My life insurance agent, Mike Oling, is a nice man. And as an agent for Northwestern Mutual, a top grade company, he tries to do the right thing. In my case, as a 12-year-leukemia survivor who has extensive disability and term life insurance with Northwestern Mutual, the right thing would be to allow positive changes to update my policies. But when you are a cancer survivor the insurance companies, in my experience, are not really thrilled to have you in their book of business. That's their view even though there are now 10 million cancer survivors in America, and the...

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Tim Russert was just 58. As the Washington bureau chief of NBC News and host of the very popular "Meet the Press" Sunday television program, he was at the pinnacle of his journalism career in a political year when the news may get white hot and the "scoops" too good to be true. A fatal heart attack got in the way of Tim relishing that. A week later, this past weekend, we lost another celebrity, comedian George Carlin. He was 71, but again, at the top of his game, and eager to follow George Burns by earning a living on...

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I have a Facebook page. It seems to best way to keep up with my 14-year-old daughter even when she is at home. I have a LinkedIn page at the urging of business associates. I don't want to be left out. It's all part of the "social networking" rage and, as I have thought about it, I have been part of it for many years when it comes to health. Back in 1996 when I was diagnosed with leukemia, I joined a "listserv" at acor.org and rapidly became part of a community of people who shared the same diagnosis. The...

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Can Microsoft pull it off when nobody else has before them? Can this technology giant bring together doctors, hospitals and the whole world of health information technology players to allow you to have your up-to-date-, easy-to-use, and secure medical record at your fingertips online? This would allow you to plug in devices to measure your blood glucose, or your calories, or your exercise and much, much more, add the data to your record and zap it to any doctor or hospital you wanted to have it. It would also allow you to stop having to fill out endless forms each...

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Isn't it interesting? Senator Ted Kennedy chose to leave Boston and his doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital to have brain surgery today hundreds of miles to the south at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC. How come? My guess is the Senator and the Kennedy family did their research and felt most comfortable putting the Senator in the hands of world renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Allan Friedman. That is not to say neurosurgeons in Boston are not great - it's just that the Kennedys felt Dr. Friedman was best for them. The follow-up treatment of chemotherapy and radiation will be...

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I am a fan of the television show House, M.D. on the Fox Network. That's where diagnostic whiz Dr. Gregory House figures out the secret to a parade of patients' illnesses while, at the same time, saying the most inappropriate things. Viewers love it, real doctors hate it. I can't get enough. That's why this past Memorial Day weekend I was reading former CNN medical correspondent Andrew Holtz' book The Medical Science of House, M.D. On the last episode, "Wilson's Heart," there was a little sidebar scene where we found a young female member of House's team, "Dr. Thirteen," in...

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Kathi Goertzen is a big name in Seattle. She's one of the most prominent anchors on television in my hometown. She is a lovely woman. Also, for the past ten years, she has been a brain tumor patient. There have been highs and lows. Now she is moving into the world of experimental therapy and will be getting on a plane to cross the country to New York City where they'll try a kidney cancer drug for the tumor, a meningioma, in her brain – a tumor that threatens her hearing and her speech and, if left unchecked, would spell...

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This weekend we had a little medical "event" at our house. Esther and I agreed to host a high school senior prom "after party" for about fifteen 18-year-olds. Trouble ahead, right? We thought we'd give it a go as our son's friends are really great kids. And we made it clear there would be no drinking, no drugs. Just clean fun until they fell asleep in the wee hours of the morning. Parental supervision was close at hand. We always knew the weak link in this was if one of the kids had been drinking themselves silly before they arrived....

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Usually when you or your partner is pregnant, it is a joyous event. We have three kids, and I can remember when my wife, Esther, announced that she was pregnant with our first child. It was an announcement at a family dinner at the future grandma's house and I had the video camera rolling. The grandma-to-be was beside herself with happiness. I can still remember her turning to me and saying before the group, "Andrew, I am so proud of you!" It made me feel more like a man right off. But this only sets the stage of what I...

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I hosted a webcast today that featured old friends, Beth Mays, a parent of a child with eosinophilic gastroenteritis (EG), a relatively rare condition; and Dr. Glenn Furuta, a subspecialist in the condition from Children's Hospital of Colorado. I know them both since my daughter, Ruthie, has "EG" and has coped with it for several years. I met Beth, one of the nation's best examples of a parent patient-advocate, as I searched for information about EG some years ago. It was great to learn we were not alone and that Beth, through long hours and late nights, had developed a...

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June 2008
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