Day 7 Chemo slowly coming good!

Last Weds 4 June I had another lot of chemotherapy for peritoneal/pleural mesothelioma. Alimta combined with Carboplatin.A blood test followed by a visit to see my acting oncologist Dr Vaughan with the nod to go ahead with chemotherapy. I asked him if he had looked over my recent scans, and his reply was yes ….. not good, however as I present unpredictable with my treatments and survivals – anything is possible, though the cancer has now progressed and is on the move rapidly.Due to no chairs in day chemo, I had to be admitted as a day patient to the oncology ward. Waiting for a bed was a problem …. and by early afternoon I was hooked up to chemo and after a few hours released for home….

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Monarch butterfly numbers could be at historic lows this year, study suggests

Monarch butterflies may be named for their large size and majestic beauty, but once again their numbers are anything but king-sized — in fact, 2014 may go down as one of the worst years ever for the colorful insects, says a Texas A&M Monarch watcher who is proposing a national effort to help feed Monarchs.Craig Wilson, a senior research associate in the Center for Mathematics and Science Education and a longtime butterfly enthusiast, says reports coming from Mexico where the Monarchs have their overwintering grounds show their numbers are significantly down yet again — so much so that this year might be one of the lowest yet for the butterfly.It’s been a disturbing trend that has been going for most of the past decade, he points out. This year, Monarchs face a triple whammy: a lingering drought, unusually cold winter temperatures and lack of milkweed, their primary food source.Citing figures from the Mexican government and the World Wildlife Fund, Wilson says, “In 1996, the Monarch breeding grounds in Mexico covered about 45 acres, and so far this year, it looks like only about 1.65 acres. That means fewer Monarchs will likely reach Texas to lay eggs, perhaps the lowest numbers ever of returning butterflies.”Wilson says the colder-than-usual winter, which set record lows in many parts of Texas and even Mexico, has had a chilling effect on Monarchs.”Unfortunately, the harsh and lingering cold conditions mean that the milkweed plants that Monarch caterpillars must have to live have yet to start growing, and these are the only plants on which they can lay eggs to provide food for their caterpillars,” he adds.Wilson says that last fall, the number of Monarchs that were netted and tagged in the College Station area was one-fifth the number tagged in 2012.The dry conditions during the past decade and changing farming practices are hampering the growth of milkweed, the only type of plant the Monarch caterpillars will digest as the multiple generational migration heads north.Texas also has had dozens of wildfires in the past few years that have hampered milkweed growth, and even though there are more than 30 types of milkweed in the state, the numbers are not there to sustain the Monarchs as they start their 2,000-mile migration trip to Canada. Increased use of pesticides is also adversely affecting milkweed production in a huge way, he notes.”The severe drought in Texas and much of the Southwest continues to wreak havoc with the number of Monarchs,” Wilson explains, adding that the wintering sites in the Mexican state of Michoacn are at near-historic lows.”The conditions have been dry both here and in Mexico in recent years. It takes four generations of the insects to make it all of the way up to Canada, and because of lack of milkweed along the way, a lot of them just don’t make it.”But if people want to help, they can pick up some milkweed plants right now at local farmer’s cooperative stores,” he says, “and this would be a small but helpful step to aid in their migration journey and to raise awareness of the plight.”Wilson says there has to be a national effort to save Monarchs or their declining numbers will reach the critical stage.”We need a national priority of planting milkweed to assure that this magical migration of Monarchs will continue for future generations,” he says.”If we could get several states to collaborate, we might be able to promote a program where the north-south interstates were planted with milkweed, such as Lady Bird Johnson’s program to plant native seeds along Texas highways 35-40 years ago. This would provide a ‘feeding’ corridor right up to Canada for the Monarchs.”Wilson is currently adding a variety of milkweed plants to the existing Cynthia Woods Mitchell Garden on the Texas A&M campus. He recommends the following sites for Monarch followers: Journey North, Texas Monarch Watch and Monarch Watch.Story Source:The above story is based on materials provided by Texas A&M University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

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Gardening provides high-to-moderate physical activity for children

Gardening, often considered to be an activity reserved for adults, is gaining ground with children as new programs are introduced that promote gardening’s “green” attributes. Physical benefits of getting out in the garden have also been reported for adults and seniors–now, a study from researchers in South Korea finds that children, too, can reap the benefits of digging, raking, and weeding.Researchers Sin-Ae Park, Ho-Sang Lee, Kwan-Suk Lee, Ki-Cheol Son, and Candice Shoemaker published the results of their study in HortTechnology. They say that the data can inform future development of garden-based programs that help engage children in physical activity and promote healthy lifestyles.The research team studied 17 children as they engaged in 10 gardening tasks: digging, raking, weeding, mulching, hoeing, sowing seeds, harvesting, watering, mixing growing medium, and planting transplants. The study was conducted in South Korea in two garden environments–a high tunnel, and an outdoor area. The children visited the gardens twice, and each child performed five different tasks during each visit. They were given 5 minutes to complete each gardening task, and were allowed a 5-minute rest between each task. During the study, the children wore portable telemetric calorimeters and heart rate monitors so that researchers could measure their oxygen uptake, energy expenditure, and heart rate.Results showed that the 10 gardening tasks represented moderate- to high-intensity physical activity for the children. Digging and raking were categorized as “high-intensity” physical activities; digging was more intense than the other gardening tasks studied. Tasks such as weeding, mulching, hoeing, sowing seeds, harvesting, watering, mixing growing medium, and planting transplants were determined to be “moderate-intensity” physical activities.The researchers said that the study results will facilitate the development of garden-based exercise interventions for children, which can promote health and physically active lifestyle. They added that the data can also be useful information when designing garden-based therapeutic interventions for children with low levels of physical ability.The complete study and abstract are available on the ASHS HortTechnology electronic journal web site: Source:The above story is based on materials provided by American Society for Horticultural Science. …

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Weekend and visit to oncologist tomorrow!

Yesterday we slept in after a busy week spent mostly in Melbourne. Strange to say, because of this sleep in, last night was a night where I couldn’t really sleep and just laid there until I got up about 5am, made a green tea and turned the computer on.Saturday we went up to Mt Macedon Trading Post/General store/cafe and where we have our post office box for our mail. As it was absolutely freezing when we left here, I put a scarf/gloves/parka/boots on and jumped in the car, when we got up to our gate … there was a family of kangaroos standing in a row watching us, usually the whole family stand there including uncles/aunts … however yesterday there was the …

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Day 8 after 2 chemo treatments

I am feeling like bile is coming up and not tasting too good! Not a pleasant feeling however one that will pass eventually.Sleep was from 10pm to 2.30am so improving each day. My face is still slightly swollen and I feel bloated, otherwise feeling much improved!This morning when the sun comes up … it is now 4am … we will be going out in the car. Where we live it is just so beautiful especially at this time of the year. Each afternoon I am pottering in my garden, getting a few small weeds out before they grow into a problem, transplanting violets/forget me knots … that are now showing thier little heads everywhere and just enjoying being with nature. Yesterday afternoon when the sun came out …

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Eggplant parmesan is one of my favorite Italian dishes!However, this vegetarian dish is often laden with oil and calories if ordered in restaurants or made at home traditionally. Olive Garden lists their eggplant parmesan at 850 Calories per dinner serving with 35 grams of fat! So, I came up with this easy eggplant parmesan recipe that slashes calories and fat, yet tastes even better than those greasy versions found in most Italian restaurants.Here’s What You’ll NeedThis recipe serves three people. (Two really hungry people, or just one famished person.)1 Large eggplant 1 ½ Cups Italian style panko breadcrumbs 1 Cup finely shredded parmesan cheese 2 Eggs ½ Teaspoon garlic powder ¼ Teaspoon salt 1 Jar of your favorite pasta sauce (some for the eggplant and some for your pasta side) 2 …

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Shhh! Feeling good so far on chemo!

Yesterday a windy journey to the hospital in Melbourne (about an hr away if a good run) we left here about 7.20am and got there just before 8.30am for our appointment at Day Chemo. The last few days we have had violent winds here and yesterday was no exception. We have lost a huge tree between us and neighbours, lucky it has not taken out the fence – it is just hanging over it. A few branches near the house however no real damage. Today is a stillness day and birds singing, sun starting to come out – will be nice in the garden later on this afternoon. I have spoken too soon lol! The wind is picking up!Day chemo changed my PICC line – flush and bloods were …

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