Ken Capron is an intelligent man. I got that right away when we met recently. His gaze was strong and focused and he was quick and articulate when he answered my questions. I only knew he had dementia because he told me ahead of time. I had the same experience with Donna Beveridge. Since her diagnosis, she’s even become an accomplished artist and is chronicling her life with dementia in watercolor.
Navigating the Tangled Neuron Forest
I think today should be all about Becky Sawtelle. No wait, let’s give her the entire rest of the week. She deserves it! For most of Becky’s life she struggled with her weight and finally decided to have gastric by-pass surgery. Dr. Jamie Loggins, from the Central Maine Bariatric Surgery Center did the procedure the end of January.
When I wrote an update in March she was not happy with how things were going. Here’s what she had to say: “I had a really strong relationship with food. Now I can’t eat whatever, whenever, and how much I want. I miss that.”
“Wally” introduces Christie to the crowd
Christie Cantara celebrated Mother’s Day in a big way. She was the honorary bat girl for the Red Sox! Lindsey Laverriere, a friend of Christie’s daughter, entered her in the Major League Baseball 2013 Honorary Bat Girl Contest, which recognizes 30 women who have been affected by breast cancer. The winners were selected by fan votes on HonoraryBatGirl.com along with feedback from a guest judging panel. So there she was at the Red Sox game in Boston on Mother’s Day along with her family, boyfriend Tom, and, of course, Lindsey. Continue reading
Walking in the woods with my sister Debi. Something we both look forward to all year round. Serene, peaceful. Take a few moments to walk with us and leave all your worries behind.
My family has always been immensely proud of my father’s achievements in the military. In addition to rising up in the ranks of the Army, retiring as a Lt. Colonel, he fought in the Korean War and did two tours of duty in Viet Nam. It was only in the last decade of his life that I understood the tremendous toll those wars had taken on him, physically and psychologically. In the Korean War, he lost some of his hearing and developed blood clots in his legs, both of which plagued him for the rest of his life. In Viet Nam, he was exposed to Agent Orange. At the time of his death, he was considered 100 percent disabled because of the effects of Agent Orange. He had type 2 diabetes and was in constant pain because of neuropathy. He also got lung cancer, which ultimately led to his death. Psychologically, I’m sure he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) until the day he died. Sudden noises always startled him — made him nearly jump out of his skin. He told me they often sounded like gunfire. He was barely 20 during the Korean War. More than 60 years later, just the sound of a spoon dropping on a tile floor could transport him back in an instant.
I just found out that today is Melanoma Monday — an awareness campaign developed by the American Academy of Dermatology — so decided to update a post I wrote last year about protecting your skin from the sun. I also checked in with Mike Cushman, who was diagnosed with malignant melanoma in 2010. At the end of the post, you’ll find a list of upcoming free skin cancer screenings.
Does sunscreen prevent malignant melanoma?
The short answer is not necessarily. Two reasons why:
1. People slather it on and then bake in the sun twice as long they should.
2. Some sunscreens are not broad-spectrum. In other words they protect against UVB rays but not UVA rays, which may also cause skin cancer — including malignant melanoma, which can be deadly.
Fran Seeley, Diane Atwood and Lisa Hachey
I had such a great time last night! Here I am with Fran Seeley and Lisa Hachey at the Cancer Community Center in South Portland. Every year the Center honors its many volunteers and we were all on the guest list for the 2013 Recognition Reception.
Some of you may know that my first career was as a radiation therapist at Maine Medical Center. I started out treating cancer patients with radiation therapy and later became a dosimetrist, the person who works with the radiation physicist and helps plot out the treatment plans.
You know how law enforcement agencies often use a database of DNA profiles to identify crime suspects? Well, scientists are also building a DNA database of all the different species of plants and animals around the world. If you’re interested, you might be able to help them out this summer — and get to spend some time in beautiful Bar Harbor, Maine.
Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor
Anne Belden and her husband John began trying to get pregnant when she was 29. It would take them 10 years to build their family — 3 1/2 years and many rounds of fertility treatments before their son was conceived and after he was born, another five years of the same before they decided to adopt their daughter.
Today, there are a lot more treatment options for infertility than Anne had 30 years ago, and success rates for conceiving are much higher. Thanks to the Internet, there is also a wider support network and better opportunities to access the latest information. Something else that is different is more women are waiting longer to start their families, which increases their risk of infertility problems.
The Atwood family has a hard time getting rid of stuff. We still have our first computer — an iMac Plus. Yes, we are loyal Apple fans. We took our daughters to DC during April vacation back in the 90s and our computer was already on display in the Smithsonian. By then we’d moved up to a newer version. We still have them both. We also still have the computers we bought the girls when they were in high school — they’ve long since graduated from college. We have them all, mostly because we didn’t know what to do with them. We just put them away with all the other things we’ve accumulated over the years. (Did you notice that container of doll stuff under the computer? It’s full!) Out of sight, out of mind.
Electronic waste, or e-waste, is what you call our discarded computers.