Struggling With Antibiotic Resistance

I never saw it coming. The process started with a small, but painful sensation right in the middle of my right butt-cheek. A very annoying problem because I am a writer squirming around as I try to fill up empty screens with words.

At first, I downplayed it as just some stupid little irritation that would go away as soon as it came. Being a diabetic for about 25 years now I am prone to inflammations and infections. This was just another in a long succession of intermittent, annoying, health problems.

At the onset, the thought never occurred that it might be an infection. I had not had any accident, no cuts, abrasions or scrapes so that did not pop up as the culprit. That is until it persisted and grew into an open sore. The pain level also rose dramatically.

I went to the doctor. He did not think it was serious. He wrote a prescription for a mild antibiotic and a cream. I left the office confident that the problem was in hand. Back home I took a pill, applied the cream and applied a bandage.

By that point sitting at my computer and performing my daily writing ritual was growing into a serious challenge. The pain was so intense that I had to force myself not to move at all. That worked for a while. I took the full antibiotic course and got into the habit of cleaning and dressing the open wound three times a day.

The process began last November. As I came to the end of the bottle of pills I was hit by a wave of disappointment and confusion. I had to face the fact that the infection had gotten worse, not better. Had the doctor misdiagnosed it? Had he given me the wrong antibiotic? Worse, did I have some rare new infection?

I went back to his office in a far more worried state than I was during my first visit. He admitted he was puzzled but brushed that aside. I got a new prescription for a stronger antibiotic that was going to require four consecutive injections.

Once again I returned home feeling a bit numb but optimistic that this stronger injectible antibiotic would do the trick. I got the injections and waited for the medication to build up in my system and wipe out the infection. I waited and waited. The situation did not get better it got even worse.

By then I could not sit and also had a hard time walking. The pain was constant even when I was trying to write while lying down. This time when I returned to the doctor’s office he told me to go to the emergency room. He would not try another antibiotic. In fact, he seemed at a loss.

Instead, I went to a clinic. The doctor there did prescribe another antibiotic, took a culture for the lab and had nurses scrub the wound. It just kept growing as if the antibiotic cream was a placebo and the injections had been nothing but water.

At that point, I had added symptoms including chronic fatigue and the first signs of depression. These two are features of a diabetic’s life and I knew what they were as soon as they arose. My immune system was beaten down and using whatever energy it could get from whatever source was available.

I did not get my hopes up during the third two-week course of the latest antibiotic. In fact, I was on pins and needles the whole time. When I finished I was not surprised that it too had failed at its job. Still, it never occurred to me that I might be antibiotic resistant.

By that point, I began to consider the possibility that my 71-year old body was running out of gas. My energy level was so low, and pain level so high that I could not write. I could only walk the short distance to the corner store to ship and my mood was buried in the pits.

When I returned to the doctor’s office he did not seem too surprised by the fact his prescription had failed. He put the lab report up on the lightbox and pointed to it. “I am afraid the results show you are resistant to every type of antibiotic we have.”

I simply could not wrap my mind around his statement. I had never thought that I had overused antibiotics to the point my immune system built up a total tolerance. Then again, nobody ever tells you where that line is.

In fact, I had taken at least one course each of the 3 previous years to cure sinus infections. I left the office completely confused and with no idea of what to do next. The doctor suggested that I schedule an operation to remove the infected area. My thought was that hospitals are great places to contract infections. I was not eager to take that option especially when it would mean I could not sit at the computer and work for a much longer period of time.

Believe it or not, that whole process went on for four months and I still had the infection. I decided to tough it out and see if my body would mobilize and get rid of it. Then I had an impulse to try one more doctor, a female who I had seen before and was impressed by.

She gave me a spray that the other doctors never mentioned, Microdacyn. This spray is a biologically active treatment for the treatment of acute and chronic wounds that are difficult to heal. I applied and applied it every day and started seeing improvement much to my relief.

My status now is guarded and uncertain. I do now I cannot afford one more sinus infection. I did discover one effective treatment, Phage Therapy. However, that is only available in Eastern Europe. I advise a very conservative approach when it comes to taking antibiotics, only do so when it is truly necessary.

Take Ownership of Your Health: Hold Yourself Accountable

Over the years, I’ve conducted extensive research on health topics such as obesity, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease. I have also studied theories of behavior change. What jumps out at me the most is how many of these conditions are preventable. Yes, there are non-modifiable factors however, it is our behaviors that are causing damage to our health and wellness. Essentially, we are all aware of our unhealthy behaviors and the consequences associated with them. I feel like I’m a misfit in society because I actually enjoy physical activity, going to the gym and pushing my body to its limits. I was also criticised heavily because it took me nearly two weeks to finishing watching the third season of Stranger Things. Let that sink in. We live in a society where it is the norm to watch an entire season of a television series over a weekend, let alone one day and this is completely acceptable, even encouraged. I feel like I have to justify why I don’t binge watch television, why I wake up early to exercise and why I restrict processed foods (among many other ingredients) from my diet.

My reason is simple, I do it for my health. Health is a priority to me and I want to face the daily challenges of life with the least amount of pain, discomfort and illness as possible. I’m not a machine, I get sick on occasion and I have a history of injuries. I watch television and movies and I’m known to indulge in a meal or snack of the unhealthy variety on occasion. I try to keep my immune system optimal and reduce my risk of injury through strength and flexibility training. Let’s examine exercise. Most of us know that it is beneficial to our health, not just physically but emotionally as well. Increased levels of physical activity have the potential to lower the risk of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease (among many more) according to multiple sources. We know that being inactive increases the risk of the mentioned conditions, yet many of us choose to do nothing about it. There is a disconnect between what we know and what we do. Do we not prioritize our health and quality of life? Do we get distracted with the ease of technology and everything available at the touch of a button? Do we know how many deaths can be prevented each year by modifying our behaviors?

So much of what we experience is preventable if we take the necessary precautions. We don’t have to wait until we get diagnosed to make a change. We can make changes so that we don’t get diagnosed. We do have the time if we make it a priority. We can find a plethora of excuses why we don’t exercises of we can focus on reasons why we should. I can honestly say that I am 100% responsible for all of the injuries I’ve sustained in my lifetime. Whether it was negligence, ignorance or ego, I was at fault and I take full ownership of that. Now let’s take ownership of our health and strive for progression.

The Life of Mammogram Inventor Stafford L Warren

Stafford L. Warren was one of the most significant contributors to radiology during his lifetime. He not only was the first doctor to perform a mammogram, but was also had a hand in turning UCLA into one of the most prestigious medical universities in the country, was a special assistant on mental disabilities to Presidents John F Kennedy and Lyndon B Johnson, and aided the U.S. government in testing of nuclear weapons before speaking out about the dangers of nuclear fallout from weapons testing, which were controversial at the time. However, his strong opinions would eventually be considered, leading up to the Partial Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in 1963.

Born in New Mexico in 1896, Stafford L. Warren attended the University of California, Berkeley, and graduated with his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1918. Heading to the University of California, San Francisco, he graduated with his Doctor of Medicine degree in 1922 and later did post-doctoral work at John Hopkins School of Medicine and Harvard University.

Warren became an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine in 1926. Since the Department of Radiology was brand new at the time, Warren was one of the original group of medical professionals that Dean George Whipple chose to staff the school. By 1930, Warren was an Associate Professor of Medicine. He began to study the work of Albert Salomon, a sociologist from the University of Berlin who produced over 3,000 images of mastectomy specimens and extensively studied the many forms and stages of cancer in the breast. Since Salomon wasn’t keen to recognize the life saving aspects of his discoveries, Warren expanded on his research, using radiology to track changes in breast tissue and developing a stereoscopic technique in which the patient would lie on her side with one arm raised while being X-Rayed. This was a huge breakthrough for breast cancer detection, as it allowed diagnosis of breast cancer to be possible without surgery. Warren subsequently published “A Roentgenologic Study of the Breast” in 1930. Today Warren is cited as the inventor of the mammogram for his breast imaging technique. Each year mammograms are responsible to diagnosing millions of breast cancer cases, effectively saving the lives of women the world over.

Warren, having now tackled a major milestone in his career and developing a new life saving technique, then went on to take on a new project: overseeing the health and safety of thousands during the Manhattan Project. His new role meant being responsible for the safety aspects of the detonation of the Trinity nuclear test in Alamogordo, New Mexico on July 16, 1945. He later handled radiological safety when he led a team of surveyors to Japan, and to the Bikini Atoll in 1946, where more nuclear testing was done. Warren was in charge of assessing the radioactive contamination of the environment and atmosphere, which he was appalled by.

In response to this, in a piece for LIFE magazine in 1947 he wrote, “The development of atomic bombs has presented the world with a variety of formidable scientific, moral and political problems, nearly all of them still unsolved.” He went on to write an in depth analysis of the effects of the bombs, people and environment affected, the time length in which the effects of the bomb lasted, safety measures used during the Bikini expedition in which “a month passed before men could stay on some of the ships for more than an hour”, and “300 men of the safety section lived and worked in the contaminated area to protect some 42,000 other members of the Bikini expedition. Every group which entered the target area was accompanied by a safety monitor who determined how long it could stay.” The men were then bathed carefully when they returned, and if their Geiger counters indicated radioactive contamination they had to be bathed again. “Occasionally when a man had taken off his protective gloves in the ‘hot’ area, the safety section had to dissolve the outer layer of skin from their hands with acid.” Clothes and other materials found too contaminated were sunk into the ocean a mile below the surface, because there was literally “no other way to keep them permanently away from human beings.”

In the article, Warren concluded that atomic weapons can never be prepared for by anyone involved, and that “no defense would have been effective. The only defense against atomic bombs still lies outside the scope of science. It is the prevention of atomic war.”

Warren left his position in 1946, becoming the Chief of the Medical Section of the Atomic Energy Commission, which is a civilian agency that succeeded the Manhattan Project; and later he was awarded the Army Distinguished Service Medal and the Legion of Merit for his contributions to radioactive and atomic weapons safety.

In 1947, Warren was once again at the helm of a brand new medical university, this time UCLA, which had been voted on to establish a medical school for Southern California. He was appointed as the school’s first dean. In 1951 the first students, 28 in total, were enrolled, and there were 15 faculty members. By 1955, when the class graduated, there were 43 faculty members. The UCLA Medical Center officially opened in 1955, and Warren oversaw many milestones and achievements while there, including the addition of schools for Dentistry, Nursing, and Public Health.

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The Present and Future of Radiotherapy

The radiotherapy market is growing due to several factors, such as an increase in the number of new cancer cases and technological advancement in the hardware and software used in radiotherapy. The current international markets are underequipped to address new cases of cancer. In low- and middle-income countries, only 10% of the population has access to radiotherapy. Therefore, there exists a wide gap between the demand and the installed base of equipment, which offers a huge opportunity for the companies to grow in the radiotherapy market. Expansion of the radiotherapy market can be both lifesaving and profitable.

Effective planning for the treatment

It is necessary, and continuous technological developments are taking place to minimize the exposure to radiation of healthy tissue, in order to avoid any side effect. This goal is a driving force of R&D for radiotherapy. Software plays an increasingly significant role in cancer care. Population growth and increased life expectancy are adding to the incidences of cancer. The software & services segment includes software, which is used for treatment planning, analysis, and services, which are needed for the maintenance and efficient use of radiotherapy devices. The software & services segment of the companies are expected to grow, as software products help improve physician engagement and clinical knowledge-sharing, patient care management, and the management of cancer clinics, radiotherapy centers, and oncology practices for better performance. Companies like Varian are continuously increasing their software portfolio. Software plays an increasingly significant role in cancer care. At the same time, healthcare systems are subject to harsh budgetary constraints in nearly every country. As a result, healthcare providers face the challenge of achieving more while using fewer resources. To achieve this goal, hospitals have a strong need for software platforms that make radiotherapy treatment cost-effective. The development of effective software will improve the delivery of advanced radiotherapy in the future.

Introduction of new technology
Technology is another salient feature. Radiation therapy remains a significant modality for cancer treatment, which is the primary driving factor for the designing of new techniques to improve the survival rate of cancer patients. New technologies, like proton beam therapy, are available in developed countries like the United States, Germany, and United Kingdom, due to well-established reimbursement policies. Proton therapy can be used on tissues that are highly sensitive, like brain, spine, and eye tumors. It is more accurate, as compared to other X-ray radiation therapies.

Advancement in the technology is also helping to execute the planning of the radiation therapy.

Technological advancement in existing technologies, such as CT imaging, is making imaging more accurate and consistent. This can give a better representation of a tumor and help in better planning. Already-existing technology, such as IMRT, SBRT, IGRT, conformal 3D, VMAT, and others that are used for radiation therapy treatment is undergoing various advancements. For example, Varian is developing a software, which can be used to develop better planning tools, in which statistical models can be used to calculate the quality of an IMRT treatment for a patient. This is expected to increase the usage of IMRT for treating cancer. IGRT is the type of radiotherapy. Research is more focused on IGRT, in order to prove its fewer side-effects. IGRT may include electronic portal imaging, fluoroscopy, ultrasound, CT scan reconstruction, and respiratory gating technology. SBRT is also growing as an option for treating cancer. SBRT is used to escalate the dose to the targeted tumor, which can increase local control while limiting the dose to nearby critical structures and normal tissues. This will cause minimum damage to the surrounding tissues and hence, will experience strong growth in the forecast period.

Importance of Right Glassware

Eating and drinking may be just another imperative thing to do for humans for their survival, but they are impacted by a lot of things. One of the factors that has a direct effect on the manner in which the food is targeted and absorbed by the body is the psychology with which one consumes their food and drinks and this psychology is majorly affected by the cutlery and the utensils in which we do this repetitive task. Eating proper is not just about eating the right food in the right manner, but it is also about eating it in the right kind of dishes. The plates and glass in front of us can either make or kill the mood to eat food (no matter how good it is or how well it has been cooked). For example, a normal steel plate can be an immediate mood killer as compared to one made out of some great quality glass. Same goes for the glasses; be it for drinking water, serving alcohol to guests, or just gulping down some wine or beer when you are in the mood.

The entire paragraph can be paraphrased to basically say that the crockery, cutlery, and glasses used for food intake should be swanky and attractive to not only make the food look more good and presentable, but also to add a touch of chic and d├ęcor to your kitchen and also leave a good impression on the guests (if and when they come).

BUYING THE RIGHT TYPE OF GLASS DISHES

So far we saw how the type of dishes used can be a buzzkill for many which is why in all sorts of setups (be it your home or a professional environment such as a restaurant or a bar, etc.), following are some factors that one may consider in order to ensure that your crockery and glass dishes always appear at their best:

If plates are the concerned department, it is best advised to stay simple yet elegant and the best way to do so is to go with plain white plates reason being that they are conveniently inexpensive, present the food in the best manner possible, and also do not fade away easily.

For wine glasses, it always suggested to go with those that have a relatively sturdy build to them for them slipping away from your or your guests’ hands are always a great flight risk not worth taking.

For red wine, go with glasses with a wide bowl
For white wine, go with a glass that has a comparatively narrow bowl

Chemistry teaches us that “symmetry leads to stability” and the same should be applied to your crockery. The balance between normal and ornate design plates should be perfect.

For champagne and martini and other types of alcohol glasses, there is no fixed trend you can follow. There are quite a bunch of options to choose from depending upon the alcohol and your taste and preference when it comes to your glassware. For example, the champagne flute is the most common champagne glass, the brandy balloon is the most common glass used to serve brandy, etc.

Analysis to Next Generation Sequencing Technology

With the development of science, traditional Sanger sequencing has failed to meet new requirements of low cost, high throughput and fast in speed.

Recent years, with the discovery and promotion of second-generation sequencing technology, the gene sequencing speed has increased greatly while achieving a substantial decline in costs, making large-scale application of genome sequencing possible. Now, the cost of personal whole genome sequencing is about 5,000$, and is expected to decreased to less than $ 1,000 in the next few years.

The rapid development of sequencing technology will promote the massive accumulation of DNA sequencing data, accompanied by the accumulation of the corresponding individual diseases, signs and other data at the same time. When we accumulate enough data, how to understand these data will be critical. On the micro level, generations of molecular biologists’ studying the effects of apparent biological traits genes exert on utilizing technologies like gene knockout have made breakthroughs in many crucial aspects. On the macro level, statistics and other data analysis techniques are introduced to study the relationship between gene sequences and biological phenotype. The accumulation of basic scientific research gradually brings breakthroughs in clinical applications.

There are now two types of clinical applications mainly, one aims at disease screening of ordinary people. It infers people’s future risks of getting cancer by measuring the known genes associated with a disease loci. The other aims at the diagnosis cancer and other deadly diseases. It finds in a series of drugs or plans the most effective one for certain patients by testing the loci of certain genes.

Data from BBC research shows that total global gene sequencing market increased from $ 7.941million in 2007 to $ 4.5 billion in 2013, and will reach $ 11.7 billion in the year of 2018 with the CAGR up to 21.2%.

Currently, the market of de novo sequence platform is mainly taken by several major manufacturers, including the Illumina, Ion Torrent / Life Technologies (was the acquisition of Thermo Fisher in 2014), 454 Life Sciences / Roche, etc.

Under such a circumstance, the next generation sequencing technology (second-generation sequencing) appears. As an emerging industry, the next-generation sequencing technology can be applied in clinical testing like antibody discovery, health industry, industrial and agricultural use of gene-oriented study as well as scientific research and development.

Surviving Bone Surgeries

In the past 2 years, I have had four bone and reconstructive surgeries. In previous years I have had other types of surgeries, but from my own personal experience, I would love to share my experiences with others in hopes to help those going through the same experiences to feel more at ease and perhaps help those who have family members experiencing surgeries to understand what their loved ones are going through. The moments up to surgery are worrisome and emotional. There are ways that I will discuss on how to be reassured and keep calm. As well as before surgery, I will discuss the day of surgery, right after surgery, and recovery at home.
Let’s begin with being told you need surgery and you being ready for it. Most Doctors are more willing to help you with your issues of broken bones or pain if you yourself admit you need their help and want it. When I was diagnosed with ruptured discs in my neck, I honestly did not want surgery and wanted to find any other way possible to fix it. I went to chiropractors, therapists, home remedy therapists and to my avail, I waited too long until it was SO bad that I said, “I’m done.” I was finally ready. Our emotions about surgery sometime get the best of us and we are not willing to admit our issue is bad enough until the fact that much more damage is done. Sometimes, yes, it pays to be stubborn and wait it out, but many times over, it does not. In my case, my neck was much worse ten years after the fact than when I started. The idea of surgery and being “put out” under anesthesia frightened me, but much more, the “what if’s” that went with it. What if I died, was I ready? What if I was paralyzed, what would happen to me and my family? What if, what if, what if? I was worrying myself sick!
I am a very religious being, but the emotions did creep in. I knew I had to take a step back and trust God to help me. I started thinking of the verse in The Bible in Philippians 4:6-7 that tells us to be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which
surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Matthew 6:34 reads to not be anxious about tomorrow for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. And other verses about worrying started to fill my brain. I knew I had to get back into perspective that God has this. Of course, I still worried some.
In my worrying, I turned things around. I had to get prepared. Even though I hurt profusely and paid for everything I did that night or next day, things had to get finished. I knew that they told me after surgery that I wasn’t going to be able to do ANYTHING for a while and that included not getting into a vehicle for a month. I had to get my home in tip top shape and game on! My husband was going to be able to take off for a week after surgery, but he had to go back to work so I concentrated on meal planning and putting dinners in the freezer for later dates.
Some things beside the home and food may include things like the bed and where you will sleep. For neck and shoulder surgery, I recommend sleeping elevated as much as possible. You will be required to do so for some surgeries. If you do not have a lift bed, buy a wedge pillow or two. You will be limited on regular household chores. To bend and pick things up off the floor, nah, don’t plan on it. If you can find a cheap enough hand gripper that reaches to the floor and you can squeeze from your hand to open and close on the object, that would be a pretty good idea. Picking up a gallon of milk or other objects of weight will be an issue as well. Try freezing drinks in empty water bottles that you will be able to lift appropriately. Bringing pillows and a cover for the ride home may be something to keep in mind. This will help alleviate the bumps or curves in the roads. Keeping your mind set on prayer and preparation will help the worry disappear. Be sure to follow all of the surgery instructions faithfully so you are prepared for that day. So my advice to anyone emotionally worried about your upcoming surgery, give it to God and just breathe. Prepare your home however you need to. Occupy your brain with what will help you after surgery.
The day of the surgery, I have learned from my neck, lower back, left shoulder, and right knee surgery that it is a whirlwind. Of course, you will sign all kinds of permissions and forms and sign in to the hospital. This is normal and can be lengthy, but it must be done. Patience on your part may wear thin, but you got this. You will have the opportunity to speak with your Doctor and the anesthesiologist before surgery. If you have ANY concerns at all, DO NOT hesitate to ask them. Remember, they are being paid by you to do a service for you. Do not be intimidated by the fact that their job may seem more important. You are just as important and your needs and concerns must be met. I have seen many rude patients who have no care of concern for their caregivers and remember to be nice and respectful when asking questions or concerns.
You will be poked for blood and pic lines and what nots, but be prepared that it may hurt just a little, but soon it is over and once the IV’s are in and the proper drugs start pumping, you should will be properly monitored. The special someone with you may not be allowed to be with you during these blood processes, but they are usually allowed with you after and up until they take you back for surgery. I had the desire for prayer and my husband and family with me prayed. It is a comfort for myself and may be for you as well.
After surgery, they will have you in a recover room where they will monitor your blood pressure and any other issues that may come up. They will keep a close eye on your progress coming out of your anesthesia. Usually, you are in great shape and a lot loopy. At this time, the Doctor usually goes to your family member or whomever brought you in for surgery and give an account as to how things went. They will know ahead of you what went down and had to happen. When they see fit that you are ready, they will usually bring you back into the same room you were in when they put the IV’s in. Here, you will be able to be with your loved ones again. If your family is anything like mine, they will try to have a bit of fun with the idea you are “loopy” and ask you strange things or tell you oddities. Just smile and humor them!
And finally, if you do not have to stay in the hospital, they will send you home. For my neck surgery, I did have to stay overnight in the hospital, but for the others, they were all out-patient. The one thing I stress the most is BE SURE TO FOLLOW YOUR AFTER-SURGERY INSTRUCTIONS!! Read them yourself and have the individual/s read them as well. Be sure to pay attention if there seems to be anything wrong at all! Usually your gut will let you know and don’t ignore them. For example, and this is not to scare you, but I know someone not long ago who had surgery and a few days after he was home, he was filling up with his own feces because his colon was accidentally severed. The ER sent him home after just an IV of antibiotics. Some things do happen, just be sure to know your body and listen to it. Do exactly what they tell you and if you are sent home with the appropriate drugs and instructions for pain and infection, be sure to take them on a regular basis until you feel yourself that you are ready to stop taking them. If you let the pain get too far out of hand, it can be a big issue. With each surgery I had, each was very different with the affects of nerves and other issues. Be sure to contact your Doctor if they are not helping you or if you are having issues with anything!! Stay on top of everything!
It is okay to ask for help. Do not be stubborn because it can cause yourself unnecessary pain and set you back. If you need help doing some simple chores, please call on a family or church member and even perhaps a close neighbor who can get to you quickly. More than likely, they are seeking to help anyway and would love to help. Keep an ice pac on hand because that will be a go to after surgery. Have someone get it for you if you need it. Having a phone by your side is also a must. It is good to call out and answer a call instead of beating yourself up trying to get to the phone. DO NOT OVERDO IT! You may feel like you are feeling so good one day that you think, “I can do this and that today,” but just be slow and little by little or you will pay for it. I had a note pad near me and wrote a lot of notes, especially for marking down who visited or brought me gifts or food. I was SO thankful for those individuals.