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…

Rally for Medical Research Hill Day

Held every September, this Capitol Hill Day event continues the momentum established in 2013, and includes nearly 300 national organizations coming together in support of the Rally for Medical Research.

The purpose of the Rally is to call on our nation’s policymakers to make funding for National Institutes of Health (NIH) a national priority and raise awareness about the importance of continued investment in medical research that leads to MORE PROGRESS, MORE HOPE and MORE LIVES SAVED.

The next Rally for Medical Research Hill Day is Sept. 22, 2016.

Sign up to receive updates, including a link to register once it becomes available.

Hmmm – I Drink Coffee All Day

coffee-maker

This article says differently:

You’re probably drinking coffee at the wrong time of day

Wake up and smell the coffee beans. Many of us start the day in this manner, but sometimes that caffeine kick we’re after doesn’t actually kick. Turns out there’s a good reason – if you’re missing out on an energy boost from that morning cup, science has the answer.

The daily coffee habit isn’t just a delicious ritual, it’s also a vehicle for the planet’s most popular psychoactive drug, caffeine. People the world over rely on this central nervous system stimulant for its ability to keep them alert, despite the myriad side effects including possible anxiety and heartburn (everything in moderation, people).

However, as anyone who’s not a coffee addict will attest, humans are perfectly capable of staying awake without chemical help. This is thanks to our own internal chemistry, and, more specifically, a hormone called cortisol.

As with any hormone, cortisol has several influences on the body, and is most commonly associated with metabolism. Produced in the adrenal cortex above the kidneys, it also plays a role in our stress and alertness levels.

And this is where it gets really interesting. Research has found that cortisol has a natural peak-and-fall cycle in the human body, with the highest levels occurring on average between 8 to 9 am.

Cortisol – and therefore your natural, unaided alertness levels – are important to consider in relation to your caffeine intake. Right when you wake up, your cortisol is already on the climb, which means that the morning coffee shot is going to have a lesser effect.

“If we are drinking caffeine at a time when your cortisol concentration in the blood is at its peak, you probably should not be drinking it,” writes neuroscientist Steven L. Miller. “One of the key principles of pharmacology is use a drug when it is needed [..] Otherwise, we can develop tolerance to a drug administered at the same dose.”

So drinking coffee first thing in the morning makes you more resistant to its effects. Of course, if you’re just drinking it for the taste, go nuts.

But when should you enjoy your coffee, then?

To optimise your coffee break, it’s best to have it between 9.30 and 11.30am. Because cortisol levels peak and rise a couple times during the day, your next window of alertness is between noon and 1pm, and then again between 5.30 and 6.30pm.

Drink coffee in-between these times to reap maximum caffeine benefits, but don’t leave it too late in the day if you want to get a good night’s sleep.

 

 

Am I likely to change my habits?  Probably not.  My cortisol levels have been screwed up for over 30 years anyway!

 

coffee-machine

World Cancer Day 2016

Other Stuff, Part 2: Kidney Cancer

Until I saw it on Facebook, I didn’t know that today was World Cancer Day.  Over the years, our family has dealt with several types of cancer and I have friends that have had cancers of their own.  I think that most every family has been touched by cancer in some way.

In my family:

Colon cancer

  • My dad had it twice and died after his second surgery
  • My aunt had it twice and died after her second surgery.  She was lucky – she never had any symptoms except looking like she was pregnant.
  • My mom had it twice and she’s still alive at 93.  Hooray!  It can be beat with the right attitude.

Kidney Cancer

According to my “risk factors”, I “should” have had colon cancer because both parents and an aunt had it twice each.  Of course, there’s no guarantee that I won’t get that, too.

And the risk factors for kidney cancer aka renal cell carcinoma?  The majority of kidney cancers are renal cell carcinomas.

Risk factors for renal cell carcinoma include:

  • Age. Your risk of renal cell carcinoma increases as you age. Renal cell carcinoma occurs most commonly in people 60 and older.

I was younger than this.

  • Sex. Men are more likely to develop renal cell carcinoma than women are.

I am female

  • Smoking. Smokers have a greater risk of renal cell carcinoma than nonsmokers do. The risk increases the longer you smoke and decreases after you quit.

Not me!

  • Obesity. People who are obese have a higher risk of renal cell carcinoma than do people who are considered average weight.

A Cushing’s gift

  • High blood pressure (hypertension). High blood pressure increases your risk of renal cell carcinoma, but it isn’t clear why. Some research in animals has linked high blood pressure medications to an increased risk of kidney cancer, but studies in people have had conflicting results.

Never had this until the kidney cancer.  It went away immediately post-op.

  • Chemicals in your workplace. Workers who are exposed to certain chemicals on the job may have a higher risk of renal cell carcinoma. People who work with chemicals such as asbestos, cadmium and trichloroethylene may have an increased risk of kidney cancer.

What?  Me work?.

  • Treatment for kidney failure. People who receive long-term dialysis to treat chronic kidney failure have a greater risk of developing kidney cancer. People who have a kidney transplant and receive immunosuppressant drugs also are more likely to develop kidney cancer.

Nope.  Some sites also list polycystic  kidney disease.  I don’t have that but half my husband’s family does.  Hmmm – wonder if that’s contagious

  • Von Hippel-Lindau disease. People with this inherited disorder are likely to develop several kinds of tumors, including, in some cases, renal cell carcinoma.

I’ve wondered about this but, you know, it’s too “rare”.

  • Hereditary papillary renal cell carcinoma. Having this inherited condition makes it more likely you’ll develop one or more renal cell carcinomas.

Not that I know of. 

Pretty close to zero on the risk factors. No signs, no symptoms. I was diagnosed in the ER of my local hospital in 2006.

Skin Cancer

  • My husband has had a variety of melanomas and other skin cancers removed

Breast Cancer

  • Sister-in-Law

Among my friends, there have been many cancers – breast cancers, lung cancers (including people who have never smoked), multiple myelomas,  neuroendocrine cancers (this one is supposed to be really rare.  I have 3 friends with this.), probably some I don’t know about yet – and maybe it is unknown to the person.

Some ideas how to protect yourself and others from cancer.  It could save your life!

Biopsy 2 of 4

I mentioned in an earlier post that I was having some biopsies done.  It had been planned for 3 of them today  2 on my right leg, 1 on my left.

Up at 6:30 to put Lidocaine/Prilocaine cream on the places, covered with waterproof bandages.

I arrived at my doctor’s at 8:30 and found that my insurance would only allow one biopsy at a time. <sigh>

 

leg1

The doctor removed most (or all?) of the largest one. There are 3 internal stitches and 7 on the outside.  When those 7 are removed in a couple weeks, the doctor will remove the second one, on the other leg.  Then, when the stitches come out for that, she’ll remove the 3rd.

My summer at the doctor’s.  LOL

Meanwhile, we were hoping the pathology report would come back today for the forehead one I did last week but it hasn’t yet.  No news is good news!

 

Patient Instructions for Biopsy Site Care from Johns Hopkins

  1. Leave your wound dressings in place for the rest of the day of the biopsy and keep them dry.
  2. Change band-aids daily starting the day after the biopsy.
  3. Showers are fine starting the day after the biopsy. Leave the band-aids in place while you shower and change them after you dry off.
  4. During the time period of daily band-aid changes, do not soak in a bath or swim.
  5. The average time for daily band-aid changes is 5 to 6 days (range is from 1 or 2 days up to 2 weeks).
  6. If you need to use anything to clean the wounds, hydrogen peroxide is recommended. If the wounds are fine (i.e., no signs of infection), all that is required is a daily band-aid change.
  7. The wounds may or may not form a scab as they heal; either way is fine.
  8. Continue to change the band-aids daily until there are no open wounds.
  9. The local anesthetic used for the biopsy will usually last for 1 to 2 hours after the procedure. After it wears off, you may have some mild, localized soreness and tenderness at the biopsy sites over the next day or two. You may find regular Tylenol is helpful for the discomfort.
  10. Refrain from doing extremely strenuous activity for the rest of the day of your biopsy (such as running or heavy lifting).
  11. Once you are without the band-aid, the biopsy sites may look slightly red or darker than the rest of your skin. This discoloration will gradually fade and blend back with your normal skin color. This fading process may take anywhere from a few months up to a year.
  12. It is very rare for people to have any problems during the healing period. It is normal for the biopsy sites to bleed a little bit or drain pink fluid for a day or two after the biopsies. They should not bleed excessively (i.e., through the band-aid) after that time. They should never drain pus. If you do experience problems with significant bleeding, redness, infection, or other problems, call your doctor’s office.