Saturday, July 31, 2010

Interesting study out of Sweden

Earlier today I was reading a disturbing article that talked about how the world's best selling herbicide has a "clear link" to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Here is a link to that article, Nate if you are reading this, then you should check this out.

"New Study Links Monsanto's Roundup to Cancer

PRESS RELEASE - 22 JUNE - New Study Links Monsanto's Roundup to Cancer

A recent study by eminent oncologists Dr. Lennart Hardell and Dr. Mikael Eriksson of Sweden [1], has revealed clear links between one of the world's biggest selling herbicide, glyphosate, to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a form of cancer [2].
In the study published in the 15 March 1999 Journal of American Cancer Society, the researchers also maintain that exposure to glyphosate 'yielded increased risks for NHL.' They stress that with the rapidly increasing use of glyphosate since the time the study was carried out, 'glyphosate deserves further epidemiologic studies.'

Glyphosate, commonly known as Roundup, is the world's most widely used herbicide. It is estimated that for 1998, over a 112,000 tonnes of glyphosate was used world-wide. It indiscriminately kills off a wide variety of weeds after application and is primarily used to control annual and perennial plants.

71% of genetically engineered crops planted in 1998 are designed to be resistant to herbicides such as glyphosate, marketed by Monsanto as Roundup. Companies developing herbicide resistant crops are also increasing their production capacity for the herbicides such as glyphosate, and also requesting permits for higher residues of these chemicals in genetically engineered food. For example, Monsanto have already received permits for a threefold increase in herbicide residues on genetically engineered soybeans in Europe and the U.S., up from 6 parts per million (PPM) to 20 PPM."

Friday, July 16, 2010

Lucy's feeling better + cool new blog

Hey guys. So Lucy is feeling much better and still has a full head of hair. The doctor says she's doing remarkably well for the amount of chemo she's undergone in the past few weeks. So that's rad.

In other news, check out this cool new blog I've been reading written by a guy named Duane who was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. This is his bio...

"I was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma in late 2003, but it wasn't until after learning about my first relapse in the summer of 2005 at which time I discovered the dozens of inspirational stories of other survivors on the Internet that I decided to make this blog a reality. Since 2007, I've been cancer-free. I hope that cancer survivors and their families will be able to take something from this that will help them in their own journey."

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Lucy's second dose of chemo

Well, this morning we got up and went to get Lucy some chemo. It was pretty much the same as last time, but it lasted a little longer. She's feeling sick now but she's resting (right next to me, actually), so hopefully when she wakes up we can go get some lunch.

She hasn't started to lose any hair yet, but she's still terrified of when that happens. I know she loves reading my blog and all your comments though, so let's try to keep her positive.

Thanks everyone!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Scary link between PCBs and cancer

Cerro, Pharmacia named in another suit over Sauget pollution
From The Madison St. Clair Record last week:

Another Illinois resident whose relative died after being exposed to hazardous substances near Sauget has filed a lawsuit over the release of those substances.

Wanda Hurtt filed a lawsuit June 18 against Cerro Flow Products, Inc., Pharmacia Corporation, Solutia, Inc., Pfizer and Monsanto AG Products.

As a result of her exposure to the PCBs, the recently deceased Annie Pearl Able developed cancer and died, according to the complaint.

"According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, a lifetime dose of one milligram of PCBs is sufficient to cause cancer and other serious and life-threatening diseases," the suit states. "According to the World Health Organization, there is not a safe level of exposure to PCBs."

Not only are the PCBs dangerous to humans, but they also are hazardous to the environment, the suit states.

The releases began after the W.G. Krummrich Plant, which is also referred to as the Monsanto Facility in the complaint, began producing, storing and disposing PCBs at its facility, Hurtt claims.

In fact, "more PCBs were produced at the Monsanto Facility than at any other site in the United States, and perhaps even the free world," the suit states.

"To this day, one or more of the Monsanto Defendants and their consultants are actively engaged in a campaign of deception to mislead the residents and real property owners of communities adjacent to the Release Sites, including the Plaintiffs, into believing that the Substances do not present, and have never presented, any threat to the residents or to the real property of those adjacent communities," the complaint says.

Nate and Mary, if you're reading this, how scary is this?! This is just what you guys have been talking about lately.

Cool benefit concert

As most of you guys know, I'm a huge music fan and so is Lucy, so when I read this cool story about a band doing a benefit concert for a non-Hodgkin's lymphoma patient, I got really excited. Lucy was also stoked. Check it out:
Members of the band Silent Lapse are reaching out to help Emily Hepker, with a benefit concert at 8 p.m. Friday at The Loft.

Hepker, a friend of the band, has battled Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma for three years. The band hopes to help pay her medical bills and travel expenses throughout the process of her fourth round of chemotherapy.

“Emily is an inspiration to many for her unrelenting perseverance and positive attitude,” said a description on the band’s Facebook page. “But this battle is costly in many ways. Hotel stays, medical expenses and frequent travel to and from May Clinic in Rochester, Minn. all add up. So we will be playing a benefit concert at the Loft to help out a person who truly embodies the message of hope that birthright represents.”

Also performing at the concert will be local bands Know Lyfe, Hollow Drive and Foul Moustache.

The Loft is located at 414 E. Michigan Ave. To make a donation, visit

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

This headline should read "cute guy survives cancer"

Hey... a girl can look, right? ;)

Just read this story about a 29-year-old guy named Ryan Swanson, who lives in Memphis, and how he's celebrating his third year non-Hodgkin's lymphoma-FREE, which is awesome.

The full story is here, from Commercial Appeal Memphis.

Ryan Swanson, who recently opened Ryan Patrick Salon in East Memphis, is a cancer survivor. He was diagnosed with late-stage Hodgkin's lymphoma at age 25, but will celebrate three years of full remission in August.

Ryan Swanson, image courtesy of Commercial Appeal

Swanson was working as a colorist and stylist at Pavo Salon and studying to complete his bachelor's degree in marketing at Christian Brothers University when he began having pain in his hip. His first stop was a chiropractor.

When the pain only got worse, he made an appointment with an orthopedic doctor.

"They ordered an MRI and I went in for my results and that's when they said I needed to go in to The West Clinic," he said.

It took months to get a firm diagnosis via hip biopsies and other tests, Swanson said. He noticed a small lymph node on the side of his neck and another under his arm "and that's how they diagnosed me." The hip pain, he later found out, stemmed from a cancerous lesion on his hip bone.

"He's always worked hard, but I think (Ryan) appreciates things a whole lot more now," said Swanson's stepmother, Rose Ann, who helped raise him and his older brother, Mike, after his biological mother died of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in her mid-30s.

She and Swanson's father, Dusty, a retired FedEx pilot, were playing golf when their son called them with the grim news.

"That was the last thing in the world (we would have expected)," she said. "Never in a million years ..."

Could the cancer have been inherited?

"Lymphoma is not genetic," Ryan Swanson said. "It is an environmental cancer, but obviously there is some sort of gene that makes my family more susceptible."

Swanson began a six-month round of chemotherapy at The West Clinic. He kept working while going in for treatments every other week.

"I would go home and sleep for probably a day and a half straight," he said. "I couldn't eat anything" because of nausea.

When the treatment ended, Swanson's doctors told him the cancer was gone, but he would need to return in a couple of months for a checkup.

"And a week before I went back, I had a golf ball in the side of my neck, like all of a sudden," he said.

The cancer had come back.

"We really didn't think he was going to be around when we heard that (second diagnosis)," his father said. "It's an overwhelming sadness to think a child would precede you (in death). ... How can a cancer that's relatively curable come back? You just don't know what to think."

That's when the family decided to head for the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

Doctors there told Swanson he needed a stem cell transplant, but only after going through more chemotherapy at The West Clinic.

Swanson and his family headed back to Houston in July 2007 for the stem cell transplant.

All told, the family contended with the disease for a year and a half.

Swanson turns 30 late this month. In the meantime, he's got a business to run.

The grand opening celebration was Thursday, when he got to show off his 2,200-square-foot salon at 557 Erin Drive.

Most of all, he can't wait to create a working environment that's happy for everyone -- a lesson cancer taught him.

"I definitely think my illness helped with that, if that's the best word to use," he said. "Because it makes you know that you have to appreciate every day as if it's your last and you've got to take chances."

All I have to say is

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Cool PBS segment on non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

Provides a pretty good overview of the disease.

Cancer "clusters"

Ever heard of one of those? Neither had I. Cancer clusters are when many people who live or work in the same area develop cancer over a period of time. This story scares the crap out of me. I've posted some excerpts...

At last count, some 18 La Quinta Middle School employees contracted cancer over a 15-year period. More than a dozen former students have been diagnosed.

The harsh truth is that cancer occurs often and for any number of complex reasons. Finding a specific cause, a carcinogenic smoking gun, is terribly rare.


“Don’t let anyone suffer the way I have.”

Those were among the last words of a 16-year-old Carlsbad boy to his stricken parents.

In the last six months, Stacey and John Quartarone have dedicated themselves to find out if Chase, who passed away last December of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, died because he was exposed to something toxic in his neighborhood.

“My mantra, my life, my goal is to be true to his request,” John told me.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Another blog I've been reading

There's this hilarious guy named Nate who writes down all the stuff that pisses him off, which lately has just been PCBs (I'll let you read his blog to find out what that is) and how they cause cancer. Interesting stuff but it's also funny. I've been reading his blog and so should you. Hey Nate!

Celebrating Forth of July with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

Hey guys, hope everyone had a happy Forth of July.

It's a tradition every year for Lucy and I to go to our friend Jared's parents' house in the country with about a hundred of our friends and family members and watch fireworks. We've been doing that for about five years now, but I wasn't sure if Lucy would be up to it this year. I was wrong; she wasn't going to let non-Hodgkin's get in the way. That's my sister just bein' awesome.

So we bought blankets and fireworks and burgers and veggies and snacks and took them over to Jared's around 4pm. Jared's parents have horses and dogs and a bunch of farm animals, so Lucy and I played with them and ate lots of delicious food. Finally it started to get dark and people started popping fireworks. Even Lucy was getting into it, and normally she's totally afraid of fireworks. I guess this disease is making her want to take more chances in life. I think that's pretty cool.

Anyway, it was a great time and we can't wait for next year.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Now that's rock 'n roll.

I'm reading a story about this guy who's in five different bands (yes, five) who's playing a cancer benefit in Illinois next weekend. His story from

“It was in the summertime of 2005. I was playing one night and I couldn’t stand up,” Allen said. “Now, I have arthritis pretty bad — but this was something else.

“It was something I had never felt before and I was worried.”

Allen is used to overcoming physical obstacles. At the age of 18 months, he was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Among numerous other complications, the illness can cause slow growth rate and uneven growth of limbs. Allen’s JRA stayed in remission until he was 7.

Despite the difficulties, Allen earned a degree in music performance and has been a fixture on the local music scene for years.

Perhaps because of his pre-existing condition, doctors struggled to find out what was wrong with Allen during the summer of 2005. Everything from a pinched nerve to fibromyalgia was considered a possibility.

“I couldn’t stand up and just seemed to be getting worse,” he said. “I was lying in an emergency room bed and my dad walked in and said ‘I’m gonna tell you straight out what the doctors told me. You have cancer.’

“It turned out that I had a tumor the size of a grapefruit lodged in my lower spine. It was non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.”

Used to fighting a body that others might consider a betrayal, Allen did not despair.

“To be perfectly honest with you, I got pissed,” he said. “I had just quit smoking and was eating healthier. I had cut down on my drinking and started exercising. I was doing everything to get healthier and then this tumor popped up. I was so pissed.”

Fear crept in later.

“The first couple of weeks, lying in the hospital, people would come and visit,” he said. “Seeing family and friends crying really shook me up. I got to the point — even though everyone meant well — that I couldn’t stand to hear people cry.

“I was going to beat it.”

And that’s what Allen did — quickly. He responded to chemotherapy treatments and by December 2005 he was told he was cancer free.

“It’s been almost five years to the day that I was diagnosed with cancer,” Allen said. “That’s the main reason I go to Relay For Life events always.

“I was very lucky. Not everyone gets lucky.”

Amen to that brother.

NHL in the NHL

Haha. Like what I did there?

Well as some of you know, I'm a big fan of hockey so when the draft was happening I paid close attention. And you know what's cool? When the Ducks announced they're re-signing Saku Koivu, they also mentioned that the dude had a long battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and overcame it. He returned to playing just seven months after he was diagnosed--DIAGNOSED. That means he was still playing when he had it. What a champ.

Image courtesy of

He won the Bill Masterton Trophy during the 2002 season, which is given every year to the NHL player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. He won it just after he was came back to start playing after he was diagnosed. He was also honored with the 2007 King Clancy Memorial Trophy for his work with the Saku Koivu Foundation, which he founded to help raise funds for cancer-fighting equipment. The King Clancy Trophy is awarded annually to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution to his community.

New favorite hockey player!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Awesome non-Hodgkin's blog

I've been reading this blog: My Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Journey and it is AMAZING. Takes you through step-by-step this woman's journey through the disease. I've read a few entries and have already laughed, cried and was truly in awe. Check it out yourself.

Rollin' through the drive-thru

Lucy seems to be a little happier today. She ate at McDonald's of all places, but at least she was getting something in her tummy.

She still seems to think that all this non-Hodgkin's lymphoma stuff is so surreal. I do, too. She was just diagnosed a month ago and is already going through treatment and it could be only months or it could be years until she gets better. We'll just have to wait and see. Thanks for all the support, everyone.