Archived News of the Week
October 2020 News
Covid, etc: I am finding it very difficult lately to write a newsletter because everything is in such chaos and flux, and not just with our President, the election and the attendant shenanigans thereof. I can read something on a Wednesday, write a newsletter on a Thursday and by Friday, there is conflicting information. Especially about our nemesis, Covid 19. First of all, I am pretty sure that I am preaching to the choir, but don't believe The Donald: He is dead wrong. It is very catchable, easily transmitted and, as everyone knows by now, can be quite serious. Keep your masks on, stay at least 6 feet away from people not in your carefully chosen bubble, refuse to go to super spreader events (even if it's at the White House) and stay home a lot.
See what you think about this: The PCR test (the nose thing) for SARS-COV-2 is too sensitive and needs to be adjusted to rule out people who have insignificant amounts of the virus in their system. In 3 sets of testing data that included cycle thresholds compiled by officials in Massachusetts, New York and Nevada, up to 90% of people testing positive carried barely any virus. You can read more about this at thevaccinereaction.org. (9/29/2020) if you are interested.
If the PCR is too sensitive, we can conclude that there have been many, many "positive tests using the PCR where there are barely detectable virus fragments. It's like finding a hair in a room after a person has left it." (Michael Mina, MD, epidemiologist at the Harvard H. Chan School of Public Health). This is one reason why I have not had a COVID test, and I won't unless I develop some disturbing symptoms. What if I get a positive test when I am asymptomatic and feel fabulous? What would I do then?
And to compound our diagnostic miseries, we are galloping right into the season where we could get sick in 4 ways: We could catch a cold, have winter seasonal allergies, get the flu or contract COVID. They all have very similar symptoms, but the only thing that distinguishes COVID from everything else is that your sense of smell will disappear. Fully 87% of the people with COVID will lose their sense of smell, and this is why I am shoving smelly things under your nose now in the waiting room to see if you can not only smell it but recognize what it is. A lot of you mix up coffee and chocolate, peppermint and eucalyptus and onion and garlic, but I pass you anyway because they are so similar and because I am a nice person.
And then there is the smoke! Please be careful and don't exercise like a crazy person when it's smoky. I know it's hard not to when you are used to a certain amount of hiking, jogging and bike riding, but think of your poor lungs. Mine are a mess and I wish I could give them a rest, but we must keep breathing the old in and out thing mustn't we? I cough more now, my eyes are weird and dry, I feel an unusual scratchiness and even a taste in my throat and if I ratchet up my anxiety, I can easily imagine that my lungs will soon look like Black Lung.
I am taking a shot glass full every morning of my homemade elderberry syrup (recipe available) mixed with my Immune Tonic (Echinacea, Gingko and Licorice), a MediHerb product called Pulmaco and Designs for Health, Immunoberry Liquid. And it does help. You don't have to do what I do, but please find yourself something at Vitamin Cottage for your lungs if you think they are struggling. The ladies are very helpful there. And go to purpleair.com for your air quality alert of the day. At the time of this writing the air quality in Boulder is in the 90's. Healthy air is 0 to 20. Bring in some house air next time I see you and we can test it to see if you have chemicals, metals or molds that we should be dealing with.
Cancer Screening Tests and the Elderly: It appears that the Elderlies don't need screenings for breast cancer, colorectal cancer and cervical cancer. (U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, 8/6/2020). They reviewed the screening histories of over 176,000 patients and the Penn State investigators determined needless "overscreening." I don't know what their parameters were, except for this: "... neither the risk nor the ordeal are worth it for those who don't have long to live anyway." Humph. Well, since you put it THAT way... I suppose they are right. The new guidelines are this: "Routine screening for colorectal cancer up to age 75, for cervical cancer up to age 65 and for breast cancer up to age 74."
Mammograms are notoriously dangerous and can have about a 50% rate of false positives. Then there is the stat that one mammogram equals about 100 x-rays and "... the squeezing motion of mammography is in itself potentially harmful" (BMJ, 2/11/14) Mammograms pick up a lot of ductal carcinomas in situ which are really pre-cancers. That's what I was diagnosed with in my 40's after my very first mammogram. They considered DCIS outright cancer back then and I subsequently had a pretty radical lumpectomy and they took many lymph nodes (No seminal node back then.). Then I was told to get daily radiation for six weeks and thank goodness I was smart and stubborn enough not to take that recommendation. See? Needless surgery, needless distress and needless disfigurement. I don't recommend mammograms, but opt for thermograms or ultrasounds which are both less invasive and quite specific. And please do a monthly breast check on yourself; get to know your own breast tissue so you will be able to feel a difference if it comes to that.
As for now? Keep on keeping on! Meditate, pray, bat away the negative thoughts like the pesky flies that they are and keep your positive thoughts humming right along. That's all we can do in these tumultuous times. Oh, and VOTE!
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