I Have a Second Skirmish With Skin Cancer

As regular readers know I contracted skin cancer and discovered it two years ago this month. I have included the links to the posts I wrote at the time and inserted them in the final paragraph.

This year our local hospital Northwestern Memorial offered free skin cancer screenings, so my girlfriend and I went on June 18. We each learned that we had a couple of ‘bad’ spots that needed to be removed for a biopsie. My girlfriend got her biopsies done last month and both came back negative for cancer. I had to wait a couple of weeks because I was using a new dermatologist. I had my two trouble spots removed last week and I got the results yesterday. Not good. Each was a basal cell carcinoma – BCC. Skin cancer. Again.

Don't be fooled by this smiling face. His rays are deadly.

Don’t be fooled by this smiling face. His rays are deadly.

As I wrote last year, “The Skin Cancer Foundation says that BCCs are abnormal uncontrolled growths that arise in the skin’s basal cells, which line the deepest layer of our skin. Usually caused by a combination of UltraViolet exposure. The good (?) news is that they rarely spread.

 

“There are an estimated 2.8 million cases of BCC diagnosed in the U.S. each year. In fact, it is the most frequently occurring form of all cancers. More than one out of every three new cancers are skin cancers, and the vast majority are BCCs. It shouldn’t be taken lightly ….”

For the record, after my surgery of August 2012, I practiced ‘safe sun’ with the zeal of a reformed whore. I bought several sunblocks, always the ‘broad spectrum’ variety that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Often when riding my bike I would wear a white long sleeved shirt to protect my arms from the rays. So, I was disappointed to learn the the spot on my face and the spot on my back were both cancerous. I guess, on the positive side, I did not have more of them. I would like to think that my efforts to avoid skin cancer had some good effects.

I have booked my Mohs surgery for next month. On September 10 I will go back under the knife.

Here’s what the Skin Cancer Foundation says about Mohs Surgery: “What is Mohs surgery? It is the excision of a cancer from the skin, followed by the detailed mapping and complete microscopic examination of the cancerous tissue and the margins surrounding it. If the margins are indeed cancer-free, the surgery is ended. If not, more tissue is removed, and this procedure is repeated until the margins of the final tissue examined are clear of cancer.”

The cure rate of the Mohs technique is 99 percent, considerably higher than other methods.”

Here are the links for my first cancer posts: Do I Have Skin Cancer? What Did I Learn After Being Diagnosed with Skin Cancer? What Happened During My Skin Cancer Surgery?

Following are further posts on the subject for you: Important Facts About Skin Cancer, What You Need for May – Skin Cancer Awareness Month.

Tony

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Sugar: the Evolution of A Forbidden Fruit

Tony:

Even alchemists played with the ingredient’s properties and claimed to have uncovered its hidden secrets. In 1555, the seer Nostradamus published a little book about cosmetics and confections that paid tribute to sugar’s transformative power: Candied fruit became a kind of edible, man-made miracle.

Originally posted on Cooking with Kathy Man:

Sweetness was meant to be irresistible.

We are born with a sweet tooth. Babies drink in sugar with their mother’s milk. Sweetness represents an instant energy boost, a fuel that kept our ancestors going in a harsher world where taste buds evolved to distinguish health-giving ripeness and freshness from the dangers of bitter, sour, toxic foods. Sugar gives us drug-like pleasures – lab rats deprived of their sugar-water fix exhibit classic signs of withdrawal. When things are going well, we blissfully say, “Life is sweet.”

And now sweetness is linked with death and disease. Sugars are themselves toxins, some researchers suggest, that cause obesity, diabetes, hyper- tension and Alzheimer’s disease. Sugar has joined salt and fat on the list of dietary evils. Governments and health experts are urging people to cut back their daily intake.

And because of its sweetness, once they had tasted it, they could scarcely get enough…

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9 Ways to Strengthen Your Brain

Tony:

Regular readers know I feel strongly about our mental make up. Having had two family members suffers from Alzheimer’s and dementia, I support anything that strengthens the brain. Please read my post Exercise, Aging and the Brain and my Page – Important Facts About Your Brain – and Exercise.

The writer mentions mental games, but they only build superficial skills. If you do crosswords, you will get better at crosswords, but you won’t do anything for your working memory. The only thing that builds new neurotransmitters in the brain is cardiovascular exercise. Check out my post on Can Exercise Help Me Learn?

Tony

Originally posted on Our Better Health:

Mike Michalowicz   CEO, Provendus Group  AUGUST 08, 2013 

New challenges and activities can strengthen your brain.
Here are some easy tips to help you get a little smarter every day.

Even though the brain is an organ, rather than a muscle, you can still give your brain a workout. Just as with a muscle, repetitive tasks can dull or even damage your mental acuity, while new challenges and activities can strengthen your brain and even make you measurably smarter. Get ready for your workout!

Exploit your weakness. This first challenge will seem counterintuitive, but there’s good science to support it. If you’re a morning person who’s most productive and alert early in the day, try tackling a creative task late at night, and vice versa for you night owls. You’ll discover that this stress on your brain—asking it to work hard at a time when you…

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What are Five Appetite Controlling Foods? – Infographic

Sometimes the idea of weight control can grow in our imagination like one of those monsters in the closet that scare little kids.

Getting a handle on our weight is really a simple thing that each of us can do. Don’t over think it. Pay attention to portion sizes and don’t eat crap.

Here are five foods that give you an edge in the encounter.

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Tony

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When you quit smoking, good things happen to your body

Tony:

Regular readers know I am totally against smoking and myriad ways it damages the human body. If you haven’t quit yet, and these reasons aren’t enough to convince you, please check out my Page – How Bad is Smoking?

quit-smoking-8
Tony

Originally posted on Explosivelyfit Strength Training:

When you quit smoking, good things happen to your body

  1. Your blood pressure and heart rate begin to lower after 20 minutes of no smoking.
  2. The carbon monoxide levels in your blood returns to normal after 12 hours of non-smoking.
  3. Your risk of heart attack decreases after 24 hours smoke-free.
  4. Your circulation will improve after 2 to 12 weeks of being smoke-free.
  5. One year after of no smoking, your risk of heart attack is half of what a smokers is.
  6. Your risk of a stroke, after five years, is the same as a non-smoker.
  7. Fifteen years after no smoking, the risk of you developing coronary heart disease is at the same level as a non-smoker.

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Slowing Brain Functions Linked to Increased Risk of Stroke, Death

Tony:

“Stroke in old age can be caused by poor cognitive function; whereas, faster decline in cognitive function can be caused by stroke,” Rajan said. “Low cognitive function is generally associated with poor neurological health and brain function. Worsening of neurological health can lead to several health problems with stroke being one of them.”

Regular readers know that I feel strongly about mental health and brain safety. Please check out my Page: Important Facts About Your Brain.

Tony

Originally posted on Cooking with Kathy Man:

Cognitive abilities such as memory and attention are not only important after a stroke but also before; according to research published in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.

Previous studies have shown poor cardiovascular health can increase the risk of cognitive impairment such as problems in memory and learning. However, the opposite idea that cognitive impairment may impact cardiovascular health, specifically stroke, was not established before.

“Most clinical studies observe cognitive impairment after a stroke event, said Kumar Rajan, Ph.D., lead author of the study and assistant professor of internal medicine at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL. “Only a handful of large population-based studies measured long-term cognitive functioning before stroke and deaths from all different causes.”

Researchers analyzed data on cognitive function in 7,217 adults (61 percent African-American and 59 percent women) over the age of 65. They gave them four tests every three years that evaluated participants’…

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What Constitutes a Healthy Diet?

Tony:

For more details on a healthy diet and weight control regimen check out my Page: How to Lose Weight, and Keep it Off.

Tony

Originally posted on Athletic Performance Training Center:

48470_f520[1]When it comes to healthy dietary recommendations, there’s a lot of conflicting information from the world of medical science.  To complicate matters, there are about a zillion books, documentaries, and news reports that attempt to provide us with nutritional “advice.”

Despite a plethora of differing opinions from the “experts,” there is an issue on which they agree: Our country has an alarming obesity problem.  About 1 in every 4 health care dollars are spent combating the resulting side effects of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

Physical activity is a big part of the solution.  Regular exercise is good medicine, both as prevention and treatment.

Diet and nutrition are the complement to exercise.  Here’s some sound nutritional advice for the masses (and about as close to a consensus as the experts get):

  • Eating fat doesn’t make you fat.  The importance of reducing fat intake is a…

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Five Real Foods for Every Cyclist’s Pantry – Guest Post – Kelli Jennings

Regular readers know that I am a nearly daily bike rider here in Chicago. As such I read some cycling blogs, too. One of my faves is Loving the Bike.

And, one of that blog’s regular contributors is Kelli Jennings, an Expert Sports Nutritionist who writes Ask the Sports Nutritionist.

Kelli is not only a world class athlete, but also a first rate nutritionist who writes clearly and accurately about her healthy and intelligent eating.

She recently wrote an item 5 Real Foods for Every Cyclist’s Pantry that I thought would interest you. Most importantly, you do not have to be a cyclist to benefit from Kelli’s information. I have written about a number of these foods as beneficial to every person. These foods should be in your pantry, too, whether you ride a bike or not.

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The world is full of great foods for cyclists.  Foods that energize, foods that heal, and foods that reduce risk of illness.  As a bonus, many of these same foods taste great.  There’s no shortage of great foods from which to choose for everyday eating, and for training fuel.  And yet, there are some foods that stand out above the rest.
Here is simple list of five real-food, whole-food options that have specific benefits to athletes.  Some help with joint pain, others with energy, and one with oxygen delivery.  If you haven’t tried them, this season may be a great time to add them to your diet.

 Here are 5 Foods that should be in every cyclist’s pantry:

1) Organic Coconut oil: A saturated fat known for its light coconut taste and high-smoke point, organic coconut oil can serve an athlete by being a great energy source in both everyday nutrition and training nutrition.  It is largely made up of Lauric Acid, a fatty acid that hasanti-microbial properties, promotes insulin sensitivity in cells (which discourages diabetes and fat storage), and potentially improves heart health markers.832505-coconut-oil

Before you read further, you may be under the impression that coconut oil is off-limits because it’s a saturated fat.  First, take note that not all saturated fats are the same.  Just like some unsaturated fats are better for you than others (fish oil vs. corn oil for example), some saturated fats are better for you than others.  Organic, extra virgin coconut oil contains a very high percentage of Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs).  In chemistry terms, this means that the carbon chain has a medium length.  The length of carbons chains, where any double-bonds are located, and the amount of hydrogens attached to the carbons drives how nutrients are used in our bodies.  MCTs have the advantage of begin very easily digested, without need of extra lipid enzymes and bile salts.  They are used directly by the mitochondria (energy producers) of the cells, and seldom stored as fat. Furthermore, they do not negatively affect cholesterol levels or overall health.

How to add organic coconut oil: First, incorporate organic extra-virgin coconut oil into your everyday nutrition choices by using it in stir-fries, baked goods or as a replacement for butter.  Second, use it for Training Nutrition as a great energy source before and during training, or as a great replenishment in recovery. You can add it to a pre-training smoothie, mashed sweet potatoes, or mix it with chia seeds, honey and peanut butter.  After a hard training, it can reduce muscle wasting by giving your body an alternative fuel source.  Take it straight off the spoon, add it to a recovery smoothie or melt it and spread into a peanut butter and honey sandwich.

2) Ginger: Ginger has long been, and is now re-emerging as a go-to supplement and food for health promotion and reduction in joint pain.  First, ginger is loaded with anti-inflammatory nutrients, antioxidants, and phytochemicals, which work to reduce risk of disease, reduce chronic inflammation, and neutralize free radicals that can damage cells.  Ginger also promotes gut health, may be anti-cancerous, and boosts immune function.

Next, recent studies show that it’s effective in reducing muscle soreness and joint pain in athletes.  In fact, in one study, participants took either 2 grams ginger or placebo each day for several days before strenuous exercise, and the ginger participants had a 25% reduction in soreness indicators vs. those on placebo.

How to add ginger:
Use it daily in smoothies, stir-fries, salads, and grated into sandwiches. Make your life easier by simply scraping away the skin with the side of a spoon rather than cutting it off.  Then, use ginger to reduce soreness (along with rest days and other recovery tactics) by consuming 2 grams per day.  You can choose 4 ginger pill supplements per day (check out the label, most are 500-550 mg each), 2 teaspoons of fresh ginger each day, or 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger.

3) Beets: By now you’ve likely heard about beetroot juice and its effects on time trial times.  Research on beetroot juice and performance began after it was shown that nitrates could increase nitric oxide in the body, which in turn dilates vessels to improve the delivery of oxygen and uptake of oxygen by the muscles.  Preliminary studies showed a reduction in oxygen cost during moderate and intense training, increased time to exhaustion, and improved performance with beetroot juice.  More recent studies have shown benefits of beetroot juice when taken in both a 6-day (16 ounces per day) regimen and a one-time pre-training dose 2-3 hours before training.

Beets are very rich in nitrates, and beetroot juice, beetroot freeze-dried powder, and new beet performance gels and supplements are a concentrated form.  They are truly a natural food that has direct and specific benefits on performance!

How to use beets: For everyday nutrition, add beets to salads, roast ‘em, or slice them onto sandwiches.  They are full of antioxidants, phytochemicals and all-around good-for-you nutrients.  For training, take 16 ounces beetroot juice, 6 teaspoons freeze-dried powder or a beet training shot, gel, or supplement with at least 300 mg nitrates.  If using the juice or powder in a smoothie or pre-training snack, consume it about 2-3 hours before training.  If using a commercial beetroot training gel, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

4) Yogurt and probiotics: Plain yogurt is a nutritious ancient food that naturally contains healthy bacteria called probiotics.  Probiotics can also be found in other fermented foods and probiotic supplements.  In either form, probiotics can aide an athlete in three ways.

First, they improve nutrient absorption, which can specifically help in recovery nutrition by increasing the delivery of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and proteins to the cells.  Next, they boost immune function and can decrease the incidence of mononucleosis in athletes in particular.  Third, they can significantly reduce digestion issues both acutely and chronically.  This can mean less nausea during and after training in athletes who experience it.

How to add yogurt: For everyday nutrition, plain yogurt topped with berries, nuts and honey makes a great breakfast or lunch.  You can also add it to smoothies, use it as sour cream, or eat it with fruit for a snack.  For training nutrition, I recommend a pre-training or recovery smoothie or parfait with honey and fruit for carbohydrates, the yogurt for protein and probiotics, and nuts or chia for healthy energy-supplying fats.
5) Chia seeds: Anyone who’s read “Born to Run” is likely already on the chia-seed-bandwagon.  And if you haven’t and are not on it yet, consider adding these healthy-fat, protein, and nutrient packed seeds to your diet.  In addition to providing long-lasting, slow-and-steady-digesting carbs and soluble fiber, Chia seeds are wonderfully versatile and have a lot to offer nutritionally.  They are absolutely a great choice for everyday nutrition and training nutrition.

First, chia seeds provide minerals like phosphorous, manganese and calcium.  Next, you’ll find a large amount of plant based omega-3 fats.  And, while these cannot replace the omega-3s from fish and seafood, they still promote reduced inflammation and overall health.  Then, chia seeds are a great source of fiber at six grams per one tablespoon!  Soluble fiber promotes digestive health, steady energy and blood sugars, reduced cholesterol, improved immunity, and overall wellness. Fourth, chia seeds are loaded healthful antioxidants that combat oxidative stress.  And fifth, chia seeds, like quinoa seeds, contain complete proteins with all essential amino acids.  Every tablespoon of chia provides 2-4 grams of protein.

What’s remarkable about chia seeds in training nutrition, though, is that high fiber foods don’t usually work well immediately before or during training.  However, these seeds are special, and their soluble fiber seems to settle just fine for most cyclists while providing long-lasting, low-glycemic carbohydrates for energy.  If you’ve never used them, you may want to practice some caution by adding only one tablespoon at a time; but, you’ll likely find that they work great in both everyday and training nutrition for you.

How to add chia seeds: In everyday nutrition, add chia seeds to yogurt, smoothies, cereal, oats, salads, sauces, puddings, and more.  For training, try mixing honey, peanut butter, organic coconut oil and chia, adding to pre-training and recovery smoothies, or adding chia to honey and sea salt for an on-the-go natural gel.
This list is not exclusive.  There are many, many great foods out there for cyclists.  Keep trying new whole foods, in both daily nutrition and training nutrition to find what you like best and what works best for you.   There’s an abundance of opportunity to eat well, feel great, and fuel right with real, whole foods.

Kelli

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Older Adults Sharpest in the Morning, Study Finds

Tony:

In practical terms, Anderson said the findings suggest that mornings might be the best time for older adults to schedule their most mentally challenging tasks, such as doing taxes, taking a license renewal or other test, trying a new recipe, or seeing a doctor about a new health problem.

With Alzheimer’s and dementia in my family, I relate strongly to aging brain items. Please check out my Page Important Facts About Your Brain (and Exercise Benefits) and Exercise, Aging and the Brain for more information on this subject.

Tony

Originally posted on Cooking with Kathy Man:

This might be best time of day to schedule mentally challenging tasks.

Older adults’ minds may be sharpest in the morning, a new small study finds.

Canadian researchers used functional MRI to monitor the brain activity of 16 younger adults (aged 19 to 30) and 16 older adults (aged 60 to 82) as they did a series of memory tests while subjected to distractions.

When the tests were conducted between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., older adults were 10 percent more likely to be distracted than younger adults. But that gap narrowed when the tests were conducted between 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., according to the study recently published online in the journal Psychology and Aging.

The findings offer strong evidence that older adults’ brain function can vary widely during the day, according to the researchers at the Baycrest Center for Geriatric Care in Toronto.

“Time of day really does…

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The #1 Reason Why People Don’t Change

Tony:

One thing we know in the field of psychotherapy is that we change in a climate of acceptance and love. It’s an interesting paradox: you must accept yourself exactly as you are before you can change who you are. Love heals, and when someone feels loved and accepted by another and seen as the kind, loving person that they are, they can begin to see themselves through the same lens. And then, as if by some invisible mystery, the block of resistance may slowly start to thaw and lasting change can begin to occur.

Originally posted on Our Better Health:

The #1 Reason Why People Don’t Change

BY SHERYL PAUL    JULY 28, 2014 

One of the most extraordinary aspects of the technological age is the access we have to every healing modality under the sun. Where in the past you might have had to travel hundreds or even thousands of miles to sit at the feet of a great master, today you only need to press a few keys and the wisdom of spiritual and psychological masters comes streaming into your living room.

Want to learn yoga? Press a button. Want to watch Thich Nhat Hanh or the Dalai Lama talk to you about meditation? Free on YouTube. Want to learn an essential road map that will help you manifest your dream life? Here you go. The information is immediate, accessible, and often free.

So with all of these gems waiting to be received — gems that can transform…

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