Monday, February 27, 2012

Ever Seen a Cat with Thumbs?

Our new kitty, Diablo, has thumbs!
We'd noticed how huge his feet looked..... now that he's adopted us as his parents, we got a closer look.... this guy has thumbs!  (he's one of the nicest little boys that I've ever had!)
Polydactyl Cats wikepedia
More Pics

More Fun at the Beach

 We recently spent some time at the condo.  This time, it wasn't all play.  Our microwave had broken,  so we headed to Best Buy for a new one.

This was Dom's first attempt at installing an "over the range" microwave.  Of course, the mounting bracket from the old microwave wasn't compatible.  After a little bit of cussing and some borrowed tools, he put the little beauty up.  That boy can do anything!

Met our Donn and Linda for dinner at Dee's.  Had a wonderful visit. Great food and great friends!

Our bar across the street, Beach Bar and Package, is doing some serious remodeling.  Knocking out walls, put in a draft beer system, new paint and new furniture.  It's looking GREAT!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

New Pills Gain In Cancer Fight, Till Cost Gets In Way

Feb. 26--For a decade, Jim Holt had beaten back multiple myeloma using every weapon in the arsenal:
Surgery to remove a baseball-size tumor from his head. A stem cell transplant at Duke University. Chemotherapy, multiple times.
When lab work showed the blood cancer's levels creeping up again in 2008, his doctor suggested a new oral chemotherapy drug called Revlimid.
The cost was a jaw-dropper: $8,000 a month.
Kruger said that particularly during the past five years, research has led to oral meds that stem cancer growth. They're turning cancers into chronic diseases that can be managed for years through medication.
If more patients could afford the oral meds, Kruger said, it would reduce hospital costs as well as the amount of time patients lose from work. He said each of the group's 12 practices has one employee whose sole job is to link patients who can't afford their oral meds with organizations that can help them.
Virginia's bill, if passed and signed by the governor, would provide more coverage for oral meds through private insurance plans and state health insurance. Some states have passed stronger legislation that require the coverage to be equal, while Virginia's bill would simply bring coverage of oral meds more in line with that of IV chemo.
Parity bills are important to people with multiple myeloma because they often use several methods to combat it, according to Meghan Buzby, who works for theInternational Myeloma Foundation.
In some cases, IV chemo will work for a while but then stops being effective. At that point, an oral medication is usually critical in fighting the cancer.
"When one method stops working, they need to go back into the toolbox," Buzby said.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

BP faces billions in fines as trial for 2010 oil spill nears

 What makes this trial so good for plaintiffs -- and a nightmare for BP, Halliburton and Transocean -- is that the spill was a chronicle of corporate failures. Federal investigators have concluded cost-cutting by BP and shoddy work by all three companies caused the blowout.
"It's the perfect case for plaintiffs' lawyers," said Blaine LeCesne, a tort law specialist at Loyola University New Orleans who's analyzed the case. "They have everything to gain by going to trial."
While the settlement haggling stretches through the weekend, the hundreds of lawyers who have come to New Orleans are primed for battle.
Garret Graves, an aide to Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and a member of a federal and state council assessing damage from the spill, was adamant that any last-minute settlement in the price range of $20 billion would let BP off too easily.
"We're not going to sell short the citizens and we're not going to let BP walk away," Graves said.

Monsanto settles 'Agent Orange' case with US victims

Long-running suit claimed residents of Nitro, West Virginia were exposed to the carcinogenic Vietnam-era chemical weapon.

Chemicals giant Monsanto has reached a settlement with US residents who claimed they were poisoned by chemicals used in the manufacturing of the Vietnam-era chemical weapon Agent Orange.
The long-running suit was brought by residents living near a now-defunct Monsanto plant in Nitro, West Virginia that between 1949 and 1971 produced the agricultural herbicide 2,4,5 trichlorophenoxyacidic acid, a key ingredient in Agent Orange.
The weapon was used extensively during the Vietnam war, killing and maiming an estimated 400,000 people and leading to 500,000 birth defects. In 2005 a US court rejected a case brought by Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange.
The suit – filed on behalf of tens of thousands of people who lived, worked and went to school in Nitro after 1949 – claimed Monsanto spread toxic substances including dioxins, which have been linked to cancer, all over the town.
The plaintiffs say they were exposed to levels of dioxins 100,000 times higher than acceptable levels. "Dioxin is a known human carcinogen and is so hazardous to human health that no "safe" level of exposure has been established," the suit claimed.
As part of the settlement, the chemicals firm has set up a 30-year medical monitoring programme. Thousands of people who lived or worked in the Nitro area during the time period covered by the lawsuit will be eligible to apply for benefits. The company said that a $21m fund has been set up to pay for medical testing with a further $63m available over the 30-year life of the screening programme.
In addition Monsanto agreed to pay $9m for the professional cleaning of eligible homes in the Nitro area. The company also agreed to the Nitro residents' court-approved legal fees and litigation costs.
The settlement made no findings of wrongdoing against Monsanto.
Scott Partridge, Monsanto's vice president, said: "These settlements ensure that both individual and community concerns are addressed, and services are made available for the people of Nitro. We are pleased to resolve this matter and end any concerns about historic operations at the Nitro plant."

Nitro has a long history with warfare manufacturing. The town was given its explosive name when it was created in 1917 to service one of the US's main ammunition plants.
Agent Orange was the cause of Dominic's cancer

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Blood Work.....Thank God for our GP!

Our GP, Miguel Culasso has always been a stickler for blood work... a couple of times a year.  He was the one who saved Dom's life.  He saw something weird and that nipped the MM in the bud.

PLEASE.... insist on constant readings, folks!

Many patients with less common cancers are referred to a specialist for diagnosis only after three or more trips to their family doctor, a study has found.
Those with multiple myeloma, pancreatic, stomach and ovarian cancer – which each have fewer than 10,000 victims a year – are most likely to need several GP visits before a hospital referral.
These are the so-called ‘Cinderella cancers’, regarded as the poor relation in cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Read more:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Introducing "DIABLO".... Our New Stray Kitty

This little fella arrived at our home last week.  As we live 3/4 mile back in the woods, when a stray kitten shows up, it's pretty desperate.  Yes, I am "The Crazy Cat Lady Back in the Woods".  My two girls, Mimi and Jada have been absolutely horrid to him.  It's like they sit in wait.... one on the hot tub and the other on the picnic table.  We saw Jada "stalking him" yesterday.  This from the 2 girls who HATED EACH OTHER until he showed up. Go figure!

He cries constantly.  Lets me come within 5 feet of him, then one of the girls will attack him.  "That's MY mommy!  Stay away from her".

So, I'm feeding him well and hoping that he can make friends with the girls.  You can tell that the little guy WANTS to meet me, but it looks like he's going to have to toughen up.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Stem cells help regrow heart tissue in small study

Stem Cells AMAZE me.  (Can you tell?!)  A bit of news.... Dominic no longer needs glasses for his far-farsightedness.  He wore glasses for 50+ years....  go figure!...

The new study involved 25 patients who had suffered very serious heart attacks; 24% of their heart's major pumping chamber had been replaced by scar tissue. One year later, doctors saw no improvement in those randomly assigned to get standard care. Among the 17 given stem cells, however, "we reversed about half the injury to the heart," said study author Eduardo Marban, director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles, in an e-mail. "We dissolved scar and replaced it with living heart muscle."

US begins stem cell trial for hearing loss

US researchers have begun a groundbreaking trial to test the potential of umbilical cord blood transplants, a kind of stem cell therapy, to treat and possibly reverse hearing loss in infants.

While Finn McGrath still faces many challenges due to his cerebral palsy, his mother is grateful for the things he can do.
"I don't know how much worse off he would have been without the stem cell transfusion," McGrath said, pointing to his normal cognition, lack of seizures, good hearing and vision.
"We remain hopeful that he will continue to improve."

Friday, February 10, 2012

More Superbowl Sunday Fun

After feasting on Sushi, the boys played with their new toys.  They shot up about 8 boxes of shells.  Note the .357 MAG trenches the bullets created.

Ping gave all the boys haircuts..... that girl can do anything!  Like Chris said, "Wow!  Sushi and a Shave.  This is the life!".

Hung out in the game room, then ventured back into the kitchen for my homemade pizza and "make your own" Antipasto Salad bar.  Indulged in multiple bottles of champagne.....

Enjoyed the football game immensely.  We were all happy to see a New Orleans son, Eli Manning, perform so well with his Giants.

Note the trenches!

All in All, it was a SUPER FUN WEEKEND!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Superbowl Sunday Sushi

Ping got started early making Sushi.  She really outdid herself.  Because Dominic isn’t a fan of raw fish (and we’re leery about his immune system from the Stem Cell Transplant), she fried up softshell crab, HUGE shrimp, hot sausage and crab sticks for his sushi.

She completely took over my kitchen for hours.  Avocado, green onions, cucumbers, fried eggs, asparagus, carrots, lettuce, salmon, tuna and spicy tuna.

She made every combination imaginable, as well as Spring Rolls.

Chris arrived just as she was finishing up…. Let the feeding frenzy begin!

Besides being Beautiful, it was delicious.

This absolutely knocked all of us out!

Check out the size of these shrimp!

Superbowl Weekend- Saturday

We had a GREAT weekend here.  Plenty of fun, food and drink.

Joe and Ping drove in from Pensacola on Saturday afternoon.  We had planned on going out for Mexican food, but they got delayed in traffic during a Slidell Mardi Gras Parade.  Rather than go out, I whipped up Angel Hair Pasta with Clam Sauce for dinner.  Good stuff!

Afterwards, we ventured out to the game room for pool, foosball and darts.
Stayed up late playing dominoes and cards.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

This MIGHT explain our weird fog a few weeks ago...

Panhandle Helicopters snapped a very strange sight over Panama City Beach on Sunday: what appeared to be tsunami-like waves of fog topping high rise hotels along the beach.
Before claiming this is another sign that the world will end in 2012, this unusual sight isn't all that unusual.
Sweet-looking fog formations happen all over, including right here at our local beaches.
So what's going on? Simply put, cool and moist air interacting with a warmer land mass and voila: fog.
The picture sums up exactly what's going on here. What's neat about these tsunami-like waves of fog is you don't have to worry about outrunning them or swimming. Just look up and marvel.

Knoepfler Lab Stem Cell Blog

I just ran across this site and wanted to share it with you.....

Knoepfler Lab Stem Cell Blog

Monday, February 6, 2012

After Stem Cell Transplant, Children Soon Recover Emotionally

February 6, 2012 — Parents of children who undergo stem cell transplantation (SCT) might have a little less to worry about: 6 months out, most children have recovered emotionally, without signs of depression or posttraumatic stress disorder, according to a study published online February 6 in Pediatrics.

Jump to the Story Here

Paying for stem cells: A bad idea (editorial from LA Times)

" The practice might lead to donors who wouldn't admit to having a medical condition that could potentially endanger the recipient. "

Like blood and plasma, stem cells are usually obtained through an easy procedure, and the people who donate them quickly generate more. But in other ways, they're markedly different. There might be only one or two potential donors who are a good match for a patient in need of stem cells. That means donors who are less than entirely altruistic are in a good position to demand thousands of dollars for their stem cells, which would make the life-saving transplant, sometimes used in the treatment of certain cancers and autoimmune diseases, available mainly to the rich.

Jump to LA Times Editorial Here

I was found to be a match to a baby girl a couple of years ago.  (via Bone Marrow Registry link on this blog).  When they found out that I had tested positive for Rheumatoid Arthritis they turned me down.  I cried for a couple of days! I was so disappointed that I was unable to help that child...

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

More Exciting Stem Cell News..... Brain Injuries

As my father was a stroke victim, I found this news release to be both fascinating and encouraging!

Using this in vivo optical imaging technique, Dr Osanai and colleagues were able to see that the injected stem cells entered the brain on the "first pass," without entering the general circulation. Within three hours, the stem cells began to migrate from the smallest brain blood vessels (capillaries) into the area of brain injury.

After four weeks, rats treated with stem cells had significant recovery of motor function (movement), while untreated rats had no recovery. Examination of the treated brains confirmed that the stem cells had transformed into different types of brain cells and participated in healing of the injured brain area.

Stem cells are likely to become an important new treatment for patients with brain injuries, including TBI and stroke. Bone marrow stem cells, like the ones used in the new study, are a promising source of donor cells.

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