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.

Good,, Bad, and Trans Fats and the Health Risk They Pose

What many don’t realise is that fats are essential for good health. The brain, for instance, is contains fat, but it is the good one and not that which can kill you. As people age they become more susceptible to weight gain and the large stomachs seen in many. The fat around their middle is from bad fats that usually come from things like sugar and trans fats.

Alcohol is the same as sugar in its molecular component. In other words, sugar breaks down into the same structure as alcohol and this is why beer drinkers end up with what is described as a ‘beer gut’. But that is not trans fat but the product of a normal digestive function whereby the ‘sugar’ overloads the liver and turns into fat.

In that case one may end up with a fatty liver and possibly pancreas leading to cancer of the organs. It also leads to diabetes and loss of limbs, eye-sight, and heart disease, among other things.

Then there are the trans-fats and these are normal fats that have undergone transformation due to heat. They take on extra molecules of hydrogen during the process and that makes them virtually indigestible by the liver so that they are laid around the vital organs.

The worst practice comes from super heated and oft heated oils. They are found in commercial ovens where deep fried fish and vegetables are produced. They are the in many of the snack foods people are addicted to while the warning that should accompany them is that they can lead to diseases, as described above, and even death.

A Healthy Dose of Medicine for the Soul

A large segment of the human population takes things way too seriously for their own good. The strange anomaly is that most people laugh at the wrong thing and fail to laugh at the right thing. This serious incongruity has robbed people of a healthy attitude towards life in general.

Those who take life too seriously are in danger of missing the great joys of living in a crazy world like ours. I am not sure about the scientific research but I would guess that for every sad moment it takes one hundred laughs to balance the books. Some people are about ninety-nine laughs short of a real sane moment.

I like the old English proverb that says, “Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone.”

From my perspective, if you cannot laugh with someone you will not be able to cry with him or her and have it mean anything.

According to some medical advice, it takes more facial muscles and energy to frown than it does to smile. Of course, the only exercise some people have is frowning and who am I to take that away from them.

I am determined, no matter what, to exercise my right to smile and laugh and enjoy the world around me. I must confess that I get this attitude quite honestly.

My paternal grandfather was a Past Master in the area of practical jokes. No amount of time was too much to spend preparing for one of his famous practical jokes. His favorite holiday was April 1 and began preparing for this holiday right after Christmas.

The fact that his practical jokes at times got him into trouble did not seem to affect him at all.

Once while in the hospital for an extended period he had somebody smuggle in to him a can of snuff. For some reason he liked chewing snuff. It is the most disgusting habit I know of on earth.

He no sooner received his smuggled goods then he began chewing it. If you know anything about chewing snuff, you know it is accompanied by a lot of spitting. As usual, his timing was impeccable. Just as the head nurse passed his door and looked in, he leaned over and spit in to the garbage can he had next to his bed. The nurse, not knowing about the chewing snuff, thought he was spitting blood and immediately went into emergency mode. Immediately my grandfather was rushed into the operating room and the surgeon and medical team were assembled.

My grandfather was very sick at the time. Some did not think he would get out of the hospital.

Just as they got him situated in the operating room he pulled from under his sheet his can of chewing snuff and smiled at them. The only person in the room that thought this was in any way amusing was my grandfather. The doctors were so angry with him that they refused to see him for three days and confiscated his can of chewing snuff.

My aunt and uncle lived right next to my grandfather. My aunt was hyper clean when it came to her house. Dirt in any form was not welcome under her roof. She had a broom that was always within reach because she never knew when a piece of dirt would try to invade her domicile.

That year my grandfather found something new. I am not sure where he found it but he probably spent a lot of time looking for something like this. It was a rubber facsimile of a very nasty looking piece of vomit. To him it was a prized possession.

Most of his practical jokes were executed on April 1. Whenever we saw grandfather coming on this particular day we usually ran for cover.

He went over to visit my aunt and was sitting on the couch in the living room. They chatted for a little while and then my grandfather began to cough a little bit. He said to my aunt, “I haven’t been feeling good lately. I really don’t know what it is.” Then he started to cough a little more seriously, to which, my aunt got up and went to the kitchen to get him a glass of water thinking that might help him.

When she got back, she was shocked to see on her new coffee table a very horrible sight. My grandfather was bent over the coffee table hacking and coughing as though he was in the process of dying. On the coffee table was a very nasty looking piece of vomit.

My aunt went into hysterics. She whirled around and within a moment had grabbed her broom and started towards my grandfather. My grandfather was laughing but not for long.

Suddenly he realized that the flailing broom in my aunt’s hand was aimed at him. She chased him out of the house, down the driveway and for at least three blocks yelling obscenities at him that I dare not repeat in public society.

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.

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