I just returned from a week away with my sister Laura. As I’ve said before, there is nothing like a sister.
Crazy things happen when we’re together. Sometimes I feel we are in an episode of “I Love Lucy” because we laugh until we cry.
I don’t know how many times I have said laughter is healing. I have a bit of proof from my sister-vacation. The day after I got home, I had an appointment for my CT SCAN. As I have shared with you before, I have had high blood pressure since about the age of 42, which is the same age both of my parents began taking medication for high blood pressure. (What a lovely thing to inherit.)
With medication, I can only get my blood pressure down to 135/93, which is still considered high. When the doctor took my blood pressure this time, it was 120/60. This is considered the very best number! We thought the machine had malfunctioned, so we took it again. The doctor and I looked at each other in silence, astounded.
“The vacation?” he said.
“Whoa,” I said, “looks
Sunday, June 7, is National Cancer Survivors Day. Just when you thought all of the days of the year were taken up by obscure organizations, this day has been around for 28 years. The purpose of this day is to honor those you know who are living with cancer.
Almost everyone knows someone living with cancer. Please take this day to reach out to them. I can say for myself that I don’t like to talk about my cancer because I think I sound like a broken record, but on this day, I wouldn’t mind hearing from family and friends who just want to let me know they are thinking about me.
In honor of this day, my friend Beth Yorn, creator of Elisabeth Bell Jewelry, has created a gorgeous collection of bracelets. For a limited time, these beautiful bracelets are available at a discounted price. All of the proceeds will go to The Noreen Fraser Foundation. Beth’s mom died of breast cancer seven years ago, so this is a tribute to her as well. Visit elisabethbelljewelry.com to learn more.
Cancer is a huge nut to
International Moment of Laughter Day
YouTube and other sites are loaded with funny videos that are guaranteed to make you laugh. After spending some time on the site, I could not take my eyes from my computer for a full three hours— I laughed until I cried. Why don’t I do this every day? Well, let’s face it: No one really has three hours a day to devote solely to laughter, but if we did, we would all be healthier.
The benefits of laughter have been scientifically proven. Scientists have studied brain waves and how they change the disposition in the brain’s happy centers. Harvard Medical School began these studies in the 1970s, and other universities followed.
As you probably already know, endorphins— hormones secreted by the brain and nervous system, which have a number of physiological functions— activate the body’s opiate receptors, causing an analgesic effect.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the “high” runners get after pounding the pavement. Well, laughter also releases endorphins— which is great news for people like me who find running difficult! Endorphins reduce the sensation of pain and stimulate positive
The term ‘Research Chemical’ is rapidly becoming one of the hottest keywords throughout the web. Originally gaining popularity via chemicals such as Mephedrone, Methylone, MDPV and a whole host of other powders and pills, it’s no surprise that the number of sites selling these RCs has more than tripled over the past 12 months. Now the latest batch of ‘legals’ has hit the market (Methoxetamine, Phenazepam, Methiopropamine etc.) and there are more scammers out there than ever. This guide will give you the top tips in how to avoid losing your money, receiving fake products and most importantly how to keep yourself out of harms way.
- Check SafeOrScam
Known as SoS, this should always be your first port of call when researching a new vendor. Customer reviews (both good and bad), a numerical rating system and an ‘invite-only’ member base make this a great place to weed out the bottom feeders.
- Contact the site
These days many sites are offering a phone number alongside the standard email form, don’t be afraid to get in touch!
While there are of course exceptions to this rule, it stands to reason that if a vendor takes weeks to reply to an email then there’s a good
Do you ever get accused of “not listening” because you’re glancing down at your phone? Here is a study that suggests it’s not your fault (sort of).
Research published in the Journal of Neuroscience has revealed that concentrating on a visual task (say, scrolling through your Instagram feed) may render you temporarily deaf to normal-volume sounds (like your friend’s story about … what was she talking about again?
For the small study, researchers from the University College London analyzed the real-time brain activity of 13 volunteers as they completed visual tasks while sounds played in the background. As the tasks got harder, the brain’s response to sound was reduced.
“The brain scans showed that people were not only ignoring or filtering out the sounds, they were not actually hearing them in the first place, ” study co-author Maria Chait, PhD, explained in a press release. These findings suggest that our vision and our hearing share limited resources in the brain, which is essentially forced to choose between processing info from our eyes or our ears.
So-called inattentional deafness could explain why you miss your bus stop announcement while you’re reading a book, for example. Or why your boyfriend can’t hear you calling him while he’s watching TV. This phenomenon is a common occurrence in everyday life, co-author Nilli Lavie, PhD, pointed out in the study’s press release. “And now we know
We know, we know. It’s hard to keep things intimate and exciting when you’re in a long-term, monogamous relationship. You’re comfortable. There’s no real need to go out of your way to impress each other anymore. You might have even let your bedroom activity become stale and predictable. But there is good news: A new study says that if you start adding some variety to your sex life, you’ll be just as sexually satisfied as you were during the first six months of your relationship.
RELATED: 22 Things Guys Should Never Do on a Date
The study is one of the largest ever to examine what contributes to a satisfying sex life long-term, reports The Chicago Tribune. It looked at 38,747 married or cohabitating heterosexual couples who had been together three or more years, ranging in age from 18 to 65.
RELATED: The 14 Healthiest Snack Foods to Buy
Many of the couples had been together for two decades or more. “If properly nurtured, passion can last for decades,” the study states. “Nearly two-thirds of sexually satisfied respondents reported that their sex lives now were as passionate as in their early days together. Over one-third of sexually satisfied men and women selected ‘passionate’ as the single best word
Some babies breeze through teething with barely a whimper, while others will make sure you know they’re uncomfortable.
We got this question from a viewer:
Dear Dr. Manny,
My 6-month-old daughter— who is usually a great sleeper— has been waking up several times a night crying and is just generally cranky all of a sudden. I think she is teething. What can I do to help soother her discomfort?
Do you have health questions?
If you have health questions just email Dr. Manny:
Well, Tara, you may be right. Most babies start teething between four and seven months. Signs can include:
– Excessive drooling
– Chewing on solid objects
– Irritability or crankiness
– Tender, swollen gums
– Night waking
– Ear pulling
It’s important you keep a close eye on your baby because some of the signs of teething can actually be symptoms of illness.
But, if she is about to cut her first tooth, there are things you can do to help ease the pain:
– Offer teething toys or a clean, wet washcloth to provide counterpressure on the gums.
– Rub baby’s gums using a clean finger or moistened gauze.
– Try giving her cold water in a bottle or cold food in a mesh feeder is she’s six months
Noreen has done it again. After 7 chemos, and 3 hormone therapies, and 15 years, Noreen experienced a painful, lengthy setback.
For the last 4 months she has been in and out of the hospital, fighting one setback after another, accompanied by excruciating pain in her back, ribs and gallbladder; and ending with a fall when trying to walk, (without waking me to assist her) to the bathroom. She fractured her tailbone and had pain coming from everywhere.
A wonderful pain management specialist, Dr. Christine Lee has entered Noreen’s life, and her pain has become manageable.
Spine doctor Dr. Sang Kim determined Noreen’s tailbone fracture was not caused by her cancer. She was prescribed progesterone, and after 10 radiation treatments to her back, something started to work. She underwent a blood transfusion and painful Neupogen injections (which stimulate white blood cell growth), and suddenly her markers went down.
Miraculously, Noreen has bounced back.
Pain will remain a part of her life (but will be managed well). I got rid of the wheelchair, and bought her a neat walker — and she is rounding-into her old self. This is proven by the fact that last night she cleaned the kitchen while I slept. And when Noreen
As Noreen Fraser’s husband, I want to say again how much I admire the remarkable woman I married. We’ve added in a new wrinkle, which is causing her a tremendous amount of pain.
Noreen was scheduled to go into the hospital to have three ribs treated for small tumors, a procedure called cryoablation (which she has undergone before). Two days before she was to have the procedure, she woke up in excruciating pain.
At first they thought it was her heart, but then decided it was another rib, in the front. She went in for the cryoablation procedure (now for four ribs), and Dr. Genshaft was surprised. It wasn’t a fourth rib, it was her gallbladder.
Noreen had a “hot” gallbladder (inflamed).**
The question then became: Do they remove the gallbladder or drain it for eight to 10 weeks? Because of her somewhat deteriorating physical condition, they decided to put in a drain.
That’s where we are.
When her pain subsides enough from the gallbladder attack, she will be scheduled for the cryoablation procedure on the three ribs.
I just want to say that Noreen manages her pain in an amazing fashion. She still gives me orders! I love this woman.
A drop in temperature may not just chill you to the bone this winter – for some people, it can actually trigger pain.
We recently got this question from a viewer:
Dear Dr. Manny,
I get pain in my jaw when it’s really cold out. Why does this happen?
The first thing you should do is get your teeth checked to rule out cavities as a cause for your pain. But the weather can have an effect on your body in ways you may not expect.
Studies have shown that changes in barometric pressure that often accompany a drop in temperature can trigger pain by causing air pockets throughout your body to expand and/or shrink, putting pressure on the nerves.
Temporomandibular joint disorders, or TMJ, are also common in adult women.
Symptoms can include:
- Chewing pain
- Difficulty opening your mouth
- Clicking or grating sounds in the joint
Shivering in cold weather can cause the muscles in your jaw to constrict or spasm, which can also result in pain.
Always talk to your doctor to determine the best treatment based on your condition.
My wife has endured more than her fair share of pain. And it continues. It has been over three weeks. Noreen spent eight days in the hospital and then came home to recuperate.
I am Nurse Ratched. I can change dressings and deal with Noreen’s gallbladder drain. Giving shots are my specialty, so look out.
Pain control is important. Nor has pain from three sources: 1.) gallbladder, 2.) ribs, requiring Neupogen injections to enable her bone marrow create more red blood cells to fight infection (her No. 3 source of pain).
It’s all about “fighting,” and Noreen is the champion in my book.
Because Noreen’s markers have increased, with the gallbladder and the ribs happening at the same time, her doctors have decided to stop the chemo (this is the drug which Noreen and her Foundation have backed financially, and for which she has made four trips to Washington DC lobbying the FDA— which ended a “WIN” with the drug being fast-tracked by the FDA for use by patients with advanced metastatic disease).
Noreen is disappointed in the turn of events and we are waiting for the doctors to come up with a new strategy. She hates to be confined to bed. Nurse Ratched is
It hasn’t been easy, but I have stepped up my exercise and gone back to meditation and yoga: techniques I had done regularly in the past.
I am a believer in the importance of sleep, yoga and meditation, but I can’t remember how or when I got off track.
It’s weird how these things happen to us yet we can’t recall what triggered it. Forget the guilt, and slowly get yourself moving in the right direction.
I don’t know the demographic of those who read this blog, but if you’re over 60, you may think these techniques are a leftover from the 1960s, hippies and flower power. Not true!
Yoga, sleep, and meditation can have an impact on cancer. Did you know that yoga poses actually massage organs? I am concentrating on yoga poses that work on the liver.
I have hereditary high blood pressure. In May, they stopped making the medication I was taking. It was a drug that treated both high blood pressure and high cholesterol in one pill. Surprise, surprise: They decided to double their profits and sell each pill individually, and one of those was just dropped by my insurance plan! I had been wanting to get off this medication after
We are about a week away from Breast Cancer Awareness month.
To me, and other survivors, October is the most important month of the year. With my efforts to raise awareness and research dollars for women’s cancers, I am so pleased to remind you about the partnership my foundation has with Stella & Dot to support National Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October. We’re thrilled to launch the Resilience Cuff, a signature accessory co-designed by actress Cobie Smulders.
For the past four years, 100 percent of the net proceeds raised in October by Stella & Dot’s stylists and their Breast Cancer Boutique have gone directly to cutting edge women’s cancer research. Stella & Dot has raised significant funds for Noreen Fraser Foundation (NFF).
Most recently, NFF has participated in the direct funding and trials of the drug palbociclib, aiding in the treatment of advanced breast cancer, which was approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in February 2015. The University of California, Los Angeles’ Dr. Dennis Slamon states, “With the FDA approval, palbociclib will now become a standard treatment approach for women with ER+/HER2-metastatic breast cancer, which is truly a monumental stride in the cancer research community.”
As you know, I have been
National Cancer Survivors Day has come and gone. This past Sunday was the 28th year set aside to celebrate worldwide the lives of those living with cancer. People came together from all parts of the world to party, from 5 years old to 95 years old.
Celebrating anything and everything is always a good idea, but 40,000 people in the United States die every year from metastatic cancer, so for those like me, it’s a bittersweet half-celebration. We will never be in remission. The word “survivor” does not define us. We will be in the “in-treatment” category until we die.
I found the most original and heartfelt video on Facebook from a very young mother with small children who has metastatic cancer. Please take some time to hear her story— it features statistics that that all of us who have to deal with this chronic disease must live with every day. Indeed, we all have one thing in common: We are time bombs awaiting the explosion.
We are foot soldiers. Our lives are truly on the line. We are in the fight to the end. As Holley points out in her video, if you don’t know what to say to us and you
There is a lot you have to adjust to when you are living with metastatic cancer because it will be with you the rest of your life. The one thing I just can’t get used to is that regardless of what plans you may have or any commitments to which you’ve agreed, without much notice, your body can say, “No.” You become overwhelmed by a feeling of exhaustion, and you can’t move. Literally.
It’s such an awful feeling because your mind is ready to go, excited about the plan, but your body forces you to lie down. At that moment, you realize you are not going anywhere. You are stranded. For me, those feelings aren’t fleeting: They can last anywhere from 24 to 48 hours.
I was supposed to fly to Cleveland today for my dad’s birthday. I was so looking forward to celebrating with him, and I know he was eagerly anticipating our time together. But then it happened. I am glued to my bed. I had to call Dad to say I physically cannot make it. I can’t blame it on the flu or a migraine. It’s the same with dinner plans, parties, concerts, all the fun stuff you look
Yesterday, I was taking a meditation class that began with a dialogue about the power of intent. To some people, this may seem like a far-out concept, but I believe it works.
From all medical perspectives, there is no question that meditation has a positive effect on the brain and the body’s nervous system. It is basically a quieting of the mind. It could consist of spending a mere 15 to 30 minutes per day in a quiet environment where you can calm your mind and let go of the craziness of our minds babbling about what we should be doing (e.g. cleaning out a closet, running to the dry cleaners).
When you add intent to the process, you state your specific goal then begin quieting the mind. Meditation isn’t based on material goals like buying a house or winning a million-dollar lottery ticket. It is an intention geared toward your emotional, physical or mental health.
While meditating the other day, my intent was to live a full day of calm— one marked by no fighting (or should I say yelling at my son about finding a job?). I closed my eyes and repeated, “Stay calm.” Of course, other thoughts come to you
My husband lost his best friend today: Hal Meyers, the salt of the earth. He was my dear friend, too. He had a wonderful life and lived well into his 90s, but that is a fact gives little solace to most of those people who knew him and called him a friend.
My husband lost his father the same year he graduated from Dartmouth College. What made it more difficult was that he had no siblings, and his father was his best friend. It took him years to find a friend like Hal. For him, friends were the guys he palled around with or met after work for a drink. Their conversations skimmed only the surface. Guys don’t just open up about their feelings, their worries, their financial problems, their career choices and the like. Generally speaking, men are different from women when it comes to friendships.
Take me, for example: I tell my girlfriends everything. My sisters and my girlfriends are everything to me. When Hal came into my husband’s life 30 years ago, it was as if God plucked an angel from the sky to look over him, and Hal felt the same way about him. Hal had a smile
“You know, you’re a whole lot of crazy!” I loved this line, which Jennifer Lawrence delivered to Bradley Cooper in “Silver Linings Playbook.” This line also describes my feelings toward my insurance company and the week I have had dealing with them.
They have denied authorization for a procedure I was supposed to undergo tomorrow.
I have been fighting Stage 4 breast cancer for 12 years and have had to deal with so many treatments, some less horrible than others. When your doctor says you need a procedure to manage your pain— which for me right now is a 9 on a scale of 10— I think most reasonable people will consider a proven pain relief procedure necessary.
I have been extremely lucky. Doctors told me in 2003 I had three years to live. I owe my doctors my life. They have navigated my cancer successfully. Had they been told, “No” to one of my chemotherapy or other treatments, I may not be alive today. That’s the frustrating part. How does an insurance company judge your pain for you?
How can they deem my doctors’ recommendations unnecessary when they have been so successful in choosing what this patent needs for more than 12 years?
Dodged another bullet. I am grateful that my CT scan this week showed “no change,” which means that the cancer in my liver is stable, not growing. This Phase One study drug has truly been remarkable for me. It has added two years to my life. I have hope I will be able to remain on this treatment and that it will continue to work for a long time.
It has become increasingly more challenging for small foundations to raise money, and with the government also directing less money for cancer research, we all have to count on individuals for financial support. “The kindness of strangers” is a phrase I’ve come to appreciate and know well.
Something wonderful has happened this week for the Noreen Fraser Foundation. Doug Ellin, the creative genius behind the HBO series “Entourage,” which ran for 10 years, is releasing a film based on the series. Doug serves on the Board of Directors of The Noreen Fraser Foundation.
Doug Ellin partnered with an amazing organization, Omaze, which fundraises for philanthropy through social media, via once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Doug offered the opportunity to spend the day and evening at the “Entourage” film world premiere, walking the red carpet with him and