black shroom

For the Daily Prompt: black.

I took this hiking in August 2013. I was out sick with strep A pneumonia and it was in my muscles as well. I had been sick since June. Talking made me cough. I couldn’t hike fast, but I could hike.

We were mushrooming, carefully. We found a few black mushrooms. Photographed and left: we only collected edibles that we were solid on.

IMG_20140921_155257.jpg

It was a beautiful and healing hike for me.

cancer pen

A patient told me about the “cancer pen” yesterday. I promptly pictured  Star Trek’s Bones holding his device over patients, but no, this has to touch tissue…aka a piece of you…and do a chemical evaluation. It is to be used during surgery.

Here: http://www.bbc.com/news/health-41162994

This is neat new technology… but. I can hear my sister saying, “Uh, so what about PREVENTION?”

This is technology to remove cancer after it’s already grown. And presumably metastasized. So this is stage II, stage III, stage IV cancer.

Cancer deaths are the second biggest cause of death in the US. Around 23% of yearly deaths and that does not count the people who survive cancer. At present we do not have many screening tests for cancer: pap smears continue to evolve, and now the recommendation is an HPV test or pap smear every five years AND we have a vaccine for the high risk HPV.
We can screen for colon cancer.
Mammograms for breast cancer.
The screen for prostate cancer sucks.
We can do skin checks.
The screen for lung cancer is now a low dose CT in a certain population that is high risk, that is, smokers. The recommendations have not addressed smoking marijuana.
Recommendations in the US are here: https://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/.

There are lots of cancers that we don’t have screens for…. yet.

Proteomics is on the horizon. Genomics is looking at the genes, but it turns out that lots of cancers and infections and other illnesses have particular protein patterns. There is TONS of research in this area. Someday we may have protein tests: put a drop of blood or urine on it and say, “Hmmm. Looks like you have a positive test, probable lung cancer.”

That in turn creates problems. Initially we may be able to diagnose a cancer but not FIND it. Also not know how to treat it. The first big study trying to set up lung cancer screening had over 600 worrisome CT scans out of 1000. How many lung cancers did they find? Nine. And half of the nine had symptoms and could be found on chest xray by the time they did repeat CTs. Think of the anxiety of the 600 people who might have cancer and “We will repeat the CT scan in four months. Don’t worry too much.” Also there were complications from biopsying the lungs, like bleeding and pneumonia….

The best bet to avoid cancer is still living in a healthy way: don’t smoke anything, avoid addictive substances, eat good food, exercise, have friends and loved ones, work for yourself and your community, do some things you love…..

 

I took the photograph of my sister in 2011. She died of breast cancer in 2012. Her blog is here: butterfly soup.

For the Daily Prompt: strut. Struts support things: airplane wings, cars, things that move. How do we as a culture support people to live healthy lives?

stubborn

For the Daily Prompt: gingerly.

I took this in Poulsbo, during the World Wide Photowalk.

I like this because it sneaks up. Ok, stubborn photographer, trying to get the right shot…. oh, wait, crutches. The hike was not terribly long, luckily. Balancing on crutches with a camera, well, there were no falls.

 

He Who We Are Tired Of

I propose a quiet week.

I propose a week off.

No twitter.
No video.
No tapes.
No attention: that is, a week where we do not mention He Who We Are Tired Of.

We don’t read the twitter
the tweets
the discord
the insults
the stunts
the anger.

We interview the laundry worker at the White House.

“How are things?”

“Quiet. Today we are bleaching.”

“Wow, those sheets are really white.”

“Yes. They are.”

We interview a gardener at the White House.

“How are things?”

“Quiet.”

“Any problems?”

“There is a mole in the South Lawn.”

“Wow. Is that a problem?”

“Not really. Someone could step in a hole and hurt an ankle.”

“Are you using poison?”

“Oh, no, that wouldn’t be nice. We’ve done research and a live capture will move her to a really beautiful meadow in Alexandria. The owner likes moles. We send some South Lawn dirt along to keep her from being upset. We’re been very successful with this program, no complaints.”

“None have come back?”

“The bridges are a bit much for moles. They haven’t tried though, they usually find Alexandria quieter. The Easter Egg hunt is a bit stressful for moles, all those crowds.”

“That’s great! How wonderful.”

“Yes, all quiet here. I love my job.”

“Well, that’s the White House and Washington, DC update for today. Tomorrow we talk to a congressional window washer. They have an amazing view!”

 

For the Daily Prompt: trademark.