TECH / Who needs a camera when you can add a highpowered lens to your phone?!

Smartphone Attachable Lens-Style Camera | Learn More

You can buy a nice digital camera for under $200, or less. You could however spend $249 and add a highpower lens to your cellphone.

Sony phone camera attachment

This sounds a bit silly until you consider that the first choice of many folks with cameras is to use their cellphone/smartphone to take photos.

Sony’s Smartphone Attachable Lens-Style Camera is kinda cool because it uses your big smartphone screen as your photo viewer and it uses your phone’s ability to connect so that you can share your photos and video in realtime.

Cancer Coin Toss, Medical Ethics and Burning Bridges … et tu, Fate?

September 12th UPDATE to my original post.

The academic argument has been settled since I wrote the piece below several days back. A CT/PET scan of September 11th shows a metabolically greedy hotspot. That translates to a new cancer has appeared. Will be meeting with doctors on Friday the 13th to battle this and then it is on to the chemo, which I have nicknamed ‘Charlie Cool’. It will be up to Charlie Cool to beat Bad Bart’s ass so that I can wake up one day and take the grandkids to Disney … and since I don’t have any grandkids yet then Charlie Cool is going to need the help of my ever helpful and ever present guardian angels.


It is my week to be a guinea pig.

Met the most enthusiastic senior cancer researcher today. She came in to chat with my wife and I about the different views on where my treatment might be going. Today was the day for me to sign my consent form to begin chemo treatment … yet that will wait another day. It turned into a counseling session instead. Very informative. Very interesting. Bewildering.

She summed up my treatment plan as practicing the art of medical care rather than the science thereof.

The researcher said that my case is getting plenty of discussion among the cancer doctors. And they are involving more doctors to get their opinions, as well.

It seems that the doctors and researchers are uncertain as to what should happen next.

My specific case has three medical ethical challenges:

  • Clinically my body is free of cancer. Taking chemo will hurt my body in some way. To take chemo will be to do some harm with a range of possible side effects. Today I asked the researcher what I have asked the other doctors: whether she believed that my cancer was truly gone. She said that the DNA of the cancer indicated metastasis. Multiple metastases is common.  General consensus is that there is cancer somewhere in my body and it is only a matter of time before it makes an appearance.  Medical “dogma” is however that I should be sent upon my way and that further treatment is unnecessary. “Dogma” was the researcher’s word, not mine … and she used it several times. Appearance of being cancer-free may be an illusion, or it may be real.
  • The second ethical challenge is that even if there is cancer, there is no evidence that the chemo that they recommend for me will work. It is NOT that this treatment has given poor results in the past — it is that the doctors are treating me in the blind because there is almost no data or protocol history to judge how this cancer will react to treatment using chemo. There are well under 50 cases of ENT BSCC, and fewer with metastasis.
    Note: Taking the chemo will probably cause a mutation in any existing cancer, whether it works or not. Radiation is not currently appropriate because there is no cancer to radiate.  If cancer exists microscopically then chemo needs to be a comprehensive first strike. Yet taking chemo now or later will be the equivalent of “burning bridges” (the researcher’s words), because what they have in their arsenal is as good as it gets .. so if an existing cancer mutates, which it should, there are no chemo alternatives for a counterattack.
    Option: Only take two of the three recommended kinds of chemo and save the third type for a later counterattack. Using only two kinds would however remove the ‘comprehensive’ attack approach.
  • Thirdly, to wait for the cancer to return is not such a good plan either … not when it could return in several places that you want to avoid cancer at all costs (bladder, liver, kidneys … almost anywhere actually). Waiting could itself render the chemo of little value if used then instead of now. So saving the bridges from burning now may mean that the cancer burns them later instead, before symptoms present themselves and the cavalry can render assistance.

I do not mean in any way to imply that the doctors are ethically challenged, only that there are challenges which pose ethical dilemma for medical treatment.

Where is it all going? My choice will be either a partial (maybe full) salvation by preemptively weakening the cancer’s ability to return, or a cup of unpredictable hemlock.

The doctors will go with my choice — they are very much refraining from making any specific recommendations … although they are obviously making recommendations just by assisting me so closely in my adventure via tests and an overwhelming collaborative search for options.

The good news is that I am otherwise very healthy, have a great team of curious, motivated doctors that promise to be there for me every step of the way, and I am in the hierarchy of most likely to do well in any treatment … assuming treatment works, whether now or later.

There is no reality check in this situation per se — I may outlive everyone offering me treatment. I am continually impressed by the quality of my care and the willingness of the doctors to brainstorm what it all means.

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Treatment: My consent form will have to wait a week or so later before we get back to it. The docs are giving me tests galore to create a baseline of my body before we do anything. Today I contributed more blood for more tests (but got no cookies for my effort) and on Wednesday I will take another CT/PET scan that can supposedly find cancer down to 5mm in size. Being a good American I have no clue how small that is … except supposedly really, really small … which in this case is a good thing.

Note: My assumption is that they are turning the machine up to its highest setting because previously we were told on several occasions that the standard CT/PET scan was only effective at finding bad stuff at 1cm in size.

Early next week I will do more tests and get a chemo port inserted into my chest and throat.

Then we will all meet again and rediscuss the challenges of what to do next.

 

 

 

Hope for Medical Breakthroughs via Video Gaming!

There is great hope for a number of scientific and medical breakthroughs via a skill learned from many hours on Sony Playstation, Microsoft XBox, and such: collaborative exploration, information sharing and collaborative attack, aka problem solving.

GE’s Focus Forward website highlights advances in technology. It recently highlighted an amazing advance using a game called ‘Fold It‘:

    Biologists spent ten years trying to map the structure of the elusive Mason Pfizer Monkey Virus, a problem that could unlock the cure for AIDS. The Contenders solved it in three weeks. Using the online puzzle game Fold It, scientists are enlisting video gamers to solve real- world problems.

Many thanks go to my friend Connie Moser for sharing this video with me. Collaboration does not require a game, just friends with a mutual interest … who know about games and such.

Cancer Words of the Day: Oligometastases and Oligo-recurrrence – theories with hope

I am a guinea pig. I am a curiosity. My cancer is so rare that cancer doctors can go years without meeting a BSCC patient.

Will be doing my part for science and cancer research in my own small way. I agreed to allow a number of cancer research organizations to study my progression with cancer, beginning back in 2011 when I was first diagnosed. Back in 2011 I received only surgery as treatment. This time we are going to see what a cocktail of three chemo drugs can do … and that is a battle itself: tolerating the treatment and a very long list of side effects.

Background and a reality check: there are three ways for cancer to spread in your body. It can spread via lymph nodes (not my case), or it can grow in one spot and spread outward and include whatever it comes into contact with as part of its cancerous outreach (not my case), or it can essentially hitch a ride within your blood stream and spread cancer throughout your entire body (believed to be my situation).

Clarification of ‘believed to be my situation’:

  • BSCC cancer was confirmed in my lung in August 2013 but was probably there since at least mid-2012, possibly before. My 2011 cancer was BSCC and probably was in my system by early 2010 when symptoms first arose — although symptoms were not diagnosed and confirmed as cancer until March 2011.
  • It is possible that my 2013 cancer was a new cancer, i.e. a new primary cancer. While not good, surgery and removal of a primary cancer with no other indication of cancer present at the time holds high hopes for a cure. Pathology however says both of my cancers are so similar that what we are dealing with is probably metastases, a secondary cancer. Since conditions one and two for cancer spread have been eliminated then it spread through my blood stream. Most ungood. The assumption now is that it has probably spread everywhere at currently undetectable levels and so we have two choices: 1) fight the cancer as it arises anew (not a good plan as metastasis of cancer usually represents the last stage of the patient’s life); or 2) treat the entire body now as if it has cancer (systemic chemotherapy) and hope to create a manageable situation whereby the cancer is virtually eliminated and you buy time with the hope of dealing with any new cancer as it arises. The challenge with this approach is that this massive attack on cancer usually mutates the cancer itself so that when it returns your chemical weapons used in the first assault are of little value … should the cancer survive the assault, which at least some few cells usually do.

Good News is too positive a term but there is ‘hope’. There is a theory called oligometastases and oligo-recurrence. Oligo-recurrence is the better of the two. There is hope by some of the treating cancer board members that I fall into the oligo-recurrence category. What this means is that your cancer will return but instead of ravaging your body it appears in just one or a few places during each future recurrence. With proactive health monitoring and aggressive treatment (doing whatever can be done to eliminate or to control the cancer) then it may be possible to survive that round of cancer with a good or reasonable quality of life before the next recurrence. Eventually the cancer wins but it could be some few years or many years. The time element is unpredictable and varies greatly for all.

Oligo-recurrence at least holds the hope for long-term survival and reasonable quality of life: Latest summary of research (2013)

My hope is for oligo-recurrence being my actual situation. My guardian angels are just magnificent and have taken great care of me in life so far. All the same, the plan of attack is to make a massive assault on any cancer that may currently exist within my body and that begins with a week of daily chemo-therapy in mid-September.

Kids and Cancer – September is Awareness Month + SCAMS

Kids – gotta love the kids. Cancer and illness can be hard when you really have not a clue what is happening in your life … except that it hurts, the hurt returns, and bad days are too many.

Also, please be wary of ALL charities. A great many are not worth giving even a penny. Ignore that ‘we are a non-profit’ bogus sell job. A great many charities do very little for whomever they supposedly claim to be helping.

Learn more about Kids, Cancer and Charities.

Cancer - September is children cancer awareness month

If you really want to be remembered … think and do for others

If you really want to be remembered … think and do something for others.

There is always some challenge in life that you can help solve … even if it is cutting the grass or visiting with someone in your neighborhood. In four billion years our world will be consumed so even history will come to an end. Strive for karma.

Thanks to Ed Segall for sharing on FB.

Everyone dies - create something worth remembering