Monday, July 16, 2012

Helmet-Cam...A Great Idea!!!

This is a direct cut and paste from another blog.  Why??  Because this is a great idea to help patients know what to expect when they go for radiation treatment!!  It definitely could have many uses...CT scan, PET scan, MRI etc.  Love it!!!

Major kudos to Elizabeth Whittington's blog, CURE today, and the gentleman who came up with the idea.


A video tour before your treatment?


The Poudre Valley Hospital has used a helmet cam to show the public (and future patients) a first-hand look at their new radiation treatment technology.

The patient had the helmet cam on while receiving radiation treatment (looks like they skipped the waiting room, although you have a sneak peek on the way out). The video was edited down to about three minutes, which you can watch below.

Ironically, the patient has chosen to remain anonymous. So, while you see his treatment, you never actually see his face. He narrates part of the video, while the medical director of the radiation department explains the radiation technology.

"It's just so simple to add a camera to me and do it so that other people can see what they may need to go through, and the fact that it's really easy and simple and nothing to be afraid of," the patient says in the video.

By the way, the video was his idea, although you can tell the center uses it as a marketing tool. It's hard to miss the promotional captions and website for more information.

Would seeing a first-hand view of what treatment would be like help you overcome anxiety or fear of treatment?


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Weed and Chemo- Part II

This information is from a great instructional sheet that they give to transplant patients at MA General Hospital.  I didn't write it.  It was written by Camille N. Kotton, MD in October, 2011.  I am just posting it here because it is good, sound advice not only for those who are transplant patients, but for all cancer patients who are using marijuana during their treatment.

By writing this, it doesn’t mean that Dr. Kotton is endorsing marijuana use.  She  is just doing what smart and caring doctors do.  They recognize that their patients are using marijuana.  They know that they have a few choices.  They can either:

·      Ignore it (but if the patient develops a fungal infection later they will still have to address it after the fact and the patient will be much sicker then).
·     Tell their patient not to use it knowing full well that their patient will continue to use it and then will lie about using it because they know their MD will disapprove (you want to have honest communication between your health care team).
·         Or they can do what Dr. Kotton has done.  She knows that some patients will still use marijuana.  She wants them to be honest with her. So she tells them if you are going to use it, here’s the safest way to do it. 

“Information  About Marijuana and Transplant Patients”  by Dr. Camille N. Kotton

"Marijuana use has been linked with pneumonias caused by molds in patients with weakened immune systems.  Molds commonly grow on plant materials and are found in the environment frequently.  Molds, also called fungus infections, include things like Aspergillus, Mucor and other aggressive and invasive, potentially life threatening infections.  Such infections are more likely to occur in transplant patients, and they should be aware of the potential risk of infection with smoking marijuana.

Heat treatment of marijuana is recommended to kill the spores.  This can be accomplished either by baking the marijuana in the oven, using a microwave, or by incorporating marijuana into baked goods.  Burning the marijuana (as in smoking a joint) or using a water pipe are not adequate techniques to reduce the risk of mold infections. 

Some recommend putting marijuana in the microwave for thirty or more seconds  to kill any fungus that might be growing on it.  The exact time needed to kill the fungus will vary depending on the oven settings, the quantity and moisture content of the marijuana, and the wattage of the microwave.  Alternatively the marijuana could be baked in an oven at lower temperatures to kill the spores."

This educational sheet is not intended to permit or encourage use of marijuana, which is still illegal in most states in the U.S.   Rather, for those who use marijuana already, it is intended to educate them about the potential infectious disease risks of marijuana use.  Potential organ transplant recipients should be aware that sometimes insurance companies refuse coverage for organ transplant if the patients are documented to be actively using illegal drugs including marijuana."

Helpful links and related reports:

Transplantation. 1996 Jun 27;61(12):1771-4.  Successfully treated invasive pulmonary aspergillosis associated with smoking marijuana in a renal transplant recipient.  Marks WH, Florence L, Lieberman J, Chapman P, Howard D, Roberts P, Perkinson D.

Chest. 1988 Aug;94(2):432-3.  Fatal aspergillosis associated with smoking contaminated marijuana, in a marrow transplant recipient.  Hamadeh R, Ardehali A, Locksley RM, York MK.

N Engl J Med. 1991 Mar 7;324(10):654-62.  Pulmonary aspergillosis in the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.  Denning DW, Follansbee SE, Scolaro M, Norris S, Edelstein H, Stevens DA.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

"Summer Days Drifting Away" -Summer and Chemo

To those of you getting chemo.....think Sandy and Danny from Grease by day.  See, they are totally all covered up at the beach!!  Yes, we all agree that they are also sicky sweet and dreamy and nauseating, but they are fully protected from the sun!!! 

Please note that John Travolta really didn't need to wear a hat because that freakin nasty, greasy overhang of "bangs" protects his whole face from the sun...but I digress!!

For those of you on chemo....please be careful going out in the sun!  You may have had that "olive" skin your entire life and never burned in the sun before.  BEWARE.  CHEMO CAN MAKE YOU MORE SENSITIVE TO THE SUN THAN EVER BEFORE.  We have seen some bad burns and bad rashes in the clinic from trips to the beach.  Even short excursions have produced some blistering sunburns for those who are not used to the changes in their skin. 

We've also heard many complaints of sun sensitivity from you ladies taking Tamoxifen.  Are you taking antibiotics or antifungals to help you get through chemo?  These can add to the rash and sun sensitivity issues.

YES, we want you to have some fun and some normalcy in your life!!!  You deserve it!!  We're just saying that you need to be more mindful than the average bear when out in the sun when you are on chemo.

Hats, umbrellas, protective clothing, gallons of sunscreen (and PLEASE DRINK PLENTY OF FLUIDS)!!!  Please channel your inner Sandy and Danny by day!!!

As far as channeling Sandy and Danny on "those summer ni-ghts (tell me more, tell me more)...."  What you do at night is up to you!!!   Go put on a pair of vintage Candies FM slides from the 80's and full body Spanx and go wild!!! 

 I loved those shoes!!! (my foot circa 1981!!)
Pictures:  Paramount