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Wednesday, July 15, 2009


recently the FDA has placed severe restrictions on the pain killer known as acetaminophen. the FDA states that the drug overdose and interactions with other medications were too high of a risk and caused 425 deaths per year. however, 425 deaths (though sad) is not many. not as much as aspirin, ibuprofen, or even non-drug related deaths such as heart disease and cancer.
so why place the "ban" on acetaminophen? because ibuprofen has just came out with an injectable dose as of this year known as Caldolor.
here are a few side effects of and cautions about ibuprofen:
gastrointestinal ulceration/bleeding, nausea, diarrhea, unexplained rash, salt and fluid retention, myocardial infarction and hypertension (i think i would rather have the headache then the side effects included in getting rid of it)
according to wikipedia "Ibuprofen should not be used regularly in individuals with Inflammatory bowel disease due to its ability to cause gastric bleeding and form ulceration in the gastric lining. Pain relievers such as paracetemol/acetaminophen or drugs containing Codeine (which slows down bowel activity) are safer methods than ibuprofen for pain relief in IBD. Ibuprofen is also known to cause worsening of IBD during times of a flare-up, thus should be avoided completely.
so why the restrictions on acetaminophen and not ibuprofen?
Now aspirin:
gastric bleeding, Reyes syndrome, hives, tinnitus, prolonged bleeding or failure for blood to clot properly after surgery or injury. and though it is not stated, i know for a fact that asthmatics should not take aspirin or use medications that quote on the bottle "aspirin sensitive patients, do not use". i took ibuprofen once for a headache and ended up in the emergency room with a full fledged asthma attack (which was the first flare-up in over 10 years)
so are those of us who cannot take the alternative suppose to just live with pain? are we too small of a number to not count? or is it just another pharmaceutical company paying off the government?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


ok, so it is my aunts birthday today, and though that really has nothing to do with cancer, i thought it was worth mentioning.
she is an important person in my life who truly accepts me, through thick and thin, and that i admire.
what does this have to do with cancer? nothing, but i do think that it is important to let those that you love, know that you love them. call them up on their birthdays and let them know that you ARE glad that they were born. cancer is more than life and is living...loving.
as the garth brooks song says "if tomorrow never comes, will they know how much you loved them?"

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Wanted to share this article

i found this on the internet and the story is best "as is", so i figured i would copy/paste it here for you to goes:

Treating cancer pain effectively


A comment on the underuse of morphine in the treatment of cancer pain.

THE first inkling of a toothache was on a Friday morning. It was a throbbing pain, but thankfully, it was intermittent. By afternoon it was worse and the pain free intervals were shorter. I downed two tablets of paracetamol. It worked. It was a busy clinic as it usually is prior to a trip abroad (Murphy’s Law at work?). Patients seen and tiresome insurance forms filled out, I made my way to KLIA. I was to deliver a lecture at an oncology seminar in Hong Kong.

The flight took off on schedule at eight in the evening. With the soothing whirr of the jet engines and a glass of vintage Piper Heidsieck champagne, I settled down comfortably to review my lecture notes.

It hit me hard and without warning. My toothache returned with a vengeance. I tried to will it away, but that did not work. They say pain is just a state of mind. It wasn’t then. It was real enough to consume me. It sat stubbornly in my brain, refusing to budge. It bored down nauseatingly and unpleasantly.

Was the pain in my mouth or in my brain? Wherever it was, it was a “I will give anything to relieve my pain” kind of pain. I ceased whatever I was doing. I was bathed in a searing blinding pain.

I rummaged through my medicine kit. The paracetamol was there but I eschewed it. I found two tablets of tramadol and swallowed them. It took 40 minutes before my pain was dulled to half its intensity. It was still sickeningly bad. I could not concentrate on the seminar proceedings. Food was the last thing on my mind although I was in a gourmet’s paradise. I gave my lecture with half a heart and one-third of a mind. The pain of the toothache clamoured for my attention and was sovereign in my consciousness.

And that was just a toothache!

Now, let us talk about cancer pain. I have never experienced it and neither have most oncologists, palliative care physicians and nurses who treat cancer pain. Nevertheless, from what we learn from our patients, it is terrible and wrenching. A serious and thinking approach to cancer pain is required. It has to be scientific and devoid of folklore. I even tell my young doctors that “untreated or uncontrolled pain is a medical emergency”.

Morphine is very effective in controlling most cases of severe cancer pain not relieved by simpler non- opioid measures. And yet morphine is the most misunderstood, underappreciated and underprescribed drug in the medical pharmacopoeia. Patients and carers similarly have lots of misconceptions and myths about morphine.

The first fear about morphine is that it is addictive. This is unfounded. Morphine is not addictive when used properly in cancer patients who require it. It may be addictive in miscreants who are not in pain and who take it in the mistaken belief they will get a high. Most of the time they only end up drowsy and constipated.

The second misconception about morphine is that it leads to respiratory depression, ie patients stop breathing. I have encountered only one case of respiratory depression after three decades of prescribing morphine. In that case, the patient was easily revived with an injection of naloxone, an antidote of morphine.

The third thing I want to strongly say is that there is no fixed dose of morphine. The dose of morphine in any particular patient is the dose required to keep the patient comfortable and pain free. It may be 10mg every four hours or 100mg or 1000mg or any dose from 10 to 1000mg. The question of “why such a high dose, doctor?” should not arise. There is no low or high dose; only the appropriate and correct dose.

Morphine does not shorten life nor is it only for those who are terminally ill. Many cancer patients live for months and years pain-free because of morphine. In the terminal state, morphine provides a blessed relief from the suffering and indignity of impending death.

Apart from relieving pain, morphine allows the patient a good night’s sleep, lightens her feelings of anxiety, curtails chemotherapy and radiotherapy- induced diarrhoea and makes breathing easier. On the downside, morphine causes nausea and constipation. An anti-nausea pill and a laxative are usually prescribed along with morphine.

In Malaysia, we are fortunate to have available two other opioids (morphine-like substances), ie oxycodone and fentanyl. Morphine, oxycodone and fentanyl differ from each other in small and subtle ways. This is fortunate as some patients do better on one preparation than the other.

Palliative care and oncology trainees are taught that a patient is as much pain as she says she is in. I emphasise and reemphasise this teaching. It is not for us to doubt the truth of the patient’s complaint. We must not allow our prejudices and racial stereotyping to influence our patient care.

Some say the threshold for pain is different in different races and cultures. Don’t you believe it! The threshold is the same. It is the willingness to express the suffering that is different.

To doctors, nurses and carers, I say this: The next time you get a toothache or a headache, think of the cancer patient in severe pain. If your suffering is bad, hers is infinitely worse. Learn about morphine and use it wisely and appropriately. Your patients and loved ones will be so much the better for it.

Having cancer is bad enough. Don’t make it worse for the patient by withholding an elixir such as morphine when it is truly needed.

“The aim of the wise is not to secure pleasure, but to avoid pain.” – Aristotle.

Dr Albert Lim kok Hooi is a consultant oncologist. For further information, e-mail The views expressed are those of the writer and readers are advised to always consult expert advice before undertaking any changes to their lifestyles. The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, functionality, usefulness or other assurances as to the content appearing in this column. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Too Many Cancer "Cures"

I know that curing cancer or at least helping to fight it is very important, not only for the victims but for researchers as well. However, we need to draw the line somewhere when pharmaceutical companies use it as a competition. I usually read about anything that has to do with cancer in Google and Yahoo! news, but today will be the last time that I take them at all seriously without proof.
Apparently, 2 companies have made statements today about their drugs being a cure for cancer. #1 says it is the best and #2 says it is better than company #1. So who do we believe? Answer: None of the above.
At the bottom of each article was also a statement given by the companies telling how much they plan to make off of the drug and how much there stocks have risen. Is money really the important part of research or is it healing. I would opt for the latter, but then again, I am not a scientist or a money hungry mongrel, and I do in fact have cancer. Are they trying to cure cancer or just their bank accounts?

Note: I refuse to list the names of the companies I am writing about due to the fact that I do not agree with their ethics and will not give any additional publicity to them.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Is Early Detection Helpful?

You may want to automatically exclaim "Yes!"..but you would be wrong. According to recent studies, early detection of relapses in certain cancers does not have any significant effect on treatments.
A study conducted in 10 different countries included 265 women who had early detection tests and began chemotherapy and 264 women who waited for symptoms to arise before seeking chemo. In conclusion, the 2 groups showed the same survival rate as well as the ones who chose early detection proved to that chemotherapy worsened their quality of life.
So is early detection helpful or harmful? Is chemotherapy all that they say it is? Should we spend the money on tests that really aren't necessary?

Note: the "early detection" is for relapses of cancer..not for initial diagnosis. I haven't found any study about initial diagnosis as of yet, but will keep you posted if I do

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Stem Cells and Cancer

Ok, I found this very interesting. In a recent report, scientists are now developing a way to fight cancer using stem cells from bone marrow. Now, I know that stem cell research is controversial (I for one believe in it as long as the cells are from your own body), but if they can take a portion of some of YOUR own bone marrow and eliminate your cancer, then I am all for it. The stem cells attack only tumors and not healthy tissue and your body will not recognize them as foreign invaders, leaving it safe and effective.
So far this study has been conducted on mice and in cultures, but has proved to be effective in lung, breast, and cervical cancers. Not to mention it is showing a promising 38% success rate. Though this is not available as of yet, the hope is for human trials to begin in 2 - 3 years.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Thought I would post

Not much to talk about at the moment. The past few days I have been feeling pretty good, which is unusual but great...I am not complaining:) My main problem is that I have started playing Heroes of Might and Magic 3 again...and once I start, I become addicted.
Can't help myself, I love video games:) Besides, I think of it more like emotional therapy than playing.
I see there are a few more followers and for that I am very appreciative. I am sorry I have not posted more lately, but my mood and health is on a roller coaster ride. I will try to post something tomorrow.
In the mean time, I hope all is well with everyone and will talk with you soon:)

Monday, May 4, 2009


I have been unsure what to write about lately. Quite frankly there is only so much one can write about cervical cancer and hpv.
However, not sure if I even had or have that. But what is it, if not that? That is what I was diagnosed with after all.
I am not a hypochondriac. I hate doctors...sorry but I do. Most doctors are morons and are only interested in the money, not the science. I do not need a doctor with bedside manner...I need one to diagnose me correctly and try to cure me. One that will try to kill whatever is killing me.
My symptoms are very common....they are not unique and have been explained. But when treated, they are still there.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Swine Flu

Ok, I know that this has either been declared an epidemic or is about to be (depends which website you visit). However, after doing some reading on this, I don't understand the alarm. From what I have research, this flu is just like getting the regular flu.
Symptoms include: nausea, vomiting, diarreah, fever, chills, fatigue, and abdominal pain. So what's the difference? Though I understand that some people have died from the swine flu, so have people died from pneumonia or respiratory infections.
My belief is that people panic too much when it comes to "new" illnesses. By "new", I refer to the fact that it's been around since the first case was reported in 1976. And by people, I mean the governments and scientist. They are the ones who start the uproars to begin with after all.
Some schools have even closed down due to swine flu. This I agree with, but they don't closed for head lice, chicken pox, or mumps. Are we overreacting to one disease, or not acting enough to other diseases?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

What we Have Here Is...

I love that phrase! "What we have here is, a failure to communicate"....once again I am quoting a movie. After all, don't we all watch a movie and pick a character that we relate to? Lately I have been depressed.
As you all know, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer and HPV a few months back. I had done everything the doctors said, including surgery and a 1 week stay at the hospital from hell. I have not posted much recently due to being depressed...who wants to hear about others problems when we all have them, right?
Today, was a breath of fresh air, for a change. Bela and I went to the mall to buy a present for his nephews birthday party tomorrow and then went for a few beers afterwards. We talked and discussed a lot of things and some times we debated (a nice way of saying "argued") about ongoings in our life. Mainly our new website that we are trying to piece together. We both got a little tipsy and went minor grocery shopping at the store next to the pub to get bread and meat for sandwiches.
Bela arrived at the check-out counter before me as I was looking for any kind of "gummi" treats on sale. When I met up with him at the cashier, I had thought he paid. So i went and started grabbing the change left on the counter. He looked at me and said something that might as well been "blablabla" actuality was " to nije naše". I realized that he was speaking Croatian and said "what?". But then he repeated what he said. I read the sign language and put the money down on the counter.
As we left, I could not help but finally laugh after a week of depression. He did not realize that either he was speaking Croatian or I did not know Croatian. Either way, it was a failure to communicate but was exactly what the doctor should have ordered.
What is the phrase... "laughter is the best medicine"? I have to agree! I feel better than I have in a long time.
So you may ask yourself, especially those who do not think cervical cancer is health related (sorry, had to mention that again)...what does any of this have to do with the blog about cervical cancer? It has everything to do with it.
The blog is titled "Surviving Cervical Cancer"...and today I learned how to survive.
It is not about doctors, medicine, is about communication, friendship, laughter, and everything else that makes our lives better. Survival...that is a strong word used so lightly. It is what we do everyday, in our own way.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Vitamin B17

I have had several people tell me about B17 so I decided to do a little bit of research on it. I have found that it is not FDA approved to improve health but I figure "why not try it". So I will.
For those of you who do not know about this, I will provide you with a few links.
Cure Cancer Source
Alternate Cancer Cure
World without Cancer

Monday, April 20, 2009

How Much is Too Much?

i apologize in advance for this post, but it is something i need to get out of my system.
i am way too depressed to do any research and lately i haven't even had the will to fight anymore. i did everything the doctors said to do and yet i still have complications. the pain is now spreading into my legs and it is not arthritis. it is a sharp, sporadic pain in the bones.
the business that bela runs in about to go bankrupt and i still am unable to get a job. recently, my teenage daughter and i have had problems and haven't spoken.
how much more can one person take? what is the point of surviving cervical cancer if life keeps beating you down? i'm at the point where i surrender..i throw in the towel. something has to give soon or i'm not going to make it.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Breast Cancer in Men

Yes, you read that correctly! I have been doing some research, as usual, and found a few stories about male breast cancer. Unfortunately, most of us do not realize that men can develop cancer in their breasts and men generally do not take it seriously.
A few of the symptoms are of that of women:
  • lump in the breast
  • receding nipple
  • discharge from nipple
  • crust and bleeding in areola area
Men who are more susceptible are the ones who have breast cancer run in the family. Men who are older, usually around 60 years of age. Men who have Klinefelter syndrome, have a heavy intake of alcohol and who are exposed to high doses of radiation. These are just to name a few.
Men also have an increased chance of developing Paget's disease compared to women.
So for all of the men out there, do not think breast cancer is a woman's disease. If you notice any unusual change in your breast tissue, report it to the doctor.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Jade Goody Books

Well, the diary of Jade Goody is finally available for purchase. The book, Forever in My Heart, is a personal diary explaining her battle with cervical cancer and HPV from the time she was diagnosed to her untimely death in March of this year. She was a celebrity icon not only in the UK but worldwide.
Jade Goody Books:
Forever in My Heart: The Story of My Battle Against Cancer
Jade: My Autobiography
Jade Goody - Story of a Survivor
Jade: Fighting to the End

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Pearl of Wisdom

I recently discovered this website with a lot of valuable information on the statistics of cervical cancer and HPV. They are an organization that help spread the message about vaccinations, women's health, regular HPV screening, and much more. Currently, they are giving away 500 Pearl of Wisdom pins in honor of Mother's Day on May 10th. Stop by, register for your chance to win (USA only), and show your support by adding a banner to your website!
click the post name to transfer to the site!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

New kind of Breast Cancer

I was reading some blogs that I follow today and came across this post. I thought it to be very important and copied and pasted to my blog to share the story. This is the link I originally got it from: A Perfect Life

This is so important to every woman you know. Please share it with everyone you know and particularly those you care about.

New kind of Breast Cancer -Please forward to all of the women in your lives .
Mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, friends, etc. In November, a rare kind of breast cancer was found. A lady developed a rash on her breast, similar to that of young mothers who are nursing. Because her mammogram had been clear, the doctor treated her with antibiotics for infections. After 2 rounds, it continued to get worse, so her doctor sent her for another mammogram. This time it showed a mass. A biopsy found a fast growing malignancy. Chemo was started in order to shrink the growth; then a mastectomy was performed; then a full round of Chemo; then radiation. After about 9 months of intense treatment, she was given a clean bill of health. She had one year of living each day to its fullest. Then the cancer returned to the liver area. She took 4 treatments and decided that she wanted quality of life, not the after effects of Chemo. She had 5 great months and she planned each detail of the final days. After a few days of needing morphine, she died. She left this message to be delivered to women everywhere: Women, PLEASE be alert to anything that is not normal, and be persistent in getting help as soon as possible. Paget's Disease: This is a rare form of breast cancer, and is on the outside of the breast, on the nipple and aureole It appeared as a rash, which later became a lesion with a crusty outer edge. I would not have ever suspected it to be breast cancer but it was. My nipple never seemed any different to me, but the rash bothered me, so I went to the doctor for that. Sometimes, it itched and was sore, but other than that it didn't bother me. It was just ugly and a nuisance, and could not be cleared up with all the creams prescribed by my doctor and dermatologist for the dermatitis on my eyes just prior to this outbreak. They seemed a little concerned but did not warn me it could be cancerous. Now, I suspect not many women out there know a lesion or rash on the nipple or aureole can be breast cancer. (Mine started out as a single red pimple on the aureole. One of the biggest problems with Paget's disease of the nipple is that the symptoms appear to be harmless. It is frequently thought to be a skin inflammation or infection, leading to unfortunate delays in detection and care.) What are the symptoms? 1. A persistent redness, oozing, and crusting of your nipple causing it to itch and burn (As I stated, mine did not itch or burn much, and had no oozing I was aware of, but it did have a crust along the outer edge on one side.) 2. A sore on your nipple that will not heal. (Mine was on the aureole area with a whitish thick looking area in center of nipple).3. Usually only one nipple is effected. How is it diagnosed? Your doctor will do a physical exam and should suggest having a mammogram of both breasts, done immediately. Ev en though the redness, oozing and crusting closely resemble dermatitis (inflammation of the skin), your doctor should suspect cancer if the sore is only on one breast. Your doctor should order a biopsy of your sore to confirm what is going on. This message should be taken seriously and passed on to as many of your relatives and friends as possible; it could save someone's life. My breast cancer has spread and metastasized to my bones after receiving mega doses of chemotherapy, 28 treatments of radiation and taking Tamaxofin. If this had been diagnosed as breast cancer in the beginning, perhaps it would not have spread...
This is sad as women are not aware of Paget's disease. If, by passing this around on the e-mail, we can make others aware of it and its potential danger, we are helping women everywhere. Please, if you can, take a moment to forward this message to as many people as possible, especially to your family and friends. It only takes a moment, yet the results could save a life.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Holiday is Over

Well I hope everyone had a good Easter Sunday...I know that I have had my fill of hard boiled eggs to last me awhile. Most businesses are closed here today in Croatia, so we will be calling my doctor first thing tomorrow to see if I should go for my appointment on Thursday or get a prescription for Dabroston (hormone pills) again. Hopefully it will be the latter. Nothing irritates me more than waiting at a doctors office just for them to say that they cannot examine you while you are bleeding. That is usually about the time that my evil personality emerges and I have to refrain from murder. Though with a jury full of women, I may get away with it. You would think that they would grasp the concept as to not upset a women who has had PMS for 6 months
The past week has been filled with gourmet cheeses and sausage platters for dinner, and was a nice change of pace. But now that Easter is over, I can get back to my "somewhat" cancer-fighting diet of green tea, yogurt, broccoli, rice, fish, etc... Which is not so bad and I should eat like that more often, rather I have complications or not. I also have several blogs and 1 in the making, so that will help keep my mind occupied with other thoughts and this one helps keep my thoughts in order. Kind of like a Quentin Tarantino movie...nothing makes sense until the end when it all comes full circle.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


Ok, since it is the day before Easter (which by the way "Happy Easter Everyone"), I will make this short and sweet and follow up with another post on Monday. I have done some research as to what may actually be going on with my "not-so-old" but aging female body and this seemed interesting. Back in August when I started these unusual menstrual cycles and abdominal pain, a doctor friend stated that it may be endometriosis. Though, since he was not a gynocologist, I needed to seek a second opinion and was diagnosed with cervical cancer.
Now, though it is not proven that endometriosis causes cervical cancer, it has been proven to effect the cervix, vagina, ovaries, and other reproductive parts of the female body. I have compiled a list of some facts for you such as symptoms and reproductive health as quoted from wikipedia.
  • pelvic pain-----"Symptoms of endometriosic-related pain may include:
dysmenorrhea – painful, sometimes disabling menstrual cramps; pain may get worse over time (progressive pain), also lower back pains linked to the pelvis
chronic pelvic pain – typically accompanied by lower back pain or abdominal pain
dyspareunia – painful sex
dyschezia – painful bowel movements
dysuria – urinary urgency, frequency, and sometimes painful voiding"
  • infertility
  • nausea, vomiting, vertigo or diarrhea—particularly just prior to or during the period
  • frequent menses flow or short menstrual cycle
  • heavy or long menstrual periods
  • some women may also suffer mood swings and fatigue
If you or anyone you know has these symptoms...please do not feel shy about bringing up the subject of endometriosis to your doctor.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Still Fighting?

I was suppose to have a pap smear done this morning as a follow up from my conization procedure. Unfortunately, that has to be rescheduled to next week. My doctor, a gynecologic oncologist, is only available on Thursdays at the medical center (which is in the same medical complex as the hospital I had my surgery in).
For those just tuning in to this blog, all of this started back in August 2008 when I started bleeding between menstrual cycles and was experiencing mild to moderate abdominal pain. Without going in to too much detail (I will spare you), my period was developing a "on 3 days"- "off 3 days" type of deal and the pain wasn't constant but did not appear to have a regular pattern. Then in September 2008, I began bleeding and it never stopped. So 5 weeks after that, I went to the doctor (it was difficult to find an English speaking one..hence why I waited) and after a few tests and hormone pills, I was diagnosed with HPV and cervical cancer.
In February of this year, I had a cone biopsy done and was told I was cancer free. Now, I am not so sure. It appears that I am now back to square one. My last menstrual cycle ended on March 29th and 2 days ago, I started bleeding again...just like it was before. So all I can do now, is wait until next Thursday and see what happens. As anyone who read my first few posts knows, I hate the waiting process. I will keep everyone updated on any news and changes, and would like to leave you with this quote:
"I know God would not give me anything that I could not handle....I just wish He did not have so much Faith in me"....Mother Theresa

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Amputation to Rid Cancer

I was in complete shock when I read this story. And I have to say, I am not sure I would have been strong enough to have this procedure done to me. Here's the story:

A Lacey's Spring, Alabama women underwent a translumbar amputation on March 27 th 2009. Translumbar amputation (also known as hemicorporectomy) is a medical procedure that removes the legs, pelvic bones, genitals, urinary system, rectum and base of the spine (in short...everything from the waist down). A very drastic way of ridding one's self of cancer, but was necessary to live.
Melissa McCutcheon is a single mom with 2 daughters, Alyssa is 13, and LeAnna is 14. She was diagnosed in October 2002 with cervical cancer. Since that time, Melissa had undergone numerous surgeries and treatments to help stop the cancer, but they failed. She had 54 radiation treatments, chemotherapy, hysterectomy, removal of part of her colon and bladder, and surgery to disconnect her right kidney...but the cancer still spread.
The cancer then forced her to become bedridden by effecting the bones in her hips and giving her nerve damage in her legs. It was when it finally spread to the base of her spine, that she consulted her gynocologic oncologist about the translumbar amputation.
The doctors said the surgery went as "planned" and she is recovery nicely. Melissa will eventually be fitted with a "bucket shaped" prosthesis to allow her to sit up.
This was an extremely intense story for me to read as I am sure it is for most. Her courage and strength is heroic to us all. I would like to leave you with this quote from Melissa McCutcheon:

"My daughters want me to be there to go to soccer games, to their graduation, if this is the only way that can happen, they're OK with it. More than anything, I'm happy to have a shot at finally being rid of the cancer."

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

New DNA Testing for Cervical Cancer

This is an interesting article I was reading about testing women for cervical cancer by a DNA test instead of the basic pap smear.
In an ongoing trial of over 130,000 women in India, the tests seem conclusive. The women were divided into 4 groups. Group 1 received advice to "go to the hospital if you want screening". Group 2 received the basic doctors office pap tests. Group 3 went a little further than #2 and underwent flashlight-vinegar visualization testing. Group 4 had the clinical DNA test study.
After an 8 year study, Groups 1 and 3 had about the same rate when it came to advanced cancer and death. Group 2 had around 3/4th the amount, whereas Group 4, the DNA experiment, had only half the advanced cervical cancer rate.
It is important to note, that none of the women who were tested by DNA and received negative results died of cancer, proving it to be more accurate and effective in diagnosing cervical cancer. Another interesting fact about DNA screening, is that unlike regular pap tests, DNA only needs to be performed ever 5 years (give or take).
My personal opinion, is I believe this to be a major breakthrough in science. I sincerely hope that this is put into effect worldwide, as soon as possible.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Cervarix and Gardasil

Cervarix and Gardasil are the 2 vaccines to help in the prevention of cervical cancer caused by certain strands of HPV. Cervarix, created by Glaxo, Smith, Kline, has yet to be approved but has been recently submitted to the FDA for approval. Merck & Co., Gardasil, on the other hand, has been around for awhile and is already noticing a decline in sales of their HPV vaccine. The vaccine is given to females age 9 - 26, given 3 injections over a 6 month span.
Question is, is Cervarix too late to jump on the bandwagon? Once vaccinations are administered worldwide, it would make perfect sense to assume that the need for the drug would begin to diminish. And so an analyst at Jeffries International, Jeffrey Holford, has concluded as well when he stated "Glaxo is 3 to 4 years late into the market. They have lost the bulk of the opportunity in the U.S."
Only time will tell what is in store for these 2 companies. Though I must wish them the best of luck and give them thanks for helping to reduce the number of cervical cancer deaths.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Is Cancer a Health Issue?

Before I receive irate comments about the title, I will explain.
I belong to a few blog directories and link exchange sites where reviews are allowed and for the most part, welcomed. Now most of the comments consist of "great blog" or "very informative" or even "I like your approach". However, I received one in particular review that stated that I should talk about health issues.
Interesting choice of words. I was under the impression that cancer was not only a health issue, but a huge concern and one of the leading causes of death in the world. If that is not health related, than I am not sure what is.
Now, as some of you know, when choosing a directory or link exchange, you have categories to choose from. So should "Surviving Cervical Cancer" be classified as entertainment, social, computer/web, adult, or health? Let's narrow this down into the categories mentioned.
  • Entertainment: I do aim to please and have a morbid way of putting things into perspective. I am also my own best friend so I believe I am entertaining:)
  • Social: Feel free to comment and I will try to respond....thereby making it social:)
  • Computer/Web: I used my computer to post this blog on the web..need I say more?
  • Adult: I also talk about female body parts so I guess it can be construed as for adults.
  • Health: It's a blog about Cervical Cancer and HPV!
Now I don't know exactly how to take that review. Should I be upset? Should I message him? Should I pity his outlook on women?
No, I simply use my non-professional, non-health related blog to bring to the attention of all women out there with this disease, to be weary of people like this guy. Anyone who does not think that Women's Health is in fact a health issue is seriously disturbed but can also be seen as prejudice against women.
My blog states "philosophical views....first hand look...". I never said it was a site for medical information that can replace a doctor visit. However, was it the "conization" post, the "facts about cervical cancer" post, or the talk about health care in Croatia that seemed more entertaining than a health issue to him?
And as you may have figured out, I have stressed the fact that it was a male who posted that review.
Note to men: no offense, but you are not exactly my target audience. You do not have a cervix and cannot fully grasp the emotional and physical pain of a women who has dealt with this type of cancer. If you have a friend or loved one who has, and are sincerely interested in the subject (as my boyfriend Bela...think he read more on it than me actually)...then by all means, feel free to comment or become a follower. Men are welcomed here, but not the ones who have a site dedicated to saving the planet but feel women aren't as important. For those who think the latter, they should follow their family tree to see where they came don't have to go far. Just look at the woman beside your father.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

M.S.A.T.H...The Final Chapter....

.....this time, its personnel.....
yes I meant to spell it that way:)

Ok, I think I left off on Wednesday....Thursday and Friday were pretty quiet, as was most of Saturday. With the exception of 1 individual and I am not sure if he was important in the hospital or guess would be that he was just the poor schmuck at the bottom of the totem pole, stuck working on a weekend. Anyhow, we (my roommate Kristina and I) were outside smoking with some other ladies when this idiot pulls up and starts running on about something....I had no clue at the time as I do not speak Croatian. So he goes over to some note that was posted on the window of the hospital and all of the women put there cigarettes out as I still have mine. He looked at me and said something similar to "blah blah blahich" and I responded with one of the only phrases I know "ne razumijem Hrvatski" (i don't understand Croatian). He goes back over to the note posted and says "Can you read?" really sarcastic...which of course opened a window for me to respond with "not Croatian" and smiled. So he led everyone inside and that was about it for the excitement of the day.
Sunday morning rolls around and going to the basement for my cup of coffee, I was told by another patient (actually Kristina was told and then interpreted it) that visitations were not allowed at all for that day due to the flu going around. It must have been some strange 24 hour Croatian Flu I never heard of, because they were already informing us that visits will be back to normal on Monday.
So we arrive in the basement, I get my coffee out of the machine and head outside (not for a smoke, but for the fact that I like sitting outside drinking my coffee in the morning). To my surprise, the doors were locked. I went to the other doors marked "Emergency Exit"..those were locked also. Every door in the hospital was locked and only certain personnel had the keys! Was this a lock down that is often shown in women's prison movies?! Was that safe?
I am certain, that somewhere along the lines, lock down on a hospital is not only a hazardous situation, but illegal and immoral as well. "In case of emergency, jump out the window" type of deal, does not set well with my brain. I must admit, that part of me..ok, half of me, wanted to pull the fire alarm just to witness the chaos. I still get an evil grin just thinking about it :)

for those who missed the first post in the "My Stay at the Hospital" here

Monday, March 30, 2009

Cancer in France

Ok, I was going to post about a cure for cervical cancer that was recently discovered in France, but unfortunately all of the sites are in French...go figure. So while I refresh my brain and kick myself for not paying attention to Madame Micke in 10th grade, I will continue to try to find adequate research on this subject. While I'm at it, I might even look up first year French to see if I can find out what happened to Marie-Claire, Annette, Jaques, and George (though I think George probably found out that he was adopted and killed them all).
Anyway, I did find other interesting facts such as:
  • It is the leading place that celebrities such as Kylie Minogue and Marianne Faithfull go for cancer treatment.
  • After hospital treatment, patients are often sent to a "medical spa" for after treatment care (All i got was a bill)
  • France has the highest survival rate of people with cancer in Europe.
As I said, I will keep trying to find the studies on the cervical cancer English of course:)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Depo Provera and Cervical Cancer

The reason I started this campaign with Depo Provera was due to a theory of mine since 1996. After my daughter was born, I received a "new" form of birth control available to the public guessed it...Depo Provera. I was on medical assistance at the time and was 22 years of age (hence the research studies that targeted young, poverty stricken women). That was back in January of 1994, when I received my first injection.
Over the next few months, I had experienced irregular menstruation, nausea, abdominal pain, depression, and headaches. When I went for my second injection at the clinic, I was told by the midwife (no doctors) that those symptoms were common after childbirth, which I will admit, they are. So she gave me my second shot and I was sent home. That was late April 1994.
In June that year, I found myself bleeding non-stop as if my period had started and forgot to end (about 3 weeks straight). One night, I was in so much pain in my stomach region, that I ended up in the emergency room. I was later released and told to see a doctor (guess they meant no midwife) so i scheduled an appointment for a check-up. A month later, I was told that I was pregnant (yep, Depo helped a lot) and that my pap test had came back as abnormal and a biopsy would be needed. I went for the biopsy and it concluded that I did, in fact, have cervical cancer.

My son and I are both fine. We made it through the pregnancy and childbirth great....he was born March 22, 1995.

1 year later, I was working at a local diner talking to a co-worker of mine and found that she too had been diagnosed with cervical cancer and had also taken the Depo Provera shot. She informed me that a few of her friends had the exact same experience. Now I had put it all together back then, but it wasn't until recently when I started research on the internet about it.
I found that most information regarding the research and disadvantages of Depo Provera cannot be found on the Depo official site....which seemed very interesting to me.
Here are a few links for you:
  • From Depo on "important patient information"...this is the link you get
  • From Depo on "new important safety information...i cannot give you this link, because none appears
According to, it states this:
"Other side effects include:
  • Change in menstruation (may be lighter or heavier; shorter or longer)
  • Increase in spotting and breakthrough bleeding
  • Weight gain
  • Dizziness
  • Nervousness
  • Change in libido
  • Headaches
  • Rash or skin discoloration
  • Breast tenderness
  • Depression
  • Increase or decrease in facial and body hair
  • Hair loss
Although they are rare, there are some serious health complications that can occur with the use of Depo-Provera. Users may have a slightly increased risk of breast cancer and cervical cancer, but study results have been conflicting. Other possible complications include jaundice, blood clots, severe allergic reaction and infertility."

To end this post, I will leave you with one thought. If Depo Provera is so safe and effective, why are there so many lawyers that specialize in Depo Provera lawsuits?
Depo Provera attorneys

Friday, March 27, 2009

Depo Provera...Fight for Approval

Even though one of the first application for the FDA to approve Depo Provera was in 1973, the contraceptive drug was not approved until years later. During that span, numerous tests and research were performed on both animals and humans by the company responsible for it, Pfizer.
Some of these studies consisted of experiments on dogs (which proved to cause breast cancer tumors) and monkeys (where the results were endometrial cancer in 1 out of 6). However, these tests were later reported to be inconclusive since they were tested on animals and not humans.
personal note: if tests would have been fine, would they have used the results then?
According to Upjohn and NCI, who performed their own research, cervical cancer in women was increased 9 times more than those not given Depo Provera. Upjohn's study extended over an 11 year span and was deemed questionable due to "sloppy record keeping".
Their testing was localized to the Atlanta Georgia area and was centered on mostly illiterate, poverty stricken, or mentally challenged women. In the study, it was proven that some of the women died due to cancer and some died from suicide brought on by depression (one of the side effects of Depo Provera). Unfortunately, the experiment which consisted of 13,000 women, was never considered as concrete and was disregarded. Depo Provera was finally approved by the FDA on October 29, 1992 despite all the controversy surrounding it.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Depo Provera Pros and Cons

If you or someone you know is thinking of using Depo Provera, please read the following information. There are many reasons women choose to use the contraceptive, but we must also weigh in the problems associated with it.

  1. you get an injection only once every 3 months.
  2. menstruation has either stopped or became less frequent in some women
  3. you won't have to worry about remembering pills, applying patches or inserting your diaphragm right before intercourse.
  4. it is 97% -99% effective against pregnancy
  5. contains no estrogen
  6. cramping and pain associated with menstruation may be lessened
  7. you may still conceive after stopping Depo Provera (though it may take up to 18 months after)
  8. it is safe for nursing mothers
  9. it is generally less expensive than other forms of birth control
  10. it is effective 24 hours after your first dose

  1. does not protect against STD's
  2. some women have had heavier and more frequent menstruation during use
  3. may cause you to lose calcium in your bones. longer exposure means greater loss that you may not get back.
  4. most women experience weight gain in the first year and an increase in body fat
  5. is still not approved in certain countries
  6. may cause abdominal pain and discomfort
  7. may cause headaches
  8. increased fatigue is shown in some women
  9. breast cancer tumors were found in dogs that were given Depo Provera in research studies
  10. it caused endometrial cancer in 1 out of 6 monkeys in research studies
Like I said, this is just a list of some advantages and disadvantages of the usage of Depo Provera Contraception Injection. I suggest that if anyone is considering this form of birth control, to do more research on the drug. And also follow this blog for more posts about the health risks and history of Depo Provera (medroxyprogesterone acetate)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Depo Provera Awareness

This is the start of my crusade against the contraceptive drug known as Depo Provera (also known as medroxyprogesterone acetate). As of right now, I will just have a brief summary as to topics I will be touching on as far as how this drug effects women's health.
In the upcoming posts, I intend to apply the following results:
  1. Depo Provera pros and cons
  2. History of Depo Provera and the struggle for approval in the FDA (Food and Drug Administration)
  3. The connection between Depo Provera and cancer in women
  4. The experimental period (which lasted 20 years)
  5. Why some countries still have not approved Depo Provera
As a 2 time survivor of cervical cancer, it is my belief that this drug has caused numerous health problems in women globally. It is a theory that I have had since I was first diagnosed with cancer in 1995 and have continued to have problems since.
I sincerely hope that the posts listed above will be followed and help to inform other women about the real risks associated with the contraceptive injection.
The first post will begin tomorrow and hopefully, if all goes well, the others will follow 1 per day after that.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Jade Goody

though i never really followed her life (she was a UK reality TV star and i live in Croatia and don't like reality TV shows), but this story did astonish me. how someone so young could die from a disease, most doctors will tell you is nothing to worry about. proves them wrong, doesn't it.
she was born on June 5, 1981 and passed away on March 22, 2009..making her only 27 years of age at her time of death. it is upsetting how she had battled with poor health since 2002 and the doctors could find nothing wrong until 2008.
a short outline of the events:
2002- cervical pap test that revealed abnormal cells...possibility of cancer.
2004- tested for ovarian cancer..came back negative
2006- tested for bowel cancer..came back negative
2008- went for hospital tests after collapsing for the 4th time....diagnosis...cervical cancer.

why was she not checked for cervical cancer in 2002? if she was, it is not mentioned in the articles that i have read. perhaps they made a mistake and don't want to admit it. though admitting to ignorance is worse, i believe.
here is a quote from her spokesperson upon the cancer diagnosis in august 2008 while she was on the show Big Boss (Indian version of Big Brother) : "It looks like her cancer is at an early stage but we will have to wait until she gets back to Britain and sees a specialist and has more tests".
i was told that as well, as i am sure a lot of us who were diagnosed were told.
as early as September 1, 2008, she was told that the cancer was in advanced stages and her survival chance was 65 percent. after months of surgery and chemotherapy, she lost her battle and her life.
our hearts and thoughts go out to the family and friends of jade goody and all women who have fought the battle of cervical cancer. i will end this post with a quote from wikipedia:
"When news broke that Goody's cancer was terminal, medical authorities in the UK began reporting a surge in requests from women, particularly younger women, for screening for cervical cancer. This reversed a trend which had seen demand for screening decline overall in the past decade, with the highest decline being among women aged 25-29. As a result of the publicity surrounding Goody's illness, on 13 March 2009 government health ministers agreed to review the NHS's policy of not offering screening for cervical cancer until the age of 25 in England (it is 20 in the rest of the UK). Goody issued a press release the same day, saying that she was "immensely proud" that she had helped prompt the review."

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Hospital Menu

so i won't have to describe the nutritional value (or lack thereof) of every meal, i will list the food that was offered. this list includes everything: meal, condiments, and drinks....bread is always white

lunch: broth


breakfast: 2 slices of bread, bowl of milk (what am i, a cat?)
lunch: broth, hot dog, 2 slices of bread
dinner: rice with some kind of meat (i think it was meat), 2 slices of bread

breakfast: 2 slices of bread, a packet of butter (breakfast is now known as "whats for bread?")
lunch: pickled beets, 2 slices of bread, noodles
dinner: cream of wheat, 2 slices of bread (by now, i was wondering if they just keep giving us the same 2 slices of bread we didn't eat from previous meals)

breakfast: 2 slices of bread, cream cheese
lunch: 2 slices of bread, fish, spinach-potato-cabbage mix, broth (actually, this meal was pretty good)
dinner: macaroni and cheese (i think this was diet mac and cheese because it had half the milk and cheese of others), 2 slices of bread

breakfast: 3 slices of bread (must have had an extra slice laying around), butter, jam, bowl of warm milk
lunch: corn grits, beef stew, seasoned salad, 2 slices of bread, broth (again, not bad)
dinner: chicken and dumplings, banana, 2 slices of bread (not as good as mine, but still ok)

breakfast: 2 slices of bread, cream cheese, bowl of warm milk
lunch: 2 slices of bread, broth, macaroni and cheese (wasn't too bad after i mixed it with my broth)
dinner: boiled potatoes, seasoned salad, and of course...2 slices of bread

breakfast: 2 slices of bread, bowl of white coffee (must have been my "farewell" present)

for those keeping track..that was 33 slices of bread:)

M.S.A.T.H...Part 7

Wednesday morning i was woken up as usual at 6:00 am sharp by a nurse. good news was, i was allowed to finally eat, so i anticipated the arrival of breakfast, which was due at 7:30 am, cracked open my book and began to read. btw..nothing else to do there without a television or radio.
like clock work, my first meal arrived and to my dismay, it was less than typical hospital food. it consisted of 2 pieces of white bread (not toasted) and a bowl of warm milk. ok, i will repeat just in case you think i mistyped or you misread....a BOWL of warm milk, as in, not a cup. now, rather the milk was for me or the vermin, i am not sure. though someone should inform these people that it is a woman's hospital and not a veterinary clinic. the only time i drink milk from a bowl is after i am done eating cereal, which apparently, they forgot to add. they also forgot butter, jam, jelly, or anything else that may go with bread.
at 8:00 am, the doctor came in with about 6 interns to check on us and remove the gauze from my vagina. of course, without curtains, my entire womanhood was there for all to see, including my roommates.
the rest of the day was long, but i did manage to finish my book, and since one of my roommates was sent home, it was just 2 of us, which made it a little more quiet and peaceful.

Friday, March 13, 2009

M.S.A.T.H...Part 6...Tuesday

ok, just thought i would warn you that this will in fact be a long post. this was the day of surgery and my nervous breakdown (to put it mildly). however, you will get 2 pictures and a few links with this here we go.

Tuesday morning began abruptly and precisely at 6:00 am (as did every morning after that). We were awakened by the nurse (to whom i like to refer to as Brunhilda) flipping on all of the lights and yelling "dobro jutro", though she did not sound as chipper as one normally sounds when saying good morning loudly. She then handed each of us a thermometer and left the room. 10 minutes later, she returned like a drill sergeant, ordering us out of our beds and to line up on the other side of the room. After a long speech to us, which i didn't understand, she made the beds and left. Now, when I say "she made the beds"..I refer to just folding down our blankets to the bottom of the bed (as if we were done with them) and straightening our pillows. I will get into the sanitation of the place later on.
Anyway, 15 minutes after Brunhilda left, I went in to take a shower. I dried myself off with a shirt (there were no towels, remember?) and then laid in my bed waiting for the time to pass. It was a very long morning since I was not allowed anything to eat or drink and that included water. Though the one women in the room, was allowed, so we (Kristina and myself) watched her eat. I will get into the menu and nutritional aspects of the meals later on as well.
Finally, around 10:00 am, Brunhilda came to get me and Kristina and took us to pre-op. As we walked down the halls (there are absolutely no wheelchairs..not kidding), I could feel the anxiety start to build within me. We arrived in a room with pre-made beds and we undressed and laid down in our individual beds (i should be thankful that we didn't have to share one). Brunhilda left and 2 other nurses came in and covered me with a green paper blanket and place my hair in a green paper hairnet (at least I matched) and wheeled me in to a room right outside the operating room. The one nurse gave me a little blue pill, which I later found out was a pain pill called "Ketonal" (though it would have been nicer to have the little blue pill from "The Matrix") and prepped my veins for the IV needle.
They stuck a needle in my hand 1st and it hurt a lot. I'm not sure if they missed or what, but they had to try again. So the nurses (and I actually mean morons) chose a spot directly above the 1st and of course, something went wrong. By that time I was in tears. Let me briefly explain to you my pain tolerance. Last June, I had fractured a rib and still moved about and never took a pain pill. I have had many bad relationships and am accident prone as well. So in the course of my lifetime, I have had broken ribs, fractured ribs, been in a fire (as you will see from the picture of my hand), fell down numerous flights of stairs, had my head put through a window, and have been sideswiped by a drunk driver while I was driving a taxi...just to name a few. So my level of pain that I can tolerate, is pretty high. The needle freaking hurt like Hell.
The 3rd attempt was apparently a charm as they stuck the needle in the inside of my elbow and it was pain free at the time. Then it was Kristina's turn to get the IV needle and they actually broke the needle in her hand. She ended up with the IV in the same place as mine. I then turned to her and said "I hope surgery goes better" and she smiled.
They then wheeled me in to the operating room and I heard a nurse say that they had put something in my IV and I would feel very "drowsy?" I'm not entirely sure what she said after the word "very". All I know is that when I heard her, I was staring at the ceiling in the operating room and then I opened my eyes to another ceiling in the recovery room.
I remember when I woke up, a nurse asked how I felt and I told her that I had to "go pee" and she replied "No you don't" and that was it. She took my blood pressure while I was still in the bed they had used for the operation and then I climbed into my hospital bed (not an easy task after having a chunk of your genitalia removed) and was wheeled up to my room. I then grabbed my glasses from the table and saw my right hand. I had 2 puncture wounds from where they had attempted to put the needle (or was attacked by a vampire) and a lump or knot half the size of a golf ball that was purple, green, and black.
Now a golf ball may not seem all that big, but take a look at your hand and imagine shoving half of a gold ball under the skin. Scary huh? I then located my cell phone and messaged Bela to tell him that I was okay. Within the next hour or so, several nurses came in to check on me (though an English speaking one would have been helpful). I asked 3 times to 2 different people about when I would be allowed to eat, drink, or even use the bathroom (I don't care what the nurse said in recovery, I really did have to pee). One nurse answered "sto"..meaning "what" and the other said I was not allowed out of bed for 3 days. No bed pans and not allowed out of bed..this was not going to be a pretty sight.
Around 3:00 pm, I asked a nurse again, if I may use the toilet. She gave me the "1 minute sign" with her finger and at that moment I felt like raising the "not so pleasant sign" with another finger. But I refrained. I then messaged Bela and told him that I wanted to come home. What was the point of being looked after if communication was impossible anyway? A doctor came in about 4:00 pm and spoke a little English, finally. She asked how I was feeling and I told her that I wanted to go home. She said I was suppose to take it easy for 10 days and I said that would be fine. I told her that I did not work, had a live-in boyfriend and had no kids living at home, so bed rest was completely possible. She responded with "You can still have kids". I repeated that I did not have kids at home so I could get bed rest. I even said that I didn't want anymore kids. She then said "You didn't have a hysterectomy. You can still have kids" I must admit, the thought of jumping up and smashing her head against the wall, did enter my mind.
A half hour later, Bela showed up and I told him everything that had happened that day and showed him my hand. Told him I wanted to leave and go home so he went out to talk to someone. He came back and told me that I had to be there for a few days (not sure why, since I read several articles online that said conization was outpatient surgery). That is when I really lost it. I don't think I cried that much since my father passed away. But the real clincher was when a nurse came in about 5 minutes after and took Kristina to go use the toilet and walked out of the room. At that moment, I knew that I was on my own. I stood up out of bed, which was not an easy task, and walked myself to the bathroom to relieve myself of the urine that was still inside of me since before surgery (roughly 7 hours). Bela kissed my forehead and said he would see me tomorrow and left. The rest of the night, I spent crying until I finally cried myself to sleep.

"Right after surgery, you will be taken to a recovery area where nurses will care for and observe you. Usually you will stay in the recovery area for 1 to 4 hours, and then you will go home."

As with any procedure that is done under anesthesia, you will probably need to fast for 6 - 8 hours. You must sign an informed consent form. The procedure is done on the same day (outpatient) and a hospital stay is usually not needed

The mildew on the wall beside my bed. Note that the wall gets darker but the pole stays white:

Picture of my hand 1 week after surgery:

Thursday, March 12, 2009

M.S.A.T.H...Part 5...Enema

i was awoken at 3:30pm and taken a room at the end of the hallway to be shaved. not a pleasant experience, but not as bad as the enema. now i will stray off topic for a minute and try to describe the enema experience.
an enema is basically a douche for your colon. it contains a water solution in a medium sized container with a tube (guess where that goes) and a pump to allow the fluid to enter your anus and get into your colon. in itself, it was not so bad, however...i should remind you that i was taken to a room at the END of the hallway. i was then sent back to my room..may i add, praying the entire time. luckily, i made it just in time. the only way to describe the feeling was that of drinking a gallon of prune juice and holding it in for 4 or 5 hours. my roommate, kristina, went next.
now why they give 2 women in the same room an enema at the same time when there is only 1 toilet is beyond me. maybe there were cameras somewhere i wasn't aware of, and we were some sort of reality tv entertainment for them.
on a brighter side, anyone who needs to lose 5 pounds quickly, an enema is the way to go. i, on the other hand would require about 20 of back to my story.
at 4:30, bela arrived and i took the opportunity to walk around a bit (the enema effects had subsided) and mainly to go to the basement to go outside and have a smoke. (yeah, yeah, yeah..insert your "boo's" here). as i sat there chain smoking 2 cigarettes, bela went to the store to get me a bottle of juice and then we said our goodbyes for the day. i returned to my room and began reading my book again.
2 hours later, my roommates grabbed their robes and headed downstairs. i laid in my bed contemplating for a few minutes and decided to go downstairs as well. if i was to get in trouble, then at least i had them to get into trouble with. when i got to the basement, i found a group of women (about 8-10 of them) sitting inside drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes. as smoking is not allowed inside the hospital, they were using an old coffee cup as an ashtray. at that moment, i looked around the room and my brain flashed on the movie "girl interrupted" with winona ryder and angelina jolie. the rest of the night was without disturbance from the nurses.
so then we come to the most interesting day of all....Tuesday

barium enema

to be continued

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

M.S.A.T.H...Part 4

a half hour later, i was awakened by "blondie", who told me we had to go down to see the anesthesiologist. i don't know why since i was just there on friday, but then figured what the hell. so "blondie" doesn't speak to me the entire way in the corridor or elevator..she just led me along, and i mean she led me by having her arm around my waist and guiding me. then she said "stay" and went into the office. ok...i must admit that i am in fact a bitch sometimes, but by no means should i be treated like a dog. then she came out of the office and and led me back to my room. i was then informed that i could sleep now, and i did, because i believed her.
a half hour after that, another nurse came in, woke me up and took me to the back office where she took down my information that was already written on 5 other documents in my folder. i then went back to my room, and knowing better than to try to sleep, i picked up my book and started reading. at around noon, blondie came in with some disgusting liquid for me to drink along with 3 cups of water to help cleanse my system. an hour later, my lunch arrived. it was a coffee cup of what i think is suppose to be chicken broth and i was told that would be all i am allowed for the day. oh joy. though if any other form of vitamin or supplement was offered, it might not have been so bad.
i then tried, and i stress, tried to take a nap, yet again. this time, i was actually successful for a few be continued

Monday, March 2, 2009

My Stay at the Hospital Part 3----Monday

We arrived bright and early on monday morning at "klinika za ženkse bolesti i porode"...basically it translates to "hospital for women". after asking 3 or 4 people for directions, we finally found the ward we were to be in. the wait was only about a half hour, so it wasn't so bad (though having more than 3 chairs in the waiting area would have been nice). but then we found out that "monday was preparation day". so basically, sunday was just a trial run and i was regretting not having that morning cup of coffee i deprived myself of. my boyfriend, bela, had then informed the nurses that i spoke very little croatian and i was from america. one nurse (we will call her blondie) , responded with, and i quote, "no problem".
so we go into the room that i will be staying in. it is what i described, with the 4 beds, 1 toilet, 1 shower, 2 closets, and 1 tv (which i guess is only for the lucky 2 people on the one side of the room), no curtains which equals no privacy. upon further inspection of this facility, i noticed that there were not any towels in the shower room, no hospital gowns (not even the paper ones), no juice or watered offered (even at meals), no toothpaste, toothbrush, paper towels, shampoo, or any other little complimentaries you might receive at a hospital. we even had to ask for our toilet paper. this just all seemed odd to me as i was under the impression that hospital was in fact short for hospitality. pretty much, if you didn't bring it, you didn't have it.
so i picked a bed, only 2 left (yes, the ones without the tv) and bela left. i unpacked some belongings and waved to my 2 roommates, who waved back but that was about the extent of our conversation for the day. i cracked open a book that i had bought just for my visit (very good btw..."one last scream" by kevin o'brien). i then fell asleep reading it due to lack of sleep the previous be continued

Thursday, February 26, 2009

My Stay at the Hospital Part 2

sunday wasn't such a big deal as i was home and had to be at the hospital on monday morning at 8am. though we were sure that surgery was to be on monday (mainly because we were told that), i took the adequate preparations to insure a complication free operation. i refrained from eating and drinking after midnight...even alcohol which would have made sleeping and relaxation a little easier. i went to bed around 12:30am and finally drifted off to sleep around 2am. i awoke bright and early at 6 in the morning and, as i was under the assumption that my conization was in a few hours, i denied myself my morning coffee as well as water or anything else. needless to say, i was incredibly thirsty and my mouth felt like it was stuffed with moth balls. i hadn't had cotton mouth that bad since my pot smoking days. which brings us to another chapter...monday
to be continued....

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

My Stay at the Hospital

i am back and not too soon. i got the results from my conization and am officially cancer free (insert extreme happy face here) though my entire experience was nothing short of a nightmare but gave me plenty of material that i will share with you starting now. however, since i have so much to say, this post or posts rather, will be broken up into little segments so i don't leave anything out. i wish to describe every little detail to its fullest and hope to achieve that. i also have a few photos that i took to prove this to be real, which i will post in some of the articles. here is part 1 of my story:

the once white walls were just a memory below the soot and everyday filth that cover them now. Torn and raggedy venetian blinds hung from the dirt and mildew infested windows (or at least the windows that did not have the security bars on them). the large, heavy doors were a dark green with what used to be cream colored molding, to which only fragments remained. plastered hallways were chipped and dimly lit. it was the type of place that one would think of when asked to describe a setting for a horror movie. unfortunately, it was real. it was the hospital that i had my surgery in...a woman's hospital actually. as you can tell, it was far from a pleasant experience.
the view from my room consisted of moss-covered rooftops and a dead tree. in the middle of the room was a black and white dinette table with 4 matching, yet taped-up, chairs. this was actually the only good thing about the room. though seeing how we were bedridden, it posed as more of a centerpiece that we could admire instead of portraying the functionality it was meant for. i guess in order for you to really appreciate the experience i had rendered, i should take you step by be continued

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day

as the days get closer to my time of surgery, it is nice to be able to take a step back and look around on this day and see all the people i love and who love me. that is what this day is about after all.
i go in to the hospital on monday morning at 8am and will be in there for at least a few days. we visited the last doctor (anesthesiologist) yesterday and everything is fine for me to get the operation. but like i said, that is monday and today is a beautiful Valentines Day in Zagreb so i plan to live it up. we have plans to go to the mall and do a little shopping for books, so i have something to read while i recover. also going to get some food so i have snacks in there as well. i don't care what country you live in, hospital food is hospital food.
i also plan to quit smoking after my stay. i can't smoke in the hospital so will be without cigarettes a few days anyway....seems like the perfect time and the perfect thing to do. wish me luck as it won't be easy.
ok, going to get going and enjoy this lovely day...hope you all have a great one.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Borderline Personality Disorder

i know this has nothing to do with cancer, but a loved one was just diagnosed with this and i felt the need to write a post about it.
for those of you who are not familiar with this mental disease, i will give you a brief list of symptoms.

1: Relationship problems
2: Low self-worth
3: Intense emotions and mood swings
4: Aggressive behavior
5: Impulsive behaviors that are self-damaging (substance abuse, binge drinking...)
6: fear of abandonment

these are just some of the symptoms and are more severe than your average mood swing. if you or anyone you know has these symptoms, please get professional help right away as this is very serious. if left untreated it may lead to suicide, injury to ones self such as cutting, violent temper outburst and other acts.
for more information, please check here.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Test Results

well, my tests came back decent. chest x-ray showed no signs of lung cancer (great news). EKG was good and my blood tests came back ok as well. though i am lacking in iron and protein, it is still not major (i just need to start taking vitamins i guess). but maybe i don't. this brings me to the whole "blood test procedure" questions.
why do they advise you not to eat or drink anything 12 hours before a blood test just to tell you that you have low iron and protein in your system? shouldn't we be able to go about our normal routine and intake of foods before a blood test? that would be the most accurate of results i think. my normal morning is 2-3 cups of coffee with milk and sugar, so if i am denied that, then my sugar will be lower than it normally is at 8am. thereby making the results that they got while i was fasting, completely false compared to what my blood results would normally be.
now seeing how i graduated high school through a summer school program, i am sure (insert sarcasm here) that the doctors would know more about my body than i do. i am just making an obvious observation about medicine and how i think it should be performed.
everyone may be created equal, but our bodies are not.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Series of Tests

as some of you might already know, i have to go through a series of tests before surgery (which is set for February 16). today was filled with blood tests, urine sample, chest x-ray, and an EKG. i can think of better ways to spend my time, but i guess we all have to do what we need to to beat this disease.
after only 2 hours of sleep last night, we (my boyfriend and i) arrived at the clinic around 7:30 this morning. first on the agenda was blood and urine, the latter of which has been postponed due to my menstruation and therefore i cannot produce an accurate urine sample. but never the less, 4 tubes of blood were taken so at least that is over with and my arm resembles that of a heroin addicts.
next stop was chest x-ray. this was actually fast, efficient and painless i must say. but there is something to be said about taking your shirt and bra off, leaning against a cold plate of metal and taking a deep breath. i think its the whole "taking shirt off" bit that i dislike. its not that i feel uncomfortable, but lets face it, more people have seen my breasts and genitals this year than my entire time in high school. keep in mind that it isn't even February yet.
last but not least, was the EKG. now the fact that they call it EKG has me somewhat baffled since its real name is electrocardiogram. wouldn't it be ECG? doesn't matter i guess, i just thought it kind of odd to abbreviate with a letter that doesn't even exist in the word.
but the real baffling part is when they hooked two wires up to my legs. now, unless i missed something in science class, the heart is more towards the chest region, right? anywho, i had 1 wire attached to each leg, 1 on each side of my chest, and 3 underneath my left breast. the entire experience is completely painless and as i laid there on the bed, i had to hold back the urge to just burst out laughing. i'm not sure if it was the lack of sleep or the fact that i felt like keanu reeves in the matrix shortly after he took the red pill (hairy legs and all), but it was the perfect ending to the first series of tests. although next time i think i might take along a camera so as i can get pictures of the idiocracy that i felt at that moment.
tomorrow, we get results from tests, so i will keep everyone posted. i just wanted to share this unforgettable experience and try to shed a little bit of light on what is a dark moment known as cancer.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Man or Martyr? we are drawn to that question. is he a man who loves you, would do anything for you?
or is he the one who wants everyone looking at him saying "oh poor" you, i guess, because he wants to feel like the hero when he is not?
this is easy to tell ladies. there are a few rules to take into account:
does he spend his time catering to you?
does he not just ask if you want to go out with him and his friends, but say "i will tell them they have to come here"?
does he say that you should not be reading stuff like this?
does he make your illness into his imaginary, "look at me" illness?

how do we tell these men apart?...simple!
when you feel depressed..does he hug you? hold you? tell you everything will be ok?
does he tell you he should be the ones who is crying because he is the one who ACTUALLY has to go through it?
do you feel like you want to not die, but just not exist anymore? (yes, there is a difference)
do you feel like you should not talk about him because he might find out?

here is a big and the most significant hint.....
if a man or a significant other feels like they are being betrayed as an idiot, a bitch, or an asshole...then they should try a different approach to life and their other.
otherwise, they are an asshole, bitch, or, if i must say, worst scum of the earth and surrounding planets.
if i may say...and i may because it is my blog and mine alone....
no one is here to serve anyone....we are all equal
plain and simple!
any man who says that they are superior ...ask them where their next meal comes from (besides their pocket)
any man who says they can do anything a woman can do...then by all means ..give birth!
they get a papercut and it is an emergency..try an episiotomy!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Doctors and Algebra

i have to go see another doctor (doctor B) today about my cervical cancer. this is the one who is covered by insurance, but he doesn't speak english, which is why i was going to the private doctor (doctor A) to begin with. Now hopefully doctor B will just write the referral i need to go see yet another doctor (doctor C) on Thursday. doctor C is the oncologist/gynecologist. he'll be the one performing the surgery.

upon all these doctors and doctor visits, the question is posed: how many doctors does it take to screw in a light bulb? i have been seeing so many doctors lately, i feel like i'm at a singles mixer for the rich and famous. call me old fashioned but i prefer to be tied down to one doctor and not play the field. to have just one doctor that does everything and not have your medical journal look like an algebra problem.

if A+B=C, then why can't i just go to C? is it just like in school when you can't just write down the answer, but have to show your work? my teachers always said that i would need all of that information i learned sometime in my life. i just never thought it would be that.

maybe life really is an arithmetic problem. death is "the answer", "showing your work" is life itself.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Is There Life After HPV?

sex life that is.
i was taking a nice hot bubble bath earlier and was feeling really relaxed and comfortable. then i found myself starting to feel depressed. at first, even i couldn't figure it out, but then it dawned on boyfriend was in the living room.
may not sound strange to most of you, but there was a time before my diagnosis that i rarely took a bath without him. then my mind began to race as to trying to remember the last time i had a "real" kiss and not just a peck. by that time, the tears flowed from my eyes like niagra falls.
has HPV stolen my sexuality? will he ever see me as the woman i was before the HPV?
by no means am i blaming him, as no one else should either. this disease is not his fault. i'm the one with HPV...not him. but when will i feel sexy again, if ever?
i read on the internet (as usual) a little bit about this, but couldn't find much on the subject. i guess it is just all derived from personal experiences and not scientific theories based on evidence.
makes you wonder what HPV really stands for. is it human papillomavirus or something else? maybe its Having a Penis Vacation! or Horny Persons Village. either way, i would thrilled to have a little more intimacy than intimidation in my life.

Friday, January 16, 2009


So i went to the doctor yesterday and found out that i need a conization. of course, after i got home, i started doing research on this. here is what i found out:
conization, also known as cone biopsy or cold knife biopsy, is where a piece of flesh from the cervix is taken out, either with a scalpel or laser, in the shape of a triangle. this piece is similar to a cone shape, hence the name.
this procedure has 2 functions:
  1. to remove the abnormal or cancerous cells
  2. to further investigate the extent of the cancer
upon removal of the tissue, the sample is then examined and the doctor and patient then decide what the following steps should be. sometimes, this is all that needs to be done. sometimes, further treatment is required.

this is a picture that i found on the internet giving a description of the cone biopsy process.

In a cone biopsy, the patient lies on her back, and a speculum is inserted into the vagina (A). The cervix is visualized, and a cone-shaped piece of the cervix is removed (B and C). A cauterizing tool is used to stop any bleeding (D).

in rare cases, it may become impossible to carry a fetus full term, so you may want to ask your doctor about this if you want to have children in the future.