Category Archives: Blogroll

Excellent videos offered by Myeloma UK

I just finished watching one of the, as my post’s title suggests, one of the excellent videos offered by Myeloma UK. This one was called “The effect of myeloma on the bone marrow.” Here’s the link: goo.gl/zfCU5n,

You will find many more animations on the Myeloma UK website, explaining, in easy-to-understand language, all sorts of things, from the origin of the  myeloma cell to the genetic causes of myeloma…Plus it has interviews with patients and also doctors on all sorts of topics, including fatigue caused by myeloma, travel issues, issues for younger patients…And much, much more.

Highly recommended website!

A Johns Hopkins researcher discovers a way that may slow down or even eliminate cancer metastasis

I just finished reading a fascinating article about a very promising new discovery, which may be able to actually eliminate metastasis, that is, the spread of cancer from its primary site to new areas of the body.

And I quote: “Typically, cancer research and treatment has focused on shrinking the primary tumor through chemotherapy or other methods. But, the team said, by attacking the deadly process of metastasis, more patients could survive.” Aha. Interesting, very interesting…

The article is really easy to read, so, without further ado, here’s the link: goo.gl/ibM91B

By the way, the article mentions two pesky Interleukin proteins, IL-6 and IL-8, which are involved in myeloma, too…and NOT in a good way, either, as we should all know by now. But the good news is that curcumin inhibits both of these proteins. Good news, indeed…

Food for thought!!!

The scolding kingfisher

Months ago, we were invited to London by good friends of ours (I met Paul via my blog years ago, and we have been friends ever since) to go see Trooping the Colour, the official annual celebration of the Queen’s birthday carried out by regiments of the British and Commonwealth armies. It is quite a spectacle…We’d seen it five years ago and enjoyed it very much, so we decided to go this year, too. Just for a weekend. Going to London is so easy: there are direct, cheap flights to Stansted from Pisa…

Anyway, that is where Stefano and I spent the first the first weekend in June. Msargaret Kingfishers fighting 1230335

Last week Paul returned to Florence with us, and in fact he was here for Stefano’s birthday (June 7th: TANTISSIMI AUGURI!!!). He spent a week with us, mostly photographing the birds in the Parco della Piana, one of Florence’s main nature reserves…It’s a great place to photograph black-winged stilts during their breeding season, for instance, but you can also find night herons and sacred ibises there, and many other species, too, of course.

And then there are the kingfishers. I absolutely adore kingfishers…such beautiful colors…And fun to watch, too…

But try to get one in flight: for me, an impossible feat.

But let’s get to my story. Yesterday morning Paul and I were sitting inside one of the reserve’s hides, waiting for some bird activity (of which there wasn’t much for a long time), trying not to sweat too much (oooof, verrrrrry hot in Florence right now) or fall asleep…zzzzzz…

Our patience was rewarded at last: two kingfishers perched on a branch over one of the ponds started to become extremely agitated. Based on our observations, this is what we think had been going on:

The adult had been diving and fishing over and over in the pond, in most cases successfully. But it was swallowing all the fish it was catching, so it looked like it was showing its “baby” how to fish. Well, okay, as you can see, the two birds were almost the same size. This was no “baby,” so from now on I will call it “Squawky.”

Even though Squawky was diving and really trying to catch a fish, it was coming up with nothing, and had to rest afterwards for quite some time, offering many photo opportunities to the two hot and tired photographers in the hide…But oh, how I felt sorry for Squawky!!!

Then at one point the tired, terribly frustrated, and probably very hungry Squawky began fluttering its wings in front of its parent, begging to be fed. And that was our stroke of luck…the photos we’d been waiting for…

After a few seconds of all this annoying fluttering, the adult began severely scolding its offspring, screeching like a pterodactyl. Squawky didn’t actually seem very perturbed and kept fluttering, with its mouth wide open.

I managed to take this photo, which, okay, isn’t so great, but it will at least give you an idea of what we saw (you can click on the photo to make it larger).

I will have to go back to the reserve some day soon to see how Squawky is getting along…Paul, who returned to London this morning, will certainly want to know, too! :-)

My blog…mentioned in a BBC radio programme!

Even though my blog reader D. had told me some time ago that my blog might be mentioned in the BBC radio station that had interviewed her for the programme they were doing on turmeric, I was happy about that, of course, but I hadn’t really gotten too carried away…until today, when I found and actually listened to the programme, which is available online, right here: goo.gl/Gmda8N

BBC food programmeDieneke’s case study is mentioned toward the end of the programme, so please be patient. It’s a very interesting programme, anyway. With a nice turmeric-based recipe or two, which never hurts!

I have to admit that I got a bit teary as I listened to Dieneke (no point in trying to protect her privacy anymore, since her name is mentioned during the programme!) and her oncologist discuss her case…Teary in a good way, of course!

And at this point I would like to thank blog reader Jan who posted a lovely comment on my April 20th post…the comment that inspired me to have a look for the programme in the first place (but I didn’t think I’d find it):

“On Sunday 28th May 2017 ( repeated on Monday 29th) I listened to a programme on BBC radio 4 FM called ‘The Food Programme ‘. It was talking about health benefits of turmeric and in particular curcumin. The contributor to Margaret’s blog called ‘D’ was interviewed about her use of curcumin and how her MM has stabilised now for five years. Her oncologist was also interviewed and the study was mentioned. It all sounded very positive about curcumin. ‘D’ also said that she had discovered curcumin on Margaret’s blog. The programme presenter called Sheila Dillon also has MM and as I recall had a SCT a few years ago.
I’ve had MM for seven years and have been following Margaret’s blog since then. Have tried numerous alternative treatments but due to extreme pain had five months of Velcade etc last year. Pain now coming back so thinking of doing curcumin. Hadn’t done it before for various reasons.
Margaret this is so exciting! Your curcumin protocol and your blog has been talked about on the BBC!
Thanks so much for all your great work. You’ve kept me going over these seven years.

And ‘ D ‘ thanks to you too for your major contribution .

Best wishes to all,

Jan.”

And finally, thank you, Sheila Dillon and BBC Radio 4, for this very interesting programme! :-)

Time…or rather, no time!!!

Keep-calm-and-carry-on-scanTime is flying by. I can’t believe it’s almost June. How did that happen…where did May go???

And I have so much to do…doesn’t everyone???…So once again I have been “ignoring” my blog. So sorry about that…

It’s all because of my mad spring cleaning. Thing is, the more I put things in order, the more mess I seem to have in every room. Go figure! But putting my house in order is my priority right now. So I have but glanced at a couple of studies I have on my desktop…

Okay, I’m actually not “ignoring” my blog. I mean, I check it every day, approve comments and so on, and I am certain to be posting about some serious stuff soon. I will…I will!

In the meantime, though, take care, everyone!  :-) 

“Long-term follow-up of curcumin treated MGUS/SMM patients – an updated single centre experience”

In an email I received yesterday, Dr. Terry Golombick notified me that her team’s most recent article has been  published in the Journal of Hematology and Medical Oncology. It is available for free online…just click here: goo.gl/cEP93h

keep calm and turmeric onAhhhh. Wonderful…absolutely wonderful.

Wonderful, because finally…FINALLY (!!!)…we have a long-term look at a GROUP of MGUS and SMM patients taking curcumin. These are those who participated in the Australian MGUS/SMM study and who “continued to take curcumin over a number of years, of their own volition, even though the studies in which they were participating are complete.”

So this is a “long-term follow-up of 13 MGUS/SMM patients who have been taking curcumin (at a dose of 4 -8 grams daily) for a period of 3-9 years.”

Only one patient, who had cardiac amyloidosis (!), went on to full-blown myeloma and is currently undergoing conventional treatments. The rest of the patients are doing quite well, some better than others…anyway, you can read all the details in the report…

I really hope that this report will encourage more and more centers to start giving curcumin to their MGUS and SMM patients and, why not?, to their MM patients as well. At this point, I could go into a tirade about the short-sightedness of conventional medicine, but, at least for now, I’d rather look at the positive side, which is the publication of some CASE STUDIES, like the one concerning my blog reader D., and this Australian one.

I would like to end this post by stating that we all owe a large debt of gratitude to dedicated researchers like Dr. Golombick who have overcome all sorts of obstacles (I’m sure of that!!!) to help patients like us have the best quality of life possible, for as long as possible…

To all the Golombicks of the world: thank you, thank YOU, THANK YOU!!!  :-) keep calm and watch and wait

By the way, let me remind you that Dr. Golombick and her team have set up a useful website for all of us who have a type of blood cancer. I’ve talked about it here on the blog, but just in case you missed that post, here is the link: https://www.watchandwaitbloodcancers.com/

KEEP CALM AND…

WATCH AND WAIT!!!!!! 

Eighteen!

keep-calm-it-s-our-18th-wedding-anniversary1999 was an important year for me:

1. it’s the year Stefano and I got married.

2. it’s the year of my MGUS diagnosis.

But today I want to focus more on number one, our wedding anniversary. Stefano and I were married in the town hall of Florence (Palazzo Vecchio) on May 8, 1999, which means that yesterday was our 18th wedding anniversary.

We didn’t have any plans to celebrate our anniversary this year. Too much going on. But months ago, shortly after Xmas, a close friend of ours told us that he was planning to surprise his wife on her 50th birthday. He asked us if we would be interested in helping him. Needless to say, we were.

We decided to go to the Dolomites, a mountain range located in northeastern Italy, where, before Easter, we rented a two-bedroom, two bathroom Airbnb-type apartment…near the city of Merano.

wedding ann

Then Mom died (on Easter Sunday), and I almost canceled the trip. But Stefano had just returned from a long and exhausting business trip and needed a good rest (note: he had to be relatively near Florence so he could make sure things were going well at work) and, to be quite honest, I needed to get away for a while…The Dolomites were the perfect location…only a 3.5 hour drive from Florence.

So off we went. But I’ll stop here, since I have photos of our stay in the Dolomites and may post a few.

18 yearsI wanted to end this post by saying that I hope to have many more HAPPY (and HEALTHY!) years together with my Stefano, l’amore della mia vita, my best friend, my partner…the smartest, wisest, most knowledgeable, most headstrong (aiaiaiaiiiii! 😉 ) person I know…Oh, and he’s also tall, dark (although his hair is grayer than it used to be…), and handsome!!!  :-)

Ti amo, moro

P.S. By the way, you can click on the cartoon to enlarge it…

Revising my position on aspirin and myeloma

aaron-bacall-i-m-going-to-prescribe-something-that-works-like-aspirin-but-costs-much-cartoonI just finished re-reading a post I wrote in 2011 in which I stated that I would never take any aspirin…never ever ever ever again!

Well, since then a lot has happened, and I have read quite a number of positive studies on aspirin and cancer, so I am taking this opportunity to revise my former position, without going overboard, of course (no stuffing my face with aspirin every single night, I mean!). Proceed with caution, as always, since aspirin does have some side effects… Anyway, here goes.

A 2014 study, titled “Regular aspirin use and risk of multiple myeloma: a prospective analysis in the health professionals follow-up study and nurses’ health study,” suggests that aspirin might be beneficial to myeloma patients. To see the study, click on this link: goo.gl/P0su2f

Interesting excerpt: “Participants with a cumulative average of ?5 adult strength (325 mg) tablets per week had a 39% lower multiple myeloma risk than nonusers […].”

A 39% lower risk? Wowsie.

I was actually reminded of this issue earlier today, when I happened upon an intriguing Scientific American (May 2017 issue) article on aspirin and cancer, Among other things, the article discusses aspirin’s apparent interference “with the ability of cancer cells to spread, or metastasize, through the body.” It’s is an easy read and so, without further ado, here is the link: goo.gl/uAhwv2

But wow, aspirin may prevent metastasis…and it may be beneficial to myeloma patients…two articles and one stone…Not too shabby, eh?  :-)

An overcrowded bed

Stefano left last week on a business trip (he’ll be home in a couple of days, thank goodness…I miss him so much), but I have never felt alone. Alone, with SEVEN CATS? Not a chance.

Speaking of which, on the night of Easter Sunday, my cats knew that something BIG had happened. Especially Pinga.

After my niece called with the news of my mother’s death (it was 2 AM over here), I couldn’t get back to sleep. I didn’t go back to bed until 5 AM, in fact. During all that time, Pinga never left my side. When I quietly went downstairs, in the dark, so as not to wake Stefano, she followed me, got into my lap, rubbed all over me, and purred non-stop. Whenever I stood up, she made it crystal clear that she didn’t want to be separated from me. So I had to carry her with me, even just into the kitchen to get a glass of water.

A few days later, Stefano had to leave. The cats always hate that. I can’t blame them. I do, too!

Since then, they have been really clinging to me…more than they usually do… 😉

In the last couple of days, though, they have started taking over our bed. Now, we usually have three or four cats on the bed or rather, spread out on different parts of the bed. Unless it’s very cold outside (not the case right now), they don’t really cuddle with one another… _1190667

But look at this photo. It’s weird. I mean, they don’t normally arrange themselves in a row. By the way, from left to right, we have Piccolo, Priscilla, Prezzemolo, Pavarotta (ex-Pammy: we renamed her because she sings and chirps…a lot!).

I’m not sure what this behavior means, or if it means anything. Perhaps this is their way of keeping close to me…close to Stefano…and also close to one another. Perhaps this is their way of telling me that everything is going to be okay.

It’s very comforting…whatever it is.

But…hmm…WHERE am I going to sleep tonight? That is the question…