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Showing posts from 2012

Cancer : I feel like I have crashed in my mind this week

I am having one of those weeks, bit sad still paying off so many medical expenses its hard to keep up sometimes. I am rewarding myself with a medal something that makes me happy as I deserve it. I think once you get past 4 years of a second cancer battle it's nice to have a goal. Mine is a ring! So I am lay buying it next week. Funny isn't it my girlfriend Sue said you can't afford it I replied " if it takes 96 years at $10 a week I will do it" its something like a reward to me for all that I have been through. Its pretty neat though, when people say what did you want for Christmas or your birthday (which is soon). I have replied "something towards my ring would be lovely.....LOL In this life you have to laugh or cry, I feel like I could cry but I won't I will focus on 2013 being a year of the comeback working towards clearing that medical debt and EVENTUALLY getting my vintage ring... I love a goal to work towards as a cancer patient, I have los

Lumbar puncture : What is it?

  What a lumbar puncture is! A lumbar puncture is a test to check the fluid that circulates round the brain and spinal cord (the cerebrospinal fluid or CSF). For cancer, this test is usually done to see if there are any cancer cells in the fluid. But it is also used to look for infection.     Having a lumbar puncture Your doctor will need to put a needle into your spine and collect some of the fluid that drains out. You will be asked to lie on your side and curl up slightly so that your back rounds towards the doctor, who will be behind you. It is important to lie as still as you can, so make sure you are reasonably comfortable before the doctor starts. You may have to change into a gown first. The doctor will put on gloves and drape some sterile cloths over you before they start. This helps to stop any infection from getting into your spinal fluid. The doctor will inject a little local anaesthetic to numb the area. Once the anaesthetic has worked, t


  What cystoscopy is Cystoscopy is a test to look at the inside of your bladder using a thin, flexible tube called a cystoscope. A cystoscope has optic fibres inside it and a light and eyepiece attached to it. Through the eyepiece, your doctor can see down the optic fibres and into the inside of your bladder. You can have a cystoscopy under local or general anaesthetic, depending on what the doctor needs to do. Cystoscopy for a man Cystoscopy for a woman Why you may have a cystoscopy This is the most important test for diagnosing  cancer of the bladder . You may also have a cystoscopy if you are having investigations for other types of cancer, to see if there is any spread to the bladder. You may have a cystoscopy to investigate Cystoscopy under local anaesthetic You usually have this during an outpatient appointment. You will need to undress your lower half and may have a gown to put on. You will have to lie on your back on the bed

Stem cell transplants

What stem cell transplants are Stem cell transplant is a treatment to try to cure some types of cancer,  leukaemia  and other conditions affecting the bone marrow. You have very high doses of chemotherapy, sometimes with radiotherapy. This has a good chance of killing the cancer cells but also kills the stem cells in the bone marrow. Stem cells  are very early blood cells. Red cells, white cells and platelets can all develop from them. So after the high dose treatment you have stem cells through a drip to replace those that the cancer treatment has killed off. Stem cell transplant means that you can have higher doses of treatment. So there may be more chance of curing the cancer than with standard chemotherapy.     Growth factors You have injections of growth factors before, and sometimes after, the stem cell transplant. Growth factors are natural proteins that make the bone marrow produce blood cells. You have them as small injections under the s

What bone marrow is?

Bone marrow is a spongy material that fills the bones. It contains early blood cells, called stem cells. These develop into the 3 different types of blood cell. Normally stem cells in your bone marrow keep dividing to make new blood cells. This keeps the numbers of cells circulating in your blood within a normal range. When doctors measure the number of blood cells you have, they call this your blood count.     Which drugs affect blood cells Some cancer drugs can slow the production of blood cells by killing them off as they grow and divide. Chemotherapy drugs  and some  biological therapies  can reduce your red cell, white cell and platelet counts. The white blood cell count usually goes down first, because these cells have the shortest life span in the blood. So if your bone marrow isn't making new ones, the numbers start to drop after a few days. Hormone therapies  and  bisphosphonates  are very unlikely to affect your blood cells. Our  can

Cancer drugs and your nerves

Many different types of drugs are used to treat cancer. Some drugs can affect your nerves. The nerves most commonly affected are in your hands and feet. This can mean that you lose some of the feeling in your hands and feet so they may feel numb. Some people say they feel as though they are padded with cotton wool. You may have strange sensations in your hands and feet so that they tingle, like pins and needles. For some people, these feelings are actually painful. This type of nerve damage is called peripheral neuropathy. You may have less control over fine movements of your hands. So doing things like fastening buttons can be difficult. If your feet are numb you may have loss of balance, which could make you more likely to fall. Peripheral nerves send messages to and from the brain and spinal cord (the central nervous system) to the rest of the body. Neuro means nerves and pathy means abnormal. Other nerves in the body may also be affected and this is called autonomi