A few years ago I started getting migraines. I didn’t know they were migraines at the time because they weren’t painful, they just knocked me for a loop – dizziness, nausea, in need of sleep, lights too bright, ears ringing, the usual suspects.
The first one I ever had scared the bejesus out of me, hitting me so hard while I was out mowing the lawn that I almost fell to my knees. It even knocked loose vitreous from my left eye and to this day I have little black gnat-like floaters buzzing around in there and annoying the hell out of me. Continue reading “Here’s to blood in the eye…”
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].
Not the primary reason but one of the reasons I decided back in April to take a hiatus from the web was because I wanted to give my brain a break from all the nonsensical chatter that was cluttering it so.
I have been having what I collectively call chemo brain issues for quite some time so I thought it may do me some good to lay off for a while all the hyper-clicking and attention-span deflating skim-reading that the web so sweetly and successfully induces us into doing and which studies have told us is altering our brain and its ability to focus on and process information.
To counter what seemed to me to be my lack of focus and ability to process effectively process information (perhaps less a result from all my web time and more a result from all the chemo and prednisone I used to be strung out on years ago (and, in the case of chemo, which I still take daily dose addiction of)), I decided to turned off the web for a while.
Which, for the most part, I did surprisingly enough.
To fill the time I no longer spent on the web, much of which had been dedicated to this blog, I mobilized the pen and cracked open the books pretty hard.
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.
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… based on your very kind, honest, and funny feedback to my last post, it appears that Cards Against Humanity, while being fun and completely aligned with my temperament, may not be the game best suited for building up my brain muscle.
I know there are several companies out there now that say they have games and apps that will improve one’s cognitive function and may hold diseases like Alzheimer’s at bay. However, those companies were pretty much debunked by a group of neuroscientists with this.
The good news is that there may actually be one game out there that does improve brain function.
From the LA Times:
If you’re intent on keeping dementia at bay, new research suggests you’ll need more than crossword puzzles, aerobic exercise and an active social life. In a study released Sunday, researchers found that older adults who did exercises to shore up the speed at which they processed visual information could cut by nearly half their likelihood of cognitive decline or dementia over a 10-year period…
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.
We are all familiar with the term “The Emperor Wears No Clothes.” An expression arising from a tale told of a young boy who in his innocence declared aloud during a parade by the ruling King of the Realm, where everyone had to bow down to the King’s will.
“The Emperor Wears No Clothes!” as all around him bowed low and refused to see the obvious, much less name it.
The ruled had been indoctrinated into believing the King was dressed in full regalia and no-one dared to challenge his nakedness except this young innocent.
When anything unseen and hidden is causing problems either within a society at large or as is often the case within the immediate family, first you have to name it. Until something is named there is no possibility of resolving it. Whilst people around the “hidden issue or situation” pretend there is nothing wrong, the hidden gets power.
Naming a problem that everyone around is trying to cover up takes courage. Whistle Blowers often do this, as well as the family “scapegoat.” Child abusers rely on the hidden, look what has happened within many establishments in the UK over endemic child sexual abuse, torture and in a couple of cases murder; and widespread cover up from leading establishment figures, currently being revealed through a major enquiry, some of which goes back 40 years and beyond.
How many of those in authority in the Concentration camps knew inherently what was happening was heinous yet never had the courage to speak out?
It takes courage to name something when everyone around you is accepting something as being “normal” or “O.K.” There is tremendous psychic pressure to keep the status quo, to not upset the apple cart. More so when one’s livelihood depends on such silence or in the case of family, one’s sense of belonging is at stake.
But we remain silent at the cost of the Soul’s Integrity. Do we want to spend our years racked with guilt or denial because we did not speak when we needed to?
By our silence we are complicit.
We remain silent sometimes within a bad marriage. We know things are going terribly wrong but the prospect of our whole world shattering and the pain and suffering that ensues causes many to put up with years of unhappiness.
Fear of being alone causes many to remain in stagnating relationships with an apathetic resignation because they do not believe that no relationship is better than a bad one.
It is the same with any involvement. Becoming a member of an organisation, whether paid or unpaid, if we start to see our own personal values and ethics being compromised and at odds with the organisations goals we may have life changing choices to make.
I have been personally challenged with this in two mental health charities and a meditation group I am affiliated to. Those of you who have read
or been following my work on this and other websites will know that I sustained a seven-year period of altered realities when undergoing an awakening, which is described in the book. This was followed by fifteen years of world wide travel, volunteering, learning from Buddhism, Hinduism, Quakers and some Shamanic beliefs. I was led to research Mental Health both through personal connection with someone who has and still does suffer from a range of issues and has had periodic placements in secure units for their own safety; and through my own short time need for counselling, following returning from a stressful volunteer project in India.
As my involvement with these organisations deepened, I saw that despite their ethos to de-stigmatise mental health issues and to not label many conditions as an illness, they stopped far short of opening their minds to an Holisitc approach.
But there is something else going on here apart from an inability to address the more Holistic aspects of the Mental Health process, and that is many of these and other organisations are reliant on funding, if the funding sources and committees of these organisations have little or no awareness of an Holisitc Approach to Mental health then would they also decide that something they cannot easily see or relate to as being “Wacky” thus undeserving? I have attended enough meetings to see clearly where these concerns influence decisions.
Everyone is entitled to their views and free to believe what they want to believe, but when those same people become rigid in those views and categorically refuse to consider other perspectives on Mental Health, because it involves a major shift in their comfort zones then do we wonder how the Mental Health Paradigm is still stuck in the Psychiatric/Medical Model? Which causes in many cases worse side effects and long term problems than the original episodes of psychosis – read altered realities.
It may sound as if I am being pedantic here but I am attempting to convey an overall picture of how much minds are still closed, despite the information age of one-line Internet. There is no excuse for not being informed in today’s climate.
The question is “Do we want to be informed if it disturbs our reality?”
No one grew or evolved without touching the darkness within themselves or came to conclude that you cannot have a Universe made up of positive experiences only, it would lack substance and be completely out of balance. We need an amount of negativity in order to move and create time and space. The problem is because we collectively have not evolved to this understanding we are stuck in this Earth Reality where we allow our need for comfortable untruths to rule our minds.
It perhaps sums it up when a Committee Member commented when I said
“You do a lot of work for this Charity don’t you?” They responded “Well it gets me out of the house.”
We all have different reasons for volunteering but I guess meeting and interacting with someone like me who is convinced she has a “soul’s mission” to reveal all, including her own dark journey into a trail blazing brilliance of light, and refuses to shut up about it, would invite the comment, “She’s wacky!”
I speak of Psychic Attack and I speak of Possession. I also speak of life changing 500 mile pilgrimages, of Oneness and the need for discernment in these accelerated times. Reading or hearing the words Psychic Attack or Possession can cause a reaction of repugnance, well I have been there and discovered traumatically that…
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
– Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio ~
Sadly the hidden does have power, it’s only by shedding light on the darkest of realities that we have any hope of raising it into a space where it may be seen, understood and dealt with, thus opening the gateways of higher Universal Consciousness.
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
~ Edmund Burke ~
Avril Meyler, author of A New Human and A Multidimensional Paradigm, is a qualified counsellor, hypnotherapist and holistic practitioner. She is now retired and a full-time writer and volunteer for a Mental Health Charity. For more about the author visit her website at