Tag Archives: recovery

Depression linked to deadly inflammation in lung cancer patients

Lung cancer patients with moderate to severe depression are 2 to 3 times more likely to have inflammation levels that predict poor survival rates, a new study found.

The results may help explain why a substantial portion of lung cancer patients fail to respond to new immunotherapy and targeted treatments that have led to significantly longer survival for many people with the disease.

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

“These patients with high levels of depression are at much higher risk for poor outcomes,” said Barbara Andersen, one of the lead authors of the study and professor of psychology at The Ohio State University.

“Depression levels may be as important or even more important than other factors that have been associated with how people fare with lung cancer.”


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A bump in the road to my recovery from lung cancer surgery …

I have been recovering from lung cancer surgery since January 11 of this year. You can find details of my lung cancer experience here if interested.

My entire encounter with lung cancer has been marked by my ignorance at every step, from thinking that not smoking prevented me from getting it, to not realizing that lung cancer is a disease of the aged – and I am over 80 years old. Some 70% of lung cancer victims are over 50 years old.

This is the x ray of my lungs a week apart. The doctor could see some improvement.

Likewise, when I was approved for surgery I thought my life would return to normal afterwards. Wrong again, big time. I underwent major surgery in which part of my left lung was removed. Recovery will take weeks, if not months. I have to keep reminding myself that I am over 80 years old … not a kid.

So, here I sit, nearly four weeks after surgery. I am able to walk the dog three times a day, just under a mile each time. That constitutes about 90% of my exercise each day. Otherwise, I am on the couch reading or watching TV, at my desk on the computer, or, in bed resting or napping.

The bump I hit on the road to recovery is that I suddenly suffered from a severe cough. My cancer team feared that a problem had developed in my lung. I was called in to the hospital for a chest x ray. I confess that visions of a hospital stay danced unpleasantly in my imagination.

Turns out that my lungs are recovering very well and the doctor recommended some Mucinex, a non-prescription drug, for my cough.

So, the bump turned out to be minor. Whew. I am finding some relief from the Mucinex already.

Further on my recovery, in the first weeks, my appetite was as restricted as my energy. I would eat because it was time to eat, but only minimally. In the past week or so, I have begun to be able to snack again and I can also consume more at meal time. So, I have an uptick on the appetite scale.

Additionally, regarding my energy, in the beginning I was walking the dog pretty much on nerve because it was time to take him out. Most recently, I have actually felt some energy available to do the deed.

Finally, in the interest of full disclosure, I must mention the psychological aspect of my recovery. I do this, not to complain, but, possibly to inform any reader who may be experiencing or is about to undergo a major surgery and then need to RECOVER from it. After nearly a month of being home and only stepping outside to walk the dog, I think I am experiencing something on the order of being ‘stir-crazy.’

This is a good definition: stir-crazy (slang) Of a prisoner, mentally unbalanced due to prolonged incarceration. (slang, by extension) Restless, uncomfortable, or impatient due to inactivity or confinement.

To sum up, nearly four weeks into it, I feel that I definitely am making progress. My daughter who lives in Texas says that my voice even sounds stronger on the phone.



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Looking forward to a better second half …

Here in the first week of July we have just entered the second half of 2019. So far 2019 has been a rough go for me. Back in March I wrote about the physical therapy for my back pains as well as the problems I was having with my teeth. You can find the gory details at Spoiler alert – on being 79 years old.

Then in mid-April, I followed up with the details of my subsequent oral surgery and, of course, forced down time to recover. You can read the details here: Taking physical downtime.


My dog has been patient with me. When I started riding in the warmer weather, I did not have the energy to bring her along. Clearly, she likes to accompany me.

Later in April, I wrote an update on my recovery from surgery and biking. As I said in the post, at the age of 79, most of my biking friends are decades younger, so I have a hard time understanding how well (or not) my body is recovering. I quoted the MacArthur Foundation book Successful Aging for a partial reference on that.

I did find some interesting info on aging and fighting illness in the MacArthur book. they compare a 30-year-old with his 80-year-old grandfather afflicted with pneumonia. Here is the part that interested me most, the course of the senior’s illness “might be very grave indeed. This is because the average 80-year-old non-smoker has only about two-thirds the lung function of his 30-year-old counterpart. And, his immune system is impaired as well. ” So, what I drew from this is that my recovery from the surgery will be slow, but is probably on track.

In the first week of June I wrote about my latest and greatest affliction – a bronchial virus. You can read the details at – 7 Days makes one weak.

I came down with the fever on May 26 and was unable to ride my bike for the next three weeks. I have to tell you that I can not remember the last three week period in my life that I did not ride my bike. Even when I was married and working, I always got my rides in.

Here, in the first week of July I can state that I am recovering – not fully recovered from the virus of late May. After my three week down time, I began riding in tiny bits, five miles a day, then eight miles. At this point I am able to get in my usual 30 mile rides, but I find myself napping for at least an hour or more later in the day. Managing my recovery is like walking a tightrope. I work on getting exercise, but have to be careful that I do not go too far, and set myself back. To compound the difficulty, July heat has come to Chicago so I have that to contend with, too. It is clearly a – one day at a time deal.

As I wrote in the header to this post, I am looking forward to a better second half. So as to not leave you on a sour note. I am off to Las Vegas with my girl friend in a couple of weeks. Looking forward to that.





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Green Ginger Grapefruit Smoothie – 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 subject.

She recently wrote an item Green Ginger Grapefruit Smoothie   that I thought would interest you.



I hate to be a downer, but I’ve got some bad news.  Grapefruits are tough to come by in the summer.  The prices go up and they’re not as plentiful.  I know, this likely ruined your Thursday.  I guess the only thing to do is eat ‘em up, while you can.

This week, we’ll review why grapefruits should be one of your go-to fruits and we’ll “wake it up” with a wonderfully refreshing grapefruit smoothie.  Grapefruits go above and beyond the nutrients of many foods, even other ones found in produce section.  Did I mention they can help you lose weight?  Bring on the grapefruits!

Recipe of the Week: Green Ginger Grapefruit Smoothie

3/4 cup Greek yogurt or 1/2 scoop protein powder
1/2-1 pink grapefruit, peeled well
3/4 cup berries
1/4 avocado
1 cup spinach or other greens
1/2″ slice ginger
2 Tbsp chia seeds
1/2 cup water ice, if desired for consistency

Place all ingredients in the blender and process until smooth. Enjoy!

Nutrition information: Approximately: 385 calories, 44 gm carbs, 11 gm fiber, 15 gm protein.


1) In the picture, this smoothie is obviously not green. I call it “green” because it includes a grapefruitsmoothie1-225x300whole cup of green. The berries’ color overtake the green. Either way, it’s not easy being green, and it’s all good stuff.

2) This is not Jamba Juice. If you want your smoothie to taste like Jamba Juice, you’ll have to go there and pay for a smoothie much higher in sugar and processed ingredients. If not, I think you’ll feel refreshed and satisfied having started your day with some ginger, greens, and grapefruit. I know I do!

Next, there’s lots of good reasons to eat grapefruits while you still can. On the list, is potential weight/fat loss. You’ve heard of the grapefruit diet, right? Eat grapefruits and lose weight. And of course, most cyclists wouldn’t mind losing fat and improving strength to weight ratio. But, is it science or quackery? Is there something magic to the grapefruit? Well, you can rest assured that I’m certainly NOT recommending you eat nothing but grapefruits. But, it may help to add them. Here’s some food for thought: Continue reading

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Filed under biking, diet food, Exercise, ginger, LDL Cholesterol, Weight, weight control, weight loss

Let Ginger Be Your Medicine – 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 subject.

She recently wrote an item Let Ginger Be Your Medicine which I thought would interest you.


With an average 80 revolutions per minute on the bike, knee flexion and extension occurs about 4800 times an hour. That’s a lot of joint use. Perhaps joint overuse throughout an entire season. It’s estimated that 50% of cyclists experience knee joint pain as an overuse injury, in addition to other joint overuse pain in the back, hands, and shoulders.

As you head into the on-season, you can plan to protect your joints. In fact, you can do so with your foods.

This week, we’re heading into the kitchen to whip up a wonderful dip for vegetables, meats, sandwiches, and more. It’s loaded with foods that protect, heal, and reduce pain in joints.


Recipe of the Week: Delicious Spicy Ginger Dip

Avocado Mayo:
1 avocado
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
6 Tbsp. olive or avocado oil
1/4 tsp salt
2 Tbsp water

Ginger Dip:
1 Tbsp. liquid aminos or soy sauce
1 teaspoon white vinegar
5 Tbsp. fresh ginger (finely chopped) or 2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons minced onion
1 dash habanero garlic hot pepper sauce


First, mix all ingredients of avocado mayo until smooth in food processor (or by hand if okay with more coarse mix). Then, add in the remaining 5 ingredients to make ginger dip. Use as a dip/sauce on chicken, beef, seafoods, vegetables or kale chips.

***Ginger tip: If using fresh ginger, easily remove the skin of ginger by scraping it with the edge of a spoon.

To a cyclist, joints are supremely important. They are what make the pedals go round. And when they hurt, they put the ride to a halt fast. Revolution after revolution, you need healthy, happy joints. And, believe it or not, some foods are pro-healthy-joint. This week, we’re reviewing the benefits and research on ginger and joints.

First, ginger is loaded with anti-inflammatories, antioxidants, and phytochemicals (trust me, all good things!), and specifically it has benefits for joint pain and joint health. Additionally, studies in the last few years show that it’s effective in reducing muscle soreness 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.

To use ginger to reduce soreness (along with rest days, l-glutamine, recovery snacks, hydration, and activities like foam rolling), aim to get 2 grams per day. You can choose 4 ginger pill supplements per day (check out the label, but most are 500 mg each), 2 teaspoons of fresh ginger each day, or 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger.

Reduced muscle soreness is great, but what else do you get from ginger? You’ll get strong anti-inflammatory nutrients with (anti) inflammation score of +129, slightly better than garlic. Since inflammation plays a role with almost every chronic disease, oxidative stress, obesity, and fatigue, it is very beneficial to include as many anti-inflammatory foods in our diets as possible. Ginger also promotes gut health, may be anti-cancerous, is immune boosting, and anti-inflammatory.

Bonus: Find additional ginger recipes here.

Bonus: More joint health with dark cherry juice here.

You can keep your joints feeling great, and rotating smoothly this season. You can proactively nourish them. Let your food be your medicine.

Fuel Your Ride. Nourish Your Body.


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Filed under biking, diet food, Exercise, ginger

Super High Energy Snack – Hot Roasted Chickpeas – 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 subject.

She recently wrote an item Hot Roasted Chickpeas (World’s Best Snack) which I thought would interest you.


I can’t stop eating these.  Seriously. I just about ate the whole dang batch.  I hate to brag, but they might be the best snack food in the world.  I’ve saved about 1/2 cup for my family to share.  And the only reason I’ve saved it and not finished them off myself?  To brag to them.

This week, we’re talking chickpeas.  We’re seasoning them (with real spices and not monosodium glutamate, right, corn nuts?), oiling them, lime-juicing them, and roasting them.  The whole prep process takes 5 minutes. Then, just stick ‘em in the oven…simple as that.

Have I convinced you to give them a try yet?  If not, hold on tight because there are many compelling nutrition aspects for a cyclist to consider as well.  Also, I may or may not have just licked the roasting pan.

Recipe of the Week: Hot Roasted Chickpeas

• 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, thoroughly drained and rinsed (about 3 cups)
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• juice from one lime
• 1 teaspoon ground cumin
• 1 teaspoon chili powder
• 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1. Pre-heat the oven to 400°F.
2. Place all ingredient in a large bowl and toss urntil thoroughly mixed.
3. Spread the chickpeas in a single, even layer on baking sheet and bake until crisp, about 40-45 minutes.
4. Try about 1 cup for a snack.  These may also work well as a spicy, salty fuel option for long rides.  Keep it to just 1/4 -1/2 cup or so at a time.  They are a great source of carbs and sodium, but the extra fiber may be too much for some cyclists while riding.

These really are a great snack food.  How can I tell? When I’m looking at a recipe or a commercial product, I start with the ingredients, NOT the nutrition label.  You see, companies can make all sorts of non-real-foods seem good by manipulating them to appear good on the nutrition label. Then, they make all sorts of unsubstantiated nutrition claims about their nutrient-manipulated non-real-foods. What a crock. Instead, simplify.  Look for real, whole foods in the recipe or on the ingredient list.  If these check out, then move to the label (if you want) to see if they fit into your goals at hand.  Looking for carbs before a ride…take a look.  Need protein in recovery…check it out.  And, for a snack? How about a real food like chickpeas and spices that provides carbs, protein, and fiber. Done and done.  Nutrients can be important, but ALWAYS start with the ingredients.

And here’s some information on three of ours:
Chickpeas: Chickpeas are a high nutritious superfood that provide carbohydrates, protein, and fiber.  What’s more, they’ve been shown in research to suppress the appetite and allow for those trying to lose weight to eat less; improve blood fats and reduce LDL, total cholesterol and triglycerides; improve blood sugars and insulin secretion; and, improve digestion and intestinal health.  Sounds like a winner, huh?
Cumin: Cumin might be my favorite spice.  It’s delicious.  It’s flavorful. And, it’s good for you.  Find out all the details here.
Chili: A spice with a punch! Real chili (freshed or dried/ground) can clear sinuses, add antioxidants, and even rev up the metabolism.  If you want to know more, read about chili here.

Then, we round it out with lemon juice, salt, and olive oil.
How do corn nuts, a snack food some might think is similar to ours, “round it out?” How about some high omega-6 corn oil (not good) and monosodium glutamate instead of real salt (no thank you).

This week, it’s easy, it’s compelling, and it’s very tasty to snack smart.  It’s the perfect snack food for a cyclist who wants to maintain a lean weight and promote health and wellness. Most of my meal plans suggest a snack of about 150-200 calories for most clients…so about 1 cup of these will do nicely.  As if you can stop there! Hopefully you have more self-control than me.

Fuel Your Ride. Nourish Your Body.

I especially like Kelli’s comments on paying attention to the ingredients in a product and not being distracted by the nutrition label.



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