This is being started to keep a host of friends and relatives informed as we search for a cure for Lin's colon cancer. It may include details that may help others who find that there is a ton of information out there - but few personal experiences (which may help you as you contemplate treatment).
Sunday, June 13, 2010
A Must Do In The USA!
Nope, not an eating place or even a watering hole. But if you are 60 and above (especially if you have had chickenpox) I strongly recommend you spend about USD$200 and get yourself a Zostavax jab.
I am excerpting bits from a New York Times article for info (the rest deals with why more Americans are not getting vaccinated - basically the reason is money from insurance, etc):
(read about Zostavax here: http://www.zostavax.com/)
Why Patients Aren’t Getting the Shingles Vaccine
By PAULINE W. CHEN, M.D.
Four years ago at age 78, R., a retired professional known as much for her small-town Minnesotan resilience as her commitment to public service, developed a fleeting rash over her left chest. The rash, which turned out to be shingles, or herpes zoster, was hardly noticeable.
But the complications were unforgettable.
For close to a year afterward, R. wrestled with the searing and relentless pain in the area where the rash had been. “It was ghastly, the worst possible pain anyone could have,” R. said recently, recalling the sleepless nights and fruitless search for relief. “I’ve had babies and that hurts a lot, but at least it goes away. This pain never let up. I felt like I was losing my mind for just a few minutes of peace.”
Shingles and its painful complication, called postherpetic neuralgia, result from reactivation of the chicken pox virus, which remains in the body after a childhood bout and is usually dormant in the adult. Up to a third of all adults who have had chicken pox will eventually develop one or both of these conditions, becoming debilitated for anywhere from a week to several years. That percentage translates into about one million Americans affected each year, with older adults, whose immune systems are less robust, being most vulnerable. Once the rash and its uncomfortable sequel appear, treatment options are limited at best and carry their own set of complications.
While the search for relief costs Americans over $500 million each year, the worst news until recently has been that shingles could happen to any one of us. There were no preventive measures available.
At the time, the shingles vaccine seemed to embody the best of medicine, both old school and new. Its advent was contemporary medicine’s elegant response to a once intractable, age-old problem. It didn’t necessarily put an end to the spread of disease, in this case chicken pox; but it dramatically reduced the burden of illness for the affected individual. And, most notably, its utter simplicity was a metaphoric shot-in-the-arm for old-fashioned doctoring values. Among the increasingly complex and convoluted suggestions for health care reform that were brewing at that moment, here was a powerful intervention that relied on only three things: a needle, a syringe and a patient-doctor relationship rooted in promoting wellness.
In the two years since the vaccine became available, fewer than 10 percent of all eligible patients have received it. Despite the best intentions of patients and doctors (and no shortage of needles and syringes), the shingles vaccine has failed to take hold, in large part because of the most modern of obstacles. What should have been a widely successful and simple wellness intervention between doctors and their patients became a 21st century Rube Goldberg-esque nightmare.