after checking some stuff out, I came up with this article. It goes through some of my concers, and raises even more questions.

False Psychological Bullshit Hurts People

How Quackery Harms Cancer Patients

However, moralistic approaches that blamed victims for their diseases were prevalent until Pasteur proved the existence of germs that can strike the innocent and immoral alike.

Pasteur's discovery was made more than a century ago. But even today, many people perceive cancer as a modern-day "leprosy" and consider it "a curse by God." The notion of a cancer-prone personality -- capable of self-healing with psychological gymnastics that include visualization, laughter and excessive optimism -- is unproven and may represent nothing more than elaboration of the old folklore. Unfortunately, cancer sufferers who believe this and fail to cure themselves may wind up with the added psychological burden of thinking that for some mysterious reason, they really don't want to be cured.

Another example of why the psychological construct of disease just sucks. It is a lie perpetuated by people who have no real answers as to why something has happened, and then they blame people for a bunch of stuff THAT SOMEBODY FREUDIAN MADE UP and it serves no purpose other than to make money or avoid paying money out, like in insurance company situations. If you think better you will be better. Nuh Uh.

Last year I was felled by a nasty ass case of C Diff. Nothing was helping get rid of the pain/diarrhea that would come out of nowhere. I was stressed out, but I have been stressed out before and been able to get better from whatever was ailing me. So what was the problem? Well, it turned out that for some time I had an iron deficiency which affects immunity. Add to that a hospital stay and broad spectrum antibiotics and the subsequent infection.......and it was and is a recipe for disaster. It took a LONG time to feel human again. Luckily, I had a dr. that took me off antibiotics right away, because the consequences could have been worse. And then I could have been in that hell called colitis which tends to be blamed on patients.

Anyone who wants to should pick up a book called WHEN THE BODY SAYS NO by Gabor Mate. I have fought with that book for close to two years. In it he posits that people get sick because of personality- too stoic, too emotionally repressed, etc...In it are a collection of stories about patients he has met that get all sorts of diseases. He blames their disease on ther psychological state. Apparently there is a field called psychoneuroimmunology that says emotions affect the immune system. What if the immune system affects emotions? Like, what if a small infection sends out pro-inflammatory cytokines, and they cause low grade depression (which then is interpreted by these folks as being the other way around.) Google the article called SLACKER OR SICK because in it it says that small injuries can lead to this in lab animals.

In regards to my hubby, with his injury, he had what was diagnosed as low grade depression for 8 years before his injury. In the meantime he would have flare-ups of back pain which eventually turned into a prolapsed disc. What caused what? I would hazard a guess that the pain caused the depression, and not the other way around. I would also say that treating THAT depression with SSRIs was probably useless and stupid, as it never helped in any real way. On or off he was pretty much the same guy.

On or off he was still dealing with constant back pain.

He liked his job. Was it stressful and stupid- yes. Were the hours long- yes. But he liked it, did it excellently, and had the least amount of problems in his department comparitive to the other people who did his job in other locations. He trained many people- between 12 and 15, in his years in management. He rarely took a sick day. He would shift his schedule around to accomodate others.

Because his pain will not go away, all of that is forgotten and he is seen as a faker AND a liability. His insurance payments have been cut to 350 dollars a month. He has subjected himself to numerous physicians, psychologists OTs PTs and ETs, who have found his range of motion fine, and have blamed his psychology for his distress. His coping skills are lacking- pardon me?

These people have no clue. He has coped with something that no-one can imagine until they have been there. Going from fast to a dead stop may affect ones psyche, but only in the sense that they want to go again.

I am sure I can rant again and some more, but I need sleep.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

A Reasonable Hypothesis...


The discussion here centers on cancer, light and fat. I asked a question and a SMART person actually said it was a reasonable hypothesis! I don't often get that as teenagers often think you are the dumbest thing on the planet!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Pain and Insolence And WCB

People who say "it is mind over matter. Just pull yourself together and get out of that wheelchair" are aresholes - and alties.

People who send you "love, light and reiki blessings" are alties.

People who say "the body's diseases are symptoms of your psyches anguish" are idiots - and alties

My experience this summer at a workers rehabilitation day program was pretty much like this. I am not in pain, nor being rehabbed, but I went with someone who is. It was amazing how many times during "relax" we had to listen to a stupid tape that had us imagining happy things. There is that scene from which movie that the character is told to go to his happy place- Happy Gilmore(?) and this was the same kind of poo poo.

The one day that a psychologist asked what stress was , I answered, only because I was sick of waiting for other people to answer. He sounded surprised that anyone actually knew. I can't remember what it was that I said exactly, but it was an outside or inside force that exerts physiological and psychological stress on a body. Why he was surprised was surprising- except that I am sure that most people in pain don't give two hoots about why or what- they just want it gone. Unfortunately the mandate to do this was limited by the programs focus- it is a functional rehab program. If your body can walk you can work.

If your body is in pain, please know that pain can be controlled by your thoughts. If your marriage is stressful it means more pain. If you are having money problems you will have more pain. If you are angry you will have more pain. Conversely, if you are happy you will be in less pain. ( I should be in pain considering I have all the above "causal factors".)

I call bullshit. Utter bullshit! There are things in life that hurt no matter how happy you were, are, or want to be. Neuropathy is not a fun condition. Nerve root entrapment is not nice. You could laugh your ass off for weeks and not make a whit of difference. You cannot think yourself well. That is classic patient blaming, and all it does is to further isolate the person in pain.

So you punish the person who is legitimately in pain by cutting off their compensation payments. Hmm...well, so far they person you cut off is not working because they are still in pain. It has been 3 months. They have had treatment that has helped somewhat, but there is still unremitting throbbing and burning pain. Their children have to work- 14 and 16, and a wife looking for a second evening job.

In some circles, being sick or in pain for "too long" is a form of deviance. Deviance is a psychological term that stigmatizes one for being abnormal. There are no alternatives to the system if your body does not react to an injury or surgery the correct way. There are no avenues of appeal because pain is seen as subjective and so because it is not able to be measured it is somehow discredited. Chronic Pain is thought as a way to get out of doing something. The word psychosomatic is bandied about in this circle. Malingering and faking are words that may not be said but are implied and psychologically tested for. Alt med in the form of acupuncture, talk therapy, biofeedback and relaxation abound in an institution that routinely denies MEDICAL treatment to clients based on a lack of available evidence that it works. It is the best of both worlds!!

I am tired of it. I want to try Botox, as it has had limited success with some people with back problems. I want to try a Spinal Cord Stimulator- but if you look into archives you can see that isn't an available option.

What I don't want is for my loved one's pain to be seen as a way to drop out of life. A person who works HARD for 17 years straight to provide for their family does not just all of a sudden say fuck it- I am going on WCB. They just don't. A normally private person does not just decide one day to go to a million doctors and shrink type people for something to do. A person who was gainfully and well employed does not put himself in the hands of Vocational Specialists who are barely in their twenties and have no understanding of their role in life just because they want attention.

His wife does not write a letter to the Health Minister, and expect to be told to go on Welfare when she tries to explain the situation. "Alberta Works" is a fancy ass name for Welfare. No, I was actually looking for an explanation as to why we got screwed, and why chronic pain is not a recognizable condition, and why WCB and his former company could treat him like he did not matter.

Dear Health and Wellness Minister- I did not like that answer. We are proud people and if I have to work six jobs I will just to stay off of Welfare. If my children have to live with me until they are forty to go through University because I will not be able to help them pay for it, then that is what we will do.

Learning the Ropes...

So my daughter who is brilliant is teaching me how to hyperlink my blog and make things work. That is not her drawing by the way- it is just something that made me happy to look at, and showed up under "brilliant" in Google Images....Thanks to my lovely oldest child who is in mid-term week.

Guardian Unlimited | Science | Can you catch cancer

Guardian Unlimited Science Can you catch cancer

A good look at the link between virus and cancer...HPV vaccines, and other possible triggers.......

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A Science Blogger

Here is a scientist that is looking into many things that cause disease- environmental light and cancer, bugs and schizophrenia and a host of other things. She does not seem to like the Intelligent Design folks very much - which is a good thing these days. I grew up in a school that taught very little science and a lot of creationism, and had a bit of a hard time adjusting to real science. Those pesky CONTROLLED experiments that you had to keep data on?? What was up with that?

Belief in God and Science should remain mutually exclusive of each other in a biology class. It seems ridiculous to posit that because life is so amazing there must be a God. What do we do when we realize that nature sends us horrible things- Well, we can call it God's Plague, as some did with Aids, I guess. But that is pretty sick.

I am sure that Pat Robertson will be trumpeting the Bird Flu as a sign of God being pissed off at us for something, when it finally hits.

Sometimes religion is just so dumb. I truly wish that people who were religious nutbars would keep their mouths shut once in a while. Science may not have all of the answers, but neither do they.

I have a question for all the anti-evolutionists out there- when the Bird Flu comes will you get the vaccination, or will you pray for protection? The vaccination is based on evolution, which if it isn't a true theory, should not work according to your position. Praying should.

My thought is you will get vaccinated- like the old saying goes "Trust in God, but tie your camel first". And you accuse those who are spiritual but not religious of cherrypicking what they want from religion. It seems to me that the same thing is being done by religious folks in regard to science.
Here is the link to the awesome science blogger........

Monday, January 23, 2006

Circadiana: Serotonin, Melatonin, Immunity and Cancer

Circadiana: Serotonin, Melatonin, Immunity and Cancer

You know when you wish you had written something yourself? I have been looking at this for about 7 months now, ever since I read that tryptophan is suppressed in pregnancy. My friend has MS which became amazingly better during her pregnancy and now five months later is presenting with troubling symptoms. Everything is connected, and there is more than one immune system, and I think that men and women have some pretty big differences. Read this, love it, and make your own connections.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

WCB and the Kama Sutra

Anybody who has dealt with a work injury and the subsequent follow-up and f**k ups by the folks meant to help might get a chuckle.

Instead of writing legislation meant to screw people over, maybe they should just publish a picture book. New sexual positions (oops- I meant policy mandates) could be named:




CRAWL ON YOUR KNEES (my favorite as a grown man crawls on all fours to prove or disprove whether or not he can work??? WTF!!!)


No bitterness or cynicism here folks- just poking fun...

Friday, January 20, 2006

Excercise Vs "Thinking Pain Away" for Back Pain

Well.... I am reading all forty pages of this study for sh*ts and giggles, mostly because I am truly tired of hearing that pain can be cured by the mind. So I read the exclusions for the study, and found out that pretty much anything that is diagnosed, like sciatic nerve root involvement, and stuff that can be found on x-ray or MRI are excluded. Great!! this is just about chronic non-specific back pain.

The problem is, unless you have read the study, the exclusions don't show up. The news reports don't mention them. SO if you go to pain clinic X with a diagnosed entrapped nerve- they may tell you this study out of Europe says that you can think back pain away. If you don't think it away, you will be labelled a bad patient, and that will be another chronic pain in the ass, as every other doctor or medical person will now read that you are not very good because you still have pain, even though the blowing the pain bubble and popping it technique has been taught to you.

So- this too will be misused, just like the prayer studies that purport that prayer is efficacious, and the Rolfing studies, and the whatever else studies that are just plain stupid and a waste of paper and time. But that is okay.

Everyone has an agenda- I would love to know what this particular groups is.

Mine is to prove that back pain does have an organic cause, because I am sick of hearing that secondary gain and laziness and sh*t like that are the only causes. I am tired of my life being completely screwed over because of a corrupt system that allows doctors to get paid to lie. That is essentially what happens. I am angry that my kids are growing up with a parent in pain. I am tired of people having the right to question why I am upset- because MY dreams were shattered too, the day that Life decided to crap on "the Man's" head.

Please don't ever tell me that a guy who worked 12 hour days and enjoyed it ever wishes to be confined to the house. Please don't tell me he is fit to work when an hour of light housework takes him out for two weeks. Please don't tell me that he is faking or addicted to the drugs he is on. I have tried to suggest alternatives and have been shot down every time. Too expensive, too whatever-so bite me!!

I just want "the Man" fixed dammit!! I want him healed. I don't apologize for this, or for my anger. I am sick of this half a life shit. I am sick of being afraid that we can't make the bills. I am sick of my kids being worried. I am sick of school fees, and gas bills, and the car breaking down. SICK SICK SICK! SICK!!!!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Doctor's Who Think Should Be Paid

DB�s Medical Rants � Blog Archive � On Clinical Judgment

There is an excellent post on how patients who have been misdiagnosed at one point or another, and have been told it is in their heads have benefited from a physician who put the pieces together. Robert Centor is an example of why we should pay doctors properly. If we don't there will be an overage of dermatologists and a shortage of generalists. Unless all diseases can be cured by tetracycline, botox and plastic surgery we will be hooped.

I do not know what the solution is to physician payment, but it seems to me that whether you live in Canada or the States physicians are concerned about how much time they can spend with patients, and how much they receive in payment for their services. Medical costs are rising for all in North America, but I think that insurance, pharmaceuticals and office costs- like heat and electricity- are all factors in these rising costs, as are bureaucracies. Whether private or public, the hellholes suck every penny they can out of doctors everywhere. Malpractice suits are another cost of doing business. Not as much in Canada, but for sure in America. What are the solutions??

Evidence based medicine versus a caring clinician- I know that I would want someone who cared that could show me the what was wrong and how to manage/cure/fix what ailed me.

I am wondering though- do I really care if they care, or do I just want them to care about doing the best job they can do? Kind of like House on Fox. I don't want a best friend, but a competent clinician....

I ahve written way too much... read the post yourself.

What if Cervical Cancer ISN"T just a Sexually Transmitted Disease? comment Dying of ignorance

I read this article last night and was wondering about this earlier last week when I read that it is possible to pick up HPV off of a public toilet. I just don't want to worry about everything, but I do think that it is possible that these things could be picked up in more than one way if a nun can be diagnosed with cervical cancer.

I also read that if you have more than three sexual partners your chances of picking up HPV are increased. I know that when I was young AIDS was a huge new disease. For whatever reason it was the "IN" disease and because of the publicity people were at least cognizant of the possibilities of picking up a deadly disease. It would be nice to see that HPV got the same push into public consciousness as it is not pretty. Young people, not unlike older people, think they are invincible, and that nothing will happen to them. How do parents address that?

A company's threat: Quit smoking or leave - 12/21/05 - The Detroit News

Parvovirus and Lupus?

The debate about how a disease is started can be fierce. One only has to think back to H. Pylori and ulcers, or OCD in children being triggered by Strep infection. At Bedside there is a blurb about lupus and parvovirus. I am beginning to believe that there are many diseases cause by bugs that we attribute to psychological factors, and I do hope I am proved right as I am PISSED when I hear that people "choose" to be ill. As far as I am concerned that is the stupidest way to look at illness ever.

The New Germ Theory of Disease is a theory that says that many things we attribute to other factors are caused by microorganisms we either haven't identified or are so endemic that we have possibly overlooked them as a cause as MOST people don't have the odd reaction to the bug. Well, I can attest that my teenage child had a vaccine reaction that only one in 200000 -400000 people get, and not only were doctors unprepared, but they disbelieved me until she reacted to their allergy tests. I felt like I was being judged as an attention seeker because of this. It was not good. I also would like to know how they think I could convince a teen that never goes to the doctor to go along with a charade. I am not a Munchausen's Mother by any stretch of the imagination. I am the lady that tells a kid with a sore back from a hockey hit to "suck it up" because I don't want to bother the doctor with a minor problem that can be iced and rested.

Maybe things we think of as "diseases of will" may one day be proven to have a physiological basis. I hope this is so!

Management of the Difficult Patient - November 15, 2005 -- American Family Physician

Management of the Difficult Patient - November 15, 2005 -- American Family Physician

I really like this article- I wish there was one on how to manage the difficult receptionist though. Or, how to manage the difficult neurosurgeon. Or the difficult insurance company doctor.....I kind of have to giggle, but this is an article that sends me to the moon!!!! I think that most patients labelled as difficult have just had enough!!! They are fed up, the people they love are fed up, their life has changed and they are tired of another round of whatever is supposed to work or help and nothing is successful once again.

The Impatient Patient on Receptionist Rudeness

So today I called about my cervical cancer biopsy test result. Twice. The first time I called the reception was somewhat tepid, and this was after 9 minutes to get through, and then 11 minutes on hold. Besides that being unacceptable, it was also a bit stressful as I only have a half hour for a break. I asked to speak to the nurse and was told that she was busy. When I told the receptionist that I was away for the rest of the day and would be unreachable, that was still too bad. I asked to get a phone call the next day from the nurse and was told that she would pass the message along.

The next time I called I was a bit more stressed. A close relative has cervical cancer as of this last month, and I was a bit worried. Needless to say, when I waited for another 10 minutes to get through, and then another eight on hold, I was a bit upset. I explained that the doctor had told me to phone for the results. Too bad. I said I would wait on hold- it could be thirty five minutes, and there was no guarantee she could talk to me. When I said I needed to know if I had cancer or not so I could get the Mirena IUD put in for excessive bleeding, she said I would have to wait.

I took a deep breath and said very calmly, that I thought that if she ever heard the words cancer and wait in reference to her, she wouldn't like it very much. I said that I was sure I did not have it, but I needed to know soon in order to make the necessary arrangements. I also said that the nurse could call me at her convenience, but I didn't know when I would be at home as I had errands and kids to deal with. I then hung up the phone and burst into tears.

I don't have cervical cancer, and my PAP smear was fine. The nurse did phone me- twice, because I was driving kids around. I just wish that there had been a bit of give, or some other option like a computer that I could have gone to that would tell me my results. Why can't that be possible? I was just following orders given by my doctor, and her employee made it so hard to get what I needed. I was not phoning for an ordinary urine test. I would have gladly scheduled an appointment. I would do anything but be told to wait on a cancer biopsy ever again.

Receptionists, medical or otherwise have no business treating patients or clients like horse poo. There are ways to be polite, there are ways to take a message. I know EVERYONE is busy, but it is because of people like you that I wish that I never had to see a doctor.

I hope that is the last biopsy I need for a long time.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Why Can't My Husband Get A Spinal Cord Implant For Chronic Pain?

So... I have been thinking a lot about many things lately and reading a book called "Universal Health Care, What the United States Can Learn From The Canadian Experience", by Armstrong(s) and Fegan and I am stewing as according to them, universal access means that what is deemed necessary by a doctor is accessible to patients in the Canadian system. Page 34 says that access to necessary services "must be provided in a way that 'does not impede or preclude, either directly or indirectly' access to care.

So I got to thinking. Last year my husband was told by his family physician that a Spinal Cord Stimulator had been recommended by the orthopedic surgeon as a method to control his chronic pain. So, we went through hoops, heard nothing and I got irritated. When I phoned the esteemed neurosurgeon's office to find out why we had not received any information from them, the receptionist, to put it mildly, was a bit cranky. I explained who I was, and asked why we had not received notification from their office. She replied that she had contacted our GP with this, and it had been decided that the esteemed neurosurgeon would not take the case. When pressed for answers as to why she started lecturing me on the PRICE of this device and the surgery, and they had deemed it was not cost effective. And, anyways, the only way he might be able to access this surgery was if he went to a Chronic Pain Program at the local university teaching hospital, and then they would see if he was psychologically a candidate. And on top of that----- a year or so later, the esteemed neurosurgeon might be able to get him in for an appointment.

Okay-- I am steaming. So I phone the aforementioned program, and there is a bit of a waiting period. Like over a year. Their services are like any other pain clinic- they check to see if the patient is malingering, faking, is psychosomatic, is an idiot....they test for function, and then they tell you to think about bubbles and your pain will magically disappear. I don't think so.

Now it is 15 months later. The University would not accept patients who are eligible for another pain program related to work injuries, and so we went that route. Needless to say, the functional capacity testing was a joke. In a perfect world, where there are no interruptions, and no time frames, and you only work for an hour and a half, and then you go home and rest, it seems to say that you are perfectly fine- IF YOU DON'T DO THESE MOVES.....15 don'ts later and whooo hooo. An Addendum is added to the file saying essentially that IF the pain and disability my husband reports is real, then really he is F**ked. He really might not be able to work due to pain and fatigue.

And now the question of whether or not my husband will be eligible in Canada for a Spinal Cord Stimulator is again on the table. Will we have to go through a waiting list for the University Pain Clinic? How long is the wait now? What implications does that have? And If what I am hearing is true, and there are patients with Spinal Cord Pumps who are having problems getting them fixed that are part of the pain clinic program, do I really want to deal with that as well?

I live in Martha and Henry's province. The access to public health care debate is raging. What if this surgery becomes an OPTION? Like we have to pay for it? And what if no-one cares? It seems like chronic pain is stigmatized in this society, and it is a question of will, not disease, and the patient is shunned because their body has not responded the way 90 percent of the population getting a certain procedure does. Do I write a letter to this esteemed neurosurgeon and say that access to care is not precluded by cost, and there is no other disease that demands its sufferer to be psychologically fit in order to receive treatment? Diabetes, heart disease COPD- these are all chronic diseases and as far as I know, there are few demands made on these patients BEFORE they receive necessary treatment. Un freaking believable.

Note to self- discuss what the provincial health ministers office wrote in the letter, after I queried them on some of these things. Talk about WCB and divorce stats. Talk about how you can heal cancer with your mind- quack quack quack. Talk about cytokines, and the diseases and conditions they are linked to. And get some sleep.