Archive for the ‘Liver Cancer’ Category

Why Veggies Are Overrated and Liver is King

Monday, August 11th, 2014

Eat your veggies. An action of tough love that all parents demand of their children. While the kids do not enjoy these green treats, parents all around agree that the nutrition found within is essential for health and development. What is somewhat overlooked is although vegetables may contain a wide variety of nutrients, they are often not absorbable by the body and can all be obtained through less painful sources.

Let’s look at the vegetable we view at the ultimate pinnacle of health–spinach. Spinach is rich in iron, folate, vitamin K, vitamin A, and magnesium. It is often referred to as a “superfood” due to the wide variety of nutrition it has to offer. This all sounds good on paper but if you are skimping on your red meat and getting your iron from your leafy veggies, I have bad news for you. In a study on absorb ability of the iron content in spinach they noticed a very minuscule amount of the iron content in spinach is bioavailable(i.e. absorbable). Furthermore, the amount that was absorbed was attributed to sand that was not washed completely off of the spinach rather than the spinach itself. Therefore, by relying only on spinach we are missing out on a mineral that is essential to the creation on red blood cells (which are very important if you are not aware).

But hey, iron is not all that spinach has to offer. We need it for the other vitamins and minerals right? This is where I resort to what is often referred to as “natures multivitamin”: liver, or more specifically calf’s liver. If you take a side by side comparison of 100 grams of spinach versus 100 grams of calf’s liver you will realize the difference. Let’s start by looking at folate, which is an essential B vitamin for red blood cell development and metabolism. Spinach is touted for it’s great supply of folate, however it only supplies 49 percent of our daily recommended value in 100 grams while calf’s liver supplies 66 percent. In terms of iron, spinach provides 15 percent compared to liver’s 23 percent– all of which is very absorbable. In terms of vitamin A liver blows spinach out of the water with a whopping 1129 percent! Spinach only provides 188 percent in a 100 gram serving. Furthermore, liver supplies a complete spread of B vitamins, copper, zinc, and just about every other vitamin and mineral you need as well as providing a great, lowest source of protein.

However, you may be thinking, this doesn’t solve my problem, liver is just as unappetizing as vegetables! Maybe you are simply not cooking it right. Liver can become very tough and rubbery when overcooked and can take on a strange consistency when cooked in too thick of portions. Here’s what I have found to be the best way to cook it. Start with a cast iron skillet and put a generous amount of olive oil in it to prevent the liver from sticking. Season the liver with lemon pepper and salt and fry it for about a minute on each side. You may like to try breaking it with flour, cornmeal, or bread crumbs to find what suites your tastes best. After frying it you may want to try on or a few of the following sauces to find what you enjoy the best: lime juice, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, or even ketchup. Some combinations work better than others but just experiment til you find what’s best! The key is to cook the liver through but not overcooked it to a point where it becomes tough to chew and takes on a bad aftertaste.

Calf’s liver has always been my go to but you can attain similar results from beef liver if that is all that is available. The difference is simply the age of the cow that the liver is attained from. There is an incorrect notion that normal beef liver is riddled with toxins since the livers main function as an organ is to detoxify the body however this is innacurate and due to an incomplete understanding on how the organ functions. It does not simply filter out toxins but rather provides chemicals to help the body metabolize these unwanted substances in the body and therefore does not retain any compounds within it. Therefore you can enjoy liver of any kind without the fear of toxins!

I hope you are somewhat convinced of the nutrition you can obtain from non veggie sources such as liver. While you still may need to find other sources of fiber to satisfy your needs without munching on vegetables all day long, you may find yourself saving money and being healthier by looking to liver to satisfy your nutritional needs. Don’t let societies stigma of liver deter you, it is a tasty meal when prepare correctly. It may not suite everyone but you will never know if you never try it!

Whole Moon

Monday, August 11th, 2014

It was a day unlike any other when I got the news. You told me you were going back to the doctor for another test to find out what was wrong with you since they had ruled out Hepatitis and Cirrhosis.

I’m sitting here at my computer writing an article when the phone rings and my world is changed forever.

“Okay, here’s the deal,” you say bravely. “I’ve got liver cancer.”

Inside I can’t breathe. It’s as if you are drowning suddenly and being pulled under by large waves and I cannot bring you up to the surface no matter how hard I try.

On the outside I say, “Okay” then barrage you with a million questions, something you wind up hating during the time you are alive.

You tell me what’s next and seem incredibly calm, determined to fight this thing, as you tell me, not afraid and optimistic.

You’re only 51 and we’ve been dating two years.

You’ve been at your company 19 years and promoted once, now serving as a supervisor on the night shift.

You always wanted kids and we were going to get married.

But now all that has been put on hold as you focus on what is most important – surviving.

I don’t know what to say or how to be. Only that you now have a free pass, a “Get out of Jail free” card to do whatever you want to do in your life, to me, to others, or yourself because you are now a cancer patient.

I’ve lost a lot of people in my life and some to cancer. I’ve lost some relatives and friends to cancer and even people I barely knew.

But I never had a boyfriend tell me he just found out he has cancer.

People ask me later if you knew somehow ahead of time since you talked about dying a lot, particularly the second year we dated.

I brushed those comments off at the time from you, telling myself you were just obsessed and pessimistic because of how your life was pre-cancer – full of depression, drinking, and dealing with your ex-wife.

Now it’s been 24 hours since you gave me the news and you are heading back to the doctor for more follow-up. You don’t have great insurance but at least you have something.

Your family doctor seems pretty clueless.

Your uncle, a liver cancer survivor tells you enthusiastically that you are going to make it, that he made it and that you have nothing to worry about.

You tell your family but not your company, not yet.

All of your relatives are optimistic and rally around you via long distance phone calls.

You write your sister who lives out of town and tell her. You had just reunited with her and swapped letters and pictures and now you have to tell her that you are sick.

You haven’t seen each other in years.

I always said that I wouldn’t be a good caretaker in situations like these and I proved myself right although I surprised myself by making you laugh every chance I could to get your mind off things which you said you liked later.

You are afraid you’ll lose your job that you won’t be able to pay your bills but you aren’t afraid you’re going to die.

“I’m going to fight this thing,” you tell me. “Whatever happens, I want you to be happy. Nothing has changed. When I get better we’re going to………”

First the doctor tells you you have a huge tumor but they can’t find it, only that it is metastasis and it is shooting off lots of little baby tumors all through your body. They tell you you were probably sick two or three years before they found anything. They say alcohol is not a factor and there is a question of exactly where the cancer started. Maybe not in the liver. Maybe in the pancreas or colon but no clue.

They tell you about chemo and radiation and I cringe inside, my heart breaking as I imagine you bent over a toilet constantly after chemo, having heard horror stories about it.

I don’t want this for you. I so much don’t want you to suffer.

I just want them to find the tumor, zap it, and for things to go back to how they were.

It’s now been two days since your diagnosis and it feels like an eternity.

I have told my family and friends and prayers are being sent out.

You didn’t want people to know, didn’t want to be exploited, don’t want pity or for people to feel sorry for you.

You also don’t want to be asked constantly about your condition and you get sick of me asking how you’re feeling.

But it just seems like the only natural thing to ask and I thought to myself that if I don’t ask how uncaring does that make me seem?

Your laughter is something I miss. It resonated through the walls of my home, as you played with my dog, Ripley who you had bonded with, as you bathe him, as we crack jokes, watch movies, live in each other’s lives.

But all that has stopped now. Rarely do you laugh and when you do it doesn’t last long.

I’m still in a state of shock. I still cannot accept this though you seem to have, readily.

I can’t believe this is happening. To us. To me.

I take it personally and I’m pissed at God even though I know He has nothing to do with it, though my alcoholic recovery friends tell me it’s His will.

I refuse to accept that.

I will never submit to that.

Because if it’s God’s will that you get cancer then how do you explain how many people get it and don’t? It’s too random. What about kids and animals who get sick? How did they come to deserve it?

Your ex-wife tells you that because you cheated on her you got cancer.

She is one sick ticket.

She is directly from hell.

She tells you she’s going to make you suffer, that now it’s payback time.

I hurt for you inside. Every day I surf the Net and give you info on your condition, treatments, hope, something for you to hold on to. I never give you any of the bad stuff and sometimes it takes me a long time to find anything good to pass on to you. But I don’t want you to know the truth. That the prognosis is bad, that there’s not much good news for you.

On the fourth day since you told me you have cancer you have by now gone back to work and I come to visit you as usual only this time we sit in your car on your break and listen to some of your favorite songs, holding hands, and talking about your cancer.

You tell me that you started reading The Bible again, something you haven’t done since your Catholic childhood days. I listen, openly, not caring for the first time that I’m not religious and never have been.

“People think that Heaven is where they’re going to be reunited with the people they love,” you say. “That’s not it at all. That’s not what it’s about.”

Even though I have never believed in Heaven and Hell I am dismayed to hear this. This means that if you die I won’t be reunited with you possibly one day.

Your mom has given you some wonder recipe passed down by her Hispanic heritage that is supposed to cure you along with a litany of prayers and, of course, whatever treatment the doctors prescribe.

You try to drink this concoction daily but can’t choke it down. She implores you to try while you talk to her on the phone and you do but you can only get down a little before you gag.

But soon you are able to drink it and you do the prayers religiously, faithfully, hopefully, hoping against hope that this is the answer.

Your ex-wife often makes fun of you when she hears you on your knees praying out loud.

I think to myself that she is one messed up, cruel individual to rob you of your hope.

Or try to.

As it stands now she is not successful in robbing you of that optimism.

That comes later.

I want to take you in my arms and hold you, this big bear of a man, my love, my heart and soul. I want to comfort you, cure you, bargain with God to take me instead.

After all, you are a good person. I’m the one God wants if this is some sick master plan.

“Take me,” I beg Him. “I deserve this illness. Not him.”

I would gladly switch places with you to end your suffering, anything for you to not have to go through this hell.

Three days before Halloween and you go with me to pick up my Geisha costume for this party I go to every year. I wish you could be going with me.

Instead you marvel at the costumes and masks in the store, gazing at them in admiration and we laugh together.

On the way home you stop at a tortilla factory and buy the tamales you’ve been wanting for months that you have now decided to no longer deny yourself. You haven’t eaten them in a long time and you can’t wait to savor the delicious flavor.

I wait in the car while you go in and soon you are back with the big white bags smoking hot with delicacies, a big smile on your face.

For a moment it’s as if you’re not sick.

Then I remember you are.

The second passes so quickly that I don’t realize how meaningful this trip is for you and later I would reflect on it over and over among other memories.

We eat your treats at your place in the dining room, brightly lit with the t.v. on in the living room, sunlight pouring through the windows on what should be just a regular ole day.

But as the bottles of pills laid out on the dining room table suggest, it is not an ordinary day at all.

Nor will it ever be again.

Going to the Halloween party I felt so guilty, like “How dare I have fun?” while you’re sick. Yet you insisted I go because that’s how unselfish you are. The whole time I was there I thought about you, wishing you were there with me, unable to have a good time because you weren’t with me.

The whole time I’m there I’m wondering how you are at home, how you’re feeling, if you’re able to rest.

At this point you haven’t started any treatment because the doctors keep giving you different answers and say more tests have to be run.

You go to one center that is supposed to be great but they basically told you that without better insurance you’re out of luck.

We get information from the local American Cancer Society office about financial assistance, support groups, and other services they offer.

You fill out packets of information from various organizations hoping to get some help soon before things get really bad.

Your company is being great, your employees have rallied around you, helping you pick up the slack while you’re working, doing extra stuff when needed, and assisting you in any way they can.

I’m so glad you have such support in this area.

One day your men take up a collection of $200 for your expenses and they give it to you.

I marvel at this.

You continue to work every day and I don’t know how.

At this point you’re on Darvocet and driving back and forth to work but can barely do it. I worry about you getting in a wreck and about how you can work in your condition but you soldier on.

You have to work, you tell me. You’ve got bills to pay and I understand but I still worry.

You tell your best friend who lives next door about your diagnosis. But he’s an alcoholic and all he can do is disappear from your life, barely calling and stopping visiting.

Your neighbor across the street, with his usual demands, asks even more of you, not knowing your diagnosis. Then when he finds out he feels bad and offers to help in any way he can.

A few months before your diagnosis one of your dogs that you had for several years died of a long illness.

You used to tell me about when he was a puppy and about all your times together, walking him, teaching him tricks, and how gorgeous he was.

My mom tells me that so many people survive cancer and that there was hope, that you would be okay.

My sister was sorry to get my news about you and was her usual compassionate self.

My best friend who had heard all about you but never got to meet you was stunned and sympathetic.

Now when I send you emails I make sure they’re all happy.

I don’t want you to have a moment of sadness on top of what you have to deal with.

Every day I want to shout to people “Don’t you know my boyfriend has cancer? Don’t you see my world’s been turned upside down?”

Selfish, I know.

On the outside I appear to just care about how this affects you but inside I’m terrified of how this is affecting me.

I can’t imagine what you’re going through.

I keep thinking it’s just a bad dream and I’m going to wake up. We both say over and over that we just want to go back to how things were, rewind back to 2003 and 2004 in our high times.

We had been dating for two years.

I keep thinking about how we met in July 2003 but didn’t start dating till December of that year. I had taken my car to you to get worked on. You were recommended by a friend.

The first day I met you remember how we hit it off? We were cracking jokes while you worked on my car. It felt like I’d known you for years. There hasn’t ever been anyone like that for me. We started exchanging emails, email jokes and this went on for months as just friends.

Then on Dec. 28, 2003 all that changed.

Humor was a huge part of our relationship.

I remember your 50th birthday was a great memory for both of us. And on Valentine’s Day 2004 it snowed and stuck as you left my house in the morning for yours.

You immediately took to Ripley and loved him. You taught him tricks, bathed him weekly, and would give him treats. You two bonded as if you were his dad.

You remembered dates like no one would believe and could spin a tale with so much detail. You were so considerate, sensitive, funny, generous, protective of me, fun, and would help anyone. You helped a lot of people through the years.

You made your employees’ shifts easier with your joking attitude, always cracking jokes yet you were a great supervisor. You were a teacher and taught people many things. You rarely missed a day of work and even when you got sick and I would beg you not to go to work because you were in pain you would try to work anyway. You were always bringing me things from the company that you’d find, little treasures that people would throw out that you knew I would like.

We made a lot of plans. Going to Hawaii, getting married, maybe having a child. We had a lot of plans. You always wanted a Harley and after you were diagnosed you were going to get one but never did. You loved to cook, loved animals, and kids.

There was so much to you and I know I’ll forget to tell people many things.

You would call me “Silly Bunny,” “Baby cakes,” and “Mamasita.” I would call you “My Gingerbread Man.” You were a romantic, always surprising me with something. You were a good listener.

One of the things you told me after you were diagnosed was that I had your heart. You wrote me tons of love notes and love letters.

When your stepdaughter had her first child in October it was your pride and joy. You told me often that when you held the baby your pain went away.

Now you tell me you have found your purpose in life – To spread the word about God who you had found to kids, teenagers, your best friend and that maybe I could help you do that. You told me that when you recovered from cancer that you would be a different person and you always say, “I’m going to beat this thing.”

You always gave me compliments. You taught me a lot of things.

You used to ask me, “Will you still love me when I’m old and gray?”

You enjoyed going to Possum Kingdom Lake and Benbrook Lake to fish, swim, and boat.

Your favorite songs were the Hawaiian version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “What A Wonderful World” from the “Good Morning Vietnam” movie soundtrack.

After you were diagnosed you had a spiritual experience and spiritual awakenings along and along and you would share them with me. It was incredible to witness.

I feel so lucky to have known you.

So many didn’t know how great you were.

Warning Signs, Risk Factors, and Preventive Tips About Liver Cancer, According to Dr. Oz

Monday, August 11th, 2014

Dr. Oz recently did a segment on his show about liver cancer. He talked about the warning signs of this disease, their risk factors and possible preventive steps that can be taken to keep the disease from actually developing. Here is a brief summary of these facts.

Did you know that your liver is your biggest internal organ? Did you also know that you could be suffering from liver disease right now and not realize it? People can be suffering from the disease, in its early stages and actually still feel good.

The Warning Signs

Yes, after the disease progresses it will start to show warning signs. These warning signs may indicate that there is a problem within the body. They can include:
Pain in the upper abdomen
Looking jaundice
Extreme fatigue
Anemia

Risk Factors

Luckily, there is some lifestyle changes we can make to decrease some of the risk factors of developing liver cancer. These risk factors include:
Being overweight
Having an apple shaped body
Having a waist size that is half the size of your height in inches
Drinking alcohol to a level that is considered chronic, such as daily alcohol consumption

Preventive Tips

The following preventive tips can help lower your chances of developing liver cancer.
Eliminate the added sugars in your diet (by doing this you can lose weight easier and you can decrease your risk of developing diabetes, which is hard on every organ within your body)
Consider getting vaccinated for Hepatitis B, a disease that can cause liver disease (those who have liver disease have a higher chance of developing liver cancer.)

If you believe you are at high risk of developing liver cancer, talk this matter over with your doctor. Ask if he can have some blood tests done on you. If needed, you may even want him to perform an ultra sound on your liver. Remember this is your body and your health. You need to stay inform and be proactive. Tell your doctor your concerns, your symptoms and if you want further testing, ask.

Sources:

“Dr. Oz”

WBNS Television, Columbus, Ohio (CBS)

The Facts on Liver Cancer

Monday, August 11th, 2014

What is Liver Cancer?

Liver cancer occurs when cancer cells from the liver spread to areas outside the liver and affect other parts of the body. In most cases the cancer cells will first spread to nearby lymph nodes and then to the bones. If the cancer has grown advanced enough it will begin to affect the lungs of the patient.

What are the Signs of Liver Cancer?

Vomiting or nausea after eating.

Fever.

Feeling of fullness.

Dark urine.

Weight loss.

Loss of appetite.

Bloating.

Yellowing of the eyes and skin.

Pain in back or shoulder.

Pain on the right side of the upper abdomen.

If you are having any of the signs above you should see a doctor as soon as possible.

What Causes Liver Cancer?

Smoking.

Breathing in second hand smoke.

Excessive drinking of alcohol.

Having hepatitis.

Having any type of liver disease.

Age.

Using Anabolic steroids.

Vinyl chloride.

Arsenic.

Cirrhosis.

Diabetes.

Gender.

Family history.

Being Obese.

Birth Control Pills.

Ulcerative colitis.

Aflatoxins.

Also keep in mind no one really knows what causes liver cancer.

How Will My Doctor Know if I Have Liver Cancer?

Physical examination- Your doctor will have you lay down and feel for any lumps or masses. Also the doctor will listen to blood vessels near the liver with a stethoscope.

Laboratory test- If liver cancer is present the protein known as alpha-fetoprotein will be abnormally high. Another way to test for liver cancer is to detect bilirubin and lactic dehydrogenase in blood.

Laparoscopy- The doctor will first make a small cut in the abdomen and insert a small, lighted tube to view the area. After viewing the area the doctor will remove a small amount of liver tissue and examine it under a microscope.

Liver Biopsy- Using a fine needle your doctor will take a small amount of fluid from the liver or nearby tissues to be examined under a microscope. Often times there is little to no risk involved, however some patients may develop a fatal hemorrhage from the biopsy.

What are the Treatments for Liver Cancer?

Partial hepatectomy- A surgeon will remove a part of the liver and its nearby tissue to prevent the spread of cancer.

Chemotherapy- If a tumor can not be removed by surgery a catheter will be placed in the main artery found in the liver. Once the catheter is in place a pump will be installed to treat the cancer.

Steve Jobs Had Liver Transplant in Tennessee Two Months Ago

Monday, August 11th, 2014

Steve Jobs has had a liver transplant. For a long time now people have been speculating about Jobs’ health and now it turns out two months ago Steve Jobs had a liver transplant.

Steve Musil reporting on CNET.News echoes a report from The Wall Street Journal telling us that while Steve Jobs has been on medical leave for the last six months he has had a liver transplant. During that period of time Apple Computer has been very silent with respect to his personal situation.

Musil’s article “Report: Steve Jobs had liver transplant” verifies the fact that two months ago Jobs had a liver transplant in Tennessee.

Jobs moved to Tennessee from California. As it turns out Tennessee has a shorter waiting list for patients seeking organs than California.

Jobs had originally stepped down as CEO of Apple but now that a successful transplant has been affected, may decide to increase his responsibilities over the next two or three months.

I was curious why there were fewer organs available in California than Tennessee. Was it simply because California was a larger state and had more people? It would seem that there would be a larger number of donors to off-set that situation.

Upon researching it I find it to be an interesting situation and, in fact a troubling situation.

Across the country the rate of organ donations is up by four percent. That is with the exception of California where the rate of donation is down a whopping 17 percent. According to resource material this may be due to ignorance. I doubt it. Not in the face of other obvious circumstances.

In 1997 gays began to be allowed to obtain organs. While a person with full-blown AIDS cannot benefit from an organ donation, when a person is diagnosed early, an organ transplant may be beneficial. However, when a person is HIV-positive they cannot donate organs and when a person dies from AIDS they cannot donate organs. That means that unlike conditions such as heart attack, the entire spectrum of HIV-related death and illness puts a moratorium on a large segment of California’s potential donors.

Finally, people are afraid to get donations from donors in California for the very same reasons.

It seems that Steve Jobs is going to be increasing his responsibilities at Apple. His journey may have shined a light on a disturbing situation in California.

References:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124546193182433491.html

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-10269685-37.html