Month: September 2008

Everybody Vote!

If you’re a US citizen and are eligible to vote, please don’t let anything stand in your way. Vote on November 4th or use early or absentee voting. Watch this video I got of Cyndi Lauper encouraging us all to vote. Sorry about the camera movement at the beginning.  It took me a little while to find her.

How I learned about Falun Gong

I never heard of Falun Gong before Saturday.  I was at the National Book Fair in DC on Saturday when I met Mrs. Yan near the Air & Space Museum. She goes there every Saturday to draw attention to the plight of practitioners in China, who are persecuted by the government there. I asked her to tell me a little bit about her cause.

Our sister’s project is featured on the local news!

Rachel’s project, WriterHouse, has been featured on Charlottesville’s NBC affiliate station, channel 29. Click here to read the story.

Writer House get some media attention

WriterHouse web site Charlottesville Virginia

None of the WriterHouse members wrote this article! They would have used a spell checker. Actually, they wouldn’t need to use a spell checker.  Some of them are competitors in the area’s annual spelling contest to raise money for literacy.

You can visit their web site at

The mission of WriterHouse is to promote the creation and appreciation of literature and to encourage the development of writers of all levels by providing affordable, secure workspace and meeting space, high quality writing instruction, and literary events for the public.

WriterHouse, Inc. is a non-profit organization, exempt from Federal income tax under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code, and registered as a charitable organization with the Virginia State Office of Consumer Affairs. A financial statement is available from the State Office of Consumer Affairs in the the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services upon request.

Contact Rachel Unkefer for more information.

Good discussions over at – What are your ideas about cutting down on salt? I was personally never worried about it, because I never used to add salt to anything.  Processed foods are packed with sodium though, and there’s the problem.

Cindy has been keeping us up to date with her condition at  I think it’s good to read about other peoples’ experiences because they help us to recognize things when they happen to us.

Margaret is trying to stay on top of a mountain of research, and posts it to her blog: I’m about to give some of her experiments a try.  I’m still stable a year after the SCT, and want to keep it that way as long as possible.

I’ll post about some more blogs at a later time.

I stayed home from work today because I felt ill from the early morning on. I’m having some tea now, and am starting to feel better.  I should be back to normal tomorrow.

Untapped Potential Of Antidepressants For Cancer

ScienceDaily (Sep. 13, 2008) — A comprehensive review of current scientific literature, published in the peer-reviewed journal ecancer, has suggested that antidepressants can help the human body fight cancer by boosting its own immune response, amongst other mechanisms.

Not only this but they can help with side effects from chemotherapy such as aiding sleep, stimulating appetite, combating pain and avoiding depression.

Antidepressants work by affecting levels of chemicals known as prostaglandins. These are ephemeral, infinitesimal signallers self-regulating every cell in the body, including those serving mood and immunity. When first discovered they were perceived as a master switch, but are now believed to regulate every component of cellular microanatomy and physiology, including those of the organelles, cytoskeleton, proteins, enzymes, nucleic acids and mitochondria.

Prostaglandins are responsible, paradoxically, for both cell function and dysfunction. Excessive prostaglandin synthesis depresses immune function and may induce cancer.

An ideal anticancer agent would inhibit prostaglandins in such a manner as to shut down the pathogenesis of cancer. The article indicates that antidepressants have such properties.

Report author, Dr Julian Lieb of Vermont, USA, concludes that antidepressants have the potential to arrest, prevent, reverse and palliate cancer. He also points out that short of that they have many other uses in cancer care.

Antidepressants can reduce the severity and frequency of hot flushes in patients treated with chemotherapy, and venlafaxine (Effexor) remit acute neurosensory symptoms secondary to oxaliplatin chemotherapy. The monoamine oxidase inhibitors deprenyl and clorgyline protect nonmalignant cells from ionizing radiation and chemotherapy toxicity, and such antidepressants as nefadazone are capable of reversing chemotherapy-induced vomiting.

The report notes that as the response to antidepressants is highly specific, many patients require multiple trials before responding. It found that some subjects are non-responsive to all antidepressants, and some may relapse due to getting used to the drug. However, adjusting prostaglandins can induce both pro and anti-cancer actions. The constant presence of this paradox means that antidepressants may be capable of initiating or accelerating cancer and thus maintaining close clinical observation and limiting the duration of drug trials is essential.

The review also points out that epidemiological studies have failed to confirm the suspicion that antidepressants may induce breast cancer. However, breast cancer has been reported in three men taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

Dr Lieb added: “Wherever prostaglandin-synthesizing enzymes convert arachidonic acid to prostaglandins there are possible sites of action of antidepressants. By maintaining these enzymes within physiological limits, antidepressants shut down the mechanisms of carcinogenesis. Considerable evidence now shows that antidepressants are cytotoxic, cytostatic, convert multidrug resistant cells to sensitive, and protect nonmalignant cells from ionizing radiation and chemotherapy.

Antidepressants have potent pain relieving properties alone, or through enhancing narcotics, and they enhance sleep, appetite and occasionally energy. Their immuno-stimulating and antimicrobial properties may help with infection secondary to chemotherapy or radiation. Alleviation of anxiety, depression, fear of death, recrimination and remorse by antidepressants can be very beneficial, though care must be taken to monitor for negative effects such as intensification of depression or pain. Overall, the positive effects of antidepressants in cancer therapeutics far outweigh the negatives.”

ecancermedicalscience (2008, September 13). Untapped Potential Of Antidepressants For Cancer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 14, 2008, from­ /releases/2008/09/080911142620.htm#

Labs at Duke

A couple of days ago I had blood drawn at Duke in Durham, NC.  I should know in a few more days what the results are. They’re a little on the slow side where getting lab reports out are concerned. I’m not sure why it has to be that way.  I haven’t had any tests since June, so I’m a bit anxious about it.

I signed up for a course to learn how to shoot and edit video! I’ll let you know how it is and will be sure to share some of my work. Stay tuned.

I got the power

We did lose power in the early morning.  I think it was about 3:00 AM.  I was just ready to go to sleep, so I didn’t mind much.  It wasn’t too hot, so I didn’t need a fan or air conditioning.  The thing is, I have an adjustable bed that’s powered by electricity and I had the head and feet elevated some.  I had to sleep that way, since there was no way to flatten it out again.  I woke up at about 7:00 and there was still no power, so I went back to sleep until about 9:00.  Since there was STILL no power, I decided I’d call Progress Energy.  I’m sure thousands of other people had called as well, but who could be sure? We all know about bystander apathy, and I think that extends to reporting power outages as well. The recorded message told me that there was no way to say for sure when the power would be restored, but that they were working on it.  They let me know that I was not alone in my suffering. Approximately 55,000 other Progress Energy customers were also without power. I went back to sleep and stayed in bed until 1:00 in the afternoon. The power was back on by 10 or 11, I think, at which time I used it to flatten the bed out so I could have a few hours of proper sleep.

Hannah pays us a visit

Hannah pays us a visit
Hannah pays us a visit

The big storm Hannah is passing through. We’re not expecting much more than 35 mph gusts and lots of rain. I forgot to bring in the stuff from the yard that would be blown away, so I won’t be surprised when I have to walk around the yard to gather it all up to put away. I’m hoping we won’t lose power. If it happens, I’ll be able to go to work, where there’s a generator.  Or, I could take a nap.