Monthly Archives: August 2014

New policy regarding e-mails

On Tuesday, when Stefano and I returned to Florence (after spending a couple of weeks with my parents in Massachusetts), I found almost 2,000 unread e-mails in my mailbox. An impossible number, yes, but it includes some old stuff, too, such as unopened newsletters and Google Alerts and also messages I just haven’t had the time to read. However, it also includes a whole bunch of new blog reader queries, some of which I feel I simply cannot or indeed should not answer…email-comic

So this morning I began thinking about what to do. And I was faced with my eternal dilemma: time. Simply put, should I take the time to answer each and every e-mail, or should I spend that time doing something else, such as reading a study I should have read and posted about months ago? I think the choice is clear…

It hasn’t been easy to reach a decision, since I am a very nice and polite person in real life and like to be nice and polite to everyone, but here is what I have decided to do…now and in the future:

  1. If you have asked any sort of medical-related question, you will (probably) not receive a reply from me. It would simply not be right for me to give out medical advice, especially concerning conditions I know very little about, such as Crohn’s Disease.
  2. If you have asked a question that has already been answered here on my blog, or that would be easily answered by (your) doing a brief search online, you will (probably) not receive a reply from me.
  3. Unless I manage to catch up with those 2,000 unopened e-mails, that is. 😉

HINT: a very useful tool is my blog’s “Search” box. Just type your query inside the box (upper right-hand side of the blog) and press Enter. You may not find what you are looking for, but it’s worth a try. I confess that I use this tool, too, at times. I did so just this morning, in fact, to find the “study” on curcumin by Vermorken et al, a study that enraged me a couple of years ago.

Another useful tool is PubMed:, which you can find at this link http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed Again, you can type your query inside the Search box at the top of the page…for instance, type the words “curcumin Crohn’s Disease,” and you will find 28 studies. I use PubMed a lot.

If you are thinking of taking curcumin for the first time, please check out my blog Page on curcumin’s side effects, including warnings (who shouldn’t take it, etc.)…And also my protocol Page. As you scroll down my homepage, look on the right, where all my Pages are…

Sorry if this sounds harsh…but I really hope you all understand! Thank you! :-)

Sitting in a chair in the sky…

IMG_1528When I was a kid, getting on a plane and flying somewhere was one of the most exciting things ever. My family and I didn’t do much flying back then, mind you, but we did occasionally return to the States to visit the relatives (grandparents, e.g.) we’d left behind when we moved to Italy (see *Note below for more info). 

I grew out of my childhood enthusiasm for flying by the time I hit my 20s, almost as soon as I realized that, as Louis CK puts it, I was “sitting in a chair in the sky.” I know, I know, I know, statistically it is more dangerous for me to be sitting right here at my desk than to be sitting on a plane…and yes, yes, yes, statistically it is the safest way to travel. I am well aware of all that.IMG_1523 But I think we would all agree that there is something a bit freaky about “sitting in a chair in the sky”…And so I went through a long period during which I was a bit of a nervous, sweating wreck at the slightest sign of turbulence…

Everything changed when I was diagnosed with myeloma (well, with smoldering/inactive myeloma). My fear of flying disappeared. Yep, just like that. How could I be scared of flying when I am carrying around a bunch of lethal cancer cells inside my body?

Myeloma trumps fear of flying any day. 

But not yesterday. 

IMG_2270 IMG_2334Yesterday’s flight between Boston and Munich went fairly smoothly…no problems to report. But then we got on our Munich-Florence flight and…well…mamma mia...

The pilot announced that it was overcast in Florence…but he didn’t mention the high winds that plagued most of our flight (the turbulence varied between “acceptable bumpy” and “bloody effing scary bumpy”)…The strong gusts of wind pushing on the left side of the plane (seriously, you could really feel ’em pushing the plane to the right) seemed to want to blow us out of the sky as we were descending from the clouds towards Florence. I’ve never felt wind like that, not even when I landed once during a snow storm in Toronto, Canada. Yikes. And so, yes, yesterday I experienced a shadow of my former fear of flying…

And then we landed with a huge BOOOOOM and then a bit of veering and shaking that took everyone’s breath away…IMG_3701

But hey, we landed. 

And Stefano and I are so happy to be with our beloved kitties again. :)

I will rest for the next few dayszzzzzz (I already have plans for a get-together with friends tomorrow, yaaaay), then I’ll take a look at some of the studies that have piled up on my desktop…I really must do something about my poor, dear and verrrrry neglected blog! IMG_2306

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these photos, which I took on the island of Nantucket where Stefano and I spent three lovely days between August 12 and August 15. We rented a jeep for a 48-hour period ( = outraaaaaageously expensive, but in the end we were glad we’d done it) and, among other things, drove on Great Point Beach all the way out to the lighthouse, where we spent hours watching and photographing seals, but mostly sea birds — terns, seagulls and sandpipers…also, a cute oystercatcher (= the black and white bird with the long, bright orange beak digging into the sand) and a few ruddy turnstones (gee wiz, WHO comes up with these bird names??? 😉 )…  IMG_3047

Quick memo/bit of advice: always put on sunblock BEFORE getting distracted by the local fauna, not AFTER…Wow, ouch, what a sunburn we both got…

Okay, I have to go get the laundry off the line now, so I’d better get off the computer. Take care, everyone! Ciao! :) IMG_2500

[*Note: I was just a kid — six years old — when my family moved here from Massachusetts, U.S.A. So, while I am a U.S. citizen (and, now that I am married to an Italian citizen, also a permanent resident of Italy), I grew up here in Florence, where I went through the tough but very good Italian public school system, all the way through high school and 1.5 years of university. When Mom and Dad moved back to the U.S. in the early 1980s, I went with them and finished college and then grad school in North America.]

Yeah…again…

Before writing anything else, I wanted to celebrate my parents’ 60th wedding anniversary with all of you. I mean…SIXTY YEARS!!! Isn’t that something??? :) And my parents are still crazy about each other and hold hands and…well, you get the picture. They are very cute together. Sooo, what else can I say but:

CONGRATULATIONS and MUCH MUCH LOVE!!!!!!!! :)

I’m sorry that Stefano and I are not going to be there to celebrate this important date today, BUT…guess what?…he and I will be there — there = Cape Cod! — tomorrow night (!), so we will definitely break out the (Italian) bubbly and raise a glass to these amazing parents of mine…

Ah yes, we’re leaving Florence AGAIN. It seems as though we’ve been flying nonstop all over the place lately…

But if I don’t get packed, we’re not going to go anywhere tomorrow, so I really have to get off the computer now. 😉

Take care, everyone! CIao!!!!!

Finally, some of my photos from Skokholm Island…

IMG_0585I took almost 3000 photos of puffins, razorbills, guillemots, gannets, and other bird species while we were on Skokholm Island in Wales (the first photo gives a view of part of the island) early last month (boy, time does fly!)…I’ve been going through them slowly in my free time, but right now I’m too busy (with life and work and FUN of course!) to finish this task…IMG_8413

Here, therefore, is a limited and rather random selection of my photos. As you know by now, I don’t take or post perfect photos…in fact, I don’t think my current camera (which is not a bad camera, mind you) is even able to take any perfect photos. 😉

IMG_3616But that doesn’t really matter to me. I don’t want or need to be a professional photographer. What matters to me is to be reminded of a particular moment during a particular trip or event. IMG_8750And so I sometimes don’t even delete photos that are clearly out of focus — photos that my Stefano would delete in the blink of an eye.

No, what counts for me, unprofessional me, is the moment in which I took a certain photo. IMG_4797Or the photo has to be high on my “cuteness scale,” like the photo (second from above) of the three puffins hiding in the grass, one of my favorites so far…Or the one of the puffin (below, on the left) pecking another puffin that needed to be shooed away from its burrow…Or the baby guillemot with its cute little tilted head (next to last photo, below)…who seems to be looking at us almost quizzically.

Anyway, without further ado, here is my random selection! IMG_5787

I hope you enjoy it!

Oh, and I bet you’re glad I decided NOT to publish all 3000 photos, eh?   😀  (By the way, if you don’t know the names of some of these sea birds, other than the puffins of course!, just hover over the photos for a sec…)IMG_0639IMG_9892IMG_5932IMG_8292