Life's Roller Coaster

If I'm missing, or not taking messages sorry – I'm more angry about letting my friends down than YOU will ever be at being let down! Unfortunately that is sometimes a side effect of Cancer! Mea Culpa: may I blame being short fused & grumpy on it too! My first symptoms presented in Nov-1998 – Follow The Trail on >DIARY of CANCER< Immediately Below!

I Don’t Recommend A Heart Attack – ANY Heart Attack! …

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I Don’t Recommend A Heart Attack – ANY Heart Attack! …
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Posted by:
Greg Lance – Watkins
Greg_L-W

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Hi,

there are better ways to wake up and clearly 06:05 is not the best time to start a day, as far as I.m concerned!

On Thursday I woke and woke instantly aware I was having a heart attack, which is not a good way to wake up even though the fact that I woke up must be seen as a plus!

I had a strong pain in the center of my chest and consequential discomfort that crossed my pectoral muscle to my armpit, which felt as if it had a warm lump in it the size of a golf ball and a dulol ache running down the inside of my arm to the elbow.

Relative to my original heart attack 19-Nov-2012 I knew this time it was as yet nothing like as bad – so I decided to act!

I immediately took 3 ‘squirts’ of GTN spray (Glyceryl Trinatrate) which I always have to hand, ever since the first heart attack, it is a spray that you administer under the tongue and it is designed to alleviate angina (Heart Pain/Discomfort), the drug dilates the blood vessels and reduces the risk of annurism by reducing blood pressure rapidly.

GTN is normally used when stress or activity leads to discomfort in the chest.

Immediately after taking the GTN I took a 300 milligram dispersable Asprin disolving it under the tongue.

This seemed to halt any escallation in the discomfort/pain I also fely I was in no imminent danger.

I remained in bed relaxed and turned on the TV to distract me and at about 07:00hrs. repeated the GTN and Asprin dose.

At 08:30hrs. I phoned my Doctors surgery and asked for a Doctor to call me as soon as one arrived – I declined to accept their offer to call an ambulance but I pointed out that the Heart Attack started 2.1/2 hours ago and I not only felt considerably better but was still alive!

At 09:00hrs. the Doctor phones, she knows me and my medical history having seen me several times before. She did try to insist she called an ambulance but I asked her to stop trying to wind me up and that after my last (first) experience of a heart attack when I drove myself to The Royal Gwent having seen my Doctor and was admitted to MAU (Medical Assessment Unit) where I arrived at 09:45hrs and sat in the crowded main waiting room appart from when I had an ECG test and two separate blood tests – all of which seemd to show nothing!

I was then sent to walk to the Radiology department for a CTC scan. I guess that didn’t show anything either.

Eventually they found me a bed in the unit as the pain had not abatted one iota since about 06:00hrs. Finally I saw a Doctor at about 02:45hrs. it was he who took the first medical intervention!

Later that morning saw me moved onto the Cardiac Unit where I was monitored and relevantly drugged – 4 days later I was given an Angyogram, where a probe is inserted through a small incision in the rist and it follows a blood vessel to the heart. It was at this stage it was discovered I had no Right Coronary Artery!

CORONARY ARTERIES 19 Labeled

Yep – No Right Coronary Artery – it seems that over the years the artery has steadily blocked and is now blocked from end to end and thus no longer delivers blood/Oxygen to the heart muscles it is supposed to supply!

Neither a stent nor a bypass is a possibility! The only option would be to bore the artery out but my Consultant has advised against this as it may not work anyway but more concerning is the likelihood of breaking the artery wall requiring emergency open hear surgery with the risk that I could ‘bleed out’ before the team could get to the heart.

Well that was5.12 years ago and although I have had a couple of scares since I have only had this one recent repeat heart attack!

Astonishingly with all the equipment telling Doctors my heart performance is normal and there are no abnormalities appart from a bit of backwash on the Aortal Artery valve which is slightly dilated, as the Aorta is slightly enlarged.

Yet an Angyogram clearly shows there is no Right Coronary Artery!

Oh well I’m still here 😉

Although my Doctor dissagrees I believe avoiding Hospital was in my best interest, but I can understand my Doctor wanting to cover herself by reffering me to hospital, which I am sure she has entered in my notes!

.
Regards,
     Greg_L-W
Greg Lance-Watkins
.
 Please Be Sure To
& Link to my My Blogs
To Spread The Facts World Wide To Give Others HOPE
I Have Been Fighting Cancer since 1997 & I’M STILL HERE!
I Have Cancer, Cancer Does NOT Have Me
I just want to say sorry for copping out at times and leaving my wife Lee and friends to cope!
Any help and support YOU can give her will be hugely welcome.
I do make a lousy patient!

.

If YOU want to follow my fight against Cancer from when it started and I first presented with symptoms in 1998 see The TAB at the Header of this Blog. called >DIARY of Cancer ….< just click and it will give you a long list of the main events in chronological order, many linked to specific blog postings. . Later in the sequence of my experiences with cancer you will note that I introduce some results and events most probably linked with cancer such as enlarged & damaged Prostate and a consequential Heart Attack leaving me with no right coronary artery! . I have also included numerous articles and anecdotes regarding health – primarily related to cancer, prostate and heart conditions – FYI! . Thoughts, articles and comments will be in chronological order in the main blog and can be tracked in the >ARCHIVE< in the Left Sidebar. . You may find the TABS >MEDICAL LINKS< and also >CANCER LINKS< of help, also many of the links in articles and >HOT LINKS< in the Sidebar.
.
YOU are welcome to call me, minded that I am NOT medically trained, if you believe I can help you in ANY way. .

Regards,
Greg_L-W.

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Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
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#Stephen_Fry’s Own Words Regarding His Recent Diagnosis With #Prostate_Cancer & His Chosen Treatment …

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#Stephen_Fry’s Own Words Regarding His Recent Diagnosis With #Prostate_Cancer & His Chosen Treatment …
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Posted by:
Greg Lance – Watkins
Greg_L-W

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 .

Hi,

first may I wish Stephen Fry a speedy and full recovery from the actions he and his Oncology Consultant decided to take when he had been diagnosed to have Prostate Cancer.

Do listen to Stephen Fry’s story in his own words and if you need more information on Prostate Cancer just put >prostate cancer< in the >SEARCH BOX< at the top of the >Right Sidebar< on this web site and follow the links.

Here is a film of the Robotic operating machine Stephen Fry spoke of, it is commonly known as a Da Vinci Machine and is operated by a surgeon or trained operator remotely via a VDU:

.
Regards,
     Greg_L-W
Greg Lance-Watkins
.
 Please Be Sure To
& Link to my My Blogs
To Spread The Facts World Wide To Give Others HOPE
I Have Been Fighting Cancer since 1997 & I’M STILL HERE!
I Have Cancer, Cancer Does NOT Have Me
I just want to say sorry for copping out at times and leaving my wife Lee and friends to cope!
Any help and support YOU can give her will be hugely welcome.
I do make a lousy patient!

.

If YOU want to follow my fight against Cancer from when it started and I first presented with symptoms in 1998 see The TAB at the Header of this Blog. called >DIARY of Cancer ….< just click and it will give you a long list of the main events in chronological order, many linked to specific blog postings. . Later in the sequence of my experiences with cancer you will note that I introduce some results and events most probably linked with cancer such as enlarged & damaged Prostate and a consequential Heart Attack leaving me with no right coronary artery! . I have also included numerous articles and anecdotes regarding health – primarily related to cancer, prostate and heart conditions – FYI! . Thoughts, articles and comments will be in chronological order in the main blog and can be tracked in the >ARCHIVE< in the Left Sidebar. . You may find the TABS >MEDICAL LINKS< and also >CANCER LINKS< of help, also many of the links in articles and >HOT LINKS< in the Sidebar.
.
YOU are welcome to call me, minded that I am NOT medically trained, if you believe I can help you in ANY way. .

Regards,
Greg_L-W.

~~~~~~~~~~#########~~~~~~~~~~
.
Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
tel: 44 (0)1594 – 528 337
Calls from ‘Number Withheld’ phones Are Blocked

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‘e’Mail Address: Greg_L-W@BTconnect.com

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Are YOU Having A #Heart_Attack & How Best To Improve YOUR Chances Of Survival …

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Are YOU Having A #Heart_Attack & How Best To Improve YOUR Chances Of Survival …
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Posted by:
Greg Lance – Watkins
Greg_L-W

eMail:
Greg_L-W@BTconnect.com

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 .

Hi,

These Are The Signs You’re Having A Heart Attack

Don’t worry if you have doubts. Call 999 and get help.

With a new study showing women are more likely to die than men after experiencing a heart attack, knowing the signs and treatment could easily mean the difference between life and death.

A heart attack is a medical emergency caused by a clot forming in one of the three coronary arteries that supplies blood to the heart muscle. This prevents blood from flowing to the heart, which can prove very dangerous.

 

At this stage, it’s vital that blood flow is restored to the heart, which is why you should dial 999 immediately and ask for an ambulance if you suspect you’re having one.

As the NHS puts it: “Don’t worry if you have doubts. Paramedics would rather be called out to find an honest mistake has been made than be too late to save a person’s life.”

SoumenNath via Getty Images

Signs of a heart attack

Emily McGrath, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation (BHF), told HuffPost UK that symptoms of heart attacks can vary from person to person and women are less likely to recognise symptoms. For example they might mistake a heart attack as indigestion, as the symptoms can feel similar.

 

The most common sign of a heart attack is chest pain or discomfort. NHS Choices describes this as “a sensation of pressure, tightness or squeezing in the centre of your chest”.

If it feels like indigestion, it can be difficult to determine whether it’s a heart attack or not, which is why it’s important to be aware of other symptoms that may arise such as: 

:: Feeling lightheaded or dizzy

:: Sweating

:: Feeling short of breath

:: Nauseousness or vomiting

:: Coughing or wheezing

:: Feeling very anxious (like having a panic attack)

:: Pain in other parts of the body. Emily from BHF explained further: “Pain can radiate to the arms, neck, jaw and back. You might experience pain down one side of the body or both. It doesn’t necessarily happen on the left side, which some people believe.”

Diagnosis

If you’re suspected to be having a heart attack, you should receive an ECG within 10 minutes of arriving at hospital, according to the NHS.

The test checks the heart’s rhythm and electrical activity, which is essential for swift diagnosis and treatment.

Treatment

Treatment options given to patients will depend on the type of heart attack they’ve had.

For example, if they’ve had ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), which is where the coronary artery is completely blocked by a blood clot, they will need to be treated as soon as possible to minimise damage to the heart. Treatment for STEMI involves a procedure to widen the coronary artery. 

Another treatment option is called coronary angioplasty. This involves inserting a tiny tube known as a balloon catheter into a large artery in the groin or arm. According to the NHS, the catheter is guided to the heart where it is then positioned in the coronary artery and inflated in order to open the artery and free up the blockage.

A stent, which is a flexible metal mesh, is usually inserted into the artery to help keep it open afterwards.

Patients may also be given medication like aspirin or heparin to thin the blood and prevent further blood clots. Some of these medications may be continued for some time afterwards.

Some patients might receive medication to break down the blood clot, known as thrombolytics or fibrinolytics. They may also be offered something called glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitor which can prevent blood clots from getting bigger and stop symptoms from worsening.

 To view the original article CLICK HERE

 

.
Regards,
     Greg_L-W
Greg Lance-Watkins
.
 Please Be Sure To
& Link to my My Blogs
To Spread The Facts World Wide To Give Others HOPE
I Have Been Fighting Cancer since 1997 & I’M STILL HERE!
I Have Cancer, Cancer Does NOT Have Me
I just want to say sorry for copping out at times and leaving my wife Lee and friends to cope!
Any help and support YOU can give her will be hugely welcome.
I do make a lousy patient!

.

If YOU want to follow my fight against Cancer from when it started and I first presented with symptoms in 1998 see The TAB at the Header of this Blog. called >DIARY of Cancer ….< just click and it will give you a long list of the main events in chronological order, many linked to specific blog postings. . Later in the sequence of my experiences with cancer you will note that I introduce some results and events most probably linked with cancer such as enlarged & damaged Prostate and a consequential Heart Attack leaving me with no right coronary artery! . I have also included numerous articles and anecdotes regarding health – primarily related to cancer, prostate and heart conditions – FYI! . Thoughts, articles and comments will be in chronological order in the main blog and can be tracked in the >ARCHIVE< in the Left Sidebar. . You may find the TABS >MEDICAL LINKS< and also >CANCER LINKS< of help, also many of the links in articles and >HOT LINKS< in the Sidebar.
.
YOU are welcome to call me, minded that I am NOT medically trained, if you believe I can help you in ANY way. .

Regards,
Greg_L-W.

~~~~~~~~~~#########~~~~~~~~~~
.
Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
tel: 44 (0)1594 – 528 337
Calls from ‘Number Withheld’ phones Are Blocked

All unanswered messages are recorded.
Leave your name & a UK land line number & I will return your call.

‘e’Mail Address: Greg_L-W@BTconnect.com

Skype: GregL-W

TWITTER: @Greg_LW

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.Follow Greg_LW on Twitter.

Re-TWEET my Twitterings
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Michelle Dewberry Recovery From Cancer …

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Michelle Dewberry Recovery From Cancer …
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Posted by:
Greg Lance – Watkins
Greg_L-W

eMail:
Greg_L-W@BTconnect.com

The BLOG:
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The Main Web Site:
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 .

Hi,

In case you missed it

2014 I had skin cancer on face. I had Mohs surgery to cut it out & skin stretched/stitched over. I was so paranoid about what it wld look like. Fast forward to now, scar almost gone. NHS did fab job. I hope this brings some comfort to anyone experiencing the same thing & anxious

.
Regards,
     Greg_L-W
Greg Lance-Watkins
.
 Please Be Sure To
& Link to my My Blogs
To Spread The Facts World Wide To Give Others HOPE
I Have Been Fighting Cancer since 1997 & I’M STILL HERE!
I Have Cancer, Cancer Does NOT Have Me
I just want to say sorry for copping out at times and leaving my wife Lee and friends to cope!
Any help and support YOU can give her will be hugely welcome.
I do make a lousy patient!

.

If YOU want to follow my fight against Cancer from when it started and I first presented with symptoms in 1998 see The TAB at the Header of this Blog. called >DIARY of Cancer ….< just click and it will give you a long list of the main events in chronological order, many linked to specific blog postings. . Later in the sequence of my experiences with cancer you will note that I introduce some results and events most probably linked with cancer such as enlarged & damaged Prostate and a consequential Heart Attack leaving me with no right coronary artery! . I have also included numerous articles and anecdotes regarding health – primarily related to cancer, prostate and heart conditions – FYI! . Thoughts, articles and comments will be in chronological order in the main blog and can be tracked in the >ARCHIVE< in the Left Sidebar. . You may find the TABS >MEDICAL LINKS< and also >CANCER LINKS< of help, also many of the links in articles and >HOT LINKS< in the Sidebar.
.
YOU are welcome to call me, minded that I am NOT medically trained, if you believe I can help you in ANY way. .

Regards,
Greg_L-W.

~~~~~~~~~~#########~~~~~~~~~~
.
Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
tel: 44 (0)1594 – 528 337
Calls from ‘Number Withheld’ phones Are Blocked

All unanswered messages are recorded.
Leave your name & a UK land line number & I will return your call.

‘e’Mail Address: Greg_L-W@BTconnect.com

Skype: GregL-W

TWITTER: @Greg_LW

DO MAKE USE of LINKS,
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I try to make every effort to NOT infringe copyrights in any commercial way & make all corrections of fact brought to my attention by an identifiable individual
.

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.Follow Greg_LW on Twitter.

Re-TWEET my Twitterings
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Fecal Transplant Pills Could Become a New Cutting-Edge Treatment for Infections …

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Fecal Transplant Pills
Could Become a New Cutting-Edge Treatment for Infections …
.
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Posted by:
Greg Lance – Watkins
Greg_L-W

eMail:
Greg_L-W@BTconnect.com

The BLOG:
https://InfoWebSiteUK.wordpress.com

The Main Web Site:
www.InfoWebSite.UK

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.

Hi,

many of you, if not most of you, who have visited a family member or friend in hospital, and particularly those of you who have had any long term exposure to hospital will be well aware of the prevalence of outbreaks of C/ difficile, Nora Virus and the like that lead to ward closures, isolation and all too often deaths.

These outbreaks are not only concerning but costly but this new cutting-edge treatment may well be the answer to the problem and may even act as a guard against the problem if administered as a routine on admission!

There is some belief that as a benefit of our evolutionary background as scavengers, hunters and gatherers the appendix have functioned as a holding point for gut flora/bacteria. A point that can hold a resevoir of vital bacteria, that can repopulate the gut after a sever stripping of its content by the likes of C.diff.

I wonder if such capsules could be used to introduce such as live Rennet to aleviate some cases of lactose intollerance?

Getty Images
By Alice Park

November 28, 2017

Human waste has long been thought of as just that: everything the body doesn’t want or need. But new research is showing that feces may contain valuable organisms that can actually treat disease.

In a new paper published in JAMA, researchers led by Dr. Dina Kao, a gastroenterologist at the University of Alberta in Canada, and her colleagues report that fecal matter manufactured into a capsule was no worse than fecal matter transplanted by colonoscopy. Both procedures successfully reduced risk of repeated C. difficile infections by more than 90%. C. difficile (C. diff) infections can be caused by bacteria that are resistant to many antibiotics.

The advantages of a capsule over a colonoscopy, which is an invasive procedure that requires mild sedation, are clear. Any time people are sedated, there is a risk that their breathing will slow too much. Colonoscopy also comes with the risk of puncturing the intestinal wall, which can introduce infections that could be life threatening. The benefits of swallowing a capsule are also undeniable compared to swallowing — or trying to swallow — a feeding tube through which a slurry of fecal matter is flowing through. (That’s the way that doctors testing fecal transplants originally administered their doses.) That carries the risk of aspirating some of the fecal slurry into the lungs — not to mention the unpleasantness of introducing feces to the mouth area and accidentally breathing it in.

Fecal transplants are part of the burgeoning field of research involving the microbiome: the living universe of microbes, including bacteria, that live on and in the body. Unlike their disease-causing counterparts, these microbes work to improve human health. Certain bacteria, for example, are linked to lower rates of conditions like allergies, asthma, obesity and even some types of mental illnesses.

Studies have found that certain microbes in the digestive tract are linked to lower rates of C. difficile infection, which is mainly acquired in health care settings like hospitals and nursing homes. About 90% of people who receive fecal transplant by colonoscopy do not experience recurrent infections. Antibiotics can treat the infection, but anywhere from 10% to 30% of people will develop further infections, and each recurrence increases the risk of another one.

While certain microbiome populations can lower the risk of infection, it’s not clear whether the amount of bacteria in the gut is the key factor, or whether it’s the type of bacteria or even how the bacteria is delivered. In the study, Kao focused on understanding whether the way the gut bugs are delivered makes a difference. “The biggest question in this area has always been, what’s the best way to deliver the transplant?” she says. “I think with this study, we can see that maybe the capsule delivery format is the way to go if you are going to give this type of microbiome-based therapy.”

MORE:Fecal Transplants May Soon Be Available in a Pill

All 116 people in the study had experienced at least three cases of C. difficile infection. They were randomly assigned to receive a fecal transplant by either capsules or a colonoscopy. The people taking the capsules had to swallow 40 of them in a single sitting, usually over 30 minutes to an hour. After 12 weeks, about 90% of people in each group remained free of additional infections.

That’s encouraging for patients who struggle with a poor quality of life while battling recurrent infections, which cause serious diarrhea several times a day along with severe cramping and dehydration. “Based on this study, I think it would be very reasonable to think about fecal transplant capsules as your preferred approach,” says Dr. Preeti Malani, professor of medicine at the University of Michigan, who wrote an editorial accompanying the study. “If it were myself or a family member, I think avoiding colonoscopy would be helpful.” She also notes that most people who have repeated infections are older, frail and in poor health, which makes an invasive procedure like colonoscopy riskier.

MORE:Here’s Why Europe Is Supporting Fecal Transplants

But she also says that more studies are needed — first, to confirm the results that Kao found, and second, to better understand how the fecal transplant process works. One question is whether the bacteria are actually responsible for controlling the infection. A previous study found that a fecal sample that was sterilized to kill all the bacteria still resulted in fewer repeat infections, raising the question of whether there is something else in fecal matter that is beneficial. If bacteria are responsible, which bacteria are best, and how much are needed to treat the infection? These unanswered questions are why the Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved fecal transplants, but does allow doctors to apply for permission to perform them to treat people with C. difficile that does not respond to other therapies — as long as the patient is aware the transplant is still in the testing phases.

Kao is planning on studying the components of the fecal transplant to better understand what is helping to control the C. difficile.

In the meantime, while the idea of swallowing a capsule of poop may seem unpleasant, it may be the best way yet to control an otherwise devastating infection. When Kao asked the people in the study to rate their experience, more people taking the capsules than the colonoscopy said the process was “not at all unpleasant.”

To view the original article CLICK HERE

.
Regards,
     Greg_L-W
Greg Lance-Watkins
.
 Please Be Sure To
& Link to my My Blogs
To Spread The Facts World Wide To Give Others HOPE
I Have Been Fighting Cancer since 1997 & I’M STILL HERE!
I Have Cancer, Cancer Does NOT Have Me
I just want to say sorry for copping out at times and leaving my wife Lee and friends to cope!
Any help and support YOU can give her will be hugely welcome.
I do make a lousy patient!

.

If YOU want to follow my fight against Cancer from when it started and I first presented with symptoms in 1998 see The TAB at the Header of this Blog. called >DIARY of Cancer ….< just click and it will give you a long list of the main events in chronological order, many linked to specific blog postings. . Later in the sequence of my experiences with cancer you will note that I introduce some results and events most probably linked with cancer such as enlarged & damaged Prostate and a consequential Heart Attack leaving me with no right coronary artery! . I have also included numerous articles and anecdotes regarding health – primarily related to cancer, prostate and heart conditions – FYI! . Thoughts, articles and comments will be in chronological order in the main blog and can be tracked in the >ARCHIVE< in the Left Sidebar. . You may find the TABS >MEDICAL LINKS< and also >CANCER LINKS< of help, also many of the links in articles and >HOT LINKS< in the Sidebar.
.
YOU are welcome to call me, minded that I am NOT medically trained, if you believe I can help you in ANY way. .

Regards,
Greg_L-W.

~~~~~~~~~~#########~~~~~~~~~~
.
Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
tel: 44 (0)1594 – 528 337
Calls from ‘Number Withheld’ phones Are Blocked

All unanswered messages are recorded.
Leave your name & a UK land line number & I will return your call.

‘e’Mail Address: Greg_L-W@BTconnect.com

Skype: GregL-W

TWITTER: @Greg_LW

DO MAKE USE of LINKS,
>SEARCH<
&
>Side Bars<
&
The Top Bar >PAGES<
I try to make every effort to NOT infringe copyrights in any commercial way & make all corrections of fact brought to my attention by an identifiable individual
.

Please Be Sure To
.Follow Greg_LW on Twitter.

Re-TWEET my Twitterings
https://twitter.com/Greg_LW

& Publicise

My MainWebSite & Blogs

To Spread The Facts World Wide


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The BLOG:
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The Main Web Site:
www.InfoWebSite.UK

~~~~~~~~~~#########~~~~~~~~~~

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Know Your Heart! …

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Know Your Heart! …
.
~~~~~~~~~~#########~~~~~~~~~~

Posted by:
Greg Lance – Watkins
Greg_L-W

eMail:
Greg_L-W@BTconnect.com

The BLOG:
https://InfoWebSiteUK.wordpress.com

The Main Web Site:
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~~~~~~~~~~#########~~~~~~~~~~

 .Hi,

here are two versions naming the parts of the heart, which compliment eachother:

CORONARY ARTERIES 16 Anterior Labeled

 

OR:

CORONARY ARTERIES 16B Anterior Labeled

 

AND

Here is a video of how your heart functions, to better understand any problems you may have been diagnosed with:

Its your heart so take care of it!

Some Facts About The Heart:

Based on an article written by Diana Wells on 06 July 2017
Posted at CLICK HERE

  1. The average heart is the size of a fist in an adult.
  2. Your heart will beat about 115,000 times each day.
  3. Your heart pumps about 2,000 gallons of blood every day.
  4. An electrical system controls the rhythm of your heart. It’s called the cardiac conduction system.
  5. The heart can continue beating even when it’s disconnected from the body.
  6. The first open-heart surgery occurred in 1893. It was performed by Daniel Hale Williams, who was one of the few black cardiologists in the United States at the time.
  7. The first implantable pacemaker was used in 1958. Arne Larsson, who received the pacemaker, lived longer than the surgeon who implanted it. Larsson died at 86 of a disease that was unrelated to his heart.
  8. The youngest person to receive heart surgery was only a minute old. She had a heart defect that many babies don’t survive. Her surgery was successful, but she’ll eventually need a heart transplant.
  9. The earliest known case of heart disease was identified in the remains of a 3,500-year-old Egyptian mummy.
  10. The fairy fly, which is a kind of wasp, has the smallest heart of any living creature.
  11. The American pygmy shrew is the smallest mammal, but it has the fastest heartbeat at 1,200 beats per minute.
  12. Whales have the largest heart of any mammal.
  13. The giraffe has a lopsided heart, with their left ventricle being thicker than the right. This is because the left side has to get blood up the giraffe’s long neck to reach their brain.
  14. Most heart attacks happen on a Monday.
  15. Christmas day is the most common day of the year for heart attacks to happen.
  16. The human heart weighs less than 1 pound. However, a man’s heart, on average, is 2 ounces heavier than a woman’s heart.
  17. A woman’s heart beats slightly faster than a man’s heart.
  18. The beating sound of your heart is caused by the valves of the heart opening and closing.
  19. It’s possible to have a broken heart. It’s called broken heart syndrome and can have similar symptoms as a heart attack. The difference is that a heart attack is from heart disease and broken heart syndrome is caused by a rush of stress hormones from an emotional or physical stress event.
  20. Death from a broken heart, or broken heart syndrome, is possible but extremely rare.
  21. The iconic heart shape as a symbol of love is traditionally thought to come from the silphium plant, which was used as an ancient form of birth control.
  22. If you were to stretch out your blood vessel system, it would extend over 60,000 miles.
  23. Heart cells stop dividing, which means heart cancer is extremely rare.
  24. Laughing is good for your heart. It reduces stress and gives a boost to your immune system.

Be Kind To YOUR Heart – Tips:

Quit Smoking

Stop smoking—no ifs, ands, or butts

There are many steps you can take to help protect your health and blood vessels. Avoiding tobacco is one of the best.

In fact, smoking is one of the top controllable risk factors for heart disease. If you smoke or use other tobacco products, the American Heart Association (AHA), National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) all encourage you to quit. It can make a huge difference to not just your heart, but your overall health, too.

Slim down

Slim Down

Focus on the middle

That is, focus on your middle. Research in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology has linked excess belly fat to higher blood pressure and unhealthy blood lipid levels. If you’re carrying extra fat around your middle, it’s time to slim down. Eating fewer calories and exercising more can make a big difference.

 

Have sex

Play between the sheets

Or you can play on top of the sheets! That’s right, having sex can be good for your heart. Sexual activity may add more than just pleasure to your life. It may also help lower your blood pressure and risk of heart disease. Research published in the American Journal of Cardiology shows that a lower frequency of sexual activity is associated with higher rates of cardiovascular disease.

Engage in hobbies

Knit a scarf

Put your hands to work to help your mind unwind. Engaging in activities such as knitting, sewing, and crocheting can help relieve stress and do your ticker some good. Other relaxing hobbies, such as woodworking, cooking, or completing jigsaw puzzles, may also help take the edge off stressful days.

Eat fiber

Power up your salsa with beans

When paired with low-fat chips or fresh veggies, salsa offers a delicious and antioxidant-rich snack. Consider mixing in a can of black beans for an added boost of heart-healthy fiber. According to the Mayo Clinic, a diet rich in soluble fiber can help lower your level of low-density lipoprotein, or “bad cholesterol.” Other rich sources of soluble fiber include oats, barley, apples, pears, and avocados.

 

Listen to music

Let the music move you

Whether you prefer a rumba beat or two-step tune, dancing makes for a great heart-healthy workout. Like other forms of aerobic exercise, it raises your heart rate and gets your lungs pumping. It also burns up to 200 calories or more per hour, reports the Mayo Clinic.

Eat fish

Go fish

Eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can also help ward off heart disease. Many fish, such as salmon, tuna, sardines, and herring, are rich sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Try to eat fish at least twice a week, suggests the AHA. If you’re concerned about mercury or other contaminants in fish, you may be happy to learn that its heart-healthy benefits tend to outweigh the risks for most people.

 

Laugh

Laugh out loud

Don’t just LOL in emails or Facebook posts. Laugh out loud in your daily life. Whether you like watching funny movies or cracking jokes with your friends, laughter may be good for your heart. According to the AHA, research suggests laughing can lower stress hormones, decrease inflammation in your arteries, and raise your levels of high-density lipoprotein (HLD), also known as “good cholesterol.”

 

Stretch

Stretch it out

Yoga can help you improve your balance, flexibility, and strength. It can help you relax and relieve stress. As if that’s not enough, yoga also has potential to improve heart health. According to research published in the Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine, yoga demonstrates potential to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.

 

Drink alcohol in moderation

Raise a glass

Moderate consumption of alcohol can help raise your levels of HDL, or good cholesterol. It can also help prevent blood clot formation and artery damage. According to the Mayo Clinic, red wine in particular may offer benefits for your heart. That doesn’t mean you should guzzle it at every meal. The key is to only drink alcohol in moderation.

 

Avoid salt

Sidestep salt

If the entire U.S. population reduced its average salt intake to just half a teaspoon a day, it would significantly cut the number of people who develop coronary heart disease every year, report researchers in the New England Journal of Medicine. The authors suggest that salt is one of the leading drivers of rising healthcare costs in the United States. Processed and restaurant-prepared foods tend to be especially high in salt. So think twice before filling up on your favorite fast-food fix. Consider using a salt substitute, such as Mr. Dash, if you have high blood pressure or heart failure.

 

Move

Move it, move it, move it

No matter how much you weigh, sitting for long periods of time could shorten your lifespan, warn researchers in the Archives of Internal Medicine and the American Heart Association. Couch potato and desk jockey lifestyles seem to have an unhealthy effect on blood fats and blood sugar. If you work at a desk, remember to take regular breaks to move around. Go for a stroll on your lunch break, and enjoy regular exercise in your leisure time.

Know your numbers

Know your numbers

Keeping your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides in check is important for good heart health. Learn the optimal levels for your sex and age group. Take steps to reach and maintain those levels. And remember to schedule regular check-ups with your doctor. If you want to make your doctor happy, keep good records of your vitals or lab numbers, and bring them to your appointments.

 

Eat chocolate

Eat chocolate

Dark chocolate not only tastes delicious, it also contains heart-healthy flavonoids. These compounds help reduce inflammation and lower your risk of heart disease, suggest scientists in the journal Nutrients. Eaten in moderation, dark chocolate — not oversweetened milk chocolate — can actually be good for you. The next time you want to indulge your sweet tooth, sink it into a square or two of dark chocolate. No guilt required.

 

Do housework

Kick your housework up a notch

Vacuuming or mopping the floors may not be as invigorating as a Body Slam or Zumba class. But these activities and other household chores do get you moving. They can give your heart a little workout, while burning calories too. Put your favorite music on and add some pep to your step while you complete your weekly chores.

Eat nuts

Go nuts

Almonds, walnuts, pecans, and other tree nuts deliver a powerful punch of heart-healthy fats, protein, and fiber. Including them in your diet can help lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. Remember to keep the serving size small, suggests the AHA. While nuts are full of healthy stuff, they’re also high in calories.

 

Have fun

Be a kid

Fitness doesn’t have to be boring. Let your inner child take the lead by enjoying an evening of roller skating, bowling, or laser tag. You can have fun while burning calories and giving your heart a workout.

 

Own a pet

Consider pet therapy

Our pets offer more than good company and unconditional love. They also provide numerous health benefits. Studies reported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) suggest that owning a pet may help improve your heart and lung function. It may also help lower your chances of dying from heart disease.

 

Interval train

Start and stop

Start and stop, then start and stop again. During interval training, you alternate bursts of intense physical activity with bouts of lighter activity. The Mayo Clinic reports that doing so can boost the number of calories you burn while working out.

 

Avoid fat

Cut the fat

Slicing your saturated fat intake to no more than 7 percent of your daily calories can cut your risk of heart disease, advises the USDA. If you don’t normally read nutrition labels, considering starting today. Take stock of what you’re eating and avoid foods that are high in saturated fat.

 

Enjoy your ride

Take the scenic route home

Put down your cell phone, forget about the driver who cut you off, and enjoy your ride. Eliminating stress while driving can help lower your blood pressure and stress levels. That’s something your cardiovascular system will appreciate.

 

Have breakfast

Make time for breakfast

The first meal of the day is an important one. Eating a nutritious breakfast every day can help you maintain a healthy diet and weight. To build a heart-healthy meal, reach for:

  • whole grains, such as oatmeal, whole-grain cereals, or whole-wheat toast
  • lean protein sources, such as turkey bacon or a small serving of nuts or peanut butter
  • low-fat dairy products, such as low-fat milk, yogurt, or cheese
  • fruits and vegetables

 

Take the stairs

Take the stairs

Exercise is essential for good heart health, so why not sneak it in at every opportunity? Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park on the far side of the parking lot. Walk to a colleague’s desk to talk, instead of emailing them. Play with your dog or kids at the park, instead of just watching them. Every little bit adds up to better fitness.

 

Drink tea

Brew up a heart-healthy potion

No magic is needed to brew up a cup of green or black tea. Drinking one to three cups of tea per day may help lower your risk of heart problems, reports the AHA. For example, it’s linked to lower rates of angina and heart attacks.

Brush your teeth

Brush your teeth regularly

Good oral hygiene does more than keep your teeth white and glistening. According to the Cleveland Clinic, some research suggests that the bacteria that cause gum disease can also raise your risk of heart disease. While the research findings have been mixed, there’s no downside to taking good care of your teeth and gums.

 

Walk

Walk it off

The next time you feel overwhelmed, exasperated, or angry, take a stroll. Even a five-minute walk can help clear your head and lower your stress levels, which is good for your health. Taking a half-hour walk every day is even better for your physical and mental health.

 

Lift weights

Pump some iron

Aerobic fitness is key to keeping your heart healthy, but it’s not the only type of exercise you should do. It’s also important to include regular strength training sessions in your schedule. The more muscle mass you build, the more calories you burn. That can help you maintain a heart-healthy weight and fitness level.

 

Find your happy place

Find your happy place

A sunny outlook may be good for your heart, as well as your mood. According to the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, chronic stress, anxiety, and anger can raise your risk of heart disease and stroke. Maintaining a positive outlook on life may help you stay healthier for longer.

.
Regards,
     Greg_L-W
Greg Lance-Watkins
.
 Please Be Sure To
& Link to my My Blogs
To Spread The Facts World Wide To Give Others HOPE
I Have Been Fighting Cancer since 1997 & I’M STILL HERE!
I Have Cancer, Cancer Does NOT Have Me
I just want to say sorry for copping out at times and leaving my wife Lee and friends to cope!
Any help and support YOU can give her will be hugely welcome.
I do make a lousy patient!

.

If YOU want to follow my fight against Cancer from when it started and I first presented with symptoms in 1998 see The TAB at the Header of this Blog. called >DIARY of Cancer ….< just click and it will give you a long list of the main events in chronological order, many linked to specific blog postings. . Later in the sequence of my experiences with cancer you will note that I introduce some results and events most probably linked with cancer such as enlarged & damaged Prostate and a consequential Heart Attack leaving me with no right coronary artery! . I have also included numerous articles and anecdotes regarding health – primarily related to cancer, prostate and heart conditions – FYI! . Thoughts, articles and comments will be in chronological order in the main blog and can be tracked in the >ARCHIVE< in the Left Sidebar. . You may find the TABS >MEDICAL LINKS< and also >CANCER LINKS< of help, also many of the links in articles and >HOT LINKS< in the Sidebar.
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YOU are welcome to call me, minded that I am NOT medically trained, if you believe I can help you in ANY way. .

Regards,
Greg_L-W.

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Gene-Altering Treatments for #Cancer …

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Gene-Altering Treatments for #Cancer …

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Hi,

CAVEAT:

this drug treatment – About 3,500 people a year in the United States may be candidates for Yescarta.

DRUG TESTING 01
The cost will be $373,000 per patient. (Source: CLICK HERE)

Cells taken from cancer patients are genetically engineered to fight cancer at a Kite processing facility. Credit Kite Pharma

The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved the second in a radically new class of treatments that genetically reboot a patient’s own immune cells to kill cancer.

The new therapy, Yescarta, made by Kite Pharma, was approved for adults with aggressive forms of a blood cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, who have undergone two regimens of chemotherapy that failed.

The treatment, considered a form of gene therapy, transforms the patient’s cells into what researchers call a “living drug” that attacks cancer cells. It is part of the rapidly growing field of immunotherapy, which uses drugs or genetic tinkering to turbocharge the immune system to fight disease. In some cases the treatments have led to long remissions.

“The results are pretty remarkable,” said Dr. Frederick L. Locke, a specialist in blood cancers at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, and a leader of a study of the new treatment. “We’re excited. We think there are many patients who may need this therapy.”

He added, “These patients don’t have other options.”

About 3,500 people a year in the United States may be candidates for Yescarta. It is meant to be given once, infused into a vein, and must be manufactured individually for each patient. The cost will be $373,000.

The treatment was originally developed at the National Cancer Institute, by a team Dr. Steven Rosenberg led. The institute entered an agreement with Kite in 2012, in which the company helped pay for research and received rights to commercialize the results.

Largely on the strength of the new drug and related research, the drug giant Gilead purchased Kite in August, for $11.9 billion.

“Today marks another milestone in the development of a whole new scientific paradigm for the treatment of serious diseases,” the F.D.A. commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, said in a statement. “In just several decades, gene therapy has gone from being a promising concept to a practical solution to deadly and largely untreatable forms of cancer.”

Side-effects can be life-threatening, however. They include high fevers, crashing blood pressure, lung congestion and neurological problems.In some cases, patients have required treatment in an intensive care unit. In the study that led to the approval, two patients died from side effects. Doctors have learned to manage them better, but it takes training and experience.

Partly for that reason, Yescarta, like Kymriah, will be introduced gradually, and will be available only at centers where doctors and nurses have been trained in using it.

“Ten to 15 authorized institutions will be ready to go at the time of the launch,” a spokeswoman for Kite, Christine Cassiano, said. “In 12 months, we expect to have 70 to 90. There’s a lot that goes into it, making sure each institution is ready to go.”

Companies have been racing to develop new forms of immunotherapy. The first cell-based cancer treatment — Kymriah, made by Novartis — was approved in August for children and young adults with an aggressive type of acute leukemia. It will cost $475,000, but the company has said it will not charge patients who do not respond within the first month after treatment. Novartis is expected to ask the F.D.A. to approve Kymriah for lymphoma and other blood cancers as well, and may vary its price depending on how well it works for those diseases.

Kite also plans to seek approval for other blood cancers, but does not plan to vary Yescarta’s price, said Ms. Cassiano.

The company also hopes that Yescarta will eventually be approved for earlier stages of lymphoma, rather than being limited to patients with advanced disease who have been debilitated by multiple types of chemotherapy that did not work, said Dr. David D. Chang, Kite’s chief medical officer and executive vice president for research and development.

“This is the beginning of many developments in cell therapy in the next few years,” Dr. Chang said in an interview.

 

He said the F.D.A. had “embraced” the concept of cell therapy, designating it a breakthrough and accelerating the approval process to speed its availability to cancer patients, many of whom do not have time to wait.

Kite and Novartis also hope to produce cell therapies for so-called solid tumors — like those of the lung, prostate, breast and colon — which account for about 90 percent of all deaths from cancer.

Before it was approved and named Yescarta, Kite’s treatment was known by other names: axi-cel, axicabtagene ciloleucel, or KTE-C19.

The study that led to approval enrolled 111 patients at 22 hospitals; 101 of them received Yescarta. They had one of three diseases: diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, primary mediastinal B-cell lymphoma or transformed follicular lymphoma.

Initially, 54 percent had complete remissions, meaning that their tumors disappeared. Another 28 percent had partial remissions, in which tumors shrank or appeared less active on scans. After six months, 80 percent of the 101 were still alive.

With a median follow-up of 8.7 months, 39 percent of the 101 were still in complete remission — a much higher rate than achieved with earlier treatments — and 5 percent still had partial remissions.

“Many patients were seriously contemplating their own mortality,” said Dr. Caron A. Jacobson, who helped conduct the study at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center in Boston. “We would be talking to them about other clinical trials, but also about hospice care and quality of life and comfort. You’re really seeing people get their life back. After a couple weeks in the hospital and a couple weeks at home, they go back to work. On its face, it’s quite remarkable and revolutionary.”

The treatment requires removing millions of a patient’s T-cells — a type of white blood cell that is critical to the immune system — freezing them and shipping them to Kite to be genetically engineered to kill cancer cells. The process reprograms the T-cells to attack B-cells, normal parts of the immune system that turn malignant in certain blood cancers. The revved-up T-cells — now known as “CAR-T cells” — are then frozen again and shipped back to the hospital to be dripped into the patient. The turnaround time is about 17 days.

Kite’s cell-processing facility, in El Segundo, Calif., can provide the treatment for 4,000 to 5,000 patients a year, Ms. Cassiano said, adding that the company has applied for approval in Europe, and if it is granted, will probably build a plant there.

Tina Bureau, a fifth-grade teacher from Queensbury, N.Y., was one of the lymphoma patients in the study. Previously, she’d had several types of chemotherapy.

“The cancer would shrink but then it would come right back,” she said.

Last spring, she had the T-cell treatment at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. The side effects were ferocious.

“You don’t even recognize your family members,” Ms. Bureau said. “I had some bleeding on my brain, and had to be put in intensive care. The week it was happening, I don’t remember a lot. It was much more difficult for my family than me.”

Within a month, she had a complete remission, which has continued. She is back at work, full time.

“Yes, it can pose life threatening problems,” Ms. Bureau said. “But when you’re in a situation where your life’s threatened anyway, I don’t feel you have anything to lose.”

To see the original of this article CLICK HERE
.
Regards,
     Greg_L-W
Greg Lance-Watkins
.
 Please Be Sure To
& Link to my My Blogs
To Spread The Facts World Wide To Give Others HOPE
I Have Been Fighting Cancer since 1997 & I’M STILL HERE!
I Have Cancer, Cancer Does NOT Have Me
I just want to say sorry for copping out at times and leaving my wife Lee and friends to cope!
Any help and support YOU can give her will be hugely welcome.
I do make a lousy patient!

.

If YOU want to follow my fight against Cancer from when it started and I first presented with symptoms in 1998 see The TAB at the Header of this Blog. called >DIARY of Cancer ….ARCHIVEMEDICAL LINKSCANCER LINKSHOT LINKS< in the Sidebar.
.
YOU are welcome to call me, minded that I am NOT medically trained, if you believe I can help you in ANY way. .

Regards,
Greg_L-W.

~~~~~~~~~~#########~~~~~~~~~~
.
Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
tel: 44 (0)1594 – 528 337
Calls from ‘Number Withheld’ phones Are Blocked

All unanswered messages are recorded.
Leave your name & a UK land line number & I will return your call.

‘e’Mail Address: Greg_L-W@BTconnect.com

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Ode To The Hitch – A Tribute To Another Man’s Success …

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Ode To The Hitch – A Tribute To Another Man’s Success …
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Hi,

Ode To The Hitch – A Tribute To Another Man’s Success …

Friday, February 17, 2012

I started this blog at the beginning of a fairly traumatic and fatalistic journey which would explain the opening line I first wrote: “And so to journal the end, which is nigh, it seems.”

Well, whilst that statement could be construed as true in just about any circumstances, on a personal level I feel now that it gives the reader a less than perfect impression of what follows so I’m going to offer the following alternative beginning so as not to hide the good news that my friend will want to hear. Most of this was written almost live, just after it happened or even as it was happening, some was added after to fill in gaps, so on occasion the context might appear not to quite fit and the construction definitely leaves room for improvement:

And so to journal what could so very easily have been the end, which is not quite as nigh as I at first thought, it seems.

I’m not sure quite what I expected when I decided to go (finally) and ask for an investigation into what I was already sure was that dreaded beast, the cancer. Admittedly, I feared it was the same as dear Christopher’s, (Hitchens) the esophageal kind. For once the doc appears to have been correct in casting aside my self-diagnosis, proffering the much more likely (and somewhat inane) alternative of the lung kind and writing me up for the low tech scan of the x-ray kind.

It wasn’t fear that caused me to delay getting my ass to the hospital, any more than it had been the cause of the twelve month’s procrastination over getting into the doctors surgery. It was far more mundane a cause than that. In the case of the doctor it was the groan at the thought of the hurdles the surgery places in the way of dispensing it’s services – a rant for another time. That coupled with the fact that every time it occurred to me was in the middle of the night when symptoms presented and woke me up. A cough to be precise, a dry, back-of-the-throat cough, the very kind I had heard was the early symptom of Christopher’s kind, the kind that gets ignored until much worse symptoms arise- the difficulty in swallowing; change in voice; coughing up blood. Hence the poor survival rate, fourteen percent if I recall the stats correctly. No-one suspects the cough, why would they. Everyone coughs don’t they. At least every smoker coughs and smokers get more bronchial conditions and that usually presents as a cough and when the rest of the symptoms wane, the cough persists, doesn’t it? And it’s hard to judge when the cough should have stopped…but after a while you know. you just know.

So every time I tell myself, time to get your ass to the surgery, which doctor will you see? Any one, it doesn’t matter, you’re going to get “any one” anyway regardless what you plan and, “anyway” it doesn’t really matter does it, so long as they know how to refer you to a man who actually knows something – a real doctor, a “specialist”. And then you drift off to sleep and in the morning you wake and the treadmill starts over. One thing takes over, then another and so on. Occasionally I remember and write a note and then the other thing, the hurdles thing, pushes it to the bottom of the pile of “much more important” stuff and next thing you know, it’s the middle of the night, you’re awake again and you’re coughing again…

It could have been the same with the x-ray but this took me only a few days. I didn’t worry about it, didn’t fret, just figured I’d get it done in a few days, no rush, I’d taken the big step, no big hurdles with this one. And nor were there, easiest interaction I’ve ever had with the NHS. I turned up, parked (legitimately) right outside the front door, checked in at radiology reception, no queues, no hassle, no delays, ten minutes later I’m having my innermost secrets photographed in not so glorious monochrome. Including the conversation with the radiologist as to why one removes one’s shirt for a machine that can penetrate all bar lead – buttons and unusual stitching in case you are wondering – the entire process from parking to departing took twenty minutes dead, if you’ll pardon the, oh never mind. I guess all those billions have achieved something after all, to be fair, though it seems to us mere mortals that this wasn’t rocket science – we understand why rocket science costs billions.

Looking back I can see how this might seem odd but at no stage did I fret over the results. Having consciously sought out a scan and an investigation to satisfy my conviction that by now, and given my symptoms, I must actually have cancer, it never actually occurred to me that I did – does that make sense?
I’ve had my blood pressure checked, always well within range, my cholesterol: “perfect”; Liver function: “fine”; this lump just here: “fatty lump, sir, nothing to worry about”. Easy for you to say, I thought back then, but this perfect person doesn’t do “fatty lumps” that appear for no particular reason and aren’t even a symptom of a disease – but given they’ve been there a good few years now, don’t seem to be going anywhere, and generally seem to mind their own business – apparently I do do these innocuous things.

You get my point? I’ve indulged a few investigations over recent years and all my fears have always proved groundless to the point that I begin to fear a reputation as a hypochondriac, though I’m not. There was absolutely no reason to suspect that this would be any different. It was a formality I had to go through because I owed it to myself, and to others, to get it checked so I could say that I’d done all the right things, proved there was nothing to worry about and now I could put it behind me and move on. Just like all those other formalities undertaken for precisely the same reasons and in every case, the caution exercised, the investigation complete, there was absolutely nothing to report”….

So it’s Friday evening, around 5.45 and I’m chatting to Simon in the office because Simon is always the last to leave and I like to talk to Simon. I like Simon generally but he’s especially good to share things with and generally have a pleasant rant about the state of the world, the galaxy and everything.

My phone rings, I was expecting nothing and so whatever it was would have been a surprise but, on reflection, some surprises are not as nice as others. “It’s Dr Fulker”, now that I was not expecting, on so many levels. I wasn’t expecting a call from a doctor because that doesn’t happen, at least not to me, no, it just doesn’t happen. I wasn’t expecting a call from Dr Fulker who I had only met once, a week or so ago. I certainly wasn’t expecting the next part, “I have the results of your x-ray”

…what x-ray? What’s she talking about? Oh, that x-ray, no,that’s not possible, I only had it done two days ago….and all the time that these parallel, rather than sequential thoughts, were firing in my synapses her other words only registered on a semi-conscious level and, even then, it wasn’t the words that made me pause and reflect. It was the quality of her voice. Having only met her briefly I didn’t have the usual tools to draw upon, the familiarity with inflection or intonation, but it was there, unmistakably. The measured, uncertain but gentle, hesitating sound of someone delivering bad news. Someone sitting next to you on a couch, knees closed, turned toward you, a wish to reach out and touch a knee as they speak, as if to stop you taking flight, both to reassure, to express empathy but as much to tempt you to stay seated, “…now don’t take this badly, but…” but not done, the touching knee, because you just don’t know each other that well, in that way.

All of this was in the voice. Who would want this job? The woman doesn’t know me, has no reason to care about me, doesn’t care in any personal sense but she is human and she’s fallible, almost vulnerable in a situation like this. All that professional deportment, that education, that status, it doesn’t take away a person’s humanity, that innate sense of compassion for another human being, especially when she knows, better than most, the likely finality of the message she’s delivering. She didn’t make the call because she wanted to, because she cared, she called because that’s her job and she wishes it wasn’t and because she has to, the act of doing it triggers the compassion. What a shit end to her day, she must feel.

She must wonder, when she puts down the phone, how I’m feeling. Did he understand the significance of those words, she must ask herself because she knows she didn’t explain it and I didn’t ask (because I knew) and was he just taking it very well? Was that why he seemed so calm and measured, so matter of fact, so polite? “Thank you so much for calling to tell me” isn’t what you expect, now, is it? She will also have wondered about the other option, the truth. “Shock” would be far too superlative a description but did he really take in what I just told him?

And that’s the truth, I heard every word, I understood every word and the meaning contained in those words but I can’t claim that I fully “took it in” on a conscious level. My body’s visceral and emotional centre took it in ok. The hairs on the back of the neck, the shiver rising from somewhere, the tightness in the throat, the tremor in the tear ducts – the control mechanisms cutting in on auto-pilot to suppress it – because that’s what we do, it’s what we’re trained to do. It’s what we have to do.

“The x-ray shows a four centimetre lesion on your right lung”. Long pause, not waiting for a response, letting it sink in, searching for what to say next. “I’ll arrange a referral to a respiratory consultant as soon as possible. It’ll probably be seven to ten days.”

“On your flamin’ nelly will it be seven to ten days…”. Even then, with all this swirling around in my head, even then it kicks in, even before I’ve actually absorbed the enormity of this thing. Save your approach for the passive ones, they need it, I need to take this on in my own way. I can’t beat it, I know that but having done this to myself, having procrastinated all by myself, now the objective is revealed, the gears get engaged, at least now I can actually take part in this thing. The challenge, the problem to be solved, the obstacle to be overcome, the emotions subsumed, subdued, there’s a problem to deal with, an urgent problem, no time for indulgences and certainly no time to hand over the fate of the outcome to someone else, especially someone that represents the laissez-faire bureaucracy you cannot abide. You’re not one of the followers, it’s innate, you dig out the facts, you learn what you need to know and you make your own judgment, make your own arrangements – for better or worse but it’s yours, not theirs.

“Well, Simon, that wasn’t the best news I’ve ever had”. I relate the conversation, not over egging it in any way, playing it down if anything. A moment of sharing, it felt comforting to share, it was the last I was going to feel for a while. “Please keep this between us, Si”. “Of course”.

There’s a burning desire to tell everyone you know, to get on the phone and call all your friends, muster help and support, make those apologies, arrange meetings, journeys, visits, all those things you know you’ve put off – as if you can make up for all that previous indifference – but most of all just to share. And then you quickly realise all the things that are wrong with that.

What if it’s a mistake? What if it turns out to be one of the other curable things that, at the absolutely outside chance, it just could be? You put your friends through all that grief for nothing…that’s an important issue right there, you’re putting them through grief. False alarm or not, what right do you have to do that? When is it right? What about Ri, my wife. If I tell her she won’t just be worried sick, she’ll be devastated, debilitated. No, I have to handle this myself until I know more, at least that. If it can be sorted then you can tell the story in hindsight and bask in the happy ending. If it goes the other way then we can at least wait until we have all the facts so that there’s no room for supposition, hypothesis. Facts are facts, you can plan, put things in order, face up to it squarely, even learn to be accepting of it. Uncertainty is constant questioning, what if, if only, try this, perhaps that. I can’t be doing it. There’s a way to deal with this like everything else. Figure out the facts, put them in sequence, get on with them and all the while continue to function, to carry on with those things that need to be done on a daily basis, a minute by minute basis. The pets still need to be fed, the dog needs to be walked, there are people relying on you, you have staff, you have customers, you need to sleep, to wash, to get up and start your day as if there were some point to it. No, no one must know, sorry you had to, Simon.

Simon leaves, I think he’s upset (see, it proves my point). I turn to the nearest computer, nip downstairs and pull out the file on the health insurance policy I’ve paid all these years and never used. Back upstairs with it so no one can see what I’m looking at. Ok, how does this work, better call them, start a claim and figure out how it all works. “Office hours 8am to 6pm” Damn! What are they on? People only get sick 9-5? Damn that doctor, why didn’t she call earlier in the day, now I have the worst of all worlds, its Friday evening, there’s an entire weekend ahead, I’ve just been handed a potential death sentence and I can’t begin work on a potential reprieve until Monday ruddy morning! …and I can’t even share it with anyone, can’t rant, can’t dump…can’t cry, can’t scream.

Gotta be practical then, what can I do? Read the file…the hospital list, ok, how does this work? Three lists, “Countrywide”, “London extended list”, “London super duper list” and you know, don’t you, before you even check…of course you do, these were both optional extras weren’t they? How were you to know, you’ve never been seriously ill, why would you think to include all the hospitals you would actually want to use should you ever need to, The Wellington, The Royal Brompton, The Cromwell. I check their web sites, yep, they are exactly what I need. Ri has a fabulous respiratory surgeon at Royal Brompton, her insurance covers her for the Royal Brompton, it doesn’t cover her for Toby Maher, the bright young guy she really needs and got a consultation with because we paid for it directly. Hers, of course, is the only insurance company that doesn’t cover him. This is the kind of thing that gives privatisation of health a bad name, unfairly so because it doesn’t have to be this way.

So I spend an hour or two researching who I need, the best consultants, the best hospitals. Of course, they are all the ones I don’t have access to. Let’s do it the other way around, take a look at those on the London list that I am covered for. Mostly NHS hospitals that have sought private clients as a way of making additional cash, so run on NHS principals but with nice food? Nothing impressed. The only one I felt I could accept might be Royal Marsden, not because of any good news on the web site but because of it’s fame and reputation. I resolve to call them first thing Monday morning, given that’s really the only option.

Monday morning: I call the Private Patients Appointment secretary.
“I have lung cancer and I need an urgent scan and a consultation with your top specialist”.
“Have you been referred by your GP?”
“No, I have no GP and I have no idea where the one who gave me this news might have referred me. I am paying privately, I don’t need a referral.”
“I can’t do anything without a GP referral”
“You do realise you are offering private health care? I don’t have a referral, I need a specialist, privately.”
“I can’t do anything without a referral from your GP”.
OK, I could have explained to her how our surgery works, the fact that I hadn’t a hope in hell’s chance of getting a referral letter out of them in less than two to three days and that I was not planning on wasting my time trying but, I figured, let’s skip that obstacle for now and move on.
“So, suppose I can get my hands on a referral letter, and suppose I deliver it to you by hand, how soon can we arrange an appointment?”
“Well it normally takes seven to ten days….” Where have I heard that before, oh yes, from an NHS GP…
“I don’t think you quite understand the situation. The average lifespan of someone diagnosed with lung cancer is 52 weeks. I have absolutely no intention of wasting one of those fifty-two waiting for you to make me an appointment.”
“Well, it might be less than that…”
“Thanks but I think I’ve heard enough. I’ll make alternative arrangements.”

I call The Cromwell. Within two hours I have an appointment for a PET/CT scan for Weds and an appointment with one of the world’s most highly qualified pulmonary oncologists. The consultation is at 6pm on Tuesday and, the lovely Lina asks, “please let us know if you can’t make it for any reason as Dr Lewanski is coming in to see you especially”. Those words, I wanted to cry as I pondered the wonders of chalk and cheese. These were total strangers to me but Lina cared, this consultant cared, it was evident in every word, in every act, in every call and the attention to detail, ensuring that I was kept fully informed at every step. This is health care.

It’s Tuesday morning and I’m in the shower when the phone rings. It’s the appointments secretary from East Surrey Abattoir, sorry, hospital. I literally shuddered at the prospect. “Thank you but I already have an appointment.” “Oh? When?” “I have an appointment for this evening at The Cromwell”. “What, today?”. “Today, yes. Thank you for calling. Goodbye”.

I’ve been working, it seems pointless but you keep going until you can’t, that’s what I learned, I don’t know from where. I guess from my mother. I kept smiling at how important people clearly felt their inane issues were. I pandered to them. I kept up appearances. It all seemed so empty, so well, like I said, pointless.

With Lina’s words in my head and me figuring “like I would miss this appointment for anything in the world”, I decided to play completely safe and give myself oodles of time. Travelling up on the Gatwick Express I started writing this little blog. It seemed important to write it all down so that…I don’t know. It just seemed important. It also gave me something to focus on. Arriving at Victoria with more than two hours to spare, I waited till everyone else got off the train. They were all in such a rush, why? Here I was with less time than any of them and I was not in any kind of a rush. I wanted to distance myself from their rush, take my time, everything deliberate, calm, remembered. These were important days for me and I wanted to remember them. I would walk to The Cromwell, it was an unseasonally beautiful sunny February afternoon and I wanted to experience it in a very close and personal way. Crossing up to Eaton Square, eyes turned upward, as always when walking in London, to see all the things that are so overlooked as people hustle and bustle through their busy lives. I noted the prevalent use of clipped box and other topiary, even the odd Niwaki – obvious if unimaginatively used plants when all you have is a balcony to sculpt with. I was studying people too. Al kinds of people, the well heeled and the not so well, the students and the retired, the busy young things, the busy working people, the constant rush of the traffic. Through Sloane Square, up Sloane Street, down Brompton Road, past so many so familiar places, past the Vistoria and Albert, passing the Natural History Museum that cathedral to the things I love and my totally absorbing fascination, life itself.

The reception staff in the Radiotherapy department were welcoming, smiling folk who knew exactly why they were there and what their visitors were going through. “You’re very early?”, they said. I explained that Dr Lewanski was travelling in especially and they thought this was very considerate. “This is one appointment I was never going to miss” I countered to assure them that altruism is a two way street. Alina, in the way of someone showing you the ropes you were going to get very familiar with, showed me how to work the coffee machine and which was the strongest brew.

Dr Conrad Lewanski, greeted me with a warm, gentle smile and a firm handshake. We sat and he asked me all the things you would expect. He took his time, an hour of his time. He let me talk about things that were clearly not important to the reason I was there, he encouraged it and joined in. Every now and then he would steer us back to “business”. He wanted to make sure that I knew everything I needed to know, that I had asked all the questions I wanted to ask. When my eyes welled up, as they did several times, he would pause and respect my embarrasment. Most of all he wanted to tell me that there were lots of good reasons for remaining optimistic but there was no time to waste. He wanted to know what other symptoms I had and was clearly excited by the fact that I had none. I told him about my walk from Victoria, at which he happliy crossed “breathlessness” off the mental list of typical symptoms. My scan was moved to Thursday at a time when the required starvation would be less of a burden for me. An appointment was made for another consult on Friday, at which time he would have all the results and we would know the situation for sure. He urged me to remain optimistic, implied that he had a good feeling about “this one”. He allowed me to hang on to the possibility that it might not be cancer though he also let me read between the lines sufficiently to appreciate that was all that it was, a hope. It all hanged, in reality, over whether this little invader was a well-behaved individual or an exploding fire-cracker sending it’s starburst seedlings throughout the rest of my body in minute fragments.

So, it’s Thursday and first off I have to give blood for the tests, wouldn’t do to try it with the green-glowing radioactive blood that I’ll have after the scans. Then off to have my lung function tested, fabulous nurse who gave me every possible encouragement to keep blowing when my head felt like it would explode. 112% on the initial blow (that’s 12% better than average for the arithmetically challenged) but overall 76% of normal. Not bad, Conrad guessed it would be around 70% so, hey, this is ten percent better than that, right?

Then, here I am in a small room, sitting on a bed, dressed – if you could call it that – in one of those silly hospital gowns that I haven’t figured how to fasten. So it’s just wrapped around me…there’s some debate over whether or not I should have drunk black tea and coffee when told to fast. I assure the lovely Claudia that Dr Lewanski did tell me that was ok and that I confirmed it with the guy who called yesterday to confirm the appointment – I even repeated back, “so just water, black tea, black coffee, no sugar, right?” “That’s exactly right!” he says to me. I realised an issue with The black tea thing as I was getting ready – Ri isn’t an incredibly observant individual, especially first thing in the morning but it would be just my luck for her to spot it and realise that a) this lack of milk was a total break from the norm and b) as a veteran of many hospital exploratory missions and operations that “no milk” was the order of the day…I needn’t have worried, she didn’t spot it, which is just as well as I didn’t have any clever excuse I could think of.

Claudia stabs my finger and checks the blood sugar – can she see that I had some in my first cup of tea? An injection of radioactive glow juice, but a warning I might need another, something to do with the coffee, my Pet/CT becomes a CT. followed by a PET. No effects of the first injection at all, (really shouldn’t have put that quarter spoon of sugar in the first black tea…).
I’m escorted back upstairs and handed over to Michelle in the CT room. A little difficult to understand, her east-Asian accent, very nice but not big on the charisma thing. Seemed to really struggle to get a vein up in my left arm, she felt the right had been abused enough with the blood tests (did I mention those? oh no well there were the blood test phlebotomy appointment first, interesting conversations about rubber gloves and people smuggling drugs through customs (programme on TV, Nothing to Declare). She could see “a nice big juicy vein” but for some reason didn’t get it to come up the way she wanted. Lots of rubber straps, clenching of fist and finger slapping later it appeared the cannula was in but I didn’t feel it happen so good on yer, Michelle, nice one.

When that stuff starts pumping, whatever radioactive goo it is, your face gets a flush like the biggest blush you’ve ever felt, simultaneously your bladder feels warm and full, in a comforting way as if you could lie there and wet yourself and not fear doing so but rather indulge in the warm comfort of it. Odd how it’s not just the mental surrender one feels in the impotence of the situation, the abboragation of responsibility, the deference to the professionals but even your body becomes similarly compliant to whatever forces are deployed upon it.

It’s an entirely comfortable, almost comforting experience, the knowledge that your body is yielding up its deepest darkest and hitherto well hidden secrets to the overpowering might of modern technology. No longer are these things strange, awe inspiring secrets of the science of the body, they have been conquered, they shall be revealed in all their base ordinary mundanity. So much the better if these steps are taken early enough, the fear is that we are not looking at a nice, tight, contained circular lesion but rather a scattergun pattern of itty bitty cancers swirling around looking for a dark, secretive hiding place amongst the maze of the lymphatic system. If that’s what we find then, folks, let’s get real here. If on the other hand, it turns out to be the most orderly and well mannered of evil critters – strike you as a bit much to hope for? – then hey, they can cut out a piece of my right lung and toss it away and Bob, as they say, becomes a close blood relative.

So CT over I’m escorted back down the stairs into the care of the antipodean Claudia (Melbourne actually) who politely parks me in my waiting room for half an hour with the lights turned down with instructions to just rest and relax. Not the most arduous of preparations I’ve ever had to undergo but leaving me in silence with nothing but my own thoughts doesn’t come without its own special challenges. When she collects and shepherds me into the room containing the waiting space-age marvel of a modern day PET scanner the first thing I spot is the CD in the boogie box, “Do I get music?”. Indeed I did and great it was too, perhaps it’s a sign of the average age of today’s cancer patient or perhaps it’s such fabulous and timeless music that it will endure across the ages for ever more. If I recall the sequence, Dionne Warwick, The Four Tops, Jimmy Ruffin, Smokey Robinson, after that I’m a little hazy but there were only a few more tracks before the whirring sounds and the various horizontal manoeuvrings of the table bed ceased and I was delivered to the brighter lights outside the machine signalling the end of my all too simple, too pleasant experience.

Back in my little room, removed from the strange embarrassment of hospital gown, slippers and robe and once more in my own comfortable skin, the inevitable impatient question but, what do you know, she’s forbidden to reveal anything. Not so much as a nod or a wink or the proffering of glossy literature on suitable funeral homes. A bit of a disappointment but not unexpected. At least this is NOT the NHS and so I only have to wait until midday tomorrow, one more difficult to explain trip to London – these interminable legal meetings, oi vey! So midday tomorrow and Conrad will tell me what? Can he tell that it is, incontrovertibly, the dreaded cancer, I think he can but they will still want to do a biopsy of course to determine which of the seven (yes, seven) different species of cancer if might be. They range in severity from the benign “I was just sitting here because it seemed to be a nice piece of real estate upon which to hang my hat” variety through to the raging, ghengis khan types that just want to kill, conquer and ultimately commit suicide by literally biting the hand that feeds and killing me, its obliging host. I can’t help but wonder, well, wouldn’t you?

So, my array of tests over, I met with Daniel yesterday, what a lovely man. I felt I had to share this with him, for very practical reasons, and felt relatively easy about it because on the one hand, though we are very friendly, he’s not what you would describe as “inside one’s circle of close friends – so he’s less likely to be deeply affected by the news, I hoped. On the other, not being in that circle, the information was certainly safe in his hands. I need new trustees for the trust, and I believe I can trust Daniel to treat such a role both professionally and in a way that he would think I would have wanted. I also figure the issue of a will has kinda become rather important and, it occurs to me as I write, it would be a good idea to prepare a list of people who should be advised of my departure so that Ri doesn’t have to cope with that in the midst of what will for her be considerable grief. But back to the will, again I need an executor and who better than Daniel to both draw it up and execute it. All in all this is quite a considerable burden to place on one person, I must make sure he’s properly compensated so there is no contention in his mind, or anyone else’s, when it comes to rendering an account for his services as executor on both matters. He readily agreed to everything i asked of him, went out of his way to reassure me in various ways and proffered his help in any way at all whenever I might need it. Last night he sent a very touching email just to prove that my first contention was entirely wrong. He was clearly very affected and has just moved to the heart of that aforementioned circle.

So I’m once more aboard the Gatwick Express, it’s Friday and I’m heading in to meet Conrad, Dr Lewanski, to get his verdict. One more invented business appointment to satisfy Ri’s curiosity which is fast becoming ‘suspicion’, even the ubiquitous “are you having an affair” enquiry this morning. I am strangely calm. In a sense, this is the biggest event of my (only) week long journey to date – it seems much longer. A genuine Pullman Belle train to my right! Fabulous sight and has got the whole train buzzing and phones/cameras clicking. See what I mean? Calm, as always, it’s a thing, a task, a challenge, something to be dealt with. Gather the facts, assess it calmly, decide on a “solution”, a course of action at least. Here we are at Victoria, no rush, let the crowd move out, my time is precious and I again refuse to join in the hectic bustle for no apparent reason. Twice this week I’ve walked to The Cromwell. This time I don’t have the spare hour. I’ll walk part way and hail a cab to finish the journey…

Sloane Square, by a different route this time, good place to stop, sit, I know, I know but also to have my “last” cigarette. That’s three different routes I’ve used and on the way, a piece of memorabilia. “Eaton Continental” on the corner of Eaton Terrace and, what, Chester Row? A little grocer-cum-reckons-itself-a-bit-of-a-speciality-foods store, a customer from circa 1979/80 for my Redmile-Gordon Provisioners (Wholesale Division). Wow, I’d completely forgotten.

From here I can walk a little more, grab a cab later or grab it now and walk locally. Don’t want to be late for my own sentencing now do I? I think we play safe and grab the cab now.

On the radio in the cab, a discussion about the mansion tax, talk of poor people walking out of the estate agent’s with a cheque for two million quid because they had to sell the house as they couldn’t afford the tax…”Not a problem you and I are likely to worry about, eh, cabbie?”. After that of course we spent the next five minutes putting the world to rights and then I’m here. Familiar smiling faces in Radiotherapy reception, I remember the coffee machine instructions. Bizarre, there’s apparently something special about Fridays, a sort of club has formed. Three guys all around my age or more, everyone knows each other, chatting about the different people they see, calling out pleasantries to the reception staff – about whom they have clearly learned some personal details. Is this what it’s like when you start a treatment programme? I guess it would be. People you don’t actually know but whose shared experience removes all barriers and the need to explain or apologise. Hmmm…

“You guys sound like regulars”, I volunteer to introduce myself. “Us, we’ve got loyalty cards, we have”, jokes one. I laugh. I was going to make a crack about living long enough to collect on the points but that’s the kind of crack reserved for established friends or acquaintances, not Londoners you just met thirty seconds ago. “This your first time?”, asks his friend. “I’m here for my sentence”, I offer, I quickly tame it down but still got the chuckle I was aiming for,”Well, my diagnosis”.

It’s 12:10, he’s running late. On one level it seems cruel, on another it likely means he’s spending time with someone who needs that time. Who wouldn’t want the same thing in his place?

A mature nurse chats to some of the patients, clearly familiar with them and genuinely great in the way she relates, like a kindly aunt. “Is this your daughter?” she enquires of a guy about my age, mid-eastern origin, cool looking, westernised. When he confirms, the nurse turns to the daughter and, for conversations sake, asks “So, how is he behaving himself?”. “Not so good with the smoking”, she replies. You can feel the unspoken plea behind the words, it’s gut wrenching stuff. 12:20 now.

At 12:25 and fearing I’m supposed to be meeting somewhere else I step up to the reception desk just as Conrad is approaching to invite me in. By the way, that’s what happens in a private health care environment, doctors come to you and invite you in, they don’t summon you with a bell or at the bidding of an underling.

I don’t know where I start, how I carry on relating the story from here. I guess I have to explain it all but mostly I just want to run out in the street screaming, jump up an down shout, hug perfect strangers and generally CELEBRATE! I don’t understand why they don’t keep a fully stocked bar in reception for just such occasions – I suppose it would be a little insensitive for some but I’m sure most people in this situation would just want to share in any good news story that was going. We, Alina/Lina/Stephanie and me, we’re going to lobby for one.

I guess I should explain, to myself more than anyone. Yes, I do have cancer, that’s now an established and indisputable fact. Yes, I do have a 4.2 cm spitulate lesion on my right lung. Ugly looking little fucker. That’s what we’re celebrating. That’s what I’ve got. That’s the sum total of what I’ve got, that’s the good news – all I have is lung cancer!! I don’t have fifteen other cancers, I have nothing creeping around in my nooks and crannies, I have nothing in my lymph, in my spine, in my throat (despite the huge lump that’s there right now), in my groin or my bladder, in my prostate or my colon, nothing, not a solitary sausage, not a minute fragment. I just have what looks like one huge evil creepy looking, spiky lesion that looks like its crawling, hunting, espying it’s prey as it feeds glutton-like on the sugars in the fluid they injected. It feeds so much, it steals so much of the available sugar and consumes it with such energy that it glows white hot on the CT, white hot! Other organs consuming said sugar at a fast rate only rank yellow on the full colour display, the colour being heat sensitive.

But that’s it. Evil as it looks, voracious and aggressive as it clearly is, it has actually behaved itself impeccably, keeping itself to itself. It has not exploded its cells into a myriad parts and scattered them across my finite internal universe. It appears operable. It appears that whilst I have to donate an important and irreplaceable part of my lung – and my resulting lung capacity – this thing can be removed. It can be cut out. In short, it can be destroyed – before it destroys me.

Conrad, we’re operating on first name terms at my request, after all, as I said to him at the outset of this consult, he’s likely to be the most important person in my life, for the rest of my life, however long that may be, or not. Anyway, Conrad was just great. He was almost as excited as me. He showed me all the scans, turning my whole body around on the screen in glorious full colour 3D, pointing to my various organs and showing not just the total absence of any black specs (we’re on the PET scan now not the CT, come on, keep up), but also the perfectly healthy appearance of each of them. He has of course combined that with the blood test results which confirm exactly that. Cholesterol: perfect, Liver function, all the numbers: perfect, this is a body that just keeps on trucking regardless, it just does its thing, it works, there’s just this one bastard invading organism that it couldn’t stop. “With a liver like that you can drink yourself silly”, says Conrad with a big smile on his face.

He’s spoken to a colleague of his, Brian O’Connor who would do the bronchoscopy that I need. They give me a sedative and then slide a camera/whatever/thingumy up my nose and down into the lung where they (hopefully) see the little critter from the inside, bite a small chunk out of it and take it away for analysis. A biopsy if you will. There is a possibility that it is of a kind that they can’t easily remove but Conrad really doesn’t think so – he’s been right so far so I’m inclined toward optimism.

He calls his friend who operates out of the mews near the hospital entrance and yes, he will see me more or less immediately for a consultation. At his request, Alina offers to escort me over there and on the way she said something to which my eyes, throat and tear ducts responded in telltale fashion. Without hesitation she grabbed me and gave me a big hug, sweetness itself and how wonderful to feel that gentle human contact, it took every effort I could summon to let go.

Brian is a lovely man, a big softly spoken Irishman, a Dubliner who migrated twenty years ago and time has softened that Dublin accent so much I thought he was from the west. He looks at all the pictures and is clearly amazed at what a lucky little sod I am. “Normally”, he says, “when I’m talking to someone with lung cancer my eyes are down on the floor because, frankly, I’m usually looking at a death sentence.”. He continues, “In your case, you know what? I think we’ve got it just in time”. Again with the throat thing and the tear ducts, for about the tenth time today. I feel like a great big stupid soft thing but then, in my more self-forgiving moments, I figure I have some justification.

We talked about the smoking. We talked about the insurance company. In this context Ri cropped up in conversation, the ironies of fibrosis for a non-smoker, and he asked who her lung guy was. “excellent guy” he says when I tell him about Toby Maher, “leading world authority”. “I don’t know him personally”, he continues with perhaps the most glowing reference of all, “I know his ‘boss’”.

So I’m on the train home, writing this and I get the call I’ve been waiting for from the insurance company – they will cover me after all. Seems this is my lucky day.  Thank you Hitch.

To view the original article CLICK HERE
.
Regards,
     Greg_L-W
Greg Lance-Watkins
.
 Please Be Sure To
& Link to my My Blogs
To Spread The Facts World Wide To Give Others HOPE
I Have Been Fighting Cancer since 1997 & I’M STILL HERE!
I Have Cancer, Cancer Does NOT Have Me
I just want to say sorry for copping out at times and leaving my wife Lee and friends to cope!
Any help and support YOU can give her will be hugely welcome.
I do make a lousy patient!

.

If YOU want to follow my fight against Cancer from when it started and I first presented with symptoms in 1998 see The TAB at the Header of this Blog. called >DIARY of Cancer ….< just click and it will give you a long list of the main events in chronological order, many linked to specific blog postings. . Later in the sequence of my experiences with cancer you will note that I introduce some results and events most probably linked with cancer such as enlarged & damaged Prostate and a consequential Heart Attack leaving me with no right coronary artery! . I have also included numerous articles and anecdotes regarding health – primarily related to cancer, prostate and heart conditions – FYI! . Thoughts, articles and comments will be in chronological order in the main blog and can be tracked in the >ARCHIVE< in the Left Sidebar. . You may find the TABS >MEDICAL LINKS< and also >CANCER LINKS< of help, also many of the links in articles and >HOT LINKS< in the Sidebar.
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YOU are welcome to call me, minded that I am NOT medically trained, if you believe I can help you in ANY way. .

Regards,
Greg_L-W.

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How to Create a Peaceful At-Home Hospice for Your Loved One …

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How to Create a Peaceful At-Home Hospice for Your Loved One …

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Greg Lance – Watkins
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Hi,

.

How to Create a Peaceful At-Home Hospice for Your Loved One

by HomeAdvisor

Elderly woman in wheelchair.

Given the option of spending the end of your life in a hospital versus in your own home, what would you choose? For most of us, the answer is simple, especially for those with a spouse or family. We would much prefer to live out our days and die peacefully in the comfort and privacy of our own home, surrounded by memories and the people we love.

Unfortunately, the decision is not always up to us. The type of treatment or end-of-life care we need will determine whether spending our final days, weeks, or months at home is an option.

Those who require medical intervention like IV pain medication or frequent procedures like X-rays may not be candidates for at-home care. However, many end-of-life patients receiving palliative care to keep them comfortable and pain-free can receive that same care from an in-home nurse or family member. In the end, this option can be less costly and more fulfilling. One study suggests people who spend their final days at home live longer and enjoy a better quality of life.

If your partner or loved one prefers to pass away at home, the existing space will likely require special attention. From structural modifications to allow for special equipment to finding ways for your loved one to maintain independence, this guide will help you create a suitable place to spend life’s final, precious moments, and to pass away peacefully.

Step 1: Creating a Soothing Space

Start with a good cleaning
For many people in poor health, basic tasks such as dusting and vacuuming are difficult. As a result, their homes can become dirty and in disrepair. Do a walk-through of the home. Make a list of any repairs that need to be made. Be especially vigilant about problems like water damage, which can lead to mold growth and cause respiratory issues. If you can’t take care of the to-dos yourself, enlist a family member or professional cleaning service to help.

Change as little as possible
Aside from providing a clean environment free from health hazards, you should leave as much as you can unaltered. There is comfort in the familiar, so it’s important to keep things as close as you are able to the home your loved one knows and loves.

  • Leave photographs and artwork on the walls These and table-top knickknacks and trinkets bring a sense of normalcy to a person as they cope with end-of-life issues.
  • Keep books and other hobbies close at hand, since these activities can reduce stress.
  • keep their pet in the home if at all possible. A cat or dog is both a friend and welcome distraction. Although your loved one may not be able to care for a pet on his or her own, the comfort their friend brings may be worth the effort. If taking care of the pet is too much strain on the caregiver(s), consider hiring a service.

Rearrange if necessary
In the case of bedridden patients who have little access to the rest of the home, it may make sense to rearrange the room where they spend most of their time to include more of their favorite possessions. Ask your loved one what items bring them joy, and make room for those belongings. With their permission, you can place photos from throughout the home into photo books and compile other beloved items in a basket to be kept within arm’s reach. Or, if they want to be in a more central location, move the bed to the living room or dining area so they are not isolated. This may also help visitors feel more comfortable.

Step 2: Accommodating Special Equipment

In addition to minor repairs and rearranging, you will need to ensure the home is ready for special equipment, like wheelchairs and walkers. This includes removing slippery rugs and making a clear path between furniture with plenty of clearance. In the event you need to make structural changes, like widening doorways or adding ramps, consult a professional contractor to ensure it is done safely and according to code.

Small changes that will make the home safer and easier to navigate may include:

  • Swapping door knobs for levers – This may help arthritic patients maintain a better grip.
  • Adapting existing furniture pieces – Add foam risers to make getting in and out of seats easier.
  • Adding ample lighting – This is especially important for those with poor eyesight. Consider adding floor lamps and replacing bulbs in existing fixtures with something brighter.
  • Addressing outdoor spaces – A safe place to get some fresh air can drastically improve quality of life.

Elderly individual receiving care outdoors

Step 3: Maintaining Their Independence

Being able to perform some everyday activities independently, however small, may help in maintaining a sense of dignity. If you can, ensure your loved one has shoes and clothes they can slip on and off by themselves. Let them look through their own mail, give them their own TV remote, and let them spend some time alone. Even if a caregiver is just in the next room, it is imperative your loved one has some time to themselves to rest, think, and cope.

  • Plan their meals in advance – The kitchen is one of the easiest places in the house for a patient to injure him or herself. To help avoid this, prep meals and snacks ahead of time or purchase them ready-made. Keep them on hand and, if they require heating, make sure it can be done in a microwave and provide instructions. In some cases, hospice will provide a separate caregiver to do light cooking and cleaning. You can also look into meal-delivery services like Meals on Wheels.
  • Maintain their sense of privacy – This is another big concern, especially when it comes to personal care issues like bathing and using the restroom. While the patient will more than likely require some assistance, you can promote independence in the bathroom with modifications like grab bars, tub benches, and raised commode seats. If a bedside toilet is necessary, position it behind curtains or a movable screen.
  • Keep some your own peace of mind – Depending on the level of the patient’s independence, family members may want to consider a medical alert system that will allow the patient to notify someone in the event of a fall or other emergency. If your loved one will be alone at any point of the day or night, this can bring him or her (as well as family members and caregivers) peace of mind.

Step 4: Making Room for Full-Time Care

When preparing a space for the end of a life, the dying party is not the only person to consider. You must ensure the caregivers, usually several family members and/or nurses, are comfortable and cared for as well. Whether they live in the home full time or work shifts, caregivers will need a space of their own to place their belongings and regroup after the physically- and emotionally-stressful moments caring for a dying patient or family member will inevitably bring.

  • Give them their own space – If you don’t have a spare bedroom, a corner of the kitchen or family room will work, as long as it’s designated for the individual specifically.
  • Help them stay connected – You may also want to invest in services like WiFi. Even if your loved one doesn’t have a computer or smartphone, most people today need to be connected.
  • Make sure there is ample parking and food for each caregiver. – Many of us are at our worst behind the wheel or hungry. Providing these things for the caregiver may go a long way toward keeping them in positive spirits at a difficult time.

While none of these items are necessities, it will help the person caring for your loved one enjoy his or her time there, in turn helping him or her take better care of the patient. After all, that’s what it’s all about: caring for your loved one and treating him or her as you would want to be treated. As long as we show kindness and compassion to our loved ones throughout the process, they will be able to say goodbye with the dignity they deserve.

To see the original of this article CLICK HERE
.
Regards,
     Greg_L-W
Greg Lance-Watkins
.
 Please Be Sure To
& Link to my My Blogs
To Spread The Facts World Wide To Give Others HOPE
I Have Been Fighting Cancer since 1997 & I’M STILL HERE!
I Have Cancer, Cancer Does NOT Have Me
I just want to say sorry for copping out at times and leaving my wife Lee and friends to cope!
Any help and support YOU can give her will be hugely welcome.
I do make a lousy patient!

.

If YOU want to follow my fight against Cancer from when it started and I first presented with symptoms in 1998 see The TAB at the Header of this Blog. called >DIARY of Cancer ….ARCHIVEMEDICAL LINKSCANCER LINKSHOT LINKS< in the Sidebar.
.
YOU are welcome to call me, minded that I am NOT medically trained, if you believe I can help you in ANY way. .

Regards,
Greg_L-W.

~~~~~~~~~~#########~~~~~~~~~~
.
Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
tel: 44 (0)1594 – 528 337
Calls from ‘Number Withheld’ phones Are Blocked

All unanswered messages are recorded.
Leave your name & a UK land line number & I will return your call.

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New heart attack blood test could save NHS millions …

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New heart attack blood test could save NHS millions …

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Posted by:
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Hi,

New heart attack blood test could save NHS millions

St Thomas’ hospital in London, which undertakes 7,800 heart attack tests a year, would be in line to save £800,000 alone.

More than two-thirds of people who go to A&E with chest pains have not had a heart attack
Image: More than two-thirds of people who go to A&E with chest pains have not had a heart attack

A blood test that speeds up the diagnosis of heart attacks could save the NHS millions of pounds every year, according to new research.

The new test is much more accurate than the one currently used and could free up doctors’ time and NHS beds.

 

More than two-thirds of people who go to A&E with chest pains have not suffered a heart attack.

But all of those patients undergo a blood test when they arrive and again three hours later to try and detect damage to the heart muscle.

The current test works by analysing biomarkers – including cardiac troponin. Those with undetectable levels of cardiac troponin are classified as low risk and are discharged from hospital.

But up to 85% of all patients fall into an intermediate risk group and require an overnight stay and further blood tests.

Scientists from King’s College London have developed a new test which looks at another biomarker – cardiac myosin-binding protein C (cMyC) – which is more sensitive to damage in the heart muscle.

Levels of cMyC in the blood increase rapidly after a heart attack – to a higher extent than troponin.

The new test – which could be rolled out across the NHS in the next five years – can detect a heart attack much more rapidly and could see those not suffering a heart attack sent home sooner.

The study, on more than 2,000 people in Switzerland, Italy and Spain, was funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and published in the journal Circulation.

It found that the new test doubled the number of patients diagnosed as not having a heart attack.

Experts worked out that just one UK hospital – St Thomas’ in London which carries out 7,800 heart attack tests each year – could save £800,000 a year in reduced admissions and freed up beds.

Dr Tom Kaier, one of the lead researchers, said: “We often see patients in hospital who have to stay for further tests as a result of a mildly abnormal blood test – this is stressful and often unnecessary.

“Our research shows that the new test has the potential to reassure many thousands more patients with a single test, improving their experience and freeing up valuable hospital beds in A&E departments and wards across the country.”

To see the original of this article CLICK HERE

‘Instant’ blood test for heart attacks

  • 27 September 2017

A blood test that could rule out a heart attack in under 20 minutes should be used routinely, say UK researchers.

A team from King’s College London have tested it on patients and say the cMyC test could be rolled out on the NHS within five years.

They claim it would save the health service millions of pounds each year by freeing up beds and sending well patients home.

About two-thirds of patients with chest pain will not have had a heart attack.

A heart trace, called an ECG, can quickly show up major heart attacks, but it is not very good at excluding more common, smaller ones that can still be life-threatening.

Currently, patients with suspect chest pain and a clear ECG can have a different heart-attack blood test, called troponin, when they arrive at A&E. But it needs to be repeated three hours later to pick up signs of heart muscle damage.

Alison Fullingham, 49 and from Bolton, did not realise she was having a heart attack when she experienced pain in her upper chest, neck and jaw.

Despite a small change in her ECG, doctors initially suspected she was having a simple panic attack.

It was only hours later when her troponin tests came back that the correct diagnosis was reached.

Rapid diagnosis

Levels of cMyC (cardiac myosin-binding protein C) in the blood rise more rapidly and to a higher extent after a heart attack than troponin proteins, studies suggest.

That means doctors can use the new test to rule out a heart attack in a higher proportion of patients straightaway, according to the researchers who report their trial findings in the journal Circulation.

They carried out troponin and cMyC blood tests on nearly 2,000 people admitted to hospitals in Switzerland, Italy and Spain with acute chest pain.

The new test was better at giving patients the all-clear within the first three hours of presenting with chest pain.

Dr Tom Kaier, one of the lead researchers, funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) at St Thomas’ Hospital, London, said: “Our research shows that the new test has the potential to reassure many thousands more patients with a single test, improving their experience and freeing up valuable hospital beds in A&E departments and wards across the country.”

He says if the test were to be used routinely, it could provide doctors with reliable results within 15 to 30 minutes. It is only being used for research at the moment, however.

Dr Kaier’s hospital carries out around 7,800 troponin blood tests each year. By his calculations, switching to cMyC would save his hospital £800,000 through reduced admissions. Extrapolate that to other NHS hospitals and the savings could be millions of pounds, he says.

Prof Simon Ray, from the British Cardiovascular Society, said more research was needed before the new test could replace the troponin test.

“Unlike currently available blood tests which need to be repeated at least three hours after pain it looks as though a single test is enough to make a confident decision on whether a patient has or has not suffered a heart attack. Not only can it be done earlier after the onset of symptoms but it also seems to be better at discriminating between heart attacks and other causes of chest pains. This is very important.”

To view the Original Article CLICK HERE

.
Regards,
     Greg_L-W
Greg Lance-Watkins
.
 Please Be Sure To
& Link to my My Blogs
To Spread The Facts World Wide To Give Others HOPE
I Have Been Fighting Cancer since 1997 & I’M STILL HERE!
I Have Cancer, Cancer Does NOT Have Me
I just want to say sorry for copping out at times and leaving my wife Lee and friends to cope!
Any help and support YOU can give her will be hugely welcome.
I do make a lousy patient!

.

If YOU want to follow my fight against Cancer from when it started and I first presented with symptoms in 1998 see The TAB at the Header of this Blog. called >DIARY of Cancer ….ARCHIVEMEDICAL LINKSCANCER LINKSHOT LINKS< in the Sidebar.
.
YOU are welcome to call me, minded that I am NOT medically trained, if you believe I can help you in ANY way. .

Regards,
Greg_L-W.

~~~~~~~~~~#########~~~~~~~~~~
.
Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
tel: 44 (0)1594 – 528 337
Calls from ‘Number Withheld’ phones Are Blocked

All unanswered messages are recorded.
Leave your name & a UK land line number & I will return your call.

‘e’Mail Address: Greg_L-W@BTconnect.com

Skype: GregL-W

TWITTER: @Greg_LW

DO MAKE USE of LINKS,
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I try to make every effort to NOT infringe copyrights in any commercial way & make all corrections of fact brought to my attention by an identifiable individual
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.Follow Greg_LW on Twitter.

Re-TWEET my Twitterings
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The Main Web Site:
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