Monthly Archives: July 2017

Surprised them most about their diagnosis

Unless you’re a breast cancer survivor yourself, there are some things about the disease that you simply can’t know or understand. Yet most of us know and love someone who has battled breast cancer, and the more you know about it, the better you can support them. So we asked survivors what surprised them the most about their diagnosis, treatment, and recovery and they told us all about the good, the bad, and the braless.

I never needed to wear a bra again

“After my breast-cancer diagnosis, I ended up needing to have both breasts removed and implants put in. My biggest and best surprise was never needing to wear a bra again. I have to admit I rub it in a little when my girlfriends complain about underwire and poorly-fitting bras.” —Mary S., Lodi, CA

There is such a thing as stage 0 cancer

“Cancer diagnosis is not straightforward, and doctors won’t always assume that’s what it is. This is why it’s so important to get a second opinion! Stage 0 cancer is still cancer. Be proactive in your exams and health, don’t wait to get something checked out. Green liquid is not supposed to leak from your nipple, as I learned the hard way.” —Megan H., Ridgecrest, CA

BREAST CANCER STAGES AND SURVIVAL RATES

Doctors can be in denial too

“As hard as it was for me to hear that I had breast cancer, it was also really hard for my doctor to say it. It devastates doctors to tell young people (because let’s not forget that breast cancer is not just a women’s disease) that it’s cancer because, like you, they had desperately hoped it wasn’t.” —Megan H.

Chemo can make you crave junk food and gain weight

“Before breast cancer I had no idea how many different kinds of chemo are out there. It’s not like how you see in the movies where they are puking, losing weight, and all their hair falls out. In fact, some types of chemo do not cause nausea. So many people, including me, gained weight during chemo—mainly because the only taste buds that are left are for sweets, plus they administer steroids that stimulate the appetite. I hated how much I craved junk food when that is completely the opposite of my normal eating habits and tastes.” —Garian V., Boulder, CO

Dead after you die, study suggests

Driven by ambition and curiosity to learn what lies on the other side of death, five medical students deliberately stop their hearts in order to experience “the afterlife” in the new thriller “Flatliners” (Sony Pictures), which opened in U.S. theaters on Sept. 29.

They quickly discover that there are unexpected and terrible consequences of dallying with death — but not everything they experience after “dying” is in the realm of science fiction. A growing body of research is charting the processes that occur after death, suggesting that human consciousness doesn’t immediately wink out after the heart stops, experts say.

But what really happens in the body and brain in the moments after cardiac arrest?

The terms “cardiac arrest” and “heart attack” are frequently used interchangeably, but they are not identical conditions, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). During a heart attack, a blocked artery prevents blood from reaching a portion of the heart, which can cause that section to die — though the heart continues to beat, the AHA explained.

During cardiac arrest, the electrical signals driving the heart’s pumping action are disrupted, the heart ceases beating and death shortly follows, the AHA said.

In the vast majority of terminal cases, physicians medically define death based on when the heart no longer beats, said Dr. Sam Parnia, director of critical care and resuscitation research at NYU Langone School of Medicine in New York City.

“Technically speaking, that’s how you get the time of death — it’s all based on the moment when the heart stops,” he told Live Science.

Extremely rare bacterial infection

A severe pain in one man’s artificial hip joint turned out to be caused by an extremely rare bacterial infection, according to a new report of the man’s case. But doctors are still puzzled as to how the man got the infection in the first place.

The 77-year-old man’s right artificial hip joint was infected with the bacterium Francisella tularensis, which is responsible for a disease called tularemia, according to the case report, published Oct. 11 in the journal BMJ Case Reports.

Tularemia is also known as “rabbit fever” or “deer fly fever,” because the bacterium can be spread by handling an infected rabbit or being bitten by a deer fly. It can also be spread by tick bites. But in the man’s case, it’s not entirely clear how he picked up the infection.

“We did not find any ticks attached to his skin, although it’s possible he may have had a tick bite or exposure in another form,” said lead author Dr. Harsh Rawal, an internal medicine resident at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Urbana-Champaign. Rawal was one of the doctors who treated the man.

MOM PENS TOUCHING THANK YOU POST TO DAUGHTER’S NURSES

The man didn’t remember being bitten by a tick, and he had no pets that may have carried one into his home, according to the report. He also had no contact with any animals that could have transmitted the infection to him.

The man did tell the doctors that he had been a hunter about 50 years ago — some people may get the disease by handling or skinning infected rabbits, muskrats, prairie dogs and other rodents, according to the CDC — but, given his long absence from hunting, this wouldn’t explain how he acquired the infection five decades later.

 

A pain in the hip

After having severe pain in his right hip for about a week, the man went to the emergency room, according to the report. At the time, he said he was concerned because 25 years earlier, he had a total hip replacement done on this hip and an artificial hip joint was inserted.

His doctors decided he needed surgery to repair his artificial hip joint and drain fluid from the area, but they found no evidence of any infection.

But one week after leaving the hospital, the man returned to the emergency room with right hip pain and a fever of 100.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

It was then that the doctors noticed a bulbous skin lesion on one of his shins, according to the report, so they sent the man for blood tests and lab cultures once again.