Nebraska Strollathon benefits Rett Syndrome research

By Shaleeka Powell


GRAND ISLAND, Neb. — The nice weather was a warm welcome for hundreds of people from around the state rolling or strolling to support families affected by Rett Syndrome.

Saturday was the 5th annual Nebraska Strollathon at Westridge Middle School in Grand Island.

Organizers said the event is important, because it raises money for treatments and a cure for the disorder. It also helps raise awareness.

Rett Syndrome is a disorder that leads to severe impairments affecting the ability to walk, speak, breathe, or even eat.

“We currently have 34 families in Nebraska with daughters with Rett Syndrome,” Jacy Horst, the chair of Nebraska Rett Syndrome Strollathon, said. “This is a time for the state to get together as families to talk, visit, and share stories.”

Horst added it’s important to give the girls affected with the disorder a day that celebrates them.

“The girls with Rett Syndrome are beautiful people,” Horst said. “They understand what you say, but they might not be able to talk back when you talk with them.” “They also appreciate all of the support that they are given from the community, not just Grand Island, but from around the state,” Horst added.

The next Strollathon will be around this time next year and organizers said they hope to move it around the state.


Doctor Says Clinton Collapse Characteristic Of Parkinson’s – Not Just Pneumonia

clinton doctor parkinsons

CNN is reporting, in what we would expect to be a public relations measure on behalf of their candidate, that Hillary Clinton has pneumonia and that was the cause of her collapsing as she left the 9/11 ceremony early. According to them it was diagnosed on Friday and she’s taking antibiotics.

Clinton emerged from her daughter’s New York City apartment a short while after she went to the saying she felt great. To reassure the American people, Clinton said, “It’s a beautiful day in New York.” Ever the liar caught in a contradiction, Clinton had previously claimed to have been overheated at the morning event. Now, later in the day, when things have warmed up, the weather has turned beautiful.

Her doctor, Dr. Lisa Bardack issued a cover story saying that Clinton was diagnosed on Friday as having pneumonia, and “was put on antibiotics, and advised to rest and modify her schedule.” After attending to Clinton at her Chappaqua home on Sunday, Bardack said, “While at this morning’s event, she became overheated and dehydrated. I have just examined her and she is now re-hydrated and recovering nicely.”

This doctor is an unethical liar. She first stated that Clinton was fit and in excellent physical condition for the office of president, citing only allergies as an ongoing condition. Clearly she has a chronic condition, likely Parkinson’s Disease, and the doctor has committed malpractice in lying on the certification letter.

She’s also lying now. Healthy women don’t pass out like Clinton did, even from a mild case of pneumonia. They don’t have coughing fits and they don’t bob their head uncontrollably and have other involuntary body movements.

It may be true that she has pneumonia. Dr. Ted Noel notes that Aspiration Pneumonia is the leading cause of death for Parkinson’s Disease patients. Aspiration Pneumonia is a lung infection that develops after you aspirate (inhale) food, liquid, or vomit into your lungs.  Far from excluding a more serious condition, the admission only serves to reinforce his suspicions, which are detailed in the video below.

Mrs. Clinton needs to do what is for her unimaginable, be honest. She needs to tell the truth about her health. She has no choice. It is inevitable. She can’t hide any longer. As her fellow mobsters of the past would say, the jig is up.


Is this the Holy Grail for cancer diagnosis? Simple blood test ‘finds disease BEFORE the symptoms start’


  • Tests detect changes to red blood cells which occur when cancer is there
  • Scientists liken it to ‘smoke detector’ finding the cancer before it shows 
  • Study looked at oesophageal cancer but hopes it will work on all types 
  • Scientists believe it could be effective tool to monitor ‘high risk’ patients

A simple blood test that can detect cancer before symptoms even start is been being hailed as a major breakthrough which could save thousands of lives.

Likened by scientists to a smoke detector, the test works by detecting changes to red blood cells that occur when cancer is present, rather than the cancer itself.

Costing roughly the same as a standard blood test, it is hoped it could one-day be used to monitor people deemed at high risk of getting the disease.

The test detects mutations in proteins on the surface of red blood cells, which are seen as 'collateral damage of cancer'  rather than the cancer itself (file image)

The test detects mutations in proteins on the surface of red blood cells, which are seen as ‘collateral damage of cancer’  rather than the cancer itself (file image)

Early detection boosts the chances of survival in most cancer cases with treatments most effective at targeting the cancer before it spreads.

Scientists believe the discovery, which was unveiled at the British Science Festival in Swansea, could save thousands of lives a year.

It was developed after researchers at Swansea University Medical School studied 300 healthy people, patients with signs of pre-cancer and those with oesophageal cancer.

The test, which only takes a few hours using standard laboratory equipment, detects mutations in proteins on the surface of red blood cells.

Whereas in healthy patients, the average number of mutations is about five per million, in cancer patients there can be 50 to 100 mutants per million.

While they do not have a role in the development of cancer, it is seen as ‘collateral damage’ produced in circulating blood cells as a by-product of a cancer developing internally.

Scientists said  the test provides a non-invasive way to monitor high risk patients.

Professor Gareth Jenkins, who led the study, said: ‘The test can be likened to a ”cancer smoke detector” because a smoke detector does not detect the presence of fire in our homes but its by-product, smoke.

‘This test detects cancer, by detecting the ‘smoke’ – mutated blood cells.

‘The old adage of no smoke without fire also applies to ”no cancer without mutation”, as mutation is the main driving force for cancer development.’

The £35 blood test takes just a few hours in a laboratory setting and acts like a 'smoke detector' in terms of picking up signs of cancer, rather than the cancer itself+2

The £35 blood test takes just a few hours in a laboratory setting and acts like a ‘smoke detector’ in terms of picking up signs of cancer, rather than the cancer itself

Oesophageal cancer, which the test looked at, has particularly poor survival rates as it is often diagnosed late with the average patient only living around a year after diagnosis.

Professor Jenkins said the test would have a ‘massive effect’ if it worked on all types of cancer – and that there were ‘high hopes’ it will.

‘With any cancer, if it is caught early enough and surgically removed, that is the biggest impact you can have on the outcome of a cancer diagnosis,’ he said.

Research is now under way to establish if pancreatic cancer can be traced in the same way.

‘It would be really difficult to think why it would only affect oesophageal cancer,’ he said.

Dr Áine McCarthy, Cancer Research UK’s senior science information officer, said finding new ways to detect cancer early is vital to improve survival rates.

‘Studies like this, which used blood samples to detect background DNA damage as a sign of cancer, are exciting because they could lead to more oesophageal cancers being diagnosed in the early stages.

‘But larger scale studies are needed to confirm the results and show the test is reliable before it can be used in the clinic.’

Cell's Infection


Nursing care plans for Endometriosis



Nursing Interventions for Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a condition that is reflected by the presence and growth of endometrial tissue outside the uterus. The endometrial tissue can grow on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterine ligaments forming, or it could be grown in the appendix, colon, ureter and pelvis.

Endometriosis is the presence of endometrial tissue outside the uterine cavity. If there is endometrial tissue within the myometrium is called adenomyosis (internal adenometriosis) whereas when outside of the uterus is called (external endometriorisis).

Endometriosis for about the last 30 years show an increasing incidence. The incidence of between 5-15% can be found among all pelvic surgery. What is interesting is that it is slightly more common in women who are not married at a young age, and did not have many children.

In the United States, endometriosis occurs in 7-10% of the population, usually affects women of childbearing age. The prevalence of endometriosis in infertile women amounted to 20-50% and 80% in women with pelvic pain. There is a family connection, where the risk increased 10-fold in women with first degree relatives who suffer from this disease.

Etiology of endometriosis is not known but there are several theories that have been advanced:

  • In congenital existing endometrial cells outside the uterus.
  • Displacement of endometrial cells through blood circulation or lymph circulation.
  • Menstrual reflux containing endometrial cells into the fallopian tubes, up to the pelvic cavity.
  • Hereditary because the incidence is higher in women whose mothers also have endometriosis. (Mary Baradero et al, 2005).

In general, women with endometriosis have no symptoms. Symptoms generally occur when menstruation and intensified every year because of an enlarged area of endometriosis. The most common symptoms are pelvic pain, dysmenorrhea (painful when menstruation), dyspareunia (pain during intercourse), and infertility (impaired fertility, can not have children).endometriosis

Signs and symptoms of endometriosis include:

1. Pain
2. Abnormal bleeding

Nursing Interventions for Endometriosis

  1. Encourage the patient and her partner to verbalize their feelings about the disorder and its effect on their relationship.
  2. Help the patient develop effective coping strategies.
  3. If the patient bleeds excessively with menses, monitor for signs and symptoms of anemia.
  4. Check hemoglobin level as ordered.
  5. Monitor the patients response to therapy.
  6. Explain all the procedures and treatment options. Clarify any misconceptions about the disorder, associated complications, and fertility.
  7. Because infertility is possible complication, counsel the patient who wants children not to postpone childbearing.
  8. Recommend that the patient have an annual pelvic examination and a Papanicolaou test.
  9. Teach the patient about the adverse effects of pharmacologic interventions.

                                                           A WOMEN WITH ENDOMETRIOSIS:




High-technology alternative to brain surgery safe, effective for treatment of essential tremor


A study published today in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine offers the most in-depth assessment yet of the safety and effectiveness of a high-tech alternative to brain surgery to treat the uncontrollable shaking caused by the most common movement disorder. And the news is very good.

The paper outlines the results of an international clinical trial, led by Jeff Elias, MD, of theUniversity of Virginia Health System, that evaluated the scalpel-free approach calledfocused ultrasound for the treatment of essential tremor (ET), a condition that afflicts an estimated 10 million Americans. Not only did the researchers determine that the procedure was safe and effective, they found that it offered a lasting benefit, reducing shaking for trial participants throughout the 12-month study period.

“This study represents a major advance for neurosurgery, treatment of brain disease and specifically the treatment of ET,” Elias said. “For the first time in a randomized controlled trial, we have shown that ultrasound can be precisely delivered through the intact human skull to treat a difficult neurological disease.”

Pioneering Tremor Trial

The multi-site clinical trial included 76 participants with moderate to severe essential tremor, a condition that often robs people of their ability to write, feed themselves and carry out their normal daily activities. The trial participants all had tried existing medications, without success. The mean age was 71, and most had suffered with their tremor for many years.

Seventy-five percent of participants received the experimental treatment using focused ultrasound guided by magnetic resonance imaging. The remaining 25 percent underwent a sham procedure, to act as the control group. (They would later be given the opportunity to undergo the real procedure.)

Participants who received the treatment showed dramatic improvement, with the beneficial effects continuing throughout the study period. The researchers employed a 32-point scale to assess tremor severity, and they found that mean tremor scores improved by 47 percent at three months and 40 percent at 12 months. Participants reported major improvements in their quality of life. People who couldn’t feed themselves soup or cereal could again do so.

Participants who received the sham procedure, on the other hand, showed no significant improvements.

“The degree of tremor control was very good overall in the study, but the most important aspects were the significant gains in disabilities and quality of life – that’s what patients really care about,” Elias said.

The most commonly reported side effects were gait disturbances and numbness in the hand or face; in most instances, these side effects were temporary but some were permanent.


FDA Approved

Based on the clinical trial led by Elias, the federal Food and Drug Administration has approved the focused ultrasound device,

manufactured by InSightec Inc., for the treatment of essential tremor. The device focuses sound waves inside the brain to create heat, much like a magnifying glass focuses light. That heat can then be used to interrupt the troublesome brain connections responsible for the tremor. Elias can actually watch as patients’ tremor decreases, and the real-time imaging allows him to zone in on exactly the right spot before making any permanent changes to the brain.

The FDA approval means UVA can make the procedure available to eligible patients. UVA, however, is still working out the necessary logistics; it’s not yet clear when Elias will begin treating patients. Because the approach is so new, insurance plans will not yet cover the procedure, though that may change in the coming months. The cost at UVA has not yet been determined.

People interested in the procedure can learn more at The site includes a list of frequently asked questions and will be updated as UVA prepares to make the treatment available.

The procedure is not for everyone with essential tremor. It can’t be used in patients who cannot undergo MRI imaging, including those with implanted metallic devices such as a pacemaker. It is also not available for pregnant women, people with heart conditions or very high blood pressure, patients with kidney disease or clotting disorders, patients on blood thinners, patients with a history of strokes or brain tumors and people with substance abuse issues. There are other exclusions as well. Doctors at UVA will evaluate potential patients to determine their eligibility and then recommend the best course of treatment.

Groundbreaking Research

UVA is a world leader in focused ultrasound research. Elias and his colleagues are testing the capability of focused ultrasound to treat Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, brain tumors and benign breast tumors.

Source: University of Virginia Health System




People with sickle cell disease (SCD) start to have signs of the disease during the first year of life, usually around 5 months of age. Symptoms and complications of SCD are different for each person and can range from mild to severe.

The reason that infants don’t show symptoms at birth is because baby or fetal hemoglobin protects the red blood cells from sickling. When the infant is around 4 to 5 months of age, the baby or fetal hemoglobin is replaced by sickle hemoglobin and the cells begin to sickle.

SCD is a disease that worsens over time. Treatments are available that can prevent complications and lengthen the lives of those who have this condition. These treatment options can be different for each person depending on the symptoms and severity.


Hydroxyurea (pronounced hye droks ee yoor EE a) is a medicine that has been shown to decrease several complications of SCD. Stem cell transplants (A stem cell transplant, also called a bone marrow transplant, is a procedure that infuses healthy cells, called stem cells, into the body to replace damaged or diseased bone marrow. Bone marrow is the center of the bone where blood cells are made) from bone marrow or blood of healthy donors are increasingly being used to successfully cure SCD. Complications from hydroxyurea therapy and stem cell transplants are rare but can be serious or life-threatening. People with SCD and their families should ask their doctors about the benefits and risks of each.


Anemia is a very common complication of SCD. With SCD, the red blood cells die early. This means there are not enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen throughout the body. When this happens, a person might have:

  • Tiredness
  • Irritability
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
  • A fast heart rate
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pale skin color
  • Jaundice (yellow color to the skin and whites of the eyes)
  • Slow growth
  • Delayed puberty



Blood transfusions are used to treat severe anemia. A sudden worsening of anemia resulting from infection or enlargement of the spleen is a common reason for a transfusion. Multiple blood transfusions, however, might cause health problems because of the iron content of blood. Iron overload, called hemosiderosis, can damage liver, heart, pancreas and other organs, leading to diseases such as diabetes mellitus. Iron chelation therapy should be started in patients with SCD receiving regular blood transfusions to reduce excess iron levels.


Study reveals possible ‘dimmer switch’ drug for Rett syndrome


Researchers at Vanderbilt University Medical Center have relieved symptoms in a mouse model of Rett syndrome with a drug-like compound that works like the dimmer switch in an electrical circuit.

The finding, reported this week in the journal Human Molecular Genetics, suggests a potential new way to treat the rare neurodevelopmental disorder, which occurs predominantly in females, as well as more common forms of autism spectrum disorder.

Further study is needed before this approach can be tested in patients, but animal work from other groups suggests that symptoms in Rett syndrome are reversible, said senior authorColleen Niswender, Ph.D., associate professor of Pharmacology and director of Molecular Pharmacology in the Vanderbilt Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery (VCNDD).

Rett syndrome patients exhibit a constellation of symptoms, including verbal and nonverbal communication deficits, difficulty walking, progressive developmental regression, epilepsy and intellectual disability. The hallmark symptom is repetitive hand movements such as wringing, washing, clapping or tapping.

Most cases of Rett syndrome occur spontaneously from random mutations in the MECP2gene, which results in disruptions in neurotransmission, including signals mediated by the excitatory transmitter glutamate. A related genetic disorder, termed MECP2 Duplication syndrome, results from overexpression of the MeCP2 protein and is found predominantly in young boys.

The researchers used a mouse model in which MECP2 was “knocked out,” resulting in Rett syndrome-like symptoms. Expression of the metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGlu5), which is important in transmitting nerve signals in the brain, was reduced in brain areas of these mice.


The investigators also found reduced levels of mGlu5 expression in autopsy samples from the brains of Rett syndrome patients, suggesting that the animal work may translate to the clinical population.

They then tested a compound, developed at Vanderbilt, called a positive allosteric modulator or PAM that, like a dimmer switch, “turns up” the activity of mGlu5 when glutamate binds to it.

Animals treated with the compound showed improved motor performance and reduced Rett syndrome-like symptoms, including repetitive clasping of their hind claws.

Previous studies have suggested that enhancing excitatory neurotransmission may increase an already high risk of seizures in Rett patients, but in the current study, seizure occurrence did not increase, even after multiple weeks of chronic dosing with the PAM.

This may be because the compound acts on only a subset of mGlu5-mediated signaling pathways, leaving others unaffected.

“Our work demonstrates that potentiating the activity of mGlu5 can rescue several deficits commonly found in mouse models of Rett syndrome,” said the paper’s first author, Rocco Gogliotti, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in the VCNDD.


“Importantly, by integrating recent advancements in mGlu5 pharmacology into the drug development process, we were able to test the efficacy of our novel compound in a mouse model without observing negative side effects, such as seizures, that have been historically associated with this target,” he said.

Disease progression – and mGlu5 expression – change through time in MeCP2-deficient mice. “A very careful dissection of the time course of the disease is required before modulators of excitatory transmission can be advanced to clinical studies,” Niswender said.




Overselling A.D.H.D.: A New Book Exposes Big Pharma’s Role


Children, Doctors, Big Pharma, and the Making of an American Epidemic
By Alan Schwarz
Illustrated. 338 pp. Scribner. $28.

In the late 1930s, Charles Bradley, the director of a home for “troublesome” children in Rhode Island, had a problem. The field of neuroscience was still in its infancy, and one of the few techniques available to allow psychiatrists like Bradley to ponder the role of the brain in emotional disorders was a procedure that required replacing a volume of cerebrospinal fluid in the patient’s skull with air. This painstaking process allowed any irregularities to stand out clearly in X-ray images, but many patients suffered excruciating headaches that lasted for weeks afterward.

Meanwhile, a pharmaceutical company called Smith, Kline & French was facing a different sort of problem. The firm had recently acquired the rights to sell a powerful stimulant then called “benzedrine sulfate” and was trying to create a market for it. Toward that end, the company made quantities of the drug available at no cost to doctors who volunteered to run studies on it. Bradley was a firm believer that struggling children needed more than a handful of pills to get better; they also needed psychosocial therapy and the calming and supportive environment that he provided at the home. But he took up the company’s offer, hoping that the drug might eliminate his patients’ headaches.

It did not. But the Benzedrine did have an effect that was right in line with Smith, Kline & French’s aspirations for its new product: The drug seemed to boost the children’s eagerness to learn in the classroom while making them more amenable to following the rules. The drug seemed to calm the children’s mood swings, allowing them to become, in the words of their therapists, more “attentive” and “serious,” able to complete their schoolwork and behave. Bradley was amazed that Benzedrine, a forerunner of Ritalin and Adderall, was such a great normalizer, turning typically hard-to-manage kids into models of complicity and decorum. But even after marveling at the effects of the drug, he maintained that medication should be considered for children only in addition to other forms of therapy.

Bradley’s research was ignored for a couple of decades as psychoanalysis became dominant in the United States. But his discoveries laid the foundation for one of the most aggressive marketing campaigns in history, which succeeded not only in helping to transform the nascent drug industry into the multinational juggernaut known as Big Pharma, but in convincing parents, physicians and ­public health officials that 15 percent of American schoolchildren are sick enough that they would require powerful medication just to get through the day.

This campaign (which would have ­horrified Bradley and his peers) is the subject of an important, humane and compellingly written new book called “ADHD Nation,” by Alan Schwarz, a reporter for The New York Times. The title of the book, of course, refers to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: a constellation of behaviors and traits codified as a neurobiological illness in the bible of psychiatry, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

The boundaries of the A.D.H.D. diagnosis have been fluid and fraught since its inception, in part because its allegedly telltale signs (including “has trouble organizing tasks and activities,” “runs about or climbs in situations where it is not appropriate” and “fidgets with or taps hands or feet,” according to the current edition of the DSM) are exhibited by nearly every human being on earth at various points in their development. No blood test or CT scan can tell you if you have the condition — the diagnosis is made by subjective clinical evaluation and screening questionnaires. This lack of any bright line between pathology and eccentricity, Schwarz argues, has allowed Big Pharma to get away with relentless expansion of the franchise.

Numerous studies have shown, for example, that the youngest children in a classroom are more likely to be diagnosed with A.D.H.D. Children of color are also at higher risk of being misdiagnosed than their white peers. One clinician quoted in the book more or less admits defeat: “We’ve decided as a society that it’s too expensive to modify the kid’s environment. So we have to modify the kid.”

Schwarz has no doubt that A.D.H.D. is a valid clinical entity that causes real suffering and deserves real treatment, as he makes clear in the first two sentences of the book: “Attention deficit hyperactivity is real. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.” But he believes that those who are disabled by the condition deserve a wider range of treatment options than an endless litany of stimulants with chirpy names like Vyvanse and Concerta.

Disorders of attention were once thought to be relatively rare by experts, affecting only an estimated 3 percent of preadolescent children. But kids and teenagers are now diagnosed so routinely that getting a prescription for Ritalin or Adderall has practically become a standard rite of passage, particularly in the United States. And the diagnosis isn’t just for ­children anymore: Its ever-expanding boundaries now encompass allegedly hyperkinetic infants and the distractible elderly. What’s really going on?

Influential patient-advocacy groups insist that only now is the true prevalence of A.D.H.D. finally being recognized after being drastically underestimated — akin to the spike in autism diagnoses once the narrowly defined condition was broadened into a spectrum in the 1990s. But Schwarz makes a convincing case that the radical expansion and promotion of A.D.H.D. has resulted in the label being applied in ways that are far beyond the needs of a historically underserved community, while nonpharmaceutical methods of treatment like cognitive behavioral therapy (which have been proved to complement the effectiveness of medication) are overlooked.

While other books have probed the historical roots of America’s love affair with amphetamines — notably Nicolas Rasmussen’s “On Speed,” published in 2008 — “ADHD Nation” focuses on an unholy alliance between drugmakers, academic psychiatrists, policy makers and celebrity shills like Glenn Beck that Schwarz brands the “A.D.H.D. industrial complex.” The insidious genius of this alliance, he points out, was selling the disorder rather than the drugs, in the guise of promoting A.D.H.D. “awareness.” By bankrolling studies, cultivating mutually beneficial relationships with psychopharmacologists at prestigious universities like Harvard and laundering its marketing messages through trusted agencies like the World Health Organization, the pharmaceutical industry created what Schwarz aptly terms “a self-affirming circle of science, one that quashed all dissent.”

In a narrative that unfolds with the momentum of a thriller, he depicts pediatricians’ waiting rooms snowed under with pharma-funded brochures, parents clamoring to turn their allegedly underachieving children into academic superstars and kids showered with pills whose long-term effects on the developing brain (particularly when taken in combination) are still barely understood. In one especially harrowing section of the book, Schwarz traces the Icarus-like trajectory of Richard Fee, an aspiring medical student who fakes the symptoms of A.D.H.D. to get access to drugs that will help him cope with academic pressure. When he eventually descends into amphetamine psychosis, his father tells his doctor that if he doesn’t stop furnishing his son with Adderall, he’ll die. Two weeks after burning through his supply, Fee hanged himself in a closet.

“ADHD Nation” should be required reading for those who seek to understand how a field that once aimed to ameliorate the behavioral problems of children in a broad therapeutic context abdicated its mission to the stockholders of corporations like Shire and Lilly. Schwarz is sounding an alarm for a fire that looks nowhere near abating.

‘Did the Surgery Work?’ Is a Complicated Question When You’re Chronically Ill

By Nikki Bhumarom-Gilbert

“Did the surgery work?”

I’ve been thinking about this question quite a bit recently. This is likely because friends, colleagues, and family have been asking more frequently, seeing as the one-year anniversary of surgery for my Chiari malformation and hypermobile, arthritic neck was in February. It’s a truly complicated question to answer and one I try to avoid like a potato salad left to marinate in the sun. I still feel myself recovering and rehabilitating in the 18 months following the procedure. Beyond that, my body will be ever-changing in both beneficial and detrimental ways.

I live with generalized pain throughout my body, all of which require numerous and varied treatment plans. Such is the life of a person with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, hypermobile type (HEDS). That is a related but whole other nesting-doll-esque can of worms in itself, so the sole purpose of this particular surgery was to alleviate at least some of the pain and complications resulting from the Chiari malformation and neck instability. I was overjoyed to find that the three-year Intractable Headache From Hades my wonderful, compassionate neurosurgeon sought to heal with scalpel and titanium improved by leaps and bounds through the following months. Along with some pain relief, the surgery helped many of my nerve issues. The tremor and weakness in my hands and arms are much improved; I am back to playing the piano with nearly the same agility, sensitivity, and athleticism I once possessed. As a bonus, the intermittent, debilitating nerve pain in my face has just about disappeared.

But my balance? It was middling before my surgery and went completely off-kilter immediately after I went under the knife. I will likely need more surgery in the future for that and my assortment of cursed joints. As of late, I’m suffering more tension headaches whose cause we have yet to pinpoint, and the chronic migraines I’ve had for 14 years are still the same, though thankfully helped somewhat by quarterly Botox injections. My new-ish cardiac issues are something I’m still learning to manage. Some days it feels as if we tackle one problem just to find that another has either popped up or stopped responding to the medication regimen. I am a list of contradictions, a vague and difficult case my doctors are still puzzling over. I outline my cornucopia of maladies because I hope to reveal the frustrating nature of chronic illness.

woman in hospital bed after surgery
Nikki after her surgery.

I want everyone to understand that being sick and trying to recover is never a straightforward journey, for those trying to be helpful and those beginning the journey themselves.Chronic illness is more like a long family road trip with lots of restroom stops and detours made for gawking at small-town curiosities along the way without any of the fun.

So, am I better after the surgery? I’m better and worse. Every answer to a question about how a therapeutic treatment went comes with a caveat for many of us with long-term illness or permanent disability. It makes it so saying something like,”It really helped, thanks!” for the sake of simplicity feels like a lie. This is especially true when I’m spotted limping around for a completely different reason later, faced with understandable puzzlement, and asked, “I thought you said the treatment worked?”

Surgery was 100 percent the right decision for me. I am much happier with a life requiring mobility aids and having one less type of pain over how I was living before. More often than not, when I try to answer the “Are you feeling better?” question, I feel as if I’m not allowed to deteriorate or even plateau, that the answer has to be a binary “yes” or “no” because any other answer is, for some reason, uncomfortable.

Let me explain: I realize people inquire out of kindness and genuine concern. Still, I grow uneasy under the weight medical hopes and expectations many have as most people, thankfully, have never experienced serious illness. They are able to maintain complete faith in their doctor’s knowledge base and ability to heal with one magic bullet. The question gives me a strange feeling of responsibility. It’s an odd dance, this social navigation, from deciding what qualifies as TMI to figuring out how to turn today’s hardship into an efficient soundbite. I feel like I need to manage expectations. It’s a worry of disappointing people with my messy, complicated body when they are just trying to show support. Nevertheless, the truth of my illness is that it is multi-faceted, dynamic and not very predictable, and requires ongoing multi-faceted, dynamic and unexpected or surprising methods of care that can leave me feeling the better, the same, much worse, but never fixed or “cured.”

In an effort to explain the ongoing complications I and many members of the chronic illness population experience, I can only offer this: Think of our bodies like your old, hand-me-down, beloved car, the one most of us have going into an adult or financially independent life. You’re tight on cash and just starting your career or a graduate education five states away from family. You ride around in your aging car, forever aware of the accumulating mileage and its fragile machinery. One thing breaks down, you get it fixed, sending a prayer to the car gods that the other weird sound you keep hearing is nothing because you can’t afford it — at least not until the paycheck that comes after the one you use to pay rent, but boy would it be nice to have actual savings for once.

Eventually, too soon, something does break and you’re forced to empty your bank account (which is synonymous to the infinitesimally tiny store of energy the chronically ill maintain). You feel like you’re in this perpetual game of catch-up between your bank account and car, but you keep fixing it because it’s essential and because you love it. That car is me. That car is the mysterious friend that always seems to cancel plans at the last minute. That car is the brother who always needs 20 extra minutes to get ready, no matter how early he starts. That car is the co-worker who always looks pained when you are just trying to be nice by asking her if she feels better today.

I wish I could give the well-meaning souls of the world a foolproof solution for how to act, what to ask, and what to avoid. You want to show you care, and chronically ill people want to know they’re cared about. Unfortunately, asking and answering inevitably becomes a delicate tango of half-truths followed by empty lines meant to soothe both parties. Generalizing the question or asking something broad, as opposed directing the query toward a specific treatment plan/procedure mixed with good timing may help, as well as accepting an answer to the tune of “Better… I think” or “Ehhh,” without further probing. It’s not much, but it’s a start and may save awkwardness for the both of you. Let the sick friend lead the conversation and accept what they have to say without pressing for more answers.

Beyond that, taking cues to change the subject, telling a random but humorous tale to divert and lighten the exchange, and gentle, quiet support are always appreciated. Know that we mean well just as you do, even if our answers may seem evasive or rude. Hopefully, this will be beginning of an easier, more truthful dialogue.



Numerous people around the world have known and used the incredible health properties of ginger.

Besides being a common spice added to foods, it has also been considered to be a natural remedy for numerous various illnesses. Nowadays, the modern science has confirmed this capacity of ginger, and studies suggest that it has an immense power in the treatment of cancer.

According to the Journal of Toxicology and Food Chemistry, ginger contains two substances, known as  gingerols and paradoles, which help the prevention of cancer. Yet, scientists have shown that than conventional cancer treatments, such aschemotherapy.

Ginger destroys Colorectal Cancer

At the conference of Cancer Prevention Research in 2003, scientists showed that ginger efficiently prevents colorectal cancer. Yet, there are numerous studies which have confirmed the same.

The Journal of Nutrition published a study in 2015 which showed that despite preventing colon cancer, ginger also destroys colon cancer cells. Therefore, this amazing root can be of great help to people who suffer from colorectal cancer, as well as those who would use it as cancer prevention.

Ginger Treats Ovarian Cancer

Angiogenesis is the condition of onset of cancer, and it greatly determines its growth and development. Therefore, if you manage to prevent the infection of the ovaries, you may successfully prevent the cancer development.

The “BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine” published a study which found that the ginger root has active ingredients with powerful anti-angiogenic properties, which can efficiently prevent the development of cancer.

Furthermore, the experiment of a scientist from the University of Michigan conducted at the American Association for Cancer Research showed that ginger effectively destroys cancer cells and is even a better alternative than chemotherapy, as the cancer cells in the ovaries do not develop resistance to it.

Additionally, the ginger therapy causes fewer side effects, does not cause drug resistance, and leads to less toxicity than the conventional treatments.

Ginger kills Prostate Cancer Cells

The British Journal of Nutrition published another study which indicated that the extract of ginger successfully prevents the growth of prostate cancer cells. What’s more, researchers suggest a dose of 100 mg ginger per kilo of body weight.

The findings of the study suggest that the ginger extract reduces the tumor growth by 56%.Also, ginger does not affect the development of healthy cells in the body, which is not the case with the conventional cancer treatment.

The conclusion was that it was the first report that offered a detailed explanation of the anti-carcinogenic activity “in vivo” or “in vitro” of the ginger extract in the therapeutic management of prostate cancer in humans.

Researchers also confirmed that it is more effective than chemotherapy, as it does not affect the healthy body cells. Furthermore, they have proved that ginger provides the same effects in the case of ovarian cancer as well.

Multiple studies have provided evidence that ginger efficiently prevents numerous cancer types and destroys the cancer cells in the colon, prostate, and ovaries.

Yet, the best thing about it all is that it does not cause detrimental side effects, as it destroys only the affected cells, and has no effects on the healthy ones. This means that this natural cancer treatment does not poison the body and only improves health.

Hence, you should start using ginger as a medicine as soon as possible, so make sure you incorporate it into your daily diet and use it regularly. In this way, you will prevent cancer, and even treat the existing disease, and enjoy numerous health benefits as well.

The recommended daily amount of ginger is anything up to 4 grams, while pregnant women should not take more than 1 mg daily.

Finally, make sure you lead a healthy lifestyle, consume a healthy diet, and exercise regularly, in order to promote your well being, and prevent cancer and other health problems.

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