National Cancer Survivor’s Day

 

 

Observed annually on the first Sunday in June, National Cancer Survivor’s Day has been set aside to “demonstrate that life after a cancer diagnosis can be a reality.”

Each year on National Cancer Survivor’s Day, events and celebrations are held and hosted around the United States by local communities, hospitals and support groups honoring cancer survivors.  Events may include parades, carnivals, art exhibits, contests and testimonies. President George W. Bush and the National Cancer Institute director each included a commencement at the 2008 celebration.

 

So today is my day and my mom’s day and countless other people’s day.  I’m a kidney cancer survivor – 12 years now!

My mom survived colon cancer TWICE

My sister-in-law survived breast cancer TWICE

My DH survived melanoma and is working hard at surviving prostate cancer.

It hasn’t been all good though.  There have been many more in my extended family who did not survive, including my dad and my aunt. 

 

Congratulations to the survivors on this special “Who Knew” holiday, National Cancer Survivor’s Day

 

 

Medicare Open Enrollment Ends Tomorrow!

One Day

From October 15 to December 7 every year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) gives you free reign to change your Medicare coverage. Take advantage of the Medicare Open Enrollment Period or you could be stuck with your plan for the coming year, premiums and all.

 

What You Can Do During Open Enrollment

Open Enrollment is your time to pick the Medicare plan that gives you the best coverage for the best price.

Here are your different options.

You can change from Original Medicare to Medicare Advantage.

  • You can switch from Original Medicare (Part A and Part B) to a Medicare Advantage plan (Part C).
  • You can switch from Original Medical to a Medicare Advantage Plan with Part D coverage (an MA-PD plan).
  • You can switch from Original Medicare plus a Part D plan to a Medicare Advantage plan.
  • You can switch from Original Medical plus a Part D plan to an MA-PD plan.

You can change from Medicare Advantage to Original Medicare.

  • You can switch from a Medicare Advantage plan to Original Medicare.
  • You can switch from a Medicare Advantage plan to Original Medicare plus a Part D plan.
  • You can switch from an MA-PD plan to Original Medicare.
  • You can switch from an MA-PD plan to Original Medicare plus a Part D plan.

You can change from Medicare Advantage to Medicare Advantage.

  • You can change from one Medicare Advantage plan to another Medicare Advantage plan.
  • You can change from a Medicare Advantage plan to an MA-PD plan.
  • You can change from one MA-PD plan to another MA-PD plan.
  • You can change from an MA-PD plan to a Medicare Advantage plan.

You can change your prescription drug coverage.

  • You can sign up for a Part D plan.
  • You can switch from one Part D plan to another Part D plan.
  • You can cancel your Part D coverage.

What You Cannot Do During Open Enrollment

Open Enrollment has its limits. You cannot enroll in Original Medicare for the first time or sign up for Part B, even if you already have Part A.

You need to sign up for Part A and/or Part B during your Initial Enrollment Period (IEP). The IEP is based on age and begins three months before and end three months after your 65th birthday.

Alternatively, if you have insurance through an employer, you may be able to delay your initial enrollment. This is only the case if the company you work for employs at least 20 full-time employees. Your special enrollment period begins when you leave your job or you lose your employer-sponsored health coverage, whichever comes first, and lasts for eight months.

If you miss your Initial Enrollment Period, you need to wait until the General Enrollment Period to sign up for Part A and/or Part B. The General Enrollment Period happens once a year from January 1 to March 31.

Sciatica

sciatica

 

I’ve veered off-topic yet again with a bit about sciatica.  I’ve dealt with this for years and years and had a bunch of opinions from a lot of people on what to do, what to take.  For me, nothing seems to help except waiting it out for about a week, then it settles down.  I’ve tried heat, cold, Tylenol, prescriptions, exercises, sitting, standing, lying down…

Just wait a week.  Right now, I’m on day 6, so I have high hopes for tomorrow.

I do notice that sitting is marginally worse than lying or standing.  I guess that maybe compresses the nerve more?  I do have a bit of Oxycodone left over from my knee pain (which I still have – luckily, on the same leg – just not as badly), so I take 1/2 of one to help me sleep at night.

kidding1
Whenever I think of Oxycodone, I’m reminded of the night that I was diagnosed with kidney cancer.  I’d just been admitted to a room and someone came to visit me.  She offered to buy my Oxy from me.  I was stunned.  Then, she said she was just kidding.

Um, no.  I can’t think of anyone who would even think of buying Oxy who didn’t have some kind of issue – even as a “joke”.

 

 

Some info from the Mayo Clinic

Sciatica refers to pain that radiates along the path of the sciatic nerve, which branches from your lower back through your hips and buttocks and down each leg. Typically, sciatica affects only one side of your body.

Sciatica most commonly occurs when a herniated disk, bone spur on the spine or narrowing of the spine (spinal stenosis) compresses part of the nerve. This causes inflammation, pain and often some numbness in the affected leg.

Although the pain associated with sciatica can be severe, most cases resolve with non-operative treatments in a few weeks. People who have severe sciatica that’s associated with significant leg weakness or bowel or bladder changes might be candidates for surgery.

Pain that radiates from your lower (lumbar) spine to your buttock and down the back of your leg is the hallmark of sciatica. You might feel the discomfort almost anywhere along the nerve pathway, but it’s especially likely to follow a path from your low back to your buttock and the back of your thigh and calf.

The pain can vary widely, from a mild ache to a sharp, burning sensation or excruciating pain. Sometimes it can feel like a jolt or electric shock. It can be worse when you cough or sneeze, and prolonged sitting can aggravate symptoms. Usually only one side of your body is affected.

Some people also have numbness, tingling or muscle weakness in the affected leg or foot. You might have pain in one part of your leg and numbness in another part.

Read more at http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sciatica/basics/definition/con-20026478

World Blood Donor Day

World-Blood-Donor-Day

 

The theme of this year’s World Blood Donor Day is “Blood connects us all”. It focuses on thanking blood donors and highlights the dimension of “sharing” and “connection” between blood donors and patients. In addition, the World Health Organization has adopted the slogan “Share life, give blood”, to draw attention to the roles that voluntary donation systems play in encouraging people to care for one another and promote community cohesion.

36 hours is all it takes for your body to replace blood that you donate. Celebrate #WorldBloodDonorDay on Tuesday, June 14. Blood connects us all.

Find out how you can help here. http://curec.lk/21iWHSi

 

Polycystic Kidney Disease

normal-and-polycystic-kidneys

 

I’ve decided to add information about Polycystic Kidney Disease to this blog since my brother-in-law died from this last week.  My mother-in-law also had it and 3 of her children inherited this disease.

When I had my kidney cancer, I was surprised to learn that Polycystic Kidney Disease was a risk factor.

~~~

 

Polycystic kidney disease is a genetic disorder that causes numerous cysts to grow in the kidneys. A kidney cyst is an abnormal sac filled with fluid. PKD cysts can greatly enlarge the kidneys while replacing much of their normal structure, resulting in chronic kidney disease (CKD), which causes reduced kidney function over time. CKD may lead to kidney failure, described as end-stage kidney disease or ESRD when treated with a kidney transplant or blood-filtering treatments called dialysis. The two main types of PKD are autosomal dominant PKD and autosomal recessive PKD.

PKD cysts are different from the usually harmless “simple” cysts that often form in the kidneys later in life. PKD cysts are more numerous and cause complications, such as high blood pressure, cysts in the liver, and problems with blood vessels in the brain and heart.

Adapted from http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-topics/kidney-disease/polycystic-kidney-disease-pkd/Pages/facts.aspx

More information to follow…