Mastectomy #6A – after the mastectomy – what they don’t tell you (Part 1)

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Instrument of torture (the Bair Hugger)

Here are a few things they don’t tell you about what it’s like post-mastectomy:

The Noise!  To help the wound heal, and to prevent tissue necrosis, the whole breast area had to be kept warm to encourage blood vessels to grow.  So a blanket of bubble wrap was placed around my chest and hot air was blown under this wrap by a machine called a Bair Hugger.

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GcMAF (Maf314, Bravo Probiotic) ice-cream

Updated March 2016 – For more information on GcMAF, please join the GcMAF and GcMAF Cancer forums on Facebook – they are closed groups, so you have to wait for your membership to be confirmed.  They contain up-to-date information on sources of GcMAF, and also feedback and contributions  by people who are using GcMAF.

Updated 20 Feb 2014 – please note, freezing Maf314/Bravo Probiotic kills the GcMAF so this is more of a dessert, then a live culture.

For more information on GcMAF and the GcMAF clinic in Switzerland:  http://www.gcmaf.eu/

As mentioned in my last post on GcMAF, I had a glut of Maf314 over the festive season (because each batch makes enough for two people for a week).

Rather than pour it down the drain, I turned some of it into a soft strained yoghurt/cheese which I mixed with chopped chives and garlic.

It was so good that someone in the household finished the whole bowl in one sitting (and then proceeded to get the squits – that’s how potent it is).

This week I cover how to make Maf314 ice-cream.  When I say ice-cream, it’s not exactly ice-cream.  Real ice-cream is made from a custard that’s made with egg yolks and cream.

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Best of Breast: news for week ending 24 January 2014

Updated 26 Jan 2014 re. folic acid

A summary of Google Alerts for Breast Cancer and Cancer for the week ending 24 January 2014.

Each week, mice and rats have been the main source of cures for cancer (a good time to be a rat or a mouse!) and last week a naked mole rat kindly stepped up to the starting line.

This week, the sloth (or rather, its fur) has joined the queue as as the latest weapon in the fight against cancer.  I make no apologies for featuring it as the top article even if it may not be the most earth-shaking – sloths are cute, and in the fight against cancer, we need some cuteness and light to ameliorate the dark impersonal reality that is the disease.

Anyone fancy a bra woven from my fur?

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Did you know: because sloths spend so much time with their legs above their bodies, their hairs grow away from the extremities to provide protection from the elements while the sloth hangs upside down. image credit: http://www.apogeephoto.com

Folic acid:  There’s news that too much folic acid can stimulate breast cancer cells to grow (in mice trials).  This, however, only applies to synthetic folic acid/folate.  Intake of natural folic acid is found to lower the risk of breast cancer.  Folic acid is found in spinach and other vegetables like broccoli as well as fortified foods (such as bread).  So carry on with the green juices!

Radiotherapy:  Scientists are also proposing that irradiating the non-cancerous breast can prevent breast cancer.  Hokaaay … but what about the other side-effects of radiotherapy like heart conditions (if left-sided irradiation) and immune-system depression and creating treatment-resistant breast cancer cells?  And as another article shows, standard radiation therapy for breast cancer can actually make it worse … .  A case of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing?

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Fulda 2013 conference #4: Master Amino Acid Pattern (MAP) and the hyper-ketogenic diet in cancer and epilepsy (Dr Heinz Reinwald)

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The Christmas Market at Fulda

I’ve previously posted on the Ketogenic Diet and cancer.

Dr Reinwald’s talk was especially interesting to Peter and me because it concerned a variant of the ketogenic diet we had never come across before – the Hyperketogenic Diet.

In the “normal” ketogenic diet, in order to get the body to produce ketones, there are strict ratios between the intake of carbs, protein and fats: 75%-80% is fats and oils, 15-20% protein and 5% green, leafy vegetables.  0% sugars.

The hyperketogenic diet goes even further:  90% fat, 8% protein, 2% carbohydrates.

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Best of Breast: news for week ending 17 January 2014

A summary of  Google Alerts for Breast Cancer and Cancer for the week ending 17 January 2014.

In previous posts, I’ve bemoaned the fact that scientists have already found cures for cancer, but unfortunately they are only at the premature rat-and-mouse trial stage.

This week, it’s the turn of the naked mole rat to take centre-stage. As you can see, it’s not going to win prizes for its looks, but I don’t care – I wish I were a naked mole rat.

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I may be ugly and I lisp, but I’ll never get canther!  (photo of naked mole rat)

Metastasis is the theme this week.

Scientists discover how cancer cells can turn themselves into brain cells to evade capture, and in yet another example of how evil and sneaky they are, transform into brain tumours.  It explains how people in remission can later develop brain tumours.  (Not helpful for the millions of women who already have brain tumours, but may lead to the development of treatments that will prevent such metastasis in other breast cancer patients.)

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Mastectomy #5: How it was done in the 18th Century (warning: gory descriptions)

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No, it’s not a turkey carving set. These are 18th Century Mastectomy Instruments. image credit: cancerculturenow.blogspot.com

For all my fears about surgery and mastectomy, I am grateful to modern medicine for making a barbaric procedure less torturous.

Today we have general anaesthesia, antibiotics, sterile operating theatres, super-duper painkillers.  Chemotherapy and other treatments offer the hope of remission if not cure, and an extension of life.

Not so for the women of the 18th Century.

I came across this account of breast cancer surgery as it was performed then, on Abigail “Nabby” Adams Smith, the first born child of the second President of the USA, John Adams.  Abigail Adams was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 45.

This account was taken from James Olson’s Essay on Abigail Adams in his book, Bathsheba’s Breast: Women, Cancer & History (available from Amazon – click on link) and reads more like the dissection of a steak dinner than a delicate surgical procedure.

My heart goes out to the women who suffered so much at the hands of an incomplete medical science – they were, after all, getting what was considered top quality treatment of the day – and the courage and bravery that they showed.

And who knows … perhaps some day in the future, when breast cancer treatments have evolved beyond surgery, other people will look back on my mastectomy and wonder at how crude the treatments were today, and how quaint and primitive our medical knowledge was.

[WARNING:  contains graphic descriptions.  Do not read if you are thinking of having a mastectomy or about to have surgery]

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GcMAF (Maf314) cheese

Updated March 2016 – For more information on GcMAF, please join the GcMAF and GcMAF Cancer forums on Facebook – they are closed groups, so you have to wait for your membership to be confirmed.  They contain up-to-date information on sources of GcMAF, and also feedback and contributions  by people who are using GcMAF.

I reported at the start of the year that I had a glut of GcMAF yoghurt, and offered it to anyone who wanted some, but there were no takers.

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Help! I’m drowning in GcMAF yoghurt!

The thought of pouring all that goodness down the drain broke my heart, so I had a brainwave, and decided to turn it into a drained cheese, and ice-cream.  I went onto the internet, and found several recipes for kefir cheese, and it looked fairly easy to make.

GcMAF Cheese is not cheese made with rennet. Instead, it’s the equivalent of cottage cheese, made by draining the yoghurt through fine muslin and a strainer, so that the solids get left behind.  I used three layers of muslin or cheesecloth (I boiled the cheesecloth and washed it to make sure I got all unwanted residue out).

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The start of GcMAF Cheese. GcMAF yoghurt poured into a strainer lined with a triple layer of cheesecloth.

I let it drain over several days, adding more whenever the level dropped – the resulting ball contains about 2 litres of concentrated GcMAF yoghurt.   The whey collected in the bowl underneath and I drank that.

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GcMAF cheese after several days of draining and topping up.

I then chopped up chives, and added crushed garlic and seasoned it with salt, pepper and olive oil.

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The “cheese” has the texture of Philadephia cheese spread.  It is slightly tangy, with a little whiff, but not as pongy as goat’s cheese and should work well as a dip for carrot and celery sticks.  Or just imagine spreading that cool softness on a piece of hot buttery toast … umm.

Update 25 Jan 2014 – someone in the household ate the whole bowl of GcMAF cheese in one day, and reported that it made him feel sick, and he also got the squits – well, serve him right for being so piggy!  It just shows how potent GcMAF is!

[next episode – GcMAF ice-cream and blueberry compote]

Best of Breast: news for week ending 10 January 2014

A summary of the latest medical developments in breast cancer, culled from Google Alerts, for the week ending Friday 10 January 2014.

I realise that some of the developments I’m posting have been published earlier in 2013 which means they’re not exactly new or germane to 2014; however, they have just recently been released by some news-sites in Google Alerts, so I have chosen to include them.

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Whadya know … someone beat me to it! Pity it’s only science-fiction …

I’m conscious that Best of Breast is beginning to resemble a sci-fic novel with a formulaic plot and one-dimensional characters:

  • there’s always the mwah-ha-ha VILLAIN (one, if not more) like a MUTANT gene (with unpronounceable acronym) that causes cancer,
  • the HERO (new drug or improvement in treatments or group of scientists that promise to curb cancer),
  • the WAR – sadly, it’s still classed as a “war against cancer” with victors and losers,
  • the VICTIMS (the long-suffering and heroic cancer patients who are waiting patiently for a cure that doesn’t involve the death rays of radiotherapy and chemotherapy),
  • the WEAPONS (immunotherapies, vaccines, targeted treatments, magic bullet cures, death rays, chemical warfare)
  • DEATH (like in Terry Pratchett novels) who lurks too close for comfort.  (Also has bit part as RECURRENCE),
  • the REVELATION/MOUSE CONSPIRACY (new drug only works on mice/rats, or is in a trial and will take years before it’s available for commercial use).
  • All that’s missing is a really good save-the-world ending – some ALIEN species or OBI-WAN character descending down on earth with the Cure for Cancer … .

So Roll-On 2014, and please bring me the cure for cancer!

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Mastectomy #4 – Blue pee, sentinel node mapping, OSNA and pissed off with insurance company

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HELP! I’m turning into an alien … the day after the Sentinel Node Mapping procedure

Sentinel node mapping is a procedure that is carried out pre-surgery, usually on the day of surgery, but sometimes the day before surgery.

Standard practice for breast cancer surgery is to remove all of the lymph nodes under the arm to find out if the cancer has spread beyond the breast.  However, removing all the lymph nodes can result in pain, and discomfort from lymphoedema (swelling of the tissue in the arm because the lymph is no longer able to drain away properly).  The fewer the lymph nodes removed, the less likely the chances of side-effects.

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