Well, about two weeks ago we received the sad but expected news that Peekaboo has an inoperable and malignant nasal tumor located on the left side of her face, the side that has become deformed. The vets refer to it as a sarcoma.

Because of her age (she’s almost 14 years old) and other factors, the vets and Stefano and I are in agreement: we’ll do nothing, except monitor her and (try to) make sure she’s not in pain (although it’s very difficult to figure out if a cat is in pain or not)…

I’ve begun giving her curcumin, mixed in with her wet food, but it’s way too early (just a few days) to tell if it’s doing anything. My hope is that it might slow the progression of this blasted tumor.

But I should have begun giving her curcumin months ago. I have the sinking feeling that it is too late…On Sunday, you see, to my absolute horror, I found two canines on the floor. Peekaboo’s canines. Not at all a good sign.

Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do except shower her with love, give her cortisone and curcumin, enjoy her (still) feisty, tough personality, make sure she’s comfortable, and…wait.

Difficult times ahead…


A few days ago I discovered that my blog reader/friend Dieneke Ferguson had died months ago, in October. She had been diagnosed with MM in her 50s for which she had undergone many conventional treatments. When she was left with no options (but the final one!!!), many years ago, she came across my blog, got in touch with me, and began taking curcumin, which managed to stabilize her so much so that in 2018 she was interviewed by BBC Radio 4. That interview, if my memory serves me correctly, was picked up by other news agencies. Dieneke became quite well-known.

Unfortunately, she later developed ovarian cancer. The last time we communicated, she was undergoing conventional treatments. Well, with all that was going on here in Florence, I didn’t hear of her death last October.

Dieneke and I had planned to meet someday…In fact, she had invited Stefano and me to stay with her so many times; I’m sad to say, however, that we never met in the flesh. But even so, I was attached to Dieneke, her spirit, her optimism…Her death greatly saddens me.

Here is an article about her:

Ciao, Dieneke…

Patients’ perspectives of living with MGUS

Today I’m publishing a quick post (I have a zillion things to do today, including taking Peekaboo to the clinic for her CAT scan!) about a recent qualitative study on MGUS patients that is online for FREE this month. Many MANY thanks to Blain Murphy, one of the authors of the study, for getting in touch with me about it, otherwise I might have missed it. Correct that: I would have missed it. 😉

Here’s the link:

I don’t have the time to read it before posting, but I’m sure it will be of great interest to all of us, even if those of us who are beyond the MGUS level. I skimmed through it just now, and yes, this will be a good read…I recognize all the feelings I had at diagnosis (about 100 years ago!)…shock, anxiety, incomprehension, etc.

And, remember, the study is available for FREE only this month, so hurry up and check it out.

Okay, off I go, busy busy busy! Ciao!

More than two months…

Wow, I can’t believe that I haven’t published a post in so long. More than TWO MONTHS…That’s definitely my (worst) record. 😕 Sorry about that. Since I’ve received a bunch of concerned messages, though, I thought I’d better reassure everyone publicly that I’m fine, Stefano is fine, the kitties are fine. In short, we’re all fine, although I’ve been dealing with some health issues with Peekaboo in the past month or so.

Peekaboo, February 2021

Last summer (and then in the fall, and then just about a month ago) she came down with a nasty case of gingivitis, which is concerning, not just because it keeps coming back, in spite of antibiotics and cortisone, but because more than two years ago she had an aggressive form of oral melanoma, and a portion of her jaw was removed…She recovered beautifully from that surgery, I would like to add…In this photo, if you look closely, perhaps you will be able to see that the left side of her face is a bit swollen (this is actually a good photo, since her left eye is usually half shut now). My poor Booboo!!!

But we’ll sort it out, I’m sure. Our vets had a meeting about Peekaboo yesterday. The upshot is that I’m taking her to the clinic tomorrow for a CAT scan. A CAT scan for a cat! Hah. Anyway, yes, I’m worried, but Peeky is a tough kitty who has been through so much…So she is going to be fine. Period.

Okay, let’s see, what else? I’ve been quite busy in these past two months of absence from the blog… not just translations, but, for example, after 20 years of living with an incredibly impractical kitchen (very little counter space, e.g.), we decided to have it totally renovated. I’m finally going to have the kitchen of my dreams (with lots of counter space, a new super duper oven, etc.). Very exciting. Demolition of the old kitchen will start on Monday. By the end of next week, I hope most of the new kitchen will be installed, except for the counter top, which will take another ten days or so.

Anyway, as we say in Italian, tutto bene = all is well. But now I really must continue clearing stuff out of the kitchen…Monday is just around the corner! Yikes!

So…ciao, everyone!!! Now more than ever, with all these blasted Covid variants floating around, please take care, stay safe, and wear your masks!!!

A spiritual disease

“Spiritual” Pinga…

Yes, it’s been a long time, a very long time since I last published a post…To be honest, I just haven’t felt like it. Between the U.S. election and its crazy aftermath, something we have never seen in modern times!, AND the fact that Tuscany became a coronavirus Red Zone, I’ve been busy…lots of news to follow, lots of irritation against whiny sore losers, lots of getting organized so I can stay at home most of the time, and so on.

Mainly, though, and here I have to be honest: I just haven’t felt like writing.

But today, just now in fact, I read something written by a member of a Facebook group  to which I belong. Here is the quote, with no further explanation: “I personally believe that multiple myeloma is a spiritual disease.”

I’m going to hold back on commenting for a few days, because I’m interested to see what YOU think…

Cute animals decrease stress and anxiety

I just published this post on my cat blog but decided to publish it here, too, since it is linked to a health issue that some or many of us might have, especially nowadays–stress, that is.

Watching cute animals is good for our health. We probably already knew that from personal experience, but now science has confirmed it…once again, I should add…I mean, I’ve seen similar studies before.

A new study, recently published by CNN, in fact shows that “watching cute animals may contribute to a reduction in stress and anxiety.”

Here’s the link to the CNN report:

And so, here’s a photo of baby Pixie, who was little more than two months old in this photo. Incidentally, I don’t touch up my photos, so it’s a bit on the dark side, but still…how adorable she was (and is), don’t you think? Awwww…

An excerpt from the article: “In all cases, the study saw blood pressure, heart rate and anxiety go down in participants, 30 minutes after watching the video.”

The study found that videos worked better than still images. Hmmm. I’ll have to learn how to upload some of my cutest cat videos. Yeah, I still don’t know how to do that…It will be a project for the near (I hope) future…! 🙂

Too much licorice may kill you

This morning, thanks to a friend’s post on Facebook, I read an Associated Press article, picked up and published by NBC News, that REALLY shocked me. Here’s the link:

Is it possible for someone to DIE from eating too much licorice??? The incredible answer is…yes.

It happened to a 54-year-old man in Massachusetts, U.S.A. He had been eating A LOT of licorice, a bag and a half apparently!!!, every day for a few weeks before he collapsed and was taken to the hospital. Even though he was revived, he died the following day. His doctors found his levels of potassium to be very low, which is very very dangerous for the heart, in particular.

Here’s an excerpt from the article: “Eating as little as 2 ounces of black licorice a day for two weeks could cause a heart rhythm problem, especially for folks over 40, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns.”

Yikes! I personally do not care for the taste of licorice, so I’m not in any danger…But I decided to write this post as a warning to others who might love licorice.

Coincidentally, I wrote about glycyrrhizic acid in 2007 (my July 29 post) because of its anti-cancer properties, mainly. I’d seen the warnings about the low potassium problem and made a note of that in the post, and I also included this: “…ingesting too much glycyrrhizin may not be such a good idea if you suffer from hypertension, heart disease or have water retention problems.” Well, I will revise that sentence to “ingesting too much glycyrrhizin could be fatal to you if you suffer from…etc.

Incidentally, I have noticed that many of my old links DO NOT WORK anymore (for instance, the TINYURLs that I used many years ago). I apologize for that. Over the years, I have tried and used different shortening devices because sometimes my links happen to be miles long, which I find to be annoying. From now on, though, I will probably post the full links (like the link to the above NBC article, which takes up three whole lines, as you can see. Oh well.).

Someday, when I retire, I may take the time to check and get rid of all the blog’s old links, replacing them with the original links, however long they might be. But that won’t be for a while yet, and…well…I wouldn’t count on it.  😀

A new curcumin-myeloma study

Unfortunately, the full study, just published in the journal Anti-Cancer Agents in Medicinal Chemistry, is not available online for free, but the abstract gives us a good idea of its content:

The abstract begins with a description of multiple myeloma, stuff we already know or should know…But then I noticed two words in the following sentence: “MM is almost incurable, and patients faced to this disease eventually relapse.”

Did you see that?

“Almost” and “incurable.”

That “almost” suggests that there is a form of myeloma that is curable. Hmmm. News to me!!! And, in fact, the words that follow, “patients…eventually relapse,” negate that “almost.” Perhaps a problem with the translation…?

Because, let’s be clear: myeloma is incurable…That said, it is treatable. And for some, it’s “just” a chronic disease.

Anyway, moving on…Then we have a description of the therapeutic properties of curcumin. Again, stuff we know or should know. 😉

Now, not that we needed any more evidence that curcumin is no friend of myeloma, but it’s always good to come across a NEW study confirming its ability to kill myeloma cells by interfering with, and I quote, “…various signaling pathways and cell cycle checkpoints, and with oncogenes.”

Yeah, that’s always good…really good.

Masked reunion

Yesterday, for the first time since the middle of February (!), I met with my card-playing girlfriends. I mean, we’re in touch on a daily basis…text messages and so on, but I’ve seen only one of these friends in the flesh since February.

Anyway, we had a lovely visit, complete with tea and birthday cake made by yours truly, but it felt really surreal. No hugging, no kissing, no close contact. For Italians, this is MOST unusual…

In addition to keeping our distance, we all wore our surgical face masks…sitting in our friend’s living room.

Weird…really weird.

But…necessary, of course.

Margaret’s Cats. Living with cats in Florence, Tuscany

Potter in a pot! August 2020

Well, recently I’ve had a bit of extra time on my hands, which I’ve devoted to organizing sock and undie drawers (no, really, I’m not kidding…I have photos of my incredibly neat drawers if you need proof. 😀  ), and, right now, not much desire to dive into medical/scientific articles, to be super honest…even though I do keep my eyes open and continue to read anything of myeloma interest. 

Anyway, this is how I came up with the idea of creating a separate blog, a CAT blog. I’d actually been thinking of doing something like that for years, but didn’t have the time. Well, now I do have the time…sort of…but mainly, I have the inspiration

My inspiration comes mainly from Potter, who is THE cutest kitten on Earth (yeah, yeah, I know, everyone who’s had or has a kitten thinks exactly the same thing…and my Pixie and Pandora were absolutely adorable kittens and very entertaining, too, but Potter is really something else…). 

Potter inspired me to begin writing again. I mean, he gives me so much joy that I wanted and want to, yes, to share it with others…

“What, a cat blog? You’re out of your mind!” Pixie and Pandora, September 2020

So yes, my most recent endeavor is super original (hehe!), I mean, there are only about a zillion cat blogs out there, right?

But this is my “escape” blog. Whenever I need five minutes to get away from the news or myeloma or whatnot, I can go write and publish a story about felines. Purrfect! 

Incidentally, this doesn’t mean that I’m abandoning my beloved Corner. No way! I’ll continue to read and post about interesting and potentially beneficial stuff concerning myeloma, and I’ll continue to answer your questions.

My cat blog will just a place where I can retreat to when I feel like writing something else, something cat-related.

So, please visit my new blog, titled “Margaret’s Cats, Living with Cats in Florence, Tuscany” and, if you’d leave me a comment or two, that would be great. Here’s the link:

I hope you will enJOY it! Ciao!