Last week, in two webcasts I interviewed young men who had survived cancer and aggressive treatment that made all the difference. Cole Connealy, 22 and Ezra Fitz, 31, each underwent surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. For Cole, in Portland, Oregon, it was the discovery of testicular cancer that had spread into his chest and his brain. For Ezra, from Brentwood, Tennessee, near Nashville, it was a tumor near the language center on the left side of his brain. Cole was just 16 when the extreme fatigue he was feeling turned out to be advanced cancer. He underwent 13 surgeries as part...

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There's more chatter lately (see the Seattle Times, The Newest Generation of Drugs: Who Can Afford Them?) about the cost of the growing list of biotech drugs "("biologics") that can lengthen your life and/or improve the quality of your life when you are living with an advanced cancer or a long-term chronic illness like multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis ("RA"). In RA, for example, there are drugs like Orencia, Enbrel, Humira, and Remicade. In Hepatitis C, a rampant chronic illness, Intron-A can cost $3,473 per month. An advanced breast cancer drug, Tykerb, costs $3,021 a month. People with MS have...

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Dear Patient Power Friends: Comedian Bernie Mac ("Ocean's Eleven") died Saturday while hospitalized for what was said to be pneumonia. He had been living with a chronic lung condition, sarcoidosis, which he had previously said was in remission. We will miss Bernie as he was a talented and unique comedian. His death gets me thinking about lung health and I am sure we will do webcasts before long on pneumonia, sarcoidosis, and other lung conditions – asthma, of course. We have previously discussed COPD and even interviewed a woman with that condition who had a lung transplant. We've also covered...

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As I wrote last week, our family is just back from a summertime trip to Europe. Because of the low value of the U.S. Dollar we didn't encounter many Americans, but we did meet many Europeans on extended vacations. I was the one with the Blackberry. They were the ones who were truly relaxing. On the way home we changed planes in the Philadelphia airport, and once again we saw American business people on the run, and on some of their faces, stress just under the surface. Our friend Marshall Brumer, a young man (in my book anyway) at 44,...

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I am just back from a whirlwind (19 day) trip to: Italy, Turkey, Greece, Croatia, Austria and Switzerland. I feel like Obama, having covered a lot of ground fast. But it was very, very enjoyable and our family of two parents and three kids actually got along quite well. The positive health effects of a restful and enjoyable vacation are continuing to last and I am grateful for that and also that we could even make the trip. Some musings on health: The first part of our trip was aboard ship with 2,000 of our "closest friends." As you may...

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Aboard the MS Zuiderdam in the Greek Islands – Our cruise with family and friends continues as does the battle to have the teenagers wear enough sunscreen and get to bed before 2:00 a.m. As we travel there is some news to note about the death of a celebrity in the news and the fight for life of a celebrity on board. A few days ago we read of the death of Tony Snow from advanced colon cancer. Although I never met him, Tony seemed to be an honorable journalist and political commentator as well as a recent White House...

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I am blessed. It's summer and I get to go on a vacation with family and friends. And not just a gas guzzling vacation down the highway. Once again I am at sea…this time the Mediterranean on a cruise from Italy to Greece, Turkey, and back to Italy. I have saved for months to pay for it and it is worth it. I am not working other than to send this message to you. This is my downtime and, believing in health for mind as well as body, I am sure this break helps me live longer and certainly better....

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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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August 2008
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