Category Archives: Blogroll

“Long-term stabilisation of myeloma with curcumin.”

This is the title of a case report concerning a blog reader with whom I’ve been corresponding for years now. Her case report has been the main object of our most recent exchanges, as you can imagine. We couldn’t wait for it to be published.

Well, this morning I received a note from her, telling me it had finally been…published! And so I sat down and wrote this post…I’m so amazingly excited for her…

Here’s the link to the FULL case report: goo.gl/YCMR0A

As you can see, it’s very easy to read…

An excerpt from the Discussion: “The fact that our patient, who had advanced stage disease and was effectively salvaged while exclusively on curcumin, suggests a potential antimyeloma effect of curcumin. She continues to take daily curcumin and remains in a very satisfactory condition with good quality of life. This case provides further evidence of the potential benefit for curcumin in myeloma. We would recommend further evaluation of curcumin in myeloma patients in the context of a clinical trial.

I couldn’t agree more!

P.S. in a recent comment, blog reader Charlotte brought the case report to my attention (thank you!). But I had just lost my mother, and, to be honest, I barely glanced at the abstract…I didn’t make the connection…until this morning, of course…

Per la mamma

IMG_6825My mother died on Easter Sunday.

She’d been in a nursing home on Cape Cod for about a year…a very difficult year, as you can imagine.

Thanks to my niece, I was able to see my mother on Skype and Facetime during her last few days.

On Saturday, in a moment of lucidity, she told Stefano and me, in Italian: “nessuno dovrebbe soffrire in questo modo. Voglio volare via,” which means, “nobody should suffer like this. I want to fly away.” I told her to let go.

Unlike previous times, our last Skype sessions were mostly silent. She didn’t have the strength to talk or even to pay much attention to whatever I was talking about. So I ended up just watching her…in silence…

On Sunday there was a change for the worse: she was having a very hard time breathing. Very difficult to watch.

But the last memory I have of my mother is of her blowing me a kiss through the phone…

Six hours later, she was gone.

No more suffering…

Ciao, mamma.

Still coughing

CoughSyrupWow, I STILL have a cough. I mean, it’s A LOT better than it was last week, but it’s still there…sporadic and annoying.

Apparently lots of people in Florence are sick with more or less the same thing, so I’m not alone. In fact, a good friend of mine called to check on me and to tell me that she’d coughed for an entire month (last month). Thanks a lot for the encouragement! 😉

This morning my family doctor put me on a second cycle of antibiotics. That should do it! But, I confess, I’m still feeling a bit on the sluggish side. However, I’m back to giving English lessons AND doing laundry, so that counts for something, right?

I’ll be fine in a couple of days. Just hand me some more cough syrup, please! 😉

No Bence Jones!!!

chicken-cartoonWow. I haven’t been this sick in…ages. On Saturday morning, I woke up with a nasty sore throat, symptom no. 1. But Stefano and I had already made plans to go outside of Florence, not a pleasure trip by any means ( = long story that wouldn’t add anything useful to this post), and I didn’t want to back out. So, after coffee and Manuka honey, off we went. By the late afternoon, the sore throat had vanished, but symptom no. 2 was about to rear its ugly head: THE DREADED COUGH. Whenever I’m about to get a cough, I get a strange, almost metallic taste in my mouth. I know it sounds odd, but that taste always precedes THE COUGH. As soon as we got back to Florence, therefore, I took an antibiotic. Good thing I did… Sunday, same thing. We couldn’t leave a job half done, so, instead of being able to sleep it off (which might have made this “thing” a bit less virulent), I was up and about the entire day. By the afternoon, THE COUGH had set in…and, yes, it was bad. To make a long story mercifully short, I haven’t really been out of bed since Monday. And, as though the debilitating cough weren’t enough, a fever set in, too. Today, thus far, is my first day without fever, and my cough is 90% gone. And so I’m up and about,…officially convalescent… :-) But the point of this post is not about my stupid spring “flu.” It’s about my test results. Yes, I had tests done last week…luckily, days before I got sick. Compared to my July 2016 tests, these April tests are so much better:

  • No Bence Jones. Back in July, a small amount of Bence Jones appeared in my urine. Its disappearance is excellent news.
  • ESR: the lowest it’s been since 2012.
  • Creatinine, calcium, CRP, etc.: all good.
  • Total IgG is down several mg compared to July. Indeed, compared to July of 2015, it is down a full 1000 mg.
  • My IgA went from a terrible 5 to a less terrible 6. You know, this is the FIRST time ever that I’ve experienced an increase in one of the other two immunoglobulins. A small increase, for sure, but for me it’s very exciting, even though 6 is nowhere near 70, which marks the beginning of the normal range, of course…
  • My m-spike and monoclonal component have both gone down. Yay!
  • My Freelite chain numbers: much much better.

My hemoglobin, however, has dipped under the normal range again. Just slightly, so it should be an easy fix. Nothing else sticks out to me…I mean, apart from the fact that I STILL have smoldering myeloma! Duh!  😉  But…I’m stable. Ah, before I go back to bed to watch another documentary, I have one more thing to tell you. A note on one of my test result sheets reads…in Italian, of course: “Paziente già conosciuto. Il tracciato elettroforetico non presenta variazioni significative rispetto ai precedenti,” which means: “The patient is well-known. The electrophoresis graph shows no significant changes compared to previous ones.” No significant changes…I definitely like the sound of that!!!

A new curcumin and myeloma study

A newly published Chinese study shows that curcumin stops the proliferation of myeloma cells and even kills them by inhibiting EZH2 (I actually wrote quite a lot about this pesky protein in some 2010 posts…to find them, simply do a search of my blog for “EZH2”) and SUZ12.

These are two Polycomb repressor genes that become hyperactive in myeloma, which is not a good thing, as you can imagine. In my previous posts, in fact, I called EHZ2 a “Polyhooligan.” :-)

At any rate, the important thing to remember is that when EHZ2 is inhibited, myeloma cells stop proliferating. Here’s the link to the abstract: goo.gl/YI5P2b

This new study gives us another reason to keep taking our curcumin (NOT in an injected form, though, yikessss!!!!!), while we wait for more studies to be published on this topic…

Good stuff!

Woman dies after turmeric injection

I could hardly believe the article I just finished reading (incidentally, many thanks to Dr. Heger for posting this link on Facebook, and for commenting on it): goo.gl/cf8G0A

In short, a woman from San Diego had a heart attack and died after a “naturopath” gave her a turmeric injection to treat her eczema.

WHY, WHY, WHY would you let anyone inject you with turmeric (or curcumin, for that matter)?

WHY???

As Dr. Heger pointed out, would you let someone give you an injection of mashed carrots? No, of course not. Same sort of thing.

If anyone offers to treat you with weird-sounding treatments, run away as fast as you can. And then report them so that they won’t harm others.

I hope this “naturopath” gets prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law…gee wiz.

What an awful story…

Bryce Canyon, made in Tuscany

_1190511Yes, Bryce Canyon. Seriously. Something you’d never expect in my beautiful Tuscany. And yet, this “canyon” is practically in our backyard, only a 45 minute drive from where we live in Florence. But let’s start from the beginning.

We spent Saturday with a couple of friends of ours (the same ones with whom we went to Siena a few weekends ago, and who spent New Year’s Eve with us in Austria…poooh, I still have to publish that post, by the way, argh!).

_1190516We had planned on visiting Loro Ciuffenna, a very pretty little Medieval town, with steep, narrow streets, located in the province of Arezzo. The town is cut in half by the Ciuffenna, which, right now, is a very noisy, fast-flowing stream but soon, in the summer months, will be nothing more than a trickle, apparently. The Ciuffenna’s raging waters drive its ancient chestnut flour mill (see photo no. 1), which is located just below the main bridge (the bridge was built after the Germans had blown up the original bridge while retreating in WWII, we were told by one of the locals).

Anyway, this, by the way, is the oldest functioning water mill in Tuscany, probably built around 1100, right on a cliff along the stream._1190545 The mill has a horizontal wheel and vertical shaft, which I thought was unusual. I mean, I’ve seen lots of vertical wheels, but never a horizontal one. If you click on the photo (thus enlarging it), you might be able to make out the vertical shaft just inside the left arch of the mill…I know, I should have taken a better photo of it, but Stefano told me about it only after we’d left the town. Bother. I’m not that good on noticing details, sometimes…

Loro Ciuffenna also has an asymmetrical Roman bridge that was left intact by the Germans because it was too narrow for tanks to be able to cross it. Unfortunately, I have terrible photos of the Roman bridge, too! Oh well. We’re planning to go back there, anyway.

_1190610After walking around Loro Ciuffenna and then visiting the interesting, Romanesque church of San Pietro a Gropina, located in a very pretty and very peaceful setting, we had lunch in a lovely little restaurant…mmmh, simply delicious food (a very good reason to go back!!!), and then set off for “Le Balze,” which literally means “rocky crags.”

We would have missed Le Balze entirely if, by pure chance, I had not caught a glimpse of them in an article I’d read about Loro Ciuffenna early that morning, before we left Florence. And that would have been such a shame…

_1190600Le Balze were formed by the sediments of a prehistoric lake that, two million years ago, was 20 kilometers long. When the lake started disappearing, throughout the millennia, it left these weird-looking rock formations of clay and sand that can be as much as 100 meters high.

Curious fact: if you look closely at the background of Leonardo’s “Gioconda,” you will be able to see these rock formations. No kidding. yes, Le Balze are right there, in the “Gioconda.”

_1190588Le Balze have been compared to Bryce Canyon, in Utah. We want to go back and explore the area more carefully, because on Saturday we managed to see only two of these Balze, but there are actually quite a number of them, scattered all over the area around Loro Ciuffenna and Castelfranco di Sopra. Beautiful colors, too, don’t you think?

We ended our Balze-filled day with a quick dinner at our friends’ home…and, of course, furiously playing cards…A lovely Saturday! :-)

Note: you can click on the photos to enlarge them…

A promising new treatment for deadly sepsis

I have to thank my niece for leading me to this NPR article, which turned out to be a very interesting read: https://goo.gl/qMRjtM sepsis

Incidentally, this article reminded me of a related something or other that I’d read a while ago, and so I had a quick look at PubMed where I found are a number of studies, mainly conducted on rats, suggesting that curcumin might be an effective treatment for sepsis infections. But of course there are no HUMAN clinical trials to this regard…

As for my own, limited, anecdotal experience, I have treated skin infections and weird rashes on my arms (about which I have written here on the blog) with turmeric and/or curcumin, with rather unexpected (amazing!) results. I have, thank goodness, never had a sepsis sort of infection, but if I ever do, I will certainly use curcumin for it.

Anyway, my point today is that it’s good to have open-minded doctors who think outside the box…Good stuff!

P.S.  If you want to read the “Danger Symptoms” (above), just click on the photo.

“I’m 90-years-old, I’m hitting the road.”

norma 91 years oldA friend of ours posted this link on Facebook today: goo.gl/P2jGO0 The link will take you to the inspiring story of a 91-year-old woman from Michigan who was diagnosed with uterine cancer and decided to spend her last months driving around the U.S.A. with her dog and family instead of undergoing the conventional treatments that “were unlikely to treat the illness” anyway.

She died in October 2016, after completing her long road trip.

Do you think she did the right thing?

I certainly think so. Remember, she was 90 years old at the time of diagnosis…Even her doctor supported her…