Kitty update

First of all, many many many thanks to everyone who’ve sent, and are still sending!, best wishes for my cats’ recovery…on the blog, via private email, AND on Facebook. I appreciate it so much!
They’re both home. Yes, yes, that’s great news, but we’re still not out of the woods, yet. In fact, far from it. Let’s start with Puzzola, our eldest.
I brought her home on Wednesday afternoon, after just one night spent in the vet hospital. Since she’s become so dreadfully skinny, the vets wanted to do a bunch of tests on her, and it was just easier to have them done there, especially the early morning tests. But, duuuh, she was NOT happy there, at all.
When I brought her home the following day, you could almost see the joy in her face. She leaped out of her carrier like a kitten, walked–a bit unsteadily but purposefully–into the kitchen right over to one of the water bowls, and then she proceeded to drink like a camel after a month in the desert. I know, I know that isn’t a good sign. But after all, tests show that she has a UTI, so I hope her high kidney numbers will go down once we’ve treated that. And the drinking might be caused by the UTI…
But before dinner she gave us a BIG scare. Huge. She began walking around like a drunk person, and it seemed that she couldn’t keep her head up, so at one point her head was hanging on one side, then on the other. That was freaky!
After of bit of that head flopping, she almost collapsed on our cotto floor and stayed there for a while, motionless. We watched her like a pair of hawks.
She finally got up and walked over to us, I’d say semi-normally. She has had a few episodes like that since she’s been home, but they aren’t as frequent and don’t last as long. The vet says it’s a neurological problem that might be connected to the fact that she didn’t really get any sleep in the hospital. Hope so. I haven’t seen her do any “flopping” today, although she does collapse on the floor and play dead once in a while. I think it’s her racing heartbeat (caused by the hyperthyroidism…which has gotten a bit worse).
Otherwise, she’s fine. She’s very loving and wants to be petted often. And she jumps on chairs to reach the dining room table, so her will to live is simply amazing.
One important point: I asked the vet is Puzzola were suffering, and she said no, she didn’t think so. She added that this condition will make her tired, but that’s it. Okay, good.
Moving on to Piccolo, well, when he came home on Thursday evening, to be honest I didn’t think he would live very much longer. His liver isn’t in great shape, and then we have the problem of his spinal column, which is the cause of all his pain (at least, that’s what the vets think). The painkiller they were administering at the hospital had turned him into little more than a vegetable. However, he was in NO PAIN on that painkiller (a derivative of morphine), so I suppose there IS a positive aspect to being a vegetable…
After I brought him home, he went and lay down in the cat litter box (see photo, which I just took…). He’s been in and out of that specific litter box, and I don’t understand why, really. Of course I’m keeping it SUPER CLEAN. Anyway…I hope he will leave the icky box once he begins recovering a bit more. To think that he has so many comfy cat beds on the bed in the guest room! And of course we’d be super thrilled if he slept with us! Oh well…
After he got home from the hospital, he didn’t eat for almost 24 hours. The vet told me to stop giving him the painkiller, to see if he’d start eating again. Note: I’m giving him a shot of cortisone every morning.
Anyway, yesterday evening, Stefano and I still couldn’t get him to eat anything and had to force-feed him, using a syringe (without the needle, of course!) full of watery wet food. That was really not fun…not for him, not for us.
On a positive note, today went much better. 🙂
This morning he began eating on his own. I was close to tears, seriously close to tears…of joy, of course.
Now, I still have to take his food upstairs to him (he hasn’t been downstairs since I brought him home). Then I have to place the food right under his nose and coax him to eat it (sometimes using my finger…he will lick ANYTHING off my finger, normally), and this takes quite a while. No problem, I’m a very patient mom.
But hey, the good news is that he’s EATING ON HIS OWN…And drinking a bit of water, too, so I probably won’t have to give him an i.v. And I also don’t think we will have to force-feed him again. YAY!
I just don’t know what’s going to happen…Only time will tell.
One thing is clear, though: I will NOT let either cat suffer.
That’s what I would want for myself, too: NO SUFFERING.
But right now I really feel that I will be able to pull both of them out of this dark tunnel and back to their usual selves and routines.
Anyway, that’s the cat update…sorry it’s so loooong!!!
Take care, everyone!!! 🙂

Puzzola and Piccolo in the vet hospital

Piccolo
This is a post about our two eldest cats: Puzzola, who is between 16 and 17 years old, and Piccolo, who turned 14 in April. They’re both in the vet hospital right now.
It’s a long story, but essentially they both started doing poorly about two weeks ago. Piccolo slowly began losing his phenomenal appetite and spending way too much time motionless on his cat bed (on the guest room bed).
I took him to the clinic as soon as I realized that something was very wrong. The vets found that he has a problem with his spinal column (I forget the name of this condition, but it has to do with calcifications of the vertebrae), which makes it very painful for him to move around, poor dear. Also, about five years ago, Piccolo had a terrible bout of pancreatitis that almost killed him, and we were told that he would always have issues in that area. Now, in fact, thanks to an ultrasound, the vets have spotted some sort of lesion on his pancreas and a nodule on his liver. His liver is also not doing very well. In short, he’s a bit of a mess…
And Puzzola, who has been suffering from hyperthyroidism since 2013, recently began eating less and less, no matter what delectable foods I cooked/offered to her.
Puzzola
This morning I decided to take her to the vet hospital, too.
She is now in a cage next to Piccolo, so at least our two kitties are together.
We’ll know more tomorrow, after more tests are done on both of them. Puzzola is going to have a heart ultrasound tomorrow morning, and Piccolo is going to have a biopsy of that lesion…Yikes.
Heartbreaking for us. Our cats mean the world to us, but all we can do now is wait and hope that they will both pull through and be well again.
Fingers crossed…!!!

Testing a new blog theme

Because of a recent problem with my blog, which has now been fixed, fingers crossed, I had to change my blog’s theme. I will be fooling around with a bunch of different themes in the next few days, weeks, centuries, but I’d appreciate your feedback. Thanks!

My current protocol

I have been getting quite a number of requests from blog readers wanting to know more or less the same things: how much curcumin I take, how I take it (with a fat, with cocoa, etc.)…and so on and so forth…

Instead of replying to each and every one of you, which would take heaps of time, I decided to write a quick post today about this issue.

Dosage: Every day I take 8 grams of C3 Complex curcumin = the curcumin that has been used in the MM, SMM, and MGUS clinical trials.

As for brands, I prefer Doctor’s Best, simply because of its easy-to-take one-gram tablets, which you can sometimes find at a relatively decent price if you shop around online a bit…

Note: I am actually running out of the D. Best curcumin and will soon have to buy some from a local Italian pharmacy. The Italian curcumin will simply be C3 Complex (it won’t have a brand name, that is). I mentioned that merely to point out that for me the important thing is for my curcumin to be the C3 Complex, and that it come from a reliable source.

When I take it. I take TWO doses of curcumin a day: 4 grams around lunchtime, 4 grams around dinnertime. I simply swallow my tablets with a glass of water, usually. No fats, no quercetin (see below).

That’s the main part of my current protocol.

I also take Nigella Sativa (black cumin) every day. I grate the black cumin seeds over my food, using a simple, non-electric grinder (such as a flax seed grinder).

I ran out of quercetin some time ago and haven’t yet found a reliable supplier here. So I am not taking quercetin…haven’t for ages, in fact. Nor am I taking fish oil. This means that I’ve cut down on my daily supplement intake. I mean, at one time I was taking more than 20 pills a day…I guess we all need a break sometime! 😉 

Current experiment: Ganoderma lucidum, or Reishi…the “mushroom of immortality.”

Remember the 2006 study titled “Ganoderma lucidum causes apoptosis in leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma cells“? No? Well, if you are curious to learn more about it, do a Search of my blog for “Reishi,” using the handy Search box on the upper right.

Just quickly, though…I began writing about G. lucidum in July 2009. Because it sounded so promising, I decided to test it, but back then I didn’t buy enough extract for a proper test, at least that is what I remember. And I couldn’t get any more here in Italy. Well, things have changed. I recently found a reliable (at least, I hope!) G. lucidum product at my local pharmacy, and so here we go again, but this time I’ll have enough. I’ve been taking almost 2 grams a day, together with my curcumin…which means I divide it into two one-gram-ish doses.

Of course, I don’t know what the outcome of this curcumin/G.lucidum combination will be. I’ll let you know this fall, when I have more blood tests…

That said, I feel fine, absolutely fine…fit as a fiddle in fact…or rather, as fit as a fiddle can be in this horrendous Florentine heat! 😉

Now, just to add a little bit of silly-ish news: my Fitbit, which Stefano gave to me as a present a few months ago, says that I am doing “excellent” (!) in my, er, age (!) group. Way to go, eh!?! Yeah! (But hey, my AGE group? How dare they! 😉 )

I think that’s about it…oh, but I’d really love any comments from you…For example, what do you take, and how/when/etc. do you take it? How has your protocol worked for you? I would love some updates, especially from those who haven’t been in touch with me lately. I wish I could keep track of everyone, but I get so many messages on a daily basis…so…it’s impossible. Anyway, I’d really appreciate it if you could find the time to drop me a line or to leave a comment on this post. Thanks a lot!

Take care, everyone, and…see you soon!!!  🙂

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!!!!!!