Thursday, April 24, 2008

Temporary Header and doc stuff

Some of you may notice that I have a new header. It's temporary although I may go with a new variation in June when this one comes down. I wanted to go ahead and mention that the reason for my header is in one week Skin Cancer and Melanoma Awareness month begins. If you look under the header on the right, I have put up links to the American Dermatology Association site for the Awareness month and to a mole map you can print out as an aid in self skin checks. That site also has links to where people in the U.S. can get free skin cancer screening in May. Some places aren't on their list because I know that many universities and YMCA and other groups have free skin cancer screening in May so you might want to look out for that.
In googling I noticed that there are similar program in Europe and other parts of the world. Belgian has programs for melanoma monday (that's always the first Monday in May). I will be talking more about awareness in May which is appropriate in my part of the world because it falls right before and when so many people are thinking about getting a summer tan or going to the beach. I wanted to give anyone who reads my blog a heads up so they can be on the lookout for events in their area during May. I am a stage III melanoma patient which means that my melanoma spread to a regional site, in my case a lymph node. So far, I've been lucky. I go to regular oncology and dermatology check ups but it's been over three years without my having a recurrence. Whooohoo.
I got a call a day or so ago from the nurse who works with my rheumatologist. Turns out my vitamin D is in the low normal range based on my latest blood work so he's having me take another spiked dose of vitamin D and it will be checked again in 4 more weeks. Vitamin D is important but there are other ways besides sunning to get it. As a matter of fact my doctor said he's had patients who are out in the sun all the time that have a vitamin D deficiency. My D levels have been brought up with supplements from when it was below normal. Even when I try to get a little unprotected direct sun (15 minutes a day), it doesn't seem to help with the effort to bring up my D. Therefore, at this point I'm leaving it to the monitored supplements.
I was disappointed when the nurse called about the vitamin D that she didn't volunteer any information about the bone density scan. I gave her a chance to bring it up before mentioning that I picked up a copy of the results at their office when I went for the D and calcium blood work. When she didn't mention it, I told her I picked up the copy and noticed that I have osteopenia and that the report suggested I take medications which I'm not taking yet. She seemed baffled. After pulling the report she said, does Dr. ____ have your on medications for osteopenia? I said, no, this is my first bone density scan. The only thing he has me on are the D supplements.She said she'd talk to the doctor and call me back. I'm still waiting for that call. It's not a big deal. I'm already on vitamin D supplements which is important in regulating calcium levels. I started taking more calcium after reading the report saying I should have optimal calcium supplements (whatever that means). I am not eager to take the other medication that was suggested on the report. The report was written by the same doctor whose nurse didn't know if he wanted me to do anything new, based on the osteopenia. The point is it's not a matter of him not having his nurse call because he doesn't agree with the report, he wrote the report. Oh well, I guess I'll give them more time but it's been close to two months since I had that scan. The photographs in this post are all from my garden and were taken over the past few weeks. I guess that's it for this jumbled post.


escape said...

nice header and i thought it was as simple as that but knowing its cause, it made me honor you in supporting them.

good job! and your garden? amazing!(with those flowers)

MaR said...

I love your new header! and thanks for the information on the Melanoma Awareness month. I will check out if there is anything offered here.

My doctor is more interested on my second bone density scan, which I will be having by year end (one year after the first one). In case of a worsening, he wants to know at what rate that's happening to make decisions on possible extra calcium. I am currently taking a daily supplement. Hope you get adequate medications from your doctor. It is strange you have to ask for them...

Your flowers are absolutely fantastic!!

Carver said...

Thanks donG, I appreciate that. I have to admit my garden looks better in closeups so you can't see the big mess. I do enjoy my flowers.

Thanks Mar, That's good to know about your doctor's paying more attention to the next bone scan so he can compare them. That may be what my doctor has in mind and he may not have been in a hurry for me to start with the suggestions he made on my report.

Dee said...

Hi Carver,
I like that new header . . . I'm thinking I need to put up a header on my blog - haven't done that yet, so that'll mean learning how to do it.

I am amazed at your patience with that doctor's office! That seems so very frustrating - it's like the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing.

I think you might need to get out your phaser - that's in honor of your Star Trek reference on my blog! LOL

Carver said...

Hi Dee,
Some days I could do a lot of damage with a phaser, ha. It's not hard to change the header and add your own photograph or graphic. Feel free to email if you want me to help.

Anonymous said...

That is a great idea to promote a good cause on your header. I suppose when you live in a warm climate skin cancer is more of a concern, here our problem in not getting enough sunlight to make Vitamin D. Nowhere is perfect.

Anonymous said...

your new header is pretty!

jmb said...

Slip, slop, slap. Slip on a shirt, slop on some sunscreen, slap on a hat. The Australian slogan for the anti melanoma campaign. They have a very high incidence.

We take Vitamin D supplements because we cover up in the sun. The latest info is for much higher doses than previously. Up to 1000IU per day now.

All females pre and post menopause should take calcium supplements as well as eat lots of dairy if they can tolerate it. Yogurt is great for this.
Many of us have osteopenia, it goes with being female of a certain age. Weight bearing exercise( you are doing walking) calcium and vitamin D supplementation hopefully will stave off osteoporosis, a big fear for me because my mother was very severely afflicted.

I don't take bisphosphonates because my doctor does not believe in them unless you have osteoporosis although plenty of others do and I worry about the osteonecrosis of the jaw which although rare is definitely connected to those drugs.

I took HRT for twenty years for osteoporosis prevention but no one does that anymore.

Carver said...

Hi Vic, You are so right that no where is perfect. I've actually gotten to know several Canadians with melanoma. It's probably more likely to be an heredity issue in some places. I think the risk is much lower for other skin cancers in Canada but unfortunately melanoma is an issue pretty much any where. I was surprised when I became active with an online support group that there were people in NB, Toronto, Germany, and the UK who had never had sun burn to speak of that got melanoma.

Thanks Jave, I appreciate that.

Hi JMB, I have heard that Australia has an especially high incidence of melanoma. That's good that they also have an awareness campaign.

I had a radical hysterectomy at 30 for endometriosis and do take HRT although the whole HRT and cancer issue is one I've discussed with my doctor. With melanoma there have been mixed research but recent research indicates that it doesn't add much to the risk to take it. Kind of hard to know although every year my doctor and I discuss a strategy for getting me off it. So far we aren't rocking the boat.

That's good to know that yoghurt is a good thing to eat for calcium. I love yoghurt but haven't been eating it lately so I'll be sure to get some. It makes sense but I just hadn't thought about it.

My grandmother had osteoperosis and one of my sisters does too which is part of my concern. Interesting to know that your doctor isn't in favor of bisphosphonates. My doctor had that as a note to possibly add that. I guess I'll see what he says when he FINALLY calls or has his nurse call about it.

Katney said...

Your flowers are lovely. I wish I had some now, but as cold as it has been, it will be a while.

Thank you for helping us to be aware of skin cancer. We need voices that speak out about what is important and this is. My blog background is pink for breast cancer awareness now and not just in October. I lost my mother and my sister to it, and will walk again in the Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk in September. My new header and footer are from last year's walk.

Carver said...

Thanks Katney and I'm so sorry that you lost your mother and sister to BC.