Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Hopeful fact of the day!

The survival rate for non-Hodgkins lymphoma is pretty high. The 10 year survival rate is over 50%.

The fact that Lucy is so young, and she led a very healthy lifestyle prior to her diagnosis, gives me alot of hope that she's going to pull through.

I also found an article that proves chemotherapy reduces PCB levels accumulated in the body. So if PCBs did cause Lucy's cancer, the chemo should be helping to get rid of them!

Monday, August 30, 2010

PCBs in the schools

I just stumbled into a scary article on PCB levels in public schools. PCBs are a family of chemicals that have been shown to cause non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and they are no longer manufactured in the US. However, many older buildings used PCBs in their construction and the government hasn't done a good job cleaning them up, even though we now know they cause cancer.
According to the article, early testing suggests that upwards of 1,500 public schools in the greater New York City area contain toxic levels of PCBs.
Some folks, such as the mother of 6-year-old Emelina Gonzalez, are taking legal action and filing a lawsuit. To read more about this, click here.
The worst part about high PCB levels in public school buildings is this: young children and early teens are at the highest risk for health problems resulting from PCB exposure. This is because kids are still growing and their bodies are going through a lot of changes.
It makes me so mad that we know about the causes of this terrible cancer, and yet we still can't clean up our public schools from these toxins. I'm sad to think that other kids are going to go through what Lucy is going through, and we have the knowledge to prevent it.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Lucy needs to eat!

Lucy's appetite has majorly gone away since her chemo began and the Doctors say it's important that she doesn't lose too much weight. They also gave me some tips for helping her eat.

First, they say she should try eating small amounts more frequently. And when she is eating, she should avoid drinking fluids because that can fill her up. (But they also said she should drink lots of fluids when she's not eating!)

When Lucy is hungry, the Doctors say she should go for super high-calorie and high-protein food. That means lots of butter, cheese, sugars, meats and avacodos, Lucy's favorite! Basically, I get to encourage her to pig out on a lot of foods that Mom says we should chill out on.

Sometimes Lucy gets nauseous at the smell of foods, but the Doctors say that's to be expected. They suggested experimenting with different foods and trying to figure out what sits well with Lucy's stomach during the treatments. Apparently it's natural for chemo patients to suddenly dislike foods that they use to love (like when I tried to make Lucy her beloved avacado omlette in bed). Well, hopefully I can find Luce a new fav meal!

Friday, August 13, 2010

This kid isn't going to let NHL beat him either

Here is an awesome video about a kid named Austin, in Ohio, who is determined to kick this disease's butt also!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma vs. Hodgkin's Disease

Since Lucy's diagnosis a lot of people have also been asking me what the difference between non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and Hodgkin’s Disease are.

Here is an article that I just found that might help answer some questions that people have.

"Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma vs. Hodgkin's Disease

Lymphoma is divided into two general categories: Hodgkin's disease (HD; also called Hodgkin's lymphoma) and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL). In the United States, there has been a general decline in HD rates over the past 30 years, and this disease now accounts for only 1% of all cancers. By contrast, rates of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma have increased by more than 70% during this same period of time. NHL is the fifth most common type of cancer and accounts for about 4% of all cancers in the United States. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), there were approximately 66,000 new cases of NHL diagnosed in the United States in 2008 and about 19,000 people died from the disease.

The majority of NHL (95%) occur in adults 40 to 70 years of age; however, some NHL subtypes are among the most common cancers in children. More men than women develop NHL, and rates are particularly high among men who live in areas with epidemic human immunodeficiency virus (HIV/AIDS) infection, such as the San Francisco/Oakland area. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is more common in Caucasians than in African Americans, Japanese Americans, or Chinese Americans.

Each year in the United States, approximately 8,000 new cases of Hodgkin's disease are diagnosed. Among these cases, about 60% of cases involve advanced stage disease and 40% involve early stage disease. Men typically have higher rates of Hodgkin's disease than women. This difference is particularly noticeable in children and among people older than 35 years of age."


Sunday, August 8, 2010

Co-Founder of Microsoft living with NHL

Lucy and I just got back from another visit with her doctors, and she is going to have to go in for more treatment in a couple weeks. Bummer. But at least it will make her better.

While we were talking to the doctor he told me about a few people who have been diagnosed with non Hodgkin's Lymphoma, so when I got back home I decided to look up a few of the names we talked about, and here is an interesting article about someone who has been so important in shaping how we live life today.

"Paul Allen diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Considered one of the world’s leading entrepreneurs, Allen co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates in 1975. Now one of the wealthiest men in the world with an estimated net worth of approximately $10.5 billion, Allen spearheads many corporations and continues to create and oversee multiple technological projects the world over.

Allen, 56, while more than successful in his career, has had to endure several pitfalls in regards to his health. He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma sometime earlier this month, it was reported.

Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma occurs in the white blood cells of the body, known as lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are the body’s defense mechanism and help fight diseases and infections. In non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, these white blood cells are produced uncontrollably and build tumors. Allen is reportedly suffering from B-cell lymphoma.

NHL is a life-threatening disease, and while its cause is still unknown, it has been confirmed that Paul Allen has begun chemotherapy."


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The facts of non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma

Lucy is doing ok and she's staying positive about fighting this disease and we're going to kick its *ss. (I wrote the actual word when I first published this but my mom made me put the * in there because it was "inappropriate". Lame.)

But I have had a lot of people ask me to explain non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma and how it is affecting Lucy.

So I found this great article on www.cancer.org that might be able to answer your questions about non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

"What is non-Hodgkin lymphoma?

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (also known as non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, NHL, or sometimes just lymphoma) is a cancer that starts in cells called lymphocytes, which are part of the body's immune system. Lymphocytes are in the lymph nodes and other lymphoid tissues (such as the spleen and bone marrow). These will be described in more detail in the section "The lymph system and lymphoid tissue."

Some other types of cancer -- lung or colon cancers, for example -- can spread to lymph tissue such as the lymph nodes or bone marrow. But cancers that start in these places and then spread to the lymph tissue are not lymphomas.

There are 2 main types of lymphomas.
Hodgkin lymphoma (also known as Hodgkin's lymphoma, Hodgkin disease, or Hodgkin's disease) is named after Dr. Thomas Hodgkin, who first described it.
non-Hodgkin lymphoma."