Category: Important Reading
Post-cataract surgery requires scheduled eye drops
Possibly one of the biggest issues I had during recovery from cataract surgery was keeping up with the eye drop schedule.
During recovery for the first eye, I got fairly behind in administering the drops, and most likely missed doses.
I tried using the timer and the alarm on my phone to remind myself. It was difficult to comply with the doctor’s orders this way.
After the second surgery this morning, I searched the PlayStore for an Android app better suited to the task at hand. The first one I tried didn’t allow for much customization in the schedule. The next app I installed was called Dosecast, and it fit the bill!
This app allowed me to create a custom reminder for each of the meds I was required to self-administer.
In just a few short steps for each of the prescriptions, I was able to set up a profile for each. I entered the name and set the frequency. I chose an alert sound, and set the number of repetitions for each reminder. In my case, I asked to continue to be reminded until I administered the med. Once I do that, the app advances the time for the next reminder, based on the frequency that was set. It even allows me to skip reminders while I’m sleeping, which is what I want to do.
This is a free app that also has a Pro Edition. You can find out more information by visiting the Montuno Software website.
I highly recommend this app. It’s available for iPhone and Android devices.
Determined to beat the odds, some people chose to face terminal cancer with a survivor mindset.
They know survival odds are not in their favor, but they have hope regardless. And they should, because people can live a long time with incurable cancers thanks to current anti-cancer treatments.
Today, people with an aggressive, incurable cancer called mesothelioma are outliving their prognosis because of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and immunotherapy.
Mesothelioma is a cancer caused by asbestos exposure. It can develop several decades after ongoing, heavy asbestos exposure. It takes many years, between 20 and 50, for asbestos to damage DNA in ways that lead to cancer.
The cancer most commonly develops in the lining of the lungs and is called pleural mesothelioma. Sometimes it develops in the lining of the abdomen. That condition is known as peritoneal mesothelioma.
Chemotherapy is the primary treatment for mesothelioma, and some people receive radiation therapy, too. A select few patients are diagnosed early enough to qualify for surgery, which can significantly extend survival.
Clinical trials are currently testing immunotherapy drugs on mesothelioma. Several immunotherapy drugs have helped certain patients to live years beyond the average one-year mesothelioma survival rate.
Cases of people living with mesothelioma beyond three, five and 10 years are becoming more common thanks to treatment advancements. These long-term survivors are sources of hope and inspiration to people newly diagnosed with mesothelioma.
Some of these survivors believed they could outlive their mesothelioma prognosis from the get-go. Others eventually develop a survivor mindset as they continue to live, shocking themselves and their oncology team.
What Is Survivor Mentality?
People with survivor mentality often possess a can-do attitude. They focus on solutions when problems arise. They muster hope despite the odds.
Some people with a survivor mindset operate on blind faith, while others are natural optimists or have realistic trust in modern medicine.
Those with survivor mentality are often resilient, meaning they bounce back relatively quickly after adversity.
However, being resilient and having a good attitude doesn’t mean that survivors force themselves to think positively all of the time.
What if Fear Takes Hold?
It’s easier to remain positive when the cancer is in control or shrinking. If the cancer grows, doubts about survival can creep into the mind. These are normal, realistic thoughts that even the most positive people with cancer will experience.
Thinking like a survivor doesn’t come naturally to everyone. Some cancer patients feel guilty about their dark emotions, worrying their fear and sadness will impact their survival.
Research shows this isn’t true. Feeling depressed, angry or anxious doesn’t make cancer grow. Having a positive outlook doesn’t improve survival, but it does affect quality of life.
Based on the evidence available to date, there’s no reason to believe that emotions can cause cancer or make it grow. When cancer patients are having a tough time, there’s no need to worry that attitude will shorten survival.
Tough days will challenge the survivor mindset. That’s to be expected with cancer. The goal is to maintain hope and garner motivation to keep surviving in the face of hardship.
Ways to Cultivate a Survivor Mindset
Start by making a list of available resources.
Research shows that psychological health in cancer survivors is the result of two factors: The stress of the cancer experience and the resources available for coping with cancer.
Cancer-related stress increases when people don’t have access to resources such as cancer treatment centers, clinical trials, medication, support groups or support from family and friends.
In other words, the more resources cancer patients have access to, the less stress they experience.
It’s hard to maintain a hopeful attitude when under distress. Making a list of cancer-related resources allows patients to recognize all the resources available to help them get through cancer.
Consider these other tips to cultivate a survivor mentality and healthy state of mind.
Try mental health therapy. Adjusting to life with cancer isn’t a walk in the park. Speaking with a counselor or social worker who specializes in oncology can help. Therapists work with patients and their families to develop healthy coping strategies and stress management skills.
Join a support group. Participating in a cancer support group is a great way to connect with other people who truly understand what it’s like to face cancer. It’s a healthy way to seek social support and process stress.
Learn relaxation techniques. Finding different ways to relax can improve mood and motivation amid tough times. Examples include breathing techniques, meditation, prayer, yoga and tai chi.
Get gentle exercise. Light exercise releases feel-good endorphins and improves stamina. Go for walks, take a bike ride or swim to boost mood and promote recovery from cancer treatment.
Enjoy a hobby. Getting lost in the enjoyment of a hobby is therapeutic and stress-relieving. Indulging in a hobby brings immense joy or a sense of inner calm, depending upon the activity. Whether it’s playing golf or a round of pool, reading books or taking dance lessons, taking up a hobby offers numerous benefits to people with cancer.
Don’t fret if you struggle with maintaining a positive outlook. Reach out to a therapist if you need help, and rely on family and friends for comfort and support to get through tough days.
With hope and determination, people facing cancer can cultivate a survivor mentality that will help them cope with the cancer experience.
Author bio: Michelle Whitmer has been a medical writer and editor for The Mesothelioma Center since 2008. Focused on the benefits of natural and integrative medicine for cancer patients, Michelle is a certified yoga instructor and graduated from Rollins College in Florida.
American Cancer Society. (2014, March 31). Attitudes and cancer. Retrieved from http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/emotionalsideeffects/attitudes-and-cancer
Andrykowski, M.A., Lykins, E., & Floyd, A. (2008). Psychological health in cancer survivors. Semin Oncol Nurs, 24(3): 193-201. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3321244/
MacDonald, A. (2011, March 28). Mental and emotional challenges of surviving cancer. Retrieved from http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/the-mental-and-emotional-challenges-of-surviving-cancer-201103282146
National Cancer Institute. (2012, December 10). Psychological stress and cancer. Retrieved from http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/coping/feelings/stress-fact-sheet
Weintraub, P. (2009, July 1). The new survivors. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200907/the-new-survivors
One out of every 691 babies born each year will have Down syndrome making it the most common chromosomal abnormality. First named by English physician John Langdon Down, the condition occurs when a person has a full or partial extra copy of their 21st chromosome. Simply put, they have 22 pairs of all chromosomes plus one set that has three.
The decision to screen for Down syndrome is a personal choice between you, your partner and doctor. Some parents-to-be feel strongly about having these answers as soon as possible so they can pursue additional confirmatory testing and guide future healthcare decisions. Others choose not to know at all.
What are the risk factors for delivering a baby with Down syndrome?
Down syndrome occurs in all races and ethnicities with no clear link to its cause, but there are some risk factors that we know raise the chances of your baby being born with the disorder. These include:
- Maternal age of 35 or older (though babies with Down syndrome can be born to younger mothers)
- Previous birth of a baby with Down syndrome
- Being a carrier of the genetic translocation for Down syndrome
How will I be tested for Down syndrome?
Most doctors offer screening tests for Down syndrome in the first or second trimester. Some tests must be completed earlier than others, but they should all be done no later than your 20th week. It’s best to complete them as early as possible.
Your doctor may use a combination of blood work and ultrasound technology to gather more information about your baby’s risk for Down syndrome and other chromosomal abnormalities. In the past, samples would be taken from the amniotic sac and results were returned as a percentage or risk ratio that had to be interpreted by your doctor. Newer screening tests called cell-free DNA tests look at fetal DNA existing in your own bloodstream and does not have to compromise your baby’s sterile environment. Referred to as “noninvasive” options, these tests can indicate a likelihood that abnormalities may be affecting the pregnancy. You will need additional testing based on the results of your blood work and ultrasounds to confirm a diagnosis. This may include invasive tests like chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis.
Can noninvasive prenatal testing tell me about other genetic conditions?
Yes. Some noninvasive prenatal tests will screen for a spectrum of genetic conditions—not just Down syndrome. Some conditions that can be detected include:
- Trisomy 18 (Edwards syndrome)
- Trisomy 13 (Patau syndrome)
- Rarer chromosomal abnormalities like DiGeorge syndrome, Jacobsen syndrome, Cri-du-chat syndrome and others
What is the outlook for a child with Down syndrome?
Children with Down syndrome may also have other health problems at birth. About half are born with some type of heart condition that could be life threatening, and may require corrective surgery. In addition, people with Down syndrome have a higher risk for other health problems including:
- Infectious diseases
- Vision problems
- Sleep apnea
Children born with Down syndrome are living longer, better lives than they did a century ago and many are integrating into today’s schools, community organizations and workforces. Most people with Down syndrome will possess some form of cognitive delay ranging from mild to severe that will shape how they live and how much care or supervision is required from day to day.
Only you can decide
No screening tool for Down syndrome is guaranteed to be 100% accurate and the decision to have prenatal genetic testing is unique to you and your situation. Talk with your doctor to learn more about the risks and benefits associated with testing, consider your risk factors and move forward with the decision that feels right for you.
It feels like we live in a world where we know a larger circle of people, and with that in mind, there are special occasions throughout the year that we’re invited to such as weddings, birthdays, graduations and leaving dos.
But these events can come at a cost – quite literally. It’s natural to feel the pinch to our pockets, but it’s also fair to say that we don’t want to turn up with a rubbish gift.
So how exactly do we give a great present that costs relatively little money?
Well, you’ll be pleased to know that we’ve come up with five marvelous gifts for five different occasions…
If someone you know is getting married, why not tailor the gift to something you know the couple can enjoy together. For example, if they’re going somewhere wonderful on their honeymoon, get them a travel-related gift such as a little pocket diary for them to note everything down. It’s an experience they’re never going to want to forget, so this present is perfect.
Often someone’s who’s graduating will need lots of inspiration to find the perfect career for them and work out their next move. Why not get them a digital print with a motivational quote on it? If you’re unsure on the angle to take because you don’t know them overly well, then check with close relatives and friends first.
Birthdays are the perfect excuse to be spoilt rotten, but this doesn’t mean spending a fortune necessarily. Why not give them the gift of you? If you’re a great cook, offer to make them a delicious meal. Are you a professional masseuse? Give the gift of a free massage. Have a multitude of talents? You could create a coupon book with lots of things they can enjoy throughout the year. These options are perfect for couples and close friends.
Work Leaving Do
Leaving a job can be really sad, so it’s likely that the person will want something to remind them of the time they spent in the position. A personalised photo book is the ideal way to do this – it could include a picture from a particularly good company night out – and you can order these from specialist sites such as Photobox. Want to take it further? You could up the ante with a canvas print instead.
Why not bake something? A mum-to-be will undoubtedly have cravings and will likely swoon at the sight of homemade brownies , a delicious cake or otherwise. It’s also a fantastic way of adding a personal touch, as the baby name could be spelled out or the bake could be blue or pink to represent the sex.
No matter what you decide to do, it’s always the thought that counts as opposed to the size or value of the present. You’ll probably find that your more thoughtful gift will be far more appreciated by the recipient too.