Saturday, November 30, 2013

Making Progress with my Raccoon Family!

Early last week they started eating out of my hand.  A couple of days ago, I got them to stand on their hind legs to eat.  Eventually, I'd like to get them on my lap.  This is "the runt", my favorite.  The minute I open up the door, she (?) comes running.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Donated Stem Cells Work Wonders for Ill Toddler

Just three years old, Pranathi Gondu has spent most of her life in and out of hospitals fighting Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL), a cancer of white blood cells. Her fight is finally paying off, thanks to stem cell donor Sadineni Venkateshwara Rao, who made it possible for her to undergo stem cell transplantation at CMC, Vellore, in July, 2011.
Since then, Pranathi’s recovery has been on track. A resident of Khammam, Mr. Rao had donated stem cells, hoping that one day they would be useful to someone. The donor and the recipient met face-to-face recently at a meeting organised by Datri Blood Stem Cell Donors’ Registry, an organisation involved in maintaining blood stem cells donor registry.
“We have been waiting for this moment. I wanted to thank Mr. Rao for saving my daughter’s life. People have to realise the significance of donating stem cells,” said an emotional Murali Gondu, a resident of Srikakulam.
Once Mr. Rao’s stem cells proved to be a genetic match for Pranathi, she underwent stem cell transplantation involving high doses of chemotherapy to kill leukemia cells. In chemotherapy, normal bone marrow cells, which produce blood, are also destroyed. It is here a donor’s stem cells play a crucial role. They are transplanted into the patient’s bone marrow, and the transplanted stem cells gradually restore the bone marrow’s ability to produce blood.
“It is a satisfying day because I have played a role in saving Pranathi’s life,” said Mr. Rao. His stem cells were collected and stored by Datri, which already has close to 40,000 voluntary stem cell donors across the country. “Stem cell transplantation also has the potential to treat disorders like Thalassemia. There is a need to spread awareness on stem cell donation,” said Raghu Rajgopal, CEO, Datri. To donate stem cells, visit
**After Dom was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, I joined the Bone Marrow Registry.  (Link to the left)
Over a year had passed when I got the call.  I was a MATCH for a little girl.  They wanted to know if I would still be willing to donate.
I was ecstatic!  "Absolutely!".
The gal called me back the next day to ask me just a few health questions.
When she found out that I've been tested positive for Rheumatoid Arthritis, they couldn't use me.
I cried the rest of the day.

Want Non-GMO Foods? Here Are Your Brands

Many consumers are fearful of foods that contain ingredients produced by genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. While I don't think that fear is grounded in fact, I am not opposed to organic foods. In fact, the organic-food market may be one of the better growth opportunities for investors. The United States Department of Agriculture reports that organic-food sales will grow from $11 billion in 2004 to nearly $30 billion this year. The segment grew nearly twice as fast for all foods in 2012.
Do you want to learn more about organic brands that are 100% GMO-free and the investing opportunities they present? Let's explore some of the products offered by Whole FoodsMarket , General Mills , WhiteWave Foods , andKellogg Company .

Source: Whole Foods Market
Whole Foods sells more than 4,800 products from 250 brands that have been verified by the Non-GMO Project, a nonprofit promoting the use of GMO-free foods. The grocer's private-label brand, 365, offers hundreds of products that are verified by the organization. The exhaustive list includes juices, fruit preserves, chips, crackers, sauces, milk, frozen vegetables, and just about anything else you would need on a regular excursion to the grocery store. 

Cascadian Farm
Source: General Mills
General Mills sports the Cascadian Farm brand. It may have only one product at the moment that's been certified by the Non-GMO Project, but it is one of the nation's largest organic-food brands and one of the nonprofit's biggest supporters. It simply takes time for the organization to verify supply chains. Also remember that in order for a food to be certified organic by the USDA it must be free of GMO ingredients. The brand sports cereals, frozen fruits, snack bars, and a wide range of vegetables offered at grocery stores throughout the country.

Horizon believes that the best organic dairy products come from happy cows. Source: Wikimedia Commons
You have likely come across the Horizon brand during your trips to the supermarket. The wildly successful and visible brand is owned by WhiteWave Foods and offers organic dairy products, including milk, cheese, yogurt, and butter, as well as eggs. The company neither includes GMO ingredients in its foods, nor does it treat its cows with growth hormones (no significant difference has been shown between milk from rBST-treated and non rBST-treated cows) or antibiotics (prohibited by organic regulations). Its commitment to offering consumers a dependable supply of organic dairy products has gone a long way toward its tremendous growth over the years. 
Source: Kashi
Kellogg Company promotes the all-natural-cereal brand Kashi, which was surrounded by controversy in 2011 after an analysis conducted by the Cornucopia Institute found GMO ingredients in some of its products. That's hardly surprising given the dominance of biotech crops in the nation's agriculture industry, but it does fly in the face of the USDA Organic seal. The brand has moved past the controversy and now features 11 foods and 16 products certified by the Non-GMO Project. In fact, Kellogg aims to have more than half of Kashi's foods verified by the nonprofit by the end of 2015. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Eating 'clean' and GMOs the topic of WHY workshop

As consumers become more aware of risks associated with genetically modified food (GMO), many are seeking a clear path on how to avoid GMOs, focusing instead on eating a clean, whole-foods diet.

Since most GMO foods are not labeled, it's not always an easy task.

The issue was discussed recently by Pauline Weissman, a West Hartford board-certified nutrition specialist, during a recent nutrition workshop on clean eating and GMOs held at West Hartford Yoga. Weissman counsels clients two days at week at WHY and two days a week at Salud Intergrative Medicine, located in Farmington. 

"Most people eat much more processed foods than they realize," said Weissman, a mother of four, who works with clients to help identify where processed foods are filtering into their diet. "Many people think they are doing it well, and really, they may not be eating a clean diet."

A GMO is the result of a laboratory process where genes from the DNA of one species are extracted and artificially forced into the genes of an unrelated plant or animal. The foreign genes may come from bacteria, viruses, insects, animals or even humans.

First introduced into the food supply in the mid-1990s, GMOs are now present in the vast majority of processed foods in the U.S. While they are banned as food ingredients in more than 60 countries today, here in the U.S., the Federal Drug Administration does not require independent safety testing or labeling of GMOs to better protect consumer interests.

Currently, commercialized GM crops in the U.S. include soy (94 percent), cotton (90 percent), canola (90 percent), sugar beets (95 percent), corn (88 percent), Hawaiian papaya (more than 50 percent), zucchini and yellow squash (over 24,000 acres), according to the Institute for Responsible Technology.

The products created from the above include oils from all four, soy protein, soy lecithin, cornstarch, corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup, among others. There are also many "invisible ingredients," derived from GM crops that are not obviously from corn or soy.

"Any time you change the structure of foods, it's not a whole food," said Weissman, who advises her clients to only consume foods that contain five or less ingredients on a path to cleaner diet.

In a nutshell, eating clean is the practice of eating whole, natural foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates. It also means staying away from the highly processed junk foods (sometimes called Frankenfoods) that typically make up the Standard American Diet (SAD).Continued...


Monday, November 25, 2013

West Virginia High Court Upholds Monsanto $93M Settlement

The state Supreme Court has upheld a judge’s approval of Monsanto Co.’s massive settlement with thousands of West Virginia residents.
In a 4-1 decision last Friday, the court affirmed a January ruling approving the class-action settlement of a lawsuit alleging that the Nitro community was contaminated with dioxin from the former Monsanto chemical plant. The plaintiffs said Monsanto polluted their community by burning waste from production of the defoliant Agent Orange.

Under the $93 million settlement, thousands of Nitro-area residents will be eligible for medical monitoring and property cleanups.
The Charleston Gazette reported  that the court’s majority said it found “no substantial question of law and no prejudicial error” in various appeals of the settlement order.
Justice Brent Benjamin dissented.

Genetically Modified Foods Proposed as Trigger for Gluten Sensitivity

/PRNewswire/ -- The Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT) released a report today proposing a link between genetically modified (GM) foods and gluten-related disorders. In today's report, a team of experts suggests that GM foods may be an important environmental trigger for gluten sensitivity, which is estimated to affect as many as 18 million Americans.
Citing U.S. Dept. of Agriculture data, Environmental Protection Act records, medical journal reviews, and international research, the authors relate genetically modified foods to five conditions that may either trigger or exacerbate gluten-related disorders, including the serious autoimmune disorder, Celiac Disease:
  1. Intestinal permeability
  2. Imbalanced gut bacteria
  3. Immune activation and allergic response
  4. Impaired digestion
  5. Damage to the intestinal wall
Although wheat has been hybridized over the years, it is not a genetically modified organism (GMO), which can only be created by a laboratory process that inserts genetic material into plant DNA. There are nine GMO food crops currently being grown for commercial use: soy, corn, cotton (oil), canola (oil), sugar from sugar beets, zucchini, yellow squash, Hawaiian papaya, and alfalfa.
Most GMOs are engineered to tolerate a weed killer called glyphosate (Roundup®). They contain high levels of this toxin at harvest. Corn and cotton varieties are also engineered to produce an insecticide called Bt-toxin. The report focuses primarily on the effects of these two toxins.
Executive Director of the Institute for Responsible Technology, Jeffrey Smith, explains, "The Bt-toxin in corn is designed to puncture holes in insect cells, but studies show it does the same in human cells. Bt-toxin may be linked to leaky gut, which physicians consistently see in gluten-sensitive patients."
Stephanie Seneff, Senior Research Scientist at MIT, expresses concern about Roundup®: "Glyphosate is a patented antibiotic that destroys beneficial gut bacteria. An imbalance of gut flora commonly accompanies Celiac Disease and other gluten-related disorders."
Mary Waldner, founder of Mary's Gone Crackers®, a Non-GMO Project verified and gluten-free certified food manufacturer, says, "I'm excited by the research that offers an explanation for the dramatic increase in gluten-related disorders. I encourage everyone to avoid GMOs in their diets. I have always been concerned about the effects of GMOs and Mary's Gone Crackers has never used GMO ingredients in our products."
Dr. Tom O'Bryan, internationally recognized expert on gluten sensitivity and Celiac Disease, says, "The introduction of GMOs is highly suspect as a candidate to explain the rapid rise in gluten-related disorders over the last 17 years." Internist, Emily Linder MD, says, "Based on my clinical experience, when I remove genetically modified foods as part of the treatment for gluten sensitivity, recovery is faster and more complete. I believe that GMOs in our diet contribute to the rise in gluten sensitivity in the U.S. population."
The best way to avoid GMOs is to purchase certified organic or Non-GMO Project verified products. Download a shopping guide at or a free iPhone app, ShopNoGMO.
The markets for both gluten-free products and non-GMO products are expanding. Gluten-free sales are expected to exceed $5 billion by 2015 and Non-GMO Project Verified sales went from $0 to over $3.5 billion in the last three years. Just as Mary's Gone Crackers® did in 2011, the conclusions in this report may inspire more gluten-free food manufacturers to pursue Non-GMO Project Verified status. 
For a full report see

Read more here:

Thursday, November 21, 2013

My Raccoon LOVE Eggs- And a Fun Raccoon Story From the Past

I had some eggs that were getting ready to expire, so put them out for my babies.  It was quite amusing to watch.  Mom very easily broke into each egg and sucked them out. (first pic)

Her kids, on the other hand, had no such patience.  They'd break the eggs and lick up the goop on the ground. (2nd pic)

Thought I'd share this old story with y'all..... About 25 years ago, Dom and I were camping in Grayton Beach, Florida.  Of course, I paid no attention to the multiple warning signs to LOCK COOLERS because of raccoon.

On our first night, we packed a small cooler of beer and took a midnight dip in the light of a full moon.

When we got back, our cooler was open!  "Dominic!  Someone has stolen our beer!"


Raccoon had stolen our eggs, bacon, steaks and anything else they could get their little hands on.

There they were on our picnic table feasting away.  Funny.

That night, we were in our tent when Dom looked up and gasped.  There was the shadow of a big fat raccoon balanced on a tree branch right above the tent.  Glad he had good footing.... he would have ripped us up.... If not just the tent.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

4 New "Kids"..... What a Fun Surprise!

I peeked out of the window yesterday to see if my Raccoon family was here.  Nope.... but these guys made an appearance!

(Don't they know that it's almost Thanksgiving?  Maybe the word got around in the forest that we love all creatures....Dom's even tolerating the possums.  I guess that he'd rather them eat the raccoon/deer food than cat food under the carport)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Is Monsanto’s RoundUp (Glyphosate) the New Agent Orange?

Monsanto has been in the poison game for a long time. All the propaganda in the world can’t erase the fact that they first poisoned thousand of Vietnamese, Thai, and Koreans as well as countless American soldiers with Agent Orange, who only now receive compensation for the effects of Monsanto’s bio-warfare decades later. The proof is finally so pervasive that the company can no longer just sweep away evidence of their evil-doing.
While it was our own government who did the spraying, they colluded with Monsanto, one of the nine government contractors who made the toxic combination of 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T, which came to be called Agent Orange. Many people don’t know this, but after decades of research proving that Agent Orange is lethal and tens of millions of dollars paid to victims in settlements – it is still being used in many Asian countries.
The company has switched to using it’s best-selling herbicide RoundUp predominately now, yet another innocent product constructed of poisons even the most stalwart farmer would wince at should they really understand its fallout. RoundUp is made of glyphosate, the primary active ingredient and Agent Orange of our time. Even the RoundUp label warns not to get the stuff in your eyes or on your skin, and to wear gloves when handling it – so what makes it o.k. to eat?
 RoundUp “ kills weeds because glyphosate (a salt compound) inhibits enzyme pathways, preventing plants from synthesizing amino acids necessary for growth. It basically stops plants from eating, so they die.” It is probable that Monsanto and other companies who use this substance under other names besides RoundUp are now dumping more than 300 million pounds of this toxic poison into our soil annually. It’s use has at least tripled since 1990.
This calls into question some of the arguments posted by anti-labeling and pro-GMO propagandists who say that “the science isn’t conclusive that GMO herbicides are dangerous.” Meanwhile, hundreds of scientists, many being former pro-GMO, are speaking up about the ineffectiveness and potential dangers surrounding GMOs. The idea is similar to how the tobacco industry lied to citizens for decades about the ill-effects of cigarettes and how they cause lung cancer, among other problems.
This is why countless people continue to rail against Monsanto. It’s why Monsanto and their nefarious crew of poison mongers (the Grocery Manufacturer’s of America) spend millions of dollars illegally to try to defeat GMO labeling bills.
The truth is that RoundUp, in the form of glyphosate, is just another product of the military industrial complex, and an evolution of Agent Orange. If we don’t wake up and fight, en masse, then Monsanto and its government connections will completely destroy our food supply and our planet.

Read more: 
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Read more: 
Follow us: @naturalsociety on Twitter | NaturalSociety on Facebook

Saturday, November 16, 2013

For Those Who Want To Avoid GMO Foods, There's An App For That

The Buycott app will tell you if a product was made by a company associated with the opposition to labeling genetically modified foods.
Mmm … lunchtime. These Beanfields Nacho Bean and Rice Chips sure are tasty. They also happen to be made by a company that hasn't fueled opposition to labeling genetically modified foods – according to the Buycott app I tried out today.

Another app, the Non-GMO Shopping Guide, tells me that these chips have been verified as fully compliant with the Non-GMO Product Standard (more on that later).

The same is not true for the Nature Valley bars my co-worker keeps at his desk for snacking.

I was curious about these apps I'd been hearing about that supposedly tell you whether the food you're eating was made by a company that opposes GMO product labeling.

This seemed especially relevant in light of the recent failure of Washington Initiative 522, which would have required companies to label foods that contain genetically modified organisms. Washington voters rejected the measure with about 55 percent opposed and 45 percent in favor. A similar measure in California, Proposition 37, failed last year by a similar margin.

Many argue one of the reasons the measures failed is because of the millions of dollars companies contributed to opposition campaigns. In Washington, opponents of Initiative 522 vastly outspent supporters nearly three to one. In California, the opposition campaign raised a whopping $44 million compared with just $7.3 million raised by supporters.

The Buycott app tracks which companies are associated with that spending. If you join GMO labeling campaigns, it allows you to scan the bar code of a product you're thinking about buying. It then checks to see whether the company that made that product opposed GMO labeling campaigns. I joined the "Buy Organic Brands That Support Your Right To Know" campaign to learn how the app worked.

My co-worker's Nature Valley granola bars are made by General Mills, which is a member of the Grocery Manufacturers Association. When I scanned the bar code on the box, I was told that I am avoiding General Mills because the association gave $1.2 million to the campaign that fought against California's GMO labeling measure Proposition 37. And because the app says, the association donated "illegally" to the campaign opposing the GMO labeling initiative 522 in Washington.

You can see here that the grocery association spent millions fighting Initiative 522. And you can see here that General Mills is a member of the association.

There was also a lawsuit filed against the association accusing it of concealing the names of retailers that gave money to the opposition campaign but didn't want their names to be released.

So, the Buycott app helps people choose not to buy food from companies that opposed GMO labeling through campaign contributions.

The Non-GMO Product Shopping Guide takes a different tack. It offers offers tips for avoiding GMO foods and provides a list of foods that meet a non-GMO product standard. It was created by The Non-GMO Project, which claims to be the only independent verification system that checks for genetically modified foods. It offers a seal of approval to products that meet its standard, though the group admits that label doesn't guarantee a product is GMO-free because of testing limitations.

OODLES of links here!

Veteran now receives aid for Agent Orange cancer after claim was denied

St. Louis County, MN ( - Red tape threatened the life of a Northland Vietnam veteran, but his life may hopefully be easier. It is all thanks to the help of a red tape cutting veterans’ advocate.

Americans who answered the nation's call during the Vietnam War had to face a determined enemy overseas, and a less than stellar welcome home stateside.

In between, many tangled with the poisonous defoliant, Agent Orange. Recently, a Vietnam vet suffering from an Agent Orange derived cancer visited St. Louis County Veterans Service Officer, Brian Rulifson.

He told Rulifson about his difficulties filing a claim with the Veterans Administration.
He said that he had a few years ago and it got denied," Rulifson, said.

Rulifson is a retired Navy veteran himself. He contacted the Vietnam Veterans of America in the Twin Cities.

"Together, we presented the VA with what they call a clear and unmistakable error," Rulifson said.

Because of that effort, the Vietnam vet, who prefers to remain anonymous, is now considered 100% disabled and will receive monthly aid plus reimbursement going back to the original claim made in 2004.

For his work, Rulifson was honored by the St. Louis County Board on Tuesday at their board meeting in Fredenburg Township.

"What he accomplished was he cut through the bureaucratic process and truly helped one of our nation's heroes,” a member of the St. Louis County Board, Keith Nelson, said.

For Rulifson, it was just another day at work.

"We do this for all vets that come to us. I would have done the same thing for anybody," Rulifson said.

He encourages anybody and everybody who has served and needs help to seek it.

"Other veterans that either haven't been in the office before or have had claims denied before, if there are any questions, come see your veterans service officer," Rulifson said.

Rulifson is a veterans' services officer based in Virginia, Minn.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Emerald Coast Cruizin' 2013

We planned our condo visit this month around this particular event.  This was our 3rd straight year at the event, as well as the 3rd location for it.

The new venue was WONDERFUL.  It was located right next to Pier Park.  No more porta-potties, nice sidewalks, oldies music, cold beer and plenty of food.

There were over 3000 cars there.  Dom was in heaven.  We had a very pleasant time.


We also spent time at Beach Bar and Package across the street, as well as Dee's Hangout for dinner one night.

I was able to spend 2 days lounging on the beach.  The water was crystal clear, but a very chilly 72 degrees.  Air temp was almost 80.  Nice.

We saw plenty of dolphins and stingrays.

We pigged out on Veteran's Day.  Went to Hooters for a pitcher of beer and 10 free wings for lunch.  Then later, went to Applebee's for a free dinner for Dom. He had a nice steak, and I ordered myself a great sandwich.

Fun times!

My Little Masked Bandits

Dom and I went to PCB for 5 nights last week.  When we got home, the first thing I did was dump alot of corn, bread and doughnut-holes from their "Aunt Wendy". (the doughnut holes were the first things they devoured.  Who'da thunk it?)

My best pal, Wendy, has been saving expired bakery goods, fruits and veggies from her grocery store.

They do NOT like vegetables.... went nuts over bananas and grapes, though!

I sat down in the grass, worried that they were mad at us for leaving them.  Nope! Didn't take 'em long to greet me.... they still love me!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Agent Orange Continues to have Huge Impact on Vietnam Veterans

More than 40 years after it was last used in the Vietnam War, Agent Orange continues to have a major impact on veterans.

Agent Orange is a plant-killing chemical that was sprayed over large areas of jungle and brush to clear them.    

It's known to cause several deadly health problems. Channel Three's Joe Douglass has more on its continuing impact.. In a story that, for him, is very personal.

People like me who've lost a family member because of Agent Orange, know its victims often go unseen.     Their names are not included on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC. And they're not included here on Wall South in Pensacola.

Wall South is a replica of the DC Memorial. It shows only the names of troops who've died directly from combat-related wounds.    

It's estimated that it would take another two or more entire walls to include the names of Agent Orange victims and of those with Post-traumatic stress disorder who've committed suicide. 

Thurston Mosley, a Vietnam veteran and Agent Orange victim, said, "I wish you could put all the names on the wall that died from it." Mosley and his canine companion Tarzan are a popular pair at the American Legion Hall in Foley.    

Tarzan helps the former Platoon Commander with a lot of everyday activities. "He retrieves things for me," Mosley said about Tarzan, "He can open up doors, turn on and off lights." Mosley was shot through the heart while out on patrol in Vietnam.    
He says his exposure to Agent Orange has only complicated his heart problems.

"In Vietnam, I died three times on the operating table," Mosley said, "I died once here in Foley."

Dan Kirkpatrick, another victim, said, "The Agent Orange is a different issue.  I don't think the names should be added to the Vietnam wall."     Kirkpatrick revved up his Harley outside his home in Milton before talking with us. It's one of the few activities the Vietnam veteran and lifelong rider can still enjoy.    

"I can't walk all the way up and down the street. I can't ride my bicycle with my granddaughter," Kirkpatrick said, "I just don't have the stamina."    

For more than a dozen years Kirkpatrick says he's been treated for heart disease associated with his exposure to Agent Orange while in the Army. "At the time, we were told, 'Don't worry about it...It won't bother you','' Kirkpatrick said. The 63-year-old is retired now and taking a number of medications, some with serious side effects. Just last year he had bypass surgery. "I got to a point where I couldn't hardly work and my work was sitting behind a computer desk all day," Kirkpatrick said.    

Doctor Mary Brawn, of the Department of Veterans Affairs' Superclinic in Pensacola says the facility treats hundreds of veterans with Agent Orange-related conditions each month.    Brawn said the conditions include, "Diabetes, coronary artery disease, ischemic heart disease, lung cancer, prostate cancer."    

Three years ago, the VA increased the number of conditions it associated with Agent Orange, allowing many more veterans to apply for and receive benefits.     Those applications make up a large part of the backlog of more than 400-thousand overdue disability claims that remain unprocessed. "It's gonna grow because most of those conditions again are conditions of aging," Brawn said.    

This story is extremely personal for me. My father, a Vietnam Veteran, died nine years ago from cancer that was caused by his exposure to Agent Orange. He was just 57 years-old.

In 2011, my mother spoke during an event near the  wall in Washington, DC commemorating my dad and other victims.  "I had a five-and-a-half-year battle with the VA," my mother told the crowd,  "They finally did the right thing last year and recognized my husband for dying from exposure to Agent Orange. His name is George Orville Douglass.  Please someone answer this, why are these wonderful veterans not on the wall?"

Although my father was obviously not happy about what happened to him, he still loved his country deeply. The two veterans I spoke with say they feel the same.


Saturday, November 2, 2013

DA candidate's life colored by Agent Orange

Thousands of Vietnam vets have contracted cancer for their country, but only one is running for district attorney.

On the campaign trail, Robert Brewer, 67, has been advised to talk about his decorated tour as an Army Ranger in Vietnam.

What’s more complicated to bring up, at least as an up-tempo talking point, is that Brewer was grievously wounded 27 years after leaving the battlefield. His purple heart, you might say, came late.

The growth on the back of his head was first spotted by Blue Fogg, a legendary downtown barber. Then an opposing attorney walked by Brewer in court and said, “What the hell is that on your head?”

Brewer was lucky. He had never been hit by the Viet Cong. In 1997, however, a malignant mine, planted by U.S. planes, exploded on his skull.

After a battery of tests, he received chemo on Fridays, recuperating over the weekend at the family’s Julian cabin before returning to work as the managing partner of a law firm. He would lose all his hair and turn yellow.

During his second round of chemo, his oncologist, Dr. William Stanton, asked him to tell the story of his life. When Brewer got to Vietnam, Stanton revealed that he’d served in a large field hospital near Saigon.

Suddenly, this rare manifestation of non-Hodgkin lymphoma made sense.

Had Brewer fought in zones defoliated by Agent Orange? All the time, Brewer answered. Despite the “stench of death,” it’s where troops felt safe.

“Now I know where you got it,” Stanton said.

While Brewer was training Vietnamese airborne forces, a fragment of Agent Orange had entered his head and lain dormant for 27 years, Stanton surmised. And then, bam!

Brewer was lucky again. The tumor had not metastasized. After chemo and radiation treatments, his hair grew back. His normal complexion returned. He was a survivor and grateful cheerleader for the American Cancer Society.

About a year ago, Brewer decided he wanted to run against incumbent DA Bonnie Dumanis. He went to Stanton and asked him what he thought.

This was the doctor who at one point had said that, if he were in Brewer’s surgical gown, “I’d put my affairs in order.”

Beaming with pleasure, Stanton said Brewer was good to run — and pledged a donation.

This is going to be a tough DA race, the kind of meat-grinder we’ve seen every decade or so. Once the San Diego oxygen-sucking mayoral sprint is over, attention will shift to the countywide cage fight.

For one candidate, his youthful role in the losing fight against the VC may get a spotlight, but his defeat of the Big Orange C, and the humility it naturally brought, strikes me as a greater talking point.