Thursday, August 28, 2014

Dealing with uterine fibroids

First, this is a huge issue and my blog should not be your only source. But I did see an overview, WSJ Aug 10, 2014.

Fibroids are growths that latch into the lining of the uterus. They can cause pain and interfere with conception.

The controversy has been over something called power morcellation--small incision into the uterus and then use of a special tool called a morcellator to crush up the growths so they can be removed in pieces.

There is evidence than in some cases, the crushed fibroids may be cancerous and the cancer may spread from the crushing.

The FDA esimates that one in 350 women with fibroids has uterine sarcoma, or cancer, mixed in. Yet, the FDA advised against morcellation, but did not ban it. The device was removed from the market voluntarily by Johnson & Johnson.

Still, this may be the best option for SOME women. Ask your doctor, they say.

For one thing, a laparotomy--large incision--can be less optimal for heavy women and has a long recovery time. Sometimes the uterus is removed through the vagina--but some physicians steer away from this.

Some docs are also performing morcellation inside a bag, thus "catching" cancer if it's present. Most do not know this technique.

So--talk to the doctor and decide. It's your body.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

How to climb the wall

I mean, how to climb the wall deliberately. Jen Murphy has some tips in the WSJ, Aug 19, 2014.

First, you don't just muscle your way up--you need to analyze your route.

Start with bouldering--which is, I guess, scrambling over boulders, but staying pretty close to the ground.

Then you can learn belaying in a gym with a rock wall. You will master the knots and techniques.

Keep your hands on the rope, your eyes on your climbing partner.

Do exercises to strengthen your core--also increase flexibility with yoga.

If your fingers get sore--put your hands in a bowl of rice and open and close over and over.

For me, there is no mountain I feel the need to crawl up--but people are different.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Amy Tan's grueling battle with Lyme Disease

The writer Amy Tan (Joy Luck Club) traveled the world promoting her books, going to writer's retreats, visiting friends--but was vexed in 1999 by sudden exhaustion. She returned from a trip halfway around the world and slept around the clock.

Stress, jet lag--she concluded. There followed insomnia, a bad back, frozen shoulder.

Her feet grew tingly, she seemed to vibrate inside. Her heart often raced. She could not work.

She saw psychiatrists.

And she had test after test--all they showed was her blood sugar was low. She was only 49--a tiny tumor on her adrenal gland was found in all the testing and removed. Symptoms continued. Even worsened.

She had hallucinations. Saw people who weren't there.

She stopped driving--she would stop on green.

She had had a rash on her leg--but no "target" ring like a tick bite.

One doctor ordered an ELISA test--she looked it up--Lyme Disease. But it was not an accurate test, she learned from message boards. Those sufferers knew doctors who knew Lyme.

She went to one--and sure enough, she had it. She got the Western Blot test--which can also miss cases. Positive!

The spirochetes had entered her brain--accounting for her blank staring. She went on seizure meds.

She took antibiotics for seven years, easing onto a Chinese antimicrobial known as Lingzhi.

She can write again, but is not the same.

The CDC says maybe a million people a year are felled by this stupid tick. If you get bitten or get a mysterious rash, go to a doctor.

Don't give up.

Check out: https://www.amytan.net/lyme-disease.html

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Yawn: Six seconds to energy

Jonathan D. Rockoff, WSJ, Aug 19, 2014, writes about that mysterious practice of yawning. People do it, animals, even thinking about it can make you yawn.

Hey--don't yawn now--this is  my blog!

Yawning has many reasons and roles, according to a University of Texas health researcher.

Yawning used to be believed to be a need for a burst of oxygen. And it's not just because of boredom--people yawn before parachuting out of a plane.

The new theory is that yawning keeps the brain cool in temperature. They tested this my putting probes into rat brains. The rats yawned after a slight temp raise. (And probably because they were tired of being probed.)

Another study showed people yawn more in summer. Hot--got it.

The contagion of yawning--seeing someone yawn makes you yawn--may be an attempt to make everybody alert.

Here comes that sabertooth--yawn up everybody!

Sounds to me like quite a few theories. Yawn.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Do you like clear food packages?

Plain brown wrapper with window?
A friend went to the store and emailed me this morning that everything is up, up, up. Now that is a real problem.

The Wall Street Journal tackled a lesser evil the other day in a story by Sue Shellenbarger on see-through food packaging.

The idea is that shoppers like to see what's inside.

The problem is that after being shipped, shelved and busted around, what's inside might not look so hot.

Clear packages must also fuse layers in some cases--to keep out sunlight and so on. You don't want a granola bar turning green. Or maybe you do, I don't know you.

The orange juice people seem to think clear jugs make the stuff look fresher.

With chips, they often put a clear window, so you don't see the bottom of the bag where the broken ones lurk.

How can they cover up the fact that many containers are half or three-quarters full for the same price?

How about non-see-through bags?

Genius.