Counting the tissues

Fred Ott's Sneeze (film by William K.L. Dickson)

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I moved to Texas from India when I was 8 years old. I was a complete tomboy and spent all my time outdoors. I played outside, I read outside, I swam, I hiked, I climbed trees – you name it. If the activity involved me being outside and in the sun, I was there.

Then allergies struck.

I had no idea what allergies even were. I was 11 at the time, and had never experienced this problem my entire time I lived in India. Yet just 2-3 years after I set foot in the South, my body decided to repel the main thing I loved the most – being outdoors. I was forced to get allergy skin tests done (ouch!), and had to be put on allergy shots. For 9 years I was getting a shot every 2 weeks. Talk about a pain in the ass!! I finally gave up my sophomore year in college when a) I was seeing no results and b) going to the campus clinic every 2 weeks to get a shot was getting really really annoying.

When I moved to the northeast (it’ll be 7 years this fall), I got MAJOR relief from allergies. Probably because I lived in Brooklyn and wasn’t around too many trees and stuff, but the last few years, allergies haven’t been too bad. Yes I get them, but I can manage them with medication 🙂

They say that when you catch a cold or cough when you’re prego – you suffer more than you would if you weren’t prego. As if you’re not feeling enough discomfort at times, you’re gonna feel like shit more and longer than usual. Awesome! With the way the allergy season has been so far these past few weeks, needless to say – I’m freaking miserable.  All the sources are saying that due to the insanely heavy snowfall this winter, there’s a tremendous amount of tree pollen and mold that’s lingering. Today, tomorrow, Saturday, and Sunday – the pollen count is just sitting at HIGH, which is not reassuring to me.

New Jersey Pollen Count

 
I can take certain medication (thank goodness), but I’m really trying not to. I bought other alternatives to medicine – saline spray, allergy eye drops, and cough drops (becuase yes, now I’m coughing nonstop and apparently my body wants to continue to punish me in other ways besides constantly sneezing and blowing my nose and having itchy eyes). I also bought the neti-pot, and I’m scared to try it, but I know it may help and give me some relief so I’ll have to suck it up and do it. Has anyone tried that thing? Doesn’t it feel gross? Ick.
 
Let’s hope this allergy season passes soon and I can enjoy the summer!!

iPAD’s new competition

iPad with on display keyboard

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Sure, Apple‘s totally ruling the market with the iPAD and competitors are itching to release something that will be a direct hit. It was all a matter of time of course, before something was in development and the announcements were released of the next big tablet.

Research In Motion (RIM) announced its new tablet on the opening day of it’s annual developers conference. The Blackberry Playbook with its 7 inch screen, rumored to have an 8 hour battery life, 2 video cameras, bluetooth and wi-fi, is definitely going to give the iPAD a run for its money. Or is it? Guess we’ll find out in 2011!

It was shown at the conference, but only behind a glass encased box. How awful is that?! Those tekkies were surely having a panic attack being unable to touch and play with the darn thing.

The market for a tablet is definitely growing. Being in the healthcare industry, I’ve heard doctors requesting for us to upload our proprietary software onto their iPADs, and I’m sure the same will come of the Playbook. Healthcare and EMR companies with web based software have an in with this stuff so doctors can access patient records from literally anywhere. It’s really a fun time to be in healthcare technology.

Cancer… how much do you really know?

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t know someone affected by cancer. I couldn’t say this so confidently 3 years ago. 3 years ago, I didn’t think it would come near me. I didn’t think it would touch anyone important in my life. For some reason, I thought that my friends and family would be safe from it.

I know that science has made a lot of progress when it comes to research and even treatment options. I saw a lot of great new technology when my dad was going through his chemotherapy, radiation, and clinical trial. It was truly impressive to see it firsthand that the millions of dollars of donations going towards cancer research is turning into reality for some. Even though it wasn’t enough to save his life, I do appreciate the attempts that cancer centers are trying to make with all this new research and technology.

One of our closest friends lost his mom yesterday to ovarian cancer. It spread quickly to her brain in the past several months and there were no more options left for them. I can imagine what he’s going through and the pain from my experience less than a year ago is all coming back to me.

After doing the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure for breast cancer research and awareness a few days ago, I heard some really crazy facts and wanted to research a little more to see what other facts and statistics are out there that I’m not aware of. I know I’m probably driving myself insane by doing this research, but that won’t stop me. These are from cancer.org, Facts & Figures 2010.

In the US, men have slightly less than a 1 in 2 lifetime risk of developing cancer; for women, the risk is a little more than 1 in 3.

Those numbers are frightening. Look around you. Look at how many people have the possiblity of being diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives.

The National Cancer Institute estimates that approximately 11.4 million Americans with a history of cancer were alive in January 2006, either cancer free, with some evidence of cancer, or undergoing treatment.

About 1,529,560 new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2010. Of those cases, the states of California, New York, Texas, and Florida each dominate the numbers by having over 100,000 cases within its respective state.

About 569,490 Americans are expected to die of cancer in 2010. That’s more than 1,500 people per day. Cancer accounts for nearly 1 of every 4 deaths.

Please click on each image below to see the full/larger version:

Now onto some good news:

Although survival statistics vary greatly by cancer type and stage at diagnosis, the 5-year relative survival rate for all cancers diagnosed between 1999 and 2005 is 68%, up from 50% in 1975-1977.

So please keep donating to science and research, keep volunteering for cancer organizations throughout the country, and follow the guidelines recommended by Cancer.org to reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, and diabetes:

  1. Maintain a healthy weight throughout life.
  2. Adopt a physically active lifestyle.
  3. Consume a healthy diet with an emphasis on plant sources.
  4. If you drink alcoholic beverages, limit consumption.

And I will add a #5 of my own:

5.  Quit smoking!!!!!

To those currently battling cancer, stay positive and keep fighting!

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