Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from August, 2016

YOUR GENES ARE NOT YOUR DESTINY

Recently a friend called me to extend condolences after the loss of a loved one. A remark he made stuck with me. "In light of the incidence of cancer in your family," he said, "have you gotten yourself checked out?" 

Yes, both my brother and my mother had cancer, my brother's tumor affecting the cartilage in his hip, and my mother's affecting her breast. But there is no genetic test that can evaluate your general risk of getting cancer. Yes, with a family history of prostate cancer - my grandfather had prostate cancer and my dad's PSA level is above normal, PSA being the marker for enlargement or neoplasia of the male accessory organ of reproduction - I could conceivably worry about prostate problems. But so should the general population. In fact, half of men over 60 years of age have prostate cancer. But most such tumors are slow growing, do not reduce life expectancy and never invade surrounding tissues. And so these individuals often don't know th…

SUMMER DIETSTYLE

My good friend Gerry requested a dose of my dietary acumen so I sent him the following meal plan, which I abide by and advise others to do the same.

1. 12 ounces of water on awakening first thing in morning

2. 2 cups of melon (watermelon, honey dew, etc.); 1 cup hot water with 2 scoops cocoa powder with dash of stevia (optional substitution for caffeine)

3. morning workout (combination of cardio and resistance)

4. post-workout smoothie
- 1 cup water
- 2 frozen bananas
- 1 cup frozen berries
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 1 serving protein powder (on weight-training days)

5. midmorning snack (as much fresh fruit as you like)

6. lunch: 12 ounces water; 3 eggs (hardboiled) and/or 6-8 ounces of fish (sardines, salmon, halibut, sea bass are all low in mercury.); sliced raw vegetable fruits (bell peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes) or leafy green vegetable (lettuce, spinach) dressed with lemon and salt/pepper; 1 large avocado

7. midday snack: 1/4 cup raw nuts or 2 tbsp nut butter; 1 banana

8. dinner: 12 ounces water;…

THE OLYMPICS OF LOVE

I really enjoyed the Olympics this summer. That is, what I was able to catch of them. The powers that be chose to air the opening ceremony precisely when I was in the thick of a family crisis that could not be ignored. Good thing my priorities were straight. But the crisis ended August 10th, and by then the competition had been underway for less than a week. And so I tuned in and watched Brazil beat Germany in soccer. I watched such powerlifts as the snatch and clean and jerk with their funny names and even funnier-looking (pot-bellied) participants. Volleyball and swimming. Women's gymnastics. Track and field of course. I even learned of new events. Synchronized gymnastics involving hoops and batons, and some strange target shooting affair with laser guns. 
And from the comfort of my couch I considered all the dedication, perseverance and practice that goes into becoming the best athletes that these amateurs and professionals could be. And I thought: so many of them hardly scrape …

THE ART OF DYING

My mom was re-diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010 at the age of 65. She had been in remission since her initial diagnosis in 1994 when she was 49. At that time she underwent a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation. They also removed her lymph nodes, where they found cancer. The hope was that the chemotherapy would eradicate any renegade tumor cells that had escaped into her circulation. A few years later we had practically forgotten about her condition, such was her good health.

When she started having trouble breathing shortly after becoming a senior citizen, I gave her lungs a listen and it didn't sound like she was moving any air. Her doctor ordered an X-ray which revealed fluid filling the left side of her chest and collapsing her lung. The cancer was back, and had spread to her chest. Weekly drains followed, sometimes twice a week, and when the pleural effusions spontaneously resolved after 6 months we were surprised and relieved. By then her oncologist had put her on oral c…