Category Archives: Health

I Think They Call It Mixed Emotions

The last week in November was the 10th anniversary since being told I had cancer.

It was also the same week I was told I was no longer required to read the weekend news at Channel 7. The end of a 34 year career at SAS.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Joyous, that I had been free of cancer for ten years but sad, more than angry that my days reading 7 News were over.

I’ve moved on,on both counts, despite regular checkups to make sure the cancer is gone I rarely think about being so sick, but I am forever grateful that it was a point in my life that forced me to reflect on what, and who, really mattered in my life.

The days, then years that have unfolded since that dreaded statement “I’m afraid you have colorectal cancer, it’s a level 3 and we’re going to have to act quickly.”

Anyone faced with a life threatening illness knows after something like that your life changes forever, it can never be the same. It’s up to you to decide whether life is better, worse or just different.

Same with losing your job, although it does get harder as you get older.

For me, I see new opportunities unfolding, but not without effort, dusting off old skills getting back into media training, doing more MCing and public speaking.

Most exciting,  I’m retraining myself. My voice has been that of a news presenter for more than three decades. Now I’m going to put it to work as a voice over artist, you know reading those dreaded commercials. Maybe narrate some documentaries. However, the voice needs work, so I’m having lessons. Can you teach an old dog new tricks?

I’ve already ventured further into the internet, on social media and setting up a website for my new business. I made a DVD about dealing with cancer several years ago. Cancer - What Now? DVDCancer – What Now? has been exceptionally well received and has helped many cancer sufferers and their families.

I often give talks about dealing with cancer and now I have done a webcast which has received wonderful feedback.

So here I am, when many my age are enjoying retirement,  I’m truly re-invigorated and setting off in a number of new directions. I miss Channel 7 but like getting cancer maybe it was my time for a change and I just needed a push in the right direction.

Sorry dear, the garden is just going to have to wait.

CFL globes (Compact Fluorescent Lamp) friend or fiend!

Compact Fluro Lamps might be saving huge amounts of energy but how many of us are aware of the real dangers broken CFL’s present and what harm they can do to the environment?

This article in Keeping Up With The Boomers certainly made me think.

 

Beware the broken CFL globe

Beware the broken CFL globe

CFL globes (Compact Fluorescent Lamp) friend or fiend!.

Surviving Cancer – It’s Up To You

25481_120583241287061_120583057953746_301006_5433596_sOver the years since getting bowel cancer I have spoken to  literally thousands of people, in groups and individually about dealing with cancer.

While the medical opinion is that a positive attitude plays no part in your recovery or otherwise, I beg to differ.

Case 1.  After a talk I gave to a group a man in his early forties (let’s call him Ray) came to me and told me he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer.  He started sobbing as he said he feared death and couldn’t bear the thought of leaving his young family to fend for themselves.

At this point his wife interjected saying the prognosis was excellent.

The cancer had been detected early and treatment would rid him of the cancer.

Despite knowing this himself Ray was inconsolable.  His wife said he cried himself to sleep every night refusing to accept the doctor’s  positive prognosis.

Ray had become a burden on his family causing fear and uncertainty for his young children.  Nothing I said was going to change that.

Case 2  A woman in her  late 60’s was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer.  Her immediate reaction was “I’m too busy to have cancer. I’ve got so many things still to do.”

Years later she’s going strong, as for Ray I have no idea, but with his mental attitude the future looked bleak.

What can you take out of these stories?  Well, they’re anecdotal, no “evidence based” statistics.

But you tell me, wouldn’t Ray’s and his family’s lives been far better if he had a positive outlook.  It might not have changed the outcome but the quality of his life would have been far better.

I had some wonderful philosophical discussions about healthcare and complementary medicine with my radiotherapist.

While we didn’t see eye to eye on a number of things one thing he said stuck with me when we were talking about types of cancer treatment.

“Your mind is the most powerful form of cancer treatment there is.”

He said. “whether you have surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, naturopathy, homeopathy, or a combination of them, believe you have made the right decision.”

“Believe that your cocktail of treatment will work for you,  believe your course of treatment is the one that will rid your body of the cancer.”

The mind is powerful way beyond our comprehension.  We can use our mind’s to overcome fear, overcome pain, do things we once though impossible.  Surely cancer, any disease, is just another challenge for the brain.

Although the statistics are improving all the time people will still die of cancer despite the best treatment.

A positive state of mind mightn’t guarantee your survival but the time you have will be full of love and an abundance of joy.  You owe it to yourself and those who mean most to you to give it a go.

What have you got to lose?

Be a Lifesaver & Not Get Wet

I gave blood today.

No big deal, thousands of Australians are regular blood donors.  If people realised how simple and relatively painless it is maybe thousands more would donate.

Australians by nature are very generous when it comes to handing over money to help out a worthy cause.

However, handing over part of your very-self causes many to respectfully decline.

If you’ve never given blood seriously consider it. Unknown

The people who staff blood banks are highly trained and very personable.  There is always an air of positivity (no bloodtype joke intended) It doesn’t feel like visiting a hospital or medical surgery.  Every visitor is fit and able bodied and more than happy to help those who aren’t.

Every week more than 27,000 donations of blood are needed.

At the moment about half a million Australians regularly give blood. Out of almost 23 million Australians that figure seems dangerously low.

Not everyone can give blood for a variety of reasons and there’s no shame in that, but if you’re fit, healthy and have a little time to spare every few months, consider becoming a donor.

And don’t worry, your body quickly make up the amount of blood that was taken.

“Other than helping others there are very real benefits in being a blood donor.”

  1. When you regularly donate the amount of iron in the blood can be more stable. This means reducing the risk of heart disease.

2.  Donating promotes the growth of red blood cells.3.

3.  I like this one – It helps you lose weight.  Giving blood burns off 650 calories.

4.  Donating something that is priceless to those in need will make you feel special

5.  A free health screening – Every time you give blood it undergoes examination to detect serious disease.

The bottom line is every time you give blood you could be saving three lives.

 In a world of the ever-shrinking dollar where a cash donation is getting tougher it’s a good feeling to be able to give something that’s priceless.

Check out the Red Cross blood service website http://www.donateblood.com.au

Shit Mates Don’t Say

What do men talk about when they get together?

Footy, cricket, any other sport, gadgets, politics, work, women.

Where do health issues and private problems rate?  Down the toilet.

That’s pretty much why we blokes rarely go to the doctor, never have check ups and live by the maxim “she’ll be right.”

Well I’m afraid it’s time. Time for men to get smarter.  You can’t “tough  out” serious health issues but you can get treatment early before they get beyond help.

I have been guilty of all the above and when my cancer was detected (purely by accident) it was almost too late.

The video campaign by Cancer Council NSW Shit Mates Don’t Say says it all.

Now I’ve just got to get my mates to watch it.

SAHMRI’s 200 Million Dollar Statement

It’s been billed as South Australia’s most ambitious building project in decades and after having a conducted tour of the fast rising SAHMRI* building I can’t help but agree.

The iconic structure on North Terrace is not designed to blend into the Adelaide skyline – believe me it will never do that.

It’s guaranteed to polarize – those who think it’s way too “out there” on   Adelaide’s ultra conservative skyline – and those who say it’s about time  we had a landmark structure in our city.

SAHMRI Building under construction

The Institute will conduct research across six key disciplines in collaboration with SA’s three universities and the new Royal Adelaide Hospital.

SAHMRI project director Michelle Gheorghiu says, “already, the diamond shape rising above North Tce has initiated the transformation of the area into a healthcare precinct.”

 “The envelope of the building with its organic diamond shape and its elevation on flower columns is unique for the Adelaide landscape.”

 “We want to bring researchers back to Adelaide, give them a space that inspires creativity and interaction.” Ms Gheorghiu says.

That’s exactly what the new building is designed to do. SAHMRI already is involved in major research, but it’s be done at various locations around the city.

To bring all the research under the one, innovative centre will draw national and international focus showing  just how significant the work ofSAHMRI is.

Already interstate and overseas researchers have been drawn to the new complex and when fully operational will be home to 600 of the world’s leading medical researchers in August/September 2013.

Despite the sceptics I believe on completion Adelaide will grow to love the SAHMRI centre and the wonderful work which will benefit all of us.

*SAHMRI  South Australia Health & Medical Research Institute.

Lies, Damned Lies And Headlines

“Why Organic Food May Not be Healthier For You” screamed the headline and millions of nay sayers the world over could be heard to say “Yeah, we told you so.” But once again the demand for  sexy headline got in the way of the truth.

Organic Fruit & Veggies

Where did  the germ for the story come from?  It was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine  but the article goes beyond the claim that there is no extra nutritional value in organic produce.

Quote: The published literature lacks strong evidence that organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventional foods. Consumption of organic foods may reduce exposure to pesticide residues and antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

The second sentence alone would suggest organically grown food is vastly superior to food treated with large amounts of chemicals that stimulate growth and kill pests.  The long-term effect on humans is still largely unknown.

In  a further qualification the Annals of Internal Medicine articles says the studies were heterogeneous and limited in number, and publication bias may be present. That would suggest the finding must be taken with a grain of salt. (I know, I know it’s not good for you).

Now look again at the bald headline. “Why Organic Food May Not be Healthier For You.” after reading the article am I wrong in concluding the headline should have read   “Why Organic Food is Healthier For You.”

There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that organic produce is far tastier than the mass-produced alternative and if the added benefit is that my family won’t be ingesting pesticides and growth hormones that’s good enough for me.

There is a rider however, we’re talking Certified Organics anything else is a bit of a lucky dip.

Bottom line – read beyond the headline.