FDA warns about increased risk of cancer relapse with long-term use of azithromycin (Zithromax, Zmax) antibiotic after donor stem cell transplant
The French study which the FDA based a recent safety announcement on had to be discontinued after two years because the rate of the return of cancer and even death was too high in those patients with cancers of the blood or lymph nodes who undergo a donor stem cell transplant and were taking the antibiotic azithromycin (Zithromax, Zmax) long term to prevent a certain inflammatory lung condition [LUNG GVHD/BOS].
If you’ve never heard of Hof before… prepare to have your mind blown.
This dude, known as The Iceman, can withstand the coldest colds and endure the hottest hots for practically as long as he wants all because he can control his mind and, through that, his core temperature, all through a radical breathing technique of his.
I’ve lost nearly half of my lung capacity due to a side effect called graft versus host disease after from my bone marrow transplant so, apart from the fact my survival rate chances were in the cellar, I never expected to be able to do much in the way of cardiovascular work ever again.
My son turned me onto Hof last year and, while I’m still in my initial stages of learning from this guy, you should see me going for it on the exercise bike and with the weights. I cannot imagine how much more I will be able to progress the more I progress with Hof’s techniques.
Reminder, as per clearly stated in my Terms & Disclaimers I am not a doctor so don’t go doing this stuff without consulting the experts first.
But if you want to experience a new reality of living… watch the fascinating Vice documentary about him below and then go check out this wild man’s youtube site.
This could get long and teary-eyed so I’ll save everyone the time and me the embarrassment and cut to the proverbial chase:
Outside my immediate family, I am hard-pressed to think of anyone who has supported me more, through times bad and good, with his physical, spiritual, and financial presence and care, than my long-time friend, my mentor, and my boss, Paul Weidow.
LEAVE would absolutely not be possible without Paul’s and his partner Stan Nolen’s (another long-time friend and eternal brother) generosity towards and faith in me.
Paul bringing me on part-time to be a member of his PLEX Solutions family, allowed for a stress-free transition back to normalcy and under terms very, very favorable to one still fragile and unsure of himself, yet one in great need of validation of worth, as well as one in great need of the time and funds to support and develop his movie-making dream, a dream that now, in much part because of him, is only days away from becoming a reality.
And please remember, LEAVE still requires much more support in the form of love, currency, outreach, and effort to ensure not only its completion, but its completion in a manner that enables us to fully realize our vision:
To Create a Cinematic Work of Art that
Entertains and Inspires Positive Change
But, I was thinking, just imagine if each of the 25,109 and growing followers of this humble site were to donate just $1.00 to help me fund my film LEAVE…
Just imagine how much that would be!
Keep in mind that I am a product of the United States public school system, and that, by design, my higher level degrees have absolutely nothing to do with math, so my calculations may be a bit suspect…
But I believe that if every one of the 25,109 followers were to donate $1.00 to help me fund my film, that would come to the heavenly financial figure of… [finger cipher]…
Now that there would be a whole lotta of cheeze and it would help me in a whole lotta ways in realizing my cinematic dream called LEAVE.
Now, I’m a practical man (not!), and I know all 25,109 of you donating $1.00 each to support my dream is an impossible expectation…
But, let’s consider what you get here for free 24-hours a day, 7-days a week, 365-days a year non-stop and in perpetuity for as long as our pretty yet petulant planet revolves around the sun that may help motivate you towards donating that $1.00…
So… yeah. I’ve been having some chemo brain issues for quite a while now and I’m in search of interesting ways to build up my brain muscle to counter these “cognitive disorder” side-effects, as my neurologist so neatly calls them.
I’ve never been a board game – or any game for that matter – kind of guy, but I’ve read and I’ve heard anecdotal evidence that board games do help with one’s focus and clarity issues.
With this anecdotal evidence as my impetus, of course I went to Amazon, the event horizon of the internet, and searched around for what the best board game for my particular interests would be.
And I found this:
As you can see, it tags itself as “A party game for horrible people.” And while I don’t feel that I’m all that horrible, after reading a few of the many thousands of reviews, it does seem like a game that would appeal to my interests.
Does that make me so horrible?
That was rhetorical.
Which brings me to the point of this pointy post…
Research, with you being my source information.
Have you played the game? And if so, what do you think of it? Is it fun? Challenging? Stoopid? Do you feel you have a stronger brain because of your playing it?
And don’t worry, just because you played the game doesn’t mean I will judge you as a horrible person.
I will, however, admire your courage for admitting it.
If you’re not familiar with the game, you can learn more about it here.
I may be mistaken, but it is my belief that we’ve all been to that dark, lonely place at least once or twice in our lives where we, and the lives we have led, seem…
It’s a scary place and one which I suspect, and hope, the majority of us visit only infrequently and fleetingly because our lives are fulfilling and rewarding enough to steer us clear from the depression that can lead us there.
However, I also suspect that there is a significant minority of us who visit this dark, lonely place more often and for longer periods than most since, according to NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, nearly 19% of the United States’ adult population experience some degree of mental illness throughout the year . And, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, major depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States .
I, myself, became a frequent visitor of this dark, lonely place not long after I began taking high doses of the steroid prednisone to combat a deadly disease that was destroying my lungs, and one which I was given little chance of surviving.
It was a hard enough to mentally process that my life may soon be ended by an aggressively fatal disease — pretty tough for anyone to process, I would imagine — but couple that bummer news with a steroid that induces psychosis-like side-effects and, yeah… double bummer.
Consequently, it wasn’t long before I found myself spending nearly as much time in that dark, lonely place as I was out of it.
It’s hard to explain what I and my mind were going through whenever I visited there. I’m not sure there is a way to describe it wholly in just a few words. It is both a tangible and intangible feeling. A cold feeling sometimes. A heavy feeling other times. But it was almost always a feeling of pointlessness. A feeling of… Why bother?
I was dying. My body had failed me and I had failed my family. The only thing I felt I was good for now were my less than adequate disability checks. Were I gone, my life insurance payout would have been much more rewarding and helpful for those whom my absence would release from the burdens my illness had placed upon them.
Yeah… I was down there in that indelible darkness of depression pretty deep.
Fortunately for me I had a saving grace — several of them, in fact.
One, the primary one, was a support network of family and friends who loved me, cared for me, and prayed for me.
Another, was that I like to write.
I began blogging shortly after my leukemia diagnosis. Nothing too deep or introspective — though scared, I was completely confident I was going survive — just updates to keep my friends and family informed of my health and happenings during my treatment.
But months later after learning my lungs were slowly dying away as a side-effect result from my bone marrow transplant, and having to begin a hefty prednisone regiment in an effort to slow the dying process down, my positive perspective on things changed significantly.
Though the drug-induced and drastic mood swings made it difficult to focus, I began to blog more often and about more personal matters. And while I regard my blogging experience during this difficult time as a very beneficial, therapeutic activity — an activity I presume many others regard beneficial as well, for a simple Google search of the term “writing therapy” resulted in around 259,000,000 results — it wasn’t helping me to shake the persistent feeling of irrelevance; of feeling that I others would better off if I were dead.
Fortunately for me, since I was spending more time thinking deeply about my life for my blog, I eventually began tinkering with my blog’s “About” page.
And this tinkering proved to be yet one more saving grace; for it led me on a path to try to discover things about myself that others might find interesting enough to inspire them to read more of my writing.
And once I began thinking in more of a self-promotional, third-person kind of way about my life, I began realizing and rediscovering things about myself that I found to be very special and unique.
For the next week or so, I stopped blogging altogether and, like a gold digger after finding his first valuable nugget, I worked passionately on mining through my past to dig up and write down all the meaningful nuggets I could find.
And when I was finally satisfied that my life was properly represented on the page, I began to craft the long, meaningful list of me into a voice that, when others read it, would be heard distinctly as mine.
When I was finished*, my “About” page was more than just being about me… it was me.
And even now when reading this long and winding written documentary of me, I am filled with a sense of gratitude and purpose so powerful that, even if I were to once again visit that dark, lonely place, I could never do so feeling as if my life were pointless and without meaning.
Admittedly, with these newfangled campaign funding sites such as Indiegogo and Kickstarter, where they have their “Backers” or “FUNders” or whatever else they call those who give money to a money-raising campaign, me referring to my supporters as “Donors” seems a bit anachronistic.
However, there is a very important reason as to why I do.
It is, perhaps, a term the most near and dear to my heart…
For, it wasn’t a “Backer” who was willing to sacrifice her time, effort, and self for someone she didn’t even know…
It wasn’t a “Backer” who had to take off work, find her way to the hospital, prepare herself mentally for an operation, sign all the forms, wear the silly patient outfit…
It wasn’t a “Backer” who had to endure the days of pain and discomfort caused by the operation…
And it wasn’t a “Backer” who blessed me with her bone marrow.
She was a Donor.
A Bone Marrow Donor.
And she saved my life.
Please consider becoming such a selfless and life-giving Donor as is mine.
Links to all the health-related articles that I have written and posted here can be found near the end of the book.
Finally, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of HOW NOT TO DIE: In 13 Easy Steps will be donated monthly to my wife’s and my favorite charities and organizations committed to the curing and caring of those suffering from cancer and lung diseases.
I hope you enjoy the book.
Note: Even if you don’t have a Amazon Kindle or Fire, you can still read all Kindle products on your computer, tablet, or phone by downloading one of their free reading apps here.
On this day five years ago, I received the news that a recent lung biopsy showed that my lungs were inflicted with a severe form of graft versus host disease (GVHD) called bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome (BOS). BOS, I came to find out, was a known but uncommon side-effect resulting from a bone marrow transplant (for leukemia) that I had had earlier in the year. And by severe I was told it meant the BOS was incurable, non-reversible, and, in most cases, aggressively fatal. I was also told — because I had asked and insisted on an answer — that, according to a National Institutes of Health (NIH) study of the time, BOS had only a 13%, five-year survival rate. In other words, there was an 87% chance that within five years I would be dead.
Well, it’s been five years and here I am – a newly minted Thirteen Percenter.
Can a brother get a “Hell yeah?”
Anyway… at my most recent appointment with my oncologist, in addition to his standard declaration whenever he sees me of, “So, I see you’re still alive,” he also declared that my present condition may just be a miracle of sorts because it appears that my incurable BOS may have actually been cured… somehow.
I don’t think I would be overstating if I said that, because of all my goings on these past five years – goings on such as leukemia, GVHD (and not just of the lungs, but also of the eyes, liver, and intestines), prednisone side-effects, cytomegalovirus (CMV), and heart failure to name a few – I think I’ve learned a thing or two about life in general and living it in particular.
Now, if you search around this site, I’m pretty sure you will find that much of my writing, mostly encapsulated in my haiku, reflects a lot of the insights and learning I’ve garnered from these goings on. However, just because I like you all so much and don’t want you to have try to sift through this site for days on end in an effort to discover these insights and learning, and because short, pithy lists are all the rage these days, I will identify for you the top thirteen things I learned about how to not only not die, but mostly about how to best live your life filled with happiness and meaning, regardless whether death is looking you directly in the face or not.
My heart says the Patriots only because I do not like repeat champions – unless of course it were the Browns…hey! stop laughing! – but my head says the Seahawks just because their defense is so dominant, Lynch nearly unstoppable, and Russell Wilson the Wizard is a football phenom of magical madness – and seems to be an all around good guy; his work with children with cancer is very heart warming and inspiring.
So, I can live with either team winning but mostly I hope for an exciting game, a great half-time performance (though I don’t know much about Katy Perry except that she’s lucky to have married Russell Brand because when they divorced he didn’t take her to the cleaners by not cleaning out half of her bank earnings), and awesome commercials…
Yup, I’m about as American as one can be when it comes to the Super Bowl, including the nachos, wings, and other delectable Bowls of Super Snacks and other Scrumptiousness.
Yeah, I know…all the issues and controversy surrounding the NFL are very worrisome. That Ray Rice video is just gross and that sort of vicious behavior cannot be tolerated, not just in the NFL, but in all sectors of society. Perhaps we should address this issue further as a #ThoughtfulThursday prompt.
So, in an effort to make an awkward transition from such seriousness as domestic violence to such trivial things as football fun…
Which team do you pick to win? And for those of you truly daring, tell us in the comment section what your final score predictions is.
As for me, I’ll go with the heart and pick the Patriots over the Seahawks by a score of 35 to 31!
While we have quite the cat already – Jack Kerouac – whom I introduced some time ago and can be found as part of Photography page’s gallery collection, I am and always have been a dog man…besides, Kero-chan will have nothing to do with me as he is wholly devoted to the lovely and loving wife, and who can blame him.
But that is fine by me. As a true dog man I can remember clearly all my dog buddies who were there for me all throughout my life. My first dog as a child was an old hound dog named Mickey. I remember with fondness how his tail would always slap at me whenever he was happy. And while all my dogs were great friends to me, my bestest of best friend of all was our last dog Shikibu, a tiny little snowball of Maltese magic.
There are several reasons I am still here on earth after all the leukemia and lung disease as a result of the bone marrow transplant BS. First and foremost is that Universal Power Source of Infinite and Abiding Love we often refer to as God answering all the many, many prayers from all who love me in the form of my lovely and loving wife’s angelic grace and care, and a close second was Shikibu’s love and devotion to me throughout all that BS. Rarely could I leave my chair throughout all that BS, and rarely was Shikibu not by my side throughout all the BS…tucked away snugly, seemingly impossibly so sometimes, between my left hip and the arm of my recliner. Although eternally a puppy in looks and demeanor, she was an elderly lady when the cancer bug got me in 2009, and she was there for me through the worst of it. She died in 2011, not long after we all pretty much realized that I was going to be hanging around a little bit longer after all. She had many serious illnesses herself toward the end but it is my firm belief she held on long enough to know that I was going to be okay. It took me a long time to get over her passing; though I’m not sure that I really am…or ever will be. But recently I had finally reached a point where I was in need of more canine companion.
We knew we wanted a rescue puppy (it had to be a healthy puppy as I have enough issues of my own for my lovely and loving wife to attend to) and we knew we were going to be patient in the process. I did not realize, though, just how patient we’d have to be. I did most of my puppy searching through www.petfinder.com – it’s a very helpful place as it allows targeted search options. Still, I had no idea there are so many dogs in need out there. It took a lot of time. Always getting close, but never getting the cigar, so to speak. We’d find a pup we all could agree only to find that it was either too far away or that someone had just adopted it or any other multitudinous hurdles of a reason. It started to become tedious so we decided that we were going to wait until springtime to continue the search. That way we wouldn’t have to potty train a puppy in the snow. But a couple of days ago I just fired up the link on a whim and right away I came upon “Stella’s Boys” and that was pretty much all she wrote. We found exactly the pup we were looking for…the mostest cutest Plott Hound mix puppies you’ve ever seen
I wanted another hound dog, in honor of Mickey. One son wanted a Retriever for their loyalty and playfulness. And the other son wanted a brindle coated dog because of their unique look and cool name: brindle ~ Brindley …get it? And the wife did not want a horse-sized dog. All these desires came together courtesy of the awesome folks at the Delaware Puppy and Pet Rescue, Inc. Remembering the other pups we lost out on because of delay, I quickly filled out the online Adoption Contract and waited hopefully for the call back, which came on Saturday in the form of an email from Dianne, a hero and angel of a foster mom to the puppies, and many others, saying that we had passed the background check – a call to the references I provided and our local Vet – and invited us to her home to meet with the boys.
Yesterday we made the beautiful two-hour drive to Landenberg, Pennsylvania. If we hadn’t been on such a mission, the wife and I could have easily spent the entire day taking pictures, as the countryside drive was so pleasantly pastoral. But we were on a mission and as soon as we got to Dianne’s home and I saw all the cute puppies, I knew we were coming home with more than one.
And we did. And now I once again have my much needed and appreciated canine companion…thankfully so.
While I can pretty much guarantee you won’t be seeing many more, if any more, pictures of Kero-chan here, I cannot make that same guarantee about the newest members to our family. And while she will always be my bestest of friend and I will forever miss her, I’m pretty sure Shikibu, up in doggy heaven with Mickey, Kipper, Colonel Kish, Juno, and Sebastian, is perfectly okay with that.
Now whether Kero-chan is okay with the invasion…well, that’s a different story.