Blog Article Archive

Don’t Believe Everything you Read

As you make purchases for your home library or search the Internet, keep in mind that not all information is written by qualified medical experts. Your doctor or a health organization may be able to recommend some good books or helpful Internet sites. When looking for health information on the Internet, don’t believe everything you see. Articles published in peer-reviewed medical journals are checked for accuracy, but anyone can put information on the Internet, so there’s no guarantee that the information you find is accurate or up-to-date. In addition, many companies set up Web sites primarily to sell their products. It may be helpful to ask a health professional about the information you find on the Internet, particularly before you buy any products. If you search and shop with care, you can add some medically sound reference materials to your home library and find accurate information on the Internet.

Use Information Wisely

It can be hard to judge the accuracy and credibility of medical information you read in books or magazines, see on television, or find on the Internet. Even people with medical backgrounds sometimes find this task challenging. Following are some important tips to help you decide what information is believable and accurate on the Internet.

The Internet

Compare the information you find on the Internet with other resources. Check two or three articles in the medical literature or medical textbooks to see whether the information or advice is similar.

Check the author’s or organization’s credentials. They should be clearly displayed on the Web site. If the credentials are missing, consider this a red flag. Unfortunately, there are many phony doctors and other health professionals making false claims on the Internet.

Find out if the Web site is maintained by a reputable health organization or reviewed by board certified doctors. Remember that no one regulates information on the Internet. Anyone can set up a home page and claim anything.

Check for the Web sites Editorial Policy. Web sites that provide health or medical information should have a Medical Editorial Board and an Editorial policy (that includes peer review by their doctors).

Be wary of Web sites advertising and selling products that claim to improve your health. More important, be very careful about giving out credit-card information on the Internet (check to see if they have a secure database such as VeriSign™). Further, even if nothing is being sold on a Web site, ask yourself if the site host has an interest in promoting a particular product or service.

Ask yourself whether the information or advice seems to contradict what you’ve learned from your doctor. If so, talk to your doctor to clarify the differences in the information.

Be cautious when using information found on bulletin boards or during “chat” sessions with others. Testimonials and personal stories are based on one person’s experience rather than on objective facts or proven medical research.

To Make Informed Decisions About Your Health Care, You Need to Understand Your Health Problem

Medical information, especially material written for health care providers, can be hard to understand, confusing, and sometimes frightening. As you read through your materials, write down any words or information you don’t understand or find confusing. Make a list of your questions and concerns. During your next office visit, ask your doctor, nurse, or other health professional to review the information with you so that you understand clearly how it might be helpful to you. If the medical information you gathered is for a personal health problem, you may want to share what you found with your spouse, other family members, or a close friend. Family members and friends who understand your health problem are better able to provide needed support and care. Finally, you might want to consider joining a support group in your community. You may find it helpful to be able to talk with others who have the same health problem and share your feelings or concerns.

Ultimately, the information you gather from print and electronic resources can help you make decisions about your health care–how to prevent illness, maintain optimal health, and address your specific health problems. Armed with this knowledge, you can more actively work in partnership with your doctor and other health care professionals to explore treatment options and make health care decisions. Health care experts predict that today’s computer and telecommunication systems will result in a new era–the health care system information age–built around health-savvy, health-responsible consumers who are the primary managers of their own health and medical care.

The above information has been provided by the National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, and Society for Integrative Oncology.

You May Have Moved on, But Your Body Still Remembers – Dr. A. Potvin.

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As I’ve written about before, the most important relationship you will ever have is with yourself.  Whether you like it or not. Another difficult realization is how long it can take for our bodies to implement some of the changes our thinking selves so desperately want.  But here’s the thing:

Your body has a memory.  It lasts longer than your mind-memory does.

Not even in a woowoo way, either.

Your cells die.  New ones are born.  Receptors on the surface of your cells rearrange themselves to better receive messages. Sometimes receptors are put away. Other times more are brought out.  New pathways in your brain have to be built, like foot paths through the woods, while the old pathways fill in with brush.  Your body has to trust that you will nourish it, and you won’t leave it to starve.  It won’t get rid of its reserves until it can trust you.  It has to know life is safe before you can sleep through the night again.  How your genes express themselves takes time to change.  The stress your grandmother felt may still be expressing itself in your genetic makeup now.    

Your body adjusts over time. Sometimes this can take a lot of time.

That’s why you have to tell it every day that you are there and you will give it what it needs. Nutrients, sleep, kindness, forgiveness, movement, sunshine. The list goes on. History rewrites itself in every action that you do differently from that moment forward.

You have to be your body’s reason to trust.

Wellness Said with Love,

Dr. Potvin

As I Lay Dying – LA Times – Laurie Becklund

I am dying, literally, at my home in Hollywood, of metastatic breast cancer, the only kind of breast cancer that kills. For six years I’ve known I was going to die. I just didn’t know when.

Then, a couple of weeks before Christmas, a new, deadly diagnosis gave me a deadline. No doctor would promise me I’d make it to 2015.

Promise me, I told my friends and family, that you’ll never say that I died after “fighting a courageous battle with breast cancer.” This tired, trite line dishonors the dead and the dying by suggesting that we, the victims, are responsible for our deaths or that the fight we were in was ever fair.

Promise me you’ll never wear a pink ribbon in my name or drop a dollar into a bucket that goes to breast cancer “awareness” for “early detection for a cure,” the mantra of fund-raising juggernaut Susan G. Komen, which has propagated a distorted message about breast cancer and how to “cure” it.

I’m proof that early detection doesn’t cure cancer. I had more than 20 mammograms, and none of them caught my disease. In fact, we now have significant studies showing that routine mammogram screening, which may result in misdiagnoses, unnecessary treatment and radiation overexposure, can harm more people than it helps.

In 1996, during a self-exam, I found a peanut-sized lump in one breast that turned out to be stage one breast cancer. I had the “best,” most common, kind of breast cancer, found it early, got a lumpectomy and short dose of radiation. Five years out, my doctor told me there was little chance of recurrence and said, “Have a great life!”

You can imagine my shock when, 13 years after my initial diagnosis, I was in gridlock on the Harbor Freeway and got a call from my doctor with the results of a PET scan ordered after routine blood labs. “Maybe you should pull over,” he said.

Half an hour later, in an elementary school parking lot, I learned the scans revealed stage four breast cancer in my bones, liver, lungs and brain: a death sentence with an average life expectancy of three years.

I demanded the truth, always, from my doctors. I was a reporter who needed facts to plan whatever life I had left. I would not live in denial. But I was too scared, too private to tell anyone except my husband, my daughter and three friends. My very cells suddenly became my most intimate secrets.

Who would ever sign another book contract with a dying woman? Or remember Laurie Becklund, valedictorian, Fulbright scholar, former Times staff writer who exposed the Salvadoran death squads and helped The Times win a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the 1992 L.A. riots? More important, and more honest, who would ever again look at me just as Laurie?

It took me more than two years to summon the courage to meet others like me, at a Metastatic Breast Cancer Network conference. When I arrived there were no pink ribbons in sight, except for a single lapel pin that had been turned upside down like a noose.

I introduced myself to the group’s president and vice president, who were comparing their hands, red and shiny from the side effects of various chemo treatments. Metaphorically, I had been both hiding my identity and fearing I’d lose it. It wasn’t until that day that I learned some people literally lose theirs, via their fingerprints.

The women at the conference greeted me with questions. They were shocked to meet someone whose cancer had metastasized to all four possible sites breast cancer can go. How was I even alive? They had set up lunch tables labeled “Brain,” “Bones,” “Lungs” and “Liver.” I told myself, at least I could table-hop.

Later that day, in one of the most powerful rituals I have ever seen, the group’s president asked all of us to stand, then sit back down when she reached the number of years since our diagnosis. At two years, most had to sit down. When she reached seven, no one I could see was still standing.

Looking back, I realize that I’ve been trying to report my way out of this disease. I’ve read so many books; researched hundreds of clinical trials; done my best to learn the complicated language of cancer and microbiology; attended conferences in Indiana, Florida, Mexico and Portugal. I joined online forums. I signed on with the user name “WontDieofIgnorance.” Despite it all, I fear that is exactly what is going to happen. I might as well have been playing Chutes and Ladders, a childhood board game whose outcome is based on rolls of the dice.

The medical establishment tells me I have “failed” a number of therapies. That’s not right: The establishment and its therapies have failed me. The system we live in as metastatic breast cancer patients is simply not designed to deal with the cycle we are living and dying in. The estimated 40,000 women (and a few men) who die annually can’t wait years for FDA-approved, “gold standard” clinical trials. We’re dying now.

Another quarter-million Americans are estimated to be waiting in the wings. I say “estimated” because no one is required to report a metastatic diagnosis. Death certificates normally report symptoms such as “respiratory failure,” not the actual disease. We are literally uncounted.

We now know that breast cancer is not one disease. What works for one person might not for another: There is no one “cure.” We are each, in effect, one-person clinical trials. Yet the knowledge generated from those trials will die with us because there is no comprehensive database of metastatic breast cancer patients, their characteristics and what treatments did and didn’t help them.

In the Big Data-era, this void is criminal. Consider what Wall Street does. Even the tiniest companies can see how much stock they sell, compare themselves to cohorts, review history, predict trends. Why can’t we create such a database for cancer patients, so we can all learn from patient experiences and make more educated decisions on what treatments will extend and improve lives?

The most powerful organization in the breast cancer universe, Susan G. Komen , has raised $2.5 billion over the last 20 years, much more than many corporations will ever earn. Yet Komen channels only a fraction of those funds into research or systems to help those who are already seriously sick. Most of that money continues to go to a breast cancer “awareness” campaign that is now painfully out of date.

We need people — patients, doctors, scientists, politicians, investors, families — to make a fresh start. We must create a new system of data collection and an open, online, broad-range database about patient histories that will provide information invaluable to those who’ve been given a death sentence. Patients as well as doctors must contribute.

It will come too late for me. But it is possible to end the game: Patients shouldn’t have to climb up ladders and fall down chutes.

Laurie Becklund, a former Times staff writer, died Feb. 8. She wrote this over the last few months. 

SPECIAL EVENT: The Taste of Downtown Peterborough 2015

Taste of Downtown

Health of the community relies on the support of local businesses, so check out some of the amazing local restaurants in town, many of which rely on local farms for their food! Peterborough is incredibly lucky in that we are surrounded by organic farms!

  • Charlotte Street between George Street and Aylmer Street
  • Free Admission!
  • Rain or Shine, come and enjoy some of the best food, music and shopping Peterborough has to offer.

An aerial view of the popular Downtown Business Improvement Area’s (DBIA) Taste of Downtown that returned for a seventh year with 16 downtown restaurants participating, along with live music and vendors on Saturday, June 14, 2014 on Charlotte St. in Peterborough. The 2015 version is set for June 13.
Clifford Skarstedt/Peterborough Examiner/Postmedia Network file photo

Participating restaurants:

Bualai Taste of Thai

Smoke’s Poutinerie

Dr J’s BBQ

Nutty Chocolatier

Shish-Kabob Hut

Brio Gusto

Turnbull Cafe

Brickhouse Grill and Bar

By The Bridge

Island Cream Caribbean Cuisine

Freshii

Cosmic Charlie’s

CurryVillage

Ariyana

Hobart’s

Wild Wing

Sapphire Room

Kettle Drums

La Hacienda

Special Features:

Fleming Culinary Food Battle

Giant Sidewalk Sale

Artville — Art School of Peterborough hosting a showcase of local artists

Live entertainment: The Briannah Cotton Band, Bridget Foley and The Pocket Kings, Kim Doolittle and The Wolfgang Brothers

Desiderata: My new favourite inspirational poem.

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.

Take kindly to the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann c.1920