I just got off the phone with Jennifer Aspelund. She will be a guest on our Health Radio Network program this weekend. She is a mother of two children and originally from Alaska. But the whole family moved to Seattle after her son, North, had a recurrence of leukemia. Chemotherapy didn't work for him, although it cures most other children. The choice then was bone marrow transplant. And it's saved North's life. There have been complications and North has had a very different life so far than had he never had cancer. For example, he attended school at the cancer...

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At Thanksgiving time here in the U.S. we pause for a bit with family and friends and count our blessings. If you are like me, and have faced a serious, life threatening diagnosis, you take this process pretty seriously. I welcome the time for reflection and for expressing gratitude for people who have made all the difference. Here's my list. Maybe it will spark you to think about the people who have helped you. In April, 1996 when I was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia – a disease I had never heard of (but many have now since CBS Newsman...

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As you know, I am a man on a mission when it comes to helping people "get smart" about their area of health concern. I encourage all to take a more proactive role, and because of it, get better care for themselves or a loved one. I am really sure of it because I hear stories of how this has worked out time and again. At times I have been discouraged because, although I produce at least two hours of talk shows each week that follow this model, the major media channels have no interest so far. CNN, FOX, and...

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Welcome to my new blog! But it's really your blog too - a place to sound off about issues important to people with serious health concerns and helping people be "smarter patients" so they can get the care they need and deserve. I will often comment on what we discuss in the weekly radio shows and interviews and share some of the behind the scenes discussions too. It's been almost two years since we began Patient Power on radio and I continue to be bowled over with how much there is to talk about and how many people this affects....

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Rose Munoz-Furlong didn’t expect to take on the major food manufacturers, lobbyists or Congress. But she did. And we owe her a huge thank you for doing so. In 1991, Rose was a mom in Fairfax, Virginia, when she discovered that her 5-year-old daughter had an allergy to milk and eggs. Apparently, 11 million people have food allergies that can make them very sick, send them to the emergency room or even cause their death. As Rose learned what her daughter should avoid eating, she tried to figure out if milk and eggs were hiding in packaged foods in the...

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I met a celebrity the other day, at least over the phone. I got to interview Jared “the Subway Guy” Fogle, the 28-year-old former Indiana University student who lost hundreds of pounds by eating low-fat Subway sandwiches twice a day and getting on a regularly walking program. In 1998 Jared weighed 425 pounds and saw terrible health complications on his near-term horizon. Even breathing was becoming difficult. So he started eating turkey and veggie sandwiches with no mayo and no cheese at the Subway restaurant around the corner, a six-inch for lunch and a foot-long for dinner. The weight started...

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I don’t mean to be short with people but I try to be very efficient with my time. Too often I do not get to smell the roses or just have an idle chat with a friend because there’s so much to do and so little time. Part of it is having three young children, part of it is having a demanding career. But what takes a lot of time are doctors, medical details, getting prescriptions, making appointments, dealing with symptoms, and trying to get medical bills paid correctly. A few years ago these were my own worries with my...

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I have a pet peeve, and I am curious to know if it bugs you too. As a patient, I have been to many doctors, many times. Sometimes you know everybody in the office, but often there’s turnover - especially at the lowest levels - and the first people you see are new to you and you to them. Sometimes you are going to a new doctor for a consultation or a new concern. Maybe you’ve traveled very far. So here’s what I don’t like: I hate it when a staff member calls out your name in the waiting room...

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Did you see the Wall Street Journal article recently (February 13, 2006) about a study that showed people who take antidepressants have less brain capacity for romance? Apparently, modern SSRIs (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors), or some of them at least, steal the chemical that allows us to be spontaneous - that devil-may-care attitude that leads to spontaneity and romantic exhilaration. I got worried. I know many, many people with chronic illness or cancer, and their spouses or partners are fighting depression. It’s understandable. But what a price to pay that if we get proper treatment, but we shoot our love...

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A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my friend Laurie, a housewife and mom in my small hometown near Seattle. She is also the mom of an only child who happens to be a good friend of my nine-year-old son, Eitan. You may recall Laurie has been having concerns about her heart, some palpitations and pain. Her Dad has had heart problems too. Weeks ago I told Laurie to “do not pass go, go see a cardiologist.” The other night I saw Laurie in the supermarket. I asked about her son, who had been sick. “He’s doing much better,...

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