Tuesday, December 22, 2015

December Numbers..... 77 Months of Complete Remission!

WBC:   8.7

HTC:   39.3


ANC:   70

*Kappa:  18.93
*Lambda:  22.34
*Ratio:  .85

Thankfully, his M-Spike remains at .3!  His oncologist is very pleased.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Dom Remains in Complete Remission.....77 Months!

Normal levels of serum free light chains are:
• Kappa: 3.3–19.4 mg/L
• Lambda: 5.71–26.3 mg/L
• Kappa/lambda ratio: 0.26–1.65

His December Numbers Were:

*Kappa:  18.93
*Lambda:  22.34
*Ratio:  .85

Thankfully, his M-Spike remains at .3!  His oncologist is very pleased.

Tulane is sending me the other numbers via mail.

Merry Christmas!

Study Solidifies Agent Orange and Myeloma Link

Exposure to the herbicide Agent Orange has long been considered a potential risk factor for multiple myeloma (MM) and its precursor condition, monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS), although the science behind the association was limited.

Now, new research brings definitive evidence that Operation Ranch Hand veterans, U.S. Air Force (USAF) personnel who conducted aerial missions spraying the chemical during the Vietnam War, are more than two times as likely to have MGUS as other veterans (JAMA Oncol 2015;1[8]:1061-1068, PMID: 26335650).

“There has already been approval by the federal government to compensate people who served in the Vietnam War and developed lymphoma and myeloma, but there was no scientific evidence behind that—it was a political consensus,” said lead researcher C. Ola Landgren, MD, PhD a professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and the chief of the Myeloma Service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, both in New York City. “That motivated my colleagues and me to follow up on prior findings and investigate the link between MGUS and exposure to Agent Orange.”

To do so, Dr. Landgren and his colleagues carried out a detailed examination of data and stored blood samples obtained from Operation Ranch Hand veterans and comparison veterans who served in Southeast Asia at the same time, from 1962 to 1971, but were not involved in herbicide spray missions.


No Big Surprise in our Case

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

We're Ready for Christmas!

We live way back in the woods...3/4 miles away from the nearest neighbor.  Thus, we don't decorate the outside of the house..... just the inside.

This year, we thought we'd get Chinese take-out on Christmas Eve.  Christmas day will be just the two of us.  I'm making Roasted Duck, Jeff Smith's Red Cabbage, his Balsamic Brussels Sprouts and Gratin Dauphinois (A decadent potato dish)

Remember the reason for the season....Keep CHRIST in Christmas, gang!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Monsanto to be Finally Put on Trial for Crimes Against Humanity

The Organic Consumers Association (OCA), IFOAM International Organics, Navdanya, Regeneration International (RI), and Millions Against Monsanto, joined by dozens of global food, farming and environmental justice groups announced today that they will put Monsanto MON (NYSE), a US-based transnational corporation, on trial for crimes against nature and humanity, and ecocide, in The Hague, Netherlands, next year on World Food Day, October 16, 2016.

Since the beginning of the twentieth century according to the groups, Monsanto has developed a steady stream of highly toxic products which have permanently damaged the environment and caused illness or death for thousands of people.

These products include:

• PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyl), one of the 12 Persistent Organic Pollutants (POP) that affect human and animal fertility;

• 2,4,5 T (2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid), a dioxin-containing component of the defoliant, Agent Orange, which was used by the US Army during the Vietnam War and continues to cause birth defects and cancer;

• Lasso, an herbicide that is now banned in Europe;


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

We had a great couple of days.  Joe drove in from Pensacola for the night.  Wendy and Bubby joined us as well.

The boys shot guns for awhile while I got Jiggy With It in the kitchen.

22# Martha Stewart turkey.  (covered in cheesecloth, basted with wine and butter)

Pecan/cornbread/sausage/cranberry stuffing

Mashed potatoes and gravy

Balsamic carmelized pearl onions

Lima beans.

Wendy brought over a "cake sampler" from her bakery for dessert.

We had a very pleasant dinner, enjoyed a bonfire, then hit the sack.

Joe left in the early morning.  Wendy and Bubby stuck around into the afternoon.
One very sad thing to mention..... Wendy's home burned down to the ground that morning.  She and Bubby live in his home nearby.  Ex husband Richard,  2 grown daughters and her grandchild lived in her house.  Thankfully, no one was home when the fire started.  We truly had a lot to be THANKFUL for!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Here's how 'bone marrow transplants' work

Ask the Expert: The type of cancer, patient's age, general health, availability of donors and other factors determine the type of transplant


Is one person’s bone marrow literally transplanted into another during a bone marrow transplant?


Hematopoietic stem cell transplants (commonly referred to as bone marrow transplants) are typically used to treat blood cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma.

Hematopoietic stem cell transplant encompasses peripheral blood stem cell transplant, bone marrow transplant and alternative donor transplant as well. In the majority of cases, the source of the stem cell to complete the transplant is taken from the bloodstream of the patient or a donor (peripheral blood stem cell transplant).

In a smaller number of cases, the patient may receive stem cells from umbilical cord blood or stem cells from a donor’s actual bone marrow.

If the stem cells are taken from the patient, it is called an autologous transplant. If the stem cells are from a donor, it is an allogeneic transplant. Both types of transplants use hematopoietic stem cells that can have the capacity for self-renewal and the ability to form all types of blood cells including red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.

The stem cells are transfused into the patient’s bloodstream, where they migrate to the bone marrow and grow into healthy new blood cells and therefore repopulate the bone marrow.

In autologous transplants, the dose of chemotherapy is what provides the benefit of disease control/cure. It is more commonly considered as a therapeutic modality for multiple myeloma, where it offers disease control and for recurrent Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma or Hodgkin’s disease where it has the potential for cure.

In allogeneic transplants, the dose of chemotherapy provide benefit but also the interaction between the donor and recipient cells allow a protective response called graft versus tumor effect. It should be noted that each type of transplant is associated with its own risks and benefits.

If an allogeneic transplant is to be performed, a donor search is initiated. Donors have to be closely genetically matched. The donor search usually begins with full blood siblings, who have about a 25 percent chance of being a match (matched-related donor).

For those individuals without a sibling match (70 percent of patients) the search is entered into a registry of donors through the National Marrow Donor Program, where a potential donor is identified (matched-unrelated donor). For those without a full match alternative donor transplants such as umbilical cord or haploidentical transplants (parent or children) may be considered.

The patient’s type of cancer, age, general health, availability of donors, and other factors determine whether an autologous or allogeneic transplant is performed.

The Cancer Transplant Institute at the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at HonorHealth has been recognized by the NMDP. It is also one of only 106 U.S. bone marrow transplant centers accredited by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy for both autologous and allogeneic transplants.

Veena Fauble, MD, is a physician at the Cancer Transplant Institute at the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at HonorHealth. For more information about bone marrow transplants available at HonorHealth, please contact an oncology nurse navigator at 480-323-1339 or HonorHealth/cancer.


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Panama City Beach shark feeding frenzy 11/22/2015

Personalized Drug Screening on Horizon for Multiple Myeloma Patients

A personalized method for testing the effectiveness of drugs that treat multiple myeloma may predict quickly and more accurately the best treatments for individual patients with the bone marrow cancer. The process, developed by scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, also may aid patients with leukemia or lymphoma.

The screening method suggests which commonly prescribed multiple myeloma drug, or combination of drugs, a physician should consider first for a particular patient. The test also suggests optimum dosage.

A study validating the new method will be published in the December issue of the journal Biomaterials and now is available online.


Thursday, November 19, 2015

If the GMO salmon is as good as its maker says, why not label it?

This undated 2010 handout photo provided by AquaBounty Technologies shows two same-age salmon: a genetically modified salmon, rear, and a non-genetically modified salmon, foreground. (AquaBounty Technologies/Associated Press)

By now, you’ve probably heard that the Food and Drug Administration has approved the first-ever genetically engineered animal for human consumption. It’s an Atlantic salmon modified for fast growth with genes from two other edible fish, and it has been — and will undoubtedly continue to be — a lightning rod for all the issues associated with genetically modified foods. There’s safety, there’s escape into the environment and there’s labeling: a trifecta of discord. The fish’s lengthy approval process — the salmon’s developer, AquaBounty Technologies, first approached the FDA 20 years ago — indicates just how intense that discord has been.

So, safety first. Groups such as Consumers Union and Food and Water Watch have expressed concern about both safety and allergenicity, with Consumers Union citing small sample sizes and “inadequate analysis.” It’s unlikely that the FDA assessment will put their minds at ease, since the final decision is largely consistent with preliminary findings from 2010, when the agency determined that food from the GE salmon is as safe as, and no more allergenic than, food from any other Atlantic salmon, and concluded there is “reasonable certainty of no harm.” (Although “genetically engineered” is the term the FDA uses, this salmon is commonly referred to as a genetically modified organism, or GMO.)

The larger issue is the possibility of escape, important because escapees could outcompete or interbreed with native fish. AquaBounty says it has several layers of safeguards to prevent that: The fish are raised on land, in tanks, and the fish grown for food (as opposed to breeding) are all females, and sterile. The FDA calls the possibility of the salmon’s escape “highly unlikely,” and the possibility of their breeding in the wild commensurately unlikely. Environmental conditions around the company’s Canadian and Panamanian facilities, the agency found, make it unlikely that any escapees could thrive and establish a viable population. (The FDA approval is for only those two facilities. Any new installations will require a new environmental assessment and separate approval.)

Consumers Union, again responding to preliminary FDA findings that today’s announcement confirmed, says the agency’s determination that escape is a remote possibility was built on “inadequate science and unfounded assumptions” and expresses concern that the sterilization process isn’t 100 percent successful. (That’s true; the FDA requires that the rate be at least 95 percent, and AquaBounty chief executive Ron Stotish says that rates, in practice, are generally over 99 percent.)

A Canadian governmental risk assessment issued in 2013 also looked at both safety and escapes and described the risk to human health as “low” and the risk to the Canadian environment as “negligible.”

On both of those issues, there will always be some doubt. Safety can’t be proved (we can only infer it from absence of harm so far), and any containment system can fail. So the questions aren’t “Is it safe?” and “Could they escape?” The question is whether the risk in those two areas is outweighed by the benefits.

So let’s talk about the benefits. According to AquaBounty, the advantages are that the fish reaches market weight in about half the time taken by conventional salmon and requires 25 percent less feed to get there. If that’s true (and there’s no reason to suppose it isn’t), what we have here, finally, is a GMO that can benefit people and planet — unlike the other genetically engineered foods approved for use in the United States, which chiefly benefit farmers. Growing healthful fish in less time, with less feed, is a win for humans (in the form of more affordable salmon) and environment (in the form of reduced feed requirements and less pressure on forage fish stocks).

I do have one concern about whether those benefits will play out, but it’s related to neither safety nor the potential for escape. It’s about raising fish in tanks. Although tanks eliminate the potential for ocean pollution and the spread of disease to wild fish, and virtually eliminate the problem of escapees, they require both water and energy. Does that increase in resources counterbalance the decrease that comes from faster growth and better feed conversion? AquaBounty’s Stotish says that energy requirements vary widely by location and that the Panamanian location is very resource-efficient, as the water is gravity-fed and doesn’t need cooling. Although he hasn’t done the calculation in greenhouse gases, he has done it in money, a reasonable proxy. “We have a lower cost per kilo than net pen production,” he says.

That leaves the third issue: labeling. The United States, unlike many other countries, has no requirement that genetically modified food be labeled as such, and the salmon is no exception. When the fish is introduced, Stotish says, it probably will not be identified as genetically engineered — a decision I think is unfortunate. “When you’re the first and only, labeling is a dangerous decision,” he says. “We’d like to label it as a premium product, but we’ll probably introduce it as ‘Atlantic salmon.’ 

Because there is so much fear and so many misconceptions about genetically engineered food, I feel his pain. But I’d ask him to suck it up and put the label on it. One of the reasons GMOs became such a brouhaha is that consumers feel the technology was foisted, in secret, on an unsuspecting public.

The company has a limited capacity to grow fish, so consumers won’t be seeing the salmon on store shelves right away. Stotish estimates that it’ll be two years before production levels are high enough to get a regular supply to market, and I think that gives AquaBounty plenty of time to change its mind about labeling. If the fish has all the advantages the company claims it does, say it loud. And let everyone — pro and con — vote with their wallets.


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

FDA approves J&J drug for advanced multiple myeloma

U.S. regulators have approved an experimental treatment from Johnson & Johnson that may offer hope to multiple myeloma patients who have run out of other options against the blood cancer.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday said it had approved Darzalex (daratumumab) for patients who had already undergone at least three prior standard treatments for the cancer, which affects infection-fighting plasma cells that reside in the bone marrow.

Darzalex, given as an infusion, is a monoclonal antibody that works by helping the immune system attack cancer cells. J&J licensed worldwide rights to the medicine from Danish biotech company Genmab A/S.

In one 106-patient study, tumors shrank or were no longer detectable in 29 percent of patients taking Darzalex, and the benefit lasted for an average of 7.4 months. In a second trial, involving 42 patients, 36 percent of patients taking the J&J/Genmab drug saw a partial or complete reduction in tumors.

Researchers said it is the first antibody drug to demonstrate effectiveness against myeloma without having to be combined with other medicines.


Friday, November 6, 2015

Pesticide Peddler Monsanto Wins 2015 Rubber Dodo Award

TUCSON, Ariz.— Monsanto, producer and seller of Roundup and its toxic active ingredient glyphosate, is the recipient of the Center for Biological Diversity’s 2015 Rubber Dodo Award, given annually to those who have done the most to destroy wild places, species and biological diversity. Glyphosate is now used in more than 160 countries, and more than 1.4 billion pounds are applied each year. It has been classified as a “probable human carcinogen” by the World Health Organization and its heavy use, particularly on herbicide-resistant GMO crops, also developed by Monsanto, is considered a leading cause of the recent, drastic 80 percent decline in monarch butterflies.

Previous Rubber Dodo winners include U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services (2014), the Koch brothers (2013), climate denier James Inhofe (2012), the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (2011), former BP CEO Tony Hayward (2010), massive land speculator Michael Winer (2009), Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (2008) and Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne (2007).

“The science is increasingly clear that glyphosate is damaging wildlife and putting people at serious risk, yet Monsanto continues to aggressively peddle the stuff to farmers and really any customer it can find,” said Kierán Suckling, the Center’s executive director. “It’s hard to fathom the depth of the damage that glyphosate is doing, but its toxic legacy will live on for generations, whether it’s through threatening monarchs with extinction or a heightened risk of cancer for people where it’s spread.”

Earlier this week the Center released an analysis that found more than half of the glyphosate sprayed in California is applied in the state’s eight most impoverished counties, where the populations are predominantly Hispanic or Latino.

“Those sitting in Monsanto’s boardrooms and corporate offices won’t pay the price for this dangerous pesticide. It’s going to be people on the ground where it’s sprayed,” Suckling said. “This kind of callous pursuit of profits is at the core of what’s driving the loss of wildlife and diversity on a massive scale around the globe.”

More than 15,000 people cast their votes in this year’s Rubber Dodo contest. Other official nominees were Volkswagen, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Exxon and notorious Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy.

Background on the Dodo

In 1598 Dutch sailors landing on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius discovered a flightless, 3-foot-tall, extraordinarily friendly bird. Its original scientific name was Didus ineptus. (Contemporary scientists use the less defamatory Raphus cucullatus.) To the rest of the world, it’s the dodo — possibly the most famous extinct species on Earth after the dinosaurs. It evolved over millions of years with no natural predators and eventually lost the ability to fly, becoming a land-based consumer of fruits, nuts and berries. Having never known predators, it showed no fear of humans or the menagerie of animals accompanying them to Mauritius.

Its trusting nature led to its rapid extinction. By 1681 the dodo had vanished, hunted and outcompeted by humans, dogs, cats, rats, macaques and pigs. Humans logged its forest cover while pigs uprooted and ate much of the understory vegetation.

The origin of the name dodo is unclear. It likely came from the Dutch word dodoor, meaning “sluggard,” the Portuguese word doudo, meaning “fool” or “crazy,” or the Dutch word dodaars meaning “plump-arse” (that nation’s name for the little grebe).

The dodo’s reputation as a foolish, ungainly bird derives in part from its friendly naiveté and the very plump captives that were taken on tour across Europe. The animal’s reputation was cemented with the 1865 publication of Lewis Carroll’s Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

Based on skeleton reconstructions and the discovery of early drawings, scientists now believe that the dodo was a much sleeker animal than commonly portrayed. The rotund European exhibitions were likely produced by overfeeding captive birds.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 900,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Hildebrand Family circa 1936

Just posting this for myself.... I don't want to lose this.

Gals left to right:
Lenore, Helen, Rosalee, MOM, Anne, Mary
Uncle Bill, Grandma and Grandpa.

Aunt Mary

Our Annual October Get Together

We normally have our clambake this time of year.  Unfortunately, my clam supplier closed up shop.

Instead, we had a BBQ.  We had chicken, pasta salad, smoked sausage....Wendy brought over a crock pot full of shredded bbq pork and little buns for sliders.

Our dear friend, Chris, passed away in April.  Things just aren't the same without him.  But, he did make his presence known appearing as a beautiful rainbow!

The boys shot pool for hours.  Wendy and Bubbie spent the night.  Wendy and I had a Mimosa Party when we got up on Wed.  Bubbie fished for a few hours.


Sunday, October 18, 2015

Inching Toward a Cure for Multiple Myeloma

With new treatments transforming multiple myeloma into a chronic condition and additional therapies on the horizon, some experts believe a cure is within view. 

Dana Davis, a 56-year-old school administrator in suburban Atlanta, remembers the rib pain first.

“I had an excuse for everything,” Davis says with a laugh. “But finally, my wife said I couldn’t ignore it any longer. She insisted that I go to the doctor. Pretty quickly, they found that I had anemia. Then they diagnosed multiple myeloma.”

That was 15 years ago. Davis has already survived three times longer than patients with even the best prognosis could have expected in the 20th century. The father of a son and two daughters when he was diagnosed, he has been able to watch those children grow up, take in a foster son, who is now 11, and see his first grandchild born.

And Davis is now part of a clinical trial of a targeted monoclonal antibody, daratumumab, that researchers hope will be a game changer in the treatment of myeloma. Even more amazing, Davis’ story is becoming more and more common.

A multiple myeloma diagnosis used to mean that a patient could only expect to survive three to five years — with only chemotherapy agents available for treatment. Today, that landscape has changed so much that it’s almost unrecognizable, with average survival nearly tripled and additional advances on the horizon with a sophisticated array of therapeutic options.

Doctors are trying established drugs in new combinations, doses and formulations that seem to cut down on the side effects of treatment, and also to lengthen stretches of progression-free survival (PFS). Some drugs in the clinical trial pipeline enlist the body’s own immune system to fight the disease, while others target cells with specific genetic mutations, or never-before-targeted systems that control cell processes. The fact that oral drugs are in development means that patients don’t have to travel to an infusion center every few weeks to keep their cancer under control.

Multiple myeloma remains an incurable disease, but it is becoming more manageable. Doctors are beginning to talk of it as a “chronic disease.” Some are optimistic enough to even say that a cure may be possible.

“It’s a massive convergence of our understanding of biology, the technology becoming available to understand myeloma cells and how they respond, the genetic subtypes of myeloma, the ability to engage both the patient community and researcher, to transfer data and information,” says Walter Capone, president and CEO of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. “It’s truly a renaissance in our ability to make treatment of myeloma more precise and accelerate breakthroughs for patients.”

Approximately 22,000 Americans receive a multiple myeloma diagnosis each year. Myeloma is the second most common blood cancer, after lymphoma. It tends to strike African-Americans more often, and those older than 65.

Myeloma starts in the plasma cells of the bone marrow, white blood cells that, when healthy, are specialized immune cells, specifically B-cell lymphocytes that make antibodies. As the myeloma kindles, the plasma cells stop doing what they’re supposed to do and start making large amounts of an abnormal, non-functional antibody called “M protein.” These proteins and cells can clump together, forming hole-like cysts in the bone. If more than one cyst has formed, the diagnosis is “multiple” myeloma. M proteins and other substances made by myeloma cells also can etch away bone tissue, causing pain and breaks. They may thicken the blood, interfering with the normal function of kidneys, bone marrow, nerves and the immune system. And they can lead to high levels of blood calcium, causing dehydration and kidney problems or failure, or make patients susceptible to infection.

Myeloma is expensive. The incidence of lung cancer is 11 times greater than the incidence of multiple myeloma, but the annual costs associated with multiple myeloma are $100-plus million more than the costs associated with patients with lung cancer that has spread to the bones. The costs of the new drugs for a single patient range from $98,000 to $276,000 per year.

From Standard Treatment to New Territory

In recent years, the standard treatment has been a course of traditional, high-dose chemotherapy drugs like melphalan or cyclophosphamide, considered an “induction” phase of treatment meant to induce remission of the cancer prior to a stem cell transplant. Next, the patient receives a stem cell transplant. This grueling, months-long procedure replaces the diseased bone marrow with healthy marrow from a donor. The side effects of myeloma treatment can be harrowing: drops in blood counts, crushing fatigue, diarrhea, severe bone pain, relentless infections, nausea, heart damage.

Much More HERE

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Veteran calls himself an 'Agent Orange warrior'

After the war, Vietnam veteran Steve Dudich joined the Salvation Army as a lieutenant where he served impoverished neighborhoods in the Bay Area.

"Were you in Vietnam?"

That’s a haunting question Steve Dudich, of Arroyo Grande, has heard more times than he cares to remember.

Doctors asked when they detected his daughter had a rare cancer of the forehead, when his wife miscarried a child and when he developed ischemic heart disease, forcing his heart to beat 250 beats per minute, more than twice as fast as it should be beating.

A Serbian whose family fled to America, Dudich joined the Marines at 16 years old (his father, he said, forged his mother’s signature on the recruitment paperwork). As soon as he caught wind that the Russians were transporting missiles to Cuba, he vowed he would do whatever he could to fight communism.

He never imagined it would lead him into battle against his own government.

“I’ve been an Agent Orange warrior ever since I was first in (the) country. I was burned bad by that stuff,” Dudich said. “Agent Orange has destroyed my life. It has harmed my children, it has harmed my first wife … what they have done to us and put us through when we came home, there’s no excuse for what this government did.”

U.S. forces sprayed more than 19 million gallons of the herbicide throughout Vietnam between 1961 and 1972, using the powerful acid to cut down dense foliage enemies used for cover.

Dudich sprinted through a barrage of bamboo doused in Agent Orange. The splinters penetrated his skin, injecting the herbicide into his body hundreds of times. The pain became overwhelming. He stripped down to his skivvies.

“People thought I’d gone crazy. I looked like I’d been dipped in a vat of acid,” Dudich said. “That’s where I think I got my worst contamination.”

The effects are lasting.

He developed outbreaks of rashes and blisters throughout his body, repulsing his young daughters.

“They were scared of me," Dudich said. "My eyes would have blisters, my face would have blisters. I’d stay in my room and not come out.”

His daughters harbor resentment, Dudich said. Although not physically visible, they sustain secondary exposure to Agent Orange.

One of his daughters said she considers herself “tweaked.”

Dudich has spent his life advocating for veterans rights.

Before his exposure to the herbicide, Dudich was a brash soldier. He carried a Ruger Blackhawk 357 revolver and quick drew it like a cowboy. He would wear a white T-shirt instead of Army camouflage and a soft cover instead of hard helmet.

The bright target would flush out snipers, and as soon as Dudich found out where they were firing from, he’d call in an airstrike.

“I had every attitude at my young age that I could have. I’m ghetto born and bred, man.”

Years after the war, Dudich’s commanding officers offered to promote him to captain with retroactive pay, and award him the Navy Cross. He turned them down.

“What’s that do for me?” Dudich asked.

Eventually, Dudich would be commissioned as an officer, however. He joined the Salvation Army as a lieutenant where he served impoverished neighborhoods in the Bay Area.

“Never have I regretted going into the service,” Dudich said. “I learned so much through the war. Going forward, I can see the things other people just can’t see.”


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Monsanto’s GMO Herbicide Doubles Cancer Risk

Glyphosate – the main ingredient in Monsanto’s widely used herbicide Roundup – is a colorless, odorless chemical and might seem innocuous to those who spray it on crops. But in the past few months the truth has come out: This chemical can be dangerous to farmers who are exposed to it and to people living close to farming areas.

In fact, glyphosate has been found to double the risk of one blood cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and increase the risk of a related cancer, multiple myeloma. (Multiple myeloma was recently classified as a sub-type of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, but they used to be considered distinct diseases.)

In a report released in late July, the world’s leading cancer experts at the International Agency for Research on Cancer shed new light on the cancer-causing properties of glyphosate. The report, which took an in-depth look at the latest research, concluded that glyphosate is definitely carcinogenic to animals in laboratory studies and that human exposure is linked to a higher risk of developing blood cancers such as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The report confirmed the findings of the Agency’s previous meta-analysis, which combined the results of several studies and concluded that occupational exposure to glyphosate doubles the risk of developing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The more recent report also highlighted studies that found that farm workers’ glyphosate exposure increases their risk of multiple myeloma by 70 to 100 percent.

It’s no wonder, then, that two farmers have filed lawsuits against Monsanto charging that they had been exposed them to a chemical that is “unreasonably dangerous.” Bottles of Roundup carry no warning that it is a probable human carcinogen.

In response to the International Agency’s recent findings, California has moved to add glyphosate to the state’s list of known carcinogens. This would require that Roundup bottles come with some sort of label warning of its dangers.

And farm workers aren’t the only ones exposed to the herbicide. Researchers have found glyphosate residues in food as well. The cancer research agency points out that a 2007 study found glyphosate residues on six of eight tofu samples made from Brazilian soybeans. Soybeans are the largest genetically modified crop produced globally and account for about half of the total area dedicated to growing GMO crops.

It’s time to label genetically modified food and let consumers decide whether they want to support an agricultural system that exposes farmers ­– and potentially themselves – to unreasonable risks.

Plenty of Links HERE

Playing it Safe: Avoiding Infections After Stem Cell Transplants

After stem cell transplants for blood cancers, patients — with help from their caregivers — must be careful to avoid infections.

Nikki Mann knows first-hand that it takes patience, diligence and teamwork to help a loved one recover from a stem-cell transplant following a blood cancer diagnosis.

Her husband, Bill Mann, successfully underwent a stem-cell transplant in 2004, four years after he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma at the age of 45.

Although the transplant was uncharted territory for the Manns, Nikki’s role as caregiver had already been cemented through their initial years of his cancer saga. This time, they both had to be mindful of the heightened risk for infection in the ensuing days and weeks, because a stem-cell recipient’s immune system is weakened for a period of time after a transplant.

From an infection standpoint, the main risks are viral and fungal infections, but some bacterial infection risk is present too, particularly for patients whose treatment regimen relies on intravenous catheters that stay implanted for months at a time, says medical oncologist Ravi Vij, a specialist in bone marrow/stem cell transplants at the Siteman Cancer Center at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo.

Jump for some GREAT tips

Friday, October 2, 2015

Risk of MGUS, multiple myeloma greater in Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange

Vietnam veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange appear to have an increased risk for developing monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance, a precursor to multiple myeloma, according to results of a prospective study.

Researchers evaluated stored blood samples from U.S. Air Force personnel and found those who conducted Vietnam War missions that involved ‘Agent Orange’ herbicide had a more than twofold greater risk for developing monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS).

“Multiple myeloma has been classified as exhibiting ‘limited or suggestive evidence’ of an association with herbicides in Vietnam War veterans,” Ola Landgren, MD, PhD, chief of myeloma service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, and colleagues wrote. “Occupational studies have shown that other pesticides (insecticides, herbicides, fungicides) are associated with excess risk of multiple myeloma and its precursor state MGUS; however, to our knowledge, no [previous] studies have uncovered such an association in Vietnam War veterans.”

Landgren and colleagues conducted this prospective cohort study to determine the prevalence of MGUS among Operation Ranch Hand veterans compared to a control population and to assess the risk of MGUS in relation to the Agent Orange contaminant and human carcinogen 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD).

Operation Ranch Hand was part of a U.S. military strategy from 1962 to 1971 that involved spraying approximately 20 million gallons of herbicides over rural areas of South Vietnam in an attempt to deprive the Viet Cong of food and vegetation cover.

Researchers evaluated data from the Air Force Health Study, which collected and stored serum samples and relevant exposure data. A follow-up examination of the Air Force Health Study was performed in 2002.

Landgren and colleagues tested all of the specimens in 2013 without knowledge of the exposure status. Their analysis included data from 958 male veterans, 479 of whom were part of Operation Ranch Hand and 479 comparison veterans who did not fly on those missions. All cases and controls had similar demographics, medical histories and lifestyle characteristics.

The prevalence of MGUS was 7.1% in Ranch Hand veterans compared with 3.1% in the control group. This equated to a 2.4-fold increased risk for MGUS in the Ranch Hand veterans after adjusting for age, race, BMI and the time of blood draw for TCDD measurement in 2002 compared to the control cohort (adjusted OR = 2.37; 95% CI, 1.27-4.44).

Further, the risk for MGUS was significantly greater among veterans aged younger than 70 years (OR = 3.4; 95% CI, 1.46-8.13).

The researchers acknowledged several study limitations. There were no objective measurements of exposure to phenoxy herbicides, so researchers used cohort status as a surrogate. Also, the first TCDD measures weren’t taken until 1987 and — with 25 years between exposure and measurement — the researchers could not account for individual variations in the whole-body elimination of TCDD.

A bias may also have been introduced because a greater proportion of Ranch Hand veterans had a TCDD level measured in 1987 than controls (86.6% vs. 74.1%).


Thursday, October 1, 2015

September Numbers.....74 Months of Complete Remission!

WBC:   7.0

HTC:   40.2


ANC:   65

Light Chains:

Kappa:  19.55

Lambda:  21.56

Ratio:   0.91


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Monsanto hid Roundup’s Cancer Risk According to California Lawsuit

Not that it is a stranger to product liability considering it was the primary maker of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, but St. Louis-based chemical giant Monsanto may be facing a plethora of class-action lawsuits over one of its flagship products, Roundup weed killer. In March, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the herbicide in Roundup, glyphosate, a “probable human carcinogen.” The declaration was followed-up by several countries banning or severely restricting the use of glyphosate, including the Netherlands, Bermuda, and Sri Lanka, with France banning it for use in gardens in June. Glyphosate is the world’s most common herbicide, with the most recent data from the U.S. Geological Survey estimating that 280 million pounds of it was used in the U.S. in 2012. Out of the 130 countries that still permit the product; the U.S. is by far the Monsanto’s largest consumer with over 20 percent of global sales.  That may change, however, as California has followed the WHO’s lead earlier in the month. The state’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) issued a “notice of intent” that it will also list glyphosate as a probable carcinogen, which is required by the state’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 for any product that the WHO’s cancer division lists as a carcinogen. The OEHHA classification requires companies with 10 or more employees in the state to provide a “clear and reasonable warning” of any product on the list of its dangers.


Monday, September 28, 2015

Labor Day in PCB..... Summer's Last Blast

Cajun pal Vickie flew in for Labor Day.  We had a lovely time. Hung out on the beach every day, did our Happy Hour at The Liq, Had dinners at Montego Bay, Los Rancheros, Saltwater Grill (my new favorite!) and of course, Dee's Hangout for the best food on the beach!

One night, Judy and Ray had us over to their place for a pizza/buffalo wing party.  Great folks!
Dee's Hangout
Saltwater Grill
Montego Bay
Jim, Judy, Vickie, Ray

Montego Bay

Dee's Hangout

Our Kevin

Oysters Four Ways at Dee's Hangout