Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Saffron - Does It Work?

I received a message today from a viewer who asked if saffron really helped my husband's cancer.

To be very honest, I don't really know, but I do know that it didn't hurt him.  When he was on saffron his tumors did NOT increase in size - was it a coincidence?  I really don't know that either, but drinking a cup of saffron a day, or maybe even two or three will not hurt.  I would use approximately 5-12 strands, let it steep like tea for a few minutes and then strain off the strands.  I'm sure it is more beneficial to a cancer patient than drinking coffee several times a day.  My husband still has a cup of saffron from time to time, but right now is not taking it on a continuous basis - no particular reason for this but he will go back to a regular routine before his doctor schedules his next CT.

I just did a little more research via the internet and I came across the Lance Armstrong's website "Livestrong" and they also reference the benefits of saffron - especially with regards to tumor shrinkage benefits.  Here is the link and please read the entire post, especially the Anti-Cancer section

Again, I would suggest that you should always check with your doctor whenever in doubt to ensure you have a professional's opinion. 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Search Engine

Added a search engine at the right side here yesterday.  It's not the greatest but if you want to check on a particular topic that I may have written about, try it out and see what happens. 

Again, please note that this particular "search engine" is very limited.  You will have to scroll back pages to probably find what you are looking for in my previous posts, but give the search feature a try - sure can't hurt.

With all the warm temperatures and humidity that is sweeping across North America this week, thought you might find this picture a bit of a relief!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fund Raising for Cancer

As I listened to the radio today, I heard of another team of runners who were about to launce their annual run in aid of cancer patients.  I congratulate them whole heartedly. 

My question is though, do YOU ever wonder just how the money from cancer fundraisers or your contributions to a cancer society is actually spent?

I wrote an article a couple of years ago and happened to include the name of an organization that was soliciting funds for cancer.  Shortly afterwards, I received a letter from a board member of a cancer clinic asking why I even mentioned that particular organization and didn't make my readers aware of the importance of fund raising for their cancer clinic.   OUCH!!!   Needless to say the letter was a tad bit nasty  I still have the letter and everytime I reread it, I cannot for the like of me ever understand why this board member would take the time to scold me for not mentioning this.  I'm just a relatively unknow editorial writer who does not have thousands of followers - so why pick on me? 

His letter started me thinking - if he's coming down so hard on me for not recognizing his cancer clinic, then fund raising must be indeed very low there and he was afraid that my mention of another cancer fund raiser would most definitely almost deplete their fund raising efforts.  Wonder how that money is spent anyway?  No doubt for the most part, cancer fund raising money is for the most part, put to good use - or at least we would all like to think that!  By good use, I mean for equipment, cancer research, to aid cancer patients when they need monetary funds the most either for drug or travel assistance or for accommodations when they are getting treatments that take them a long distance from their homes. 

One thing for certain is that they do not use the funds very much to try and connect other cancer patients or caregivers with a support system.  How do I know?  Well I contacted a particular cancer society a few years ago to try and connect with another caregiver - still no answer on that one.  I'm not trying to be coy here, but I'm just hoping the funds that people raise are used in the best possible way throughout all cancer societies far and wide.

There was a recent news story that relayed how many top executives in charitable organizations make huge salaries - many over $100,000 mark.  Many can argue that in order to attract good people to fund raise, you also have to pay them big salaries.  I`m sure that is not always the case.  For instance, if you are the type of individual who truly cares about cancer patients, then you will be willing to accept an executive position for far less than that.

My point in this post is to make everyone aware to only give to organizations that are reputable and not just to those who call or come to your door saying they are soliciting funds for cancer.  We hear about fraud happening by people who pose to be cancer patients and raise money for their illness. Can you imagine anyone doing something like that? Make sure the organizations are legit and research them to ensure your money is being spent in the best possible way to help cancer patients and the fight against this terrible illness.

For those who truly need financial support, you should be able to contact your local cancer society for direction in obtaining it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

For Caregivers -The Smallest Gesture Means The Most

Being a caregiver is not easy at all.  Caregivers carry enormous responsibilites everyday.  Not only do we have the never ending stress on a daily and hourly basis of knowing the person we are caring for is constantly fighting to live, we endure enormous stress during times when we cannot do anything to make our loved ones lives better. 

Let me set the scene for those who read this and do not have a cancer patient to care for. Have you ever sat in a hospital waiting room just outside the OR as your loved one is undergoing major life-saving surgery?  Everytime that  door opens your heart skips a beat as you visualize the surgeon coming out to  give you the worse possible scenerio.  Your loved ones life is in the balance and there's not a darn thing you can do to help.  I'm sure now you can relate to the anxiety and uncertainty that I and other caregivers feel everyday as we watch our loved ones struggle to keep living.

I have come to realize as well that very few people tend to think of the caregiver and try to extend a helping hand if and when they can.  In my experience of being a caregiver now for over five years (for which I am truly thankful), only a very small handful of people  have ever asked how "I" am doing.  It's not that I want recognition, but there are many times during difficult days when just the smallest sign that someone out there cares, makes a huge difference!  I have a friend who always not only asks how my husband is doing, but also he never ends the conversation without asking how I'm doing and if there is anything that he can do.  Such a small gesture, but one that makes me realize someone out there truly cares.  Yesterday was no different, after going to get my mail and there it was, a "Thinking of You" card from a relative!  I appreciated the fact that someone took the time from their busy day to send that card just to let me know they were thinking of me and to help brighten my day. 

Why am I writing this post about caregivers?  It's to let those of you who read it really understand that being a caregiver is not an easy road to travel.  I received a comment a few days ago from a caregiver who was going to spend a night away from home and have a day of pampering - she needs that time to feel energized, in order to provide the best of care for her husband and I congratulate her for doing that. 

I would encourage ALL caregivers reading this to do just that "take time for yourselves" whenever you can do that.  We all need to re-energize.  Keep up the great work!!!

For those of you reading this who are not caregivers, I would encourage you all to connect with any caregivers you may know.  Such simple acts of kindness such as a telephone call, sending a card, or asking how they are doing will mean more to them than I could ever write in words.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Take a Break - Sometimes It's Worth It

Lost your appetite?  Feeling nauseated?  Losing weight?

If any of these questions sound all too familiar in your current health situation, then maybe what you need is a break.  Sometimes a break from your chemotherapy whether it is oral or intravenous form can be just what you need to recoup and help you eat better, help your stomach get back to normal and also help you regain some of your lost weight.

How do I know?  Well, again that's just what my husband is doing right now.  Of course, he's seen his onc and has his blessing to do so.  Don't forget to "always check with your oncologist before you just get off your treatments, because he/she knows what is best for you, and of course every patient's cancer journey is different".

We all know that cancer treatments can make you feel sick.  That's what they are supposed to do as they battle the cancer cells inside.  But your body can only take so much and if your weight is falling then it's time to have that chat with your doctor.  Too much weight loss is not good - no, not good at all because you cannot fight off the side effects from treatments or maintain your normal healthier appetite once your weight loss is nearing the serious stage.  I know for a fact that if my husband has a bout of illness from an infection, he can easily lose 10 lbs within 2-3 days.  That is very serious and of course with the weight loss, it will only lengthen his recovery time and cause other complications.

By consulting with your physician, together you will both determine what will be the best way to improve your appetite - tonics, steroids, consults with a nutritionist/dietician, etc.  What may work for one patient to improve his/her appetite may not necessarily be what will work for another patient. as of today take the first step to regaining your weight and energy levels.  Consult with your doctor to ask if you may be able to take a break from your chemo, ask your doctor to prescribe something to enhance your appetite, get lots of fresh air and enjoy your break from treatment.  Even if you are off your chemo for a few days, it will allow your body to recoup and get back on track.

As I say to my husband "what is the good to kill the cancer cells, if you are going to kill yourself first by NOT eating"?

Wishig you smooth sailing ahead!  Let me know how things go - I'm always interested to hear from you!!!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Have You Eaten Your Pears Today?

Such a simple thing to do EAT PEARS, but I truly believe that the benefits any cancer patient will obtain by doing so, is indescribable. 

I buy pears packed in water to avoid my husband eating alot of unnecessary sugars.  I put the unopened cans in the refrigerator so that they will be cold anytime he wants them.  Once of course they are opened, put the remainder in an appropriate glass dish and place them back in the fridge until next time.  If you can pick them right from your back yard - then you are truly blessed.  Our climate does not allow that and usually the fresh store bought pears in our region are not always great to eat.

My husband and I strongly believe in the nutritional value of pears, especially on those days when you have a terrible appetite and you just can't seem to think of anything that you would like to eat.

Try them, I'm sure you will also agree that they are an excellent source of energy, not to mention the fact that they control high blood pressure and can help regulate your colesterol levels.

Think even I will go and have a pear now - ENJOY!