Monthly Archives: June 2012

Do you go for an annual eye test?


It’s vitally important after cancer treatment

Eye Examination


Were you told to have a test?

No, I wasn’t either, but according to Opthalmologist Sandip Sahota, drug deposits can sit in the eye – so we need to get these checked annually.


Sandip fully understands what drugs such as Tamoxifen can do to our eyes;  she also warned me that Steroids can cause problems and affect our organs.

Sandip Sahota
Sandip Sahota

She explained that for a first appointment one should plan for an hour in case you need drops, and you mustn’t drive afterwards.

But before making an appointment for a test, make sure that whoever you are going to see has some experience of dealing with problems caused by cancer drugs.  I sat down in front of a so-called Opthalmologist at my local hospital’s Eye clinic;  asked what experience he had had with cancer drug side effects, and was told “None – you are the first patient I have seen who has had cancer”.

So I went back to waiting area, asked why – when I had carefully mentioned when making the appointment that I needed to discuss possible side effects on eyes – wasn’t I ‘given’ to someone who had experience?  Was met with complete indifference, so demanded to see top Opthalmolost.  They were so startled that a lowly patient actually had a voice, that I was seen by the top man, who HAD had experience.

Talking to Sandip, she said many of her patients were on Tamoxifen, so she became an expert in dealing with the problems this, and other drugs, can cause.  Her approach is completely integrated and holistic, so she is not just treating the eyes, but also ensures that eyes look and feel their best.

One part of her service I found extremely reassuring.  Everyone who has an eye test with her has a report sent to their doctor – would others did the same.

So many sure you have an annual test.

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Getting old


Duke of Edinburgh

Let’s thumb our noses 


If you are as fed up with doctors and nurses lumping you in the ‘talk slowly and don’t tell them anything because they are over 60’ category, the Duke of Edinburgh had the answer – go and be treated at King Edward VII hospital.

Sadly, it’s in London;  it’s private (although if you were in the armed forces or forces’ family you might qualify for reductions), and it only has  a few beds.  But it has a Matron, and she seems the old-fashioned sort whose patients come first.

But for those of us who are fed up with the patronising stare we get when we try and ask intelligent questions (you see them thinking where did she find this out?), the following song, sung to the Julie Andrew’s hit ‘My favourite things’ from Sound of Music, might give some light relief:

Botox and nose drops and needles for knitting,
Walkers and handrails and new dental fittings,
Bundles of magazines tied up in string,
These are a few of my favourite things.

Cadillacs and cataracts, hearing aids and glasses,
Polident and Fixodent and false teeth in glasses,
Pacemakers, golf carts and porches with swings,
These are a few of my favourite things.

When the pipes leak, When the bones creak,
When the knees go bad,                                                                                                                                                                                                       I simply remember my favourite things,
And then I don’t feel so bad.

Hot tea and crumpets and corn pads for bunions,
No spicy hot food or food cooked with onions,
Bathrobes and heating pads and hot meals they bring,
These are a few of my favourite things…

Back pain, confused brains and no need for sinnin’,
Thin bones and fractures and hair that is thinnin’,
And we won’t mention our short shrunken frames,
When we remember our favourite things.

When the joints ache, When the hips break,
When the eyes grow dim,
Then I remember the great life I’ve had,
And then I don’t feel so bad.

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Warning on taking medicines

Dr. Grumpy’s latest warning

Grumpy Bear in the Nelvana episode "Home ...




Dr. Grumpy is an American GP (or MD as they are known in the States).

He records the weird observations made by his patients – latest is one about which he says “I have a bad feeling about this

Dr. Grumpy: “What medications are you on?”

Mr. Scattered: “I don’t know. Whatever my girlfriend puts in my pill cup.”

Dr. Grumpy (to girlfriend): “What pills does he get?”

Ms. Girlfriend: “I don’t know the names. Whatever his mother tells me to give him.”

Dr. Grumpy: “Where can I reach your mom?”

Mr. Scattered: “She’s in jail.”

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Good news for Chocoholics!

Dark chocolate

is good for your



However – don’t all rush  to gobble up chocolate .

It’s only a small benefit, but a modeling study predicts patients with metabolic syndrome who eat a small amount of dark chocolate every day could have 85 fewer events per 10,000 population over 10 years, Chris Reid, PhD, of Monash University in Melbourne, and colleagues reported online in the British Medical Journal.

This means the benefits, according to latest information, are slight – but better than nothing.

And better news is that this is at an extremely low cost.  Although cost is probably the last thing that would worry any chocolate lover, researchers found that at a cost of only $42 per year, treatment with the suggested amount of dark chocolate falls into an acceptable category of cost-effectiveness.

Dark chocolate

Bad luck if you are a Cadbury’s Milk Tray lover;  the chocolate needs to be dark and 60% to 70% cocoa.

But for dark chocoholics, The Organic Pharmacy now has  Glamour Food chocolate bars, sweetened with Agave nectar, which has a low glycemic index.

With cocoa butter, which apparently helps reduce cholesterol, the chocolate is rich in phenylethylamine, a natuarlly occuring alkaloid that acts like a love potion!   It is said a person in love produces phenylethylamine and so taking it mimics the feel good feeling and acts as an antidepressant.
Raw cacao is considered a superfood and it is one of the richest sources of anti-ageing antioxidants, flavonoids and heart friendly polyphenols.  All in all, this chocolate has an unusual taste – more like difference between dry wine as opposed to semi-sweet.

More benefits

But good news is that several recent studies have suggested that eating dark chocolate has blood-pressure and lipid-lowering effects. To assess whether it could be an effective and cost-effective treatment option in patients potentially at risk for cardiovascular events, researchers looked at data from patients in the Australian Diabetes, Obesity, and Lifestyle study.

They used a Markov model to assess health effects and associated costs of daily consumption of plain dark chocolate compared with no chocolate, in a population with metabolic syndrome but without diabetes or cardiovascular disease.

The investigators also used risk-prediction algorithms and population life tables to determine the probability of patients developing or dying from heart disease or other noncardiovascular causes each year.

Data on the blood-pressure-lowering effects of dark chocolate were taken from a meta-analysis of 13 randomized controlled trials, and lipid-lowering effects from a meta-analysis of eight short-term trials. Costs were taken from a review of the costs of cardiovascular complications in a healthy population, and included the direct costs of myocardial infarction and stroke.

They calculated the number of deaths prevented by determining the difference in the number of deaths between those consuming and not consuming dark chocolate. and found that daily consumption of dark chocolate — a polyphenol content equivalent to 100 grams of dark chocolate — can reduce cardiovascular events by 85 per 10,000 population over 10 years.

Elsewhere, Swedish researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, led by Susanna Larsson, found the more chocolate women indulged in, the lower their stroke risk.

But hold it.

This doesn’t mean we can scoff chocolate all day.  Read this carefully:

  • For every 50-gram (1.8-oz.) increase in chocolate consumption per week, participants’ overall stroke risk dropped 14%.
  • The protective effect appeared to kick in at 45 g (1.6 oz.) of chocolate a week
  • women in the highest consumption group — who ate a median of 66.5 g (2.4 oz.), or between one and two chocolate bars a week — enjoyed a 20% lower risk of stroke than those who ate the least.
  • The potential health benefits of chocolate, especially dark chocolate, have been widely attributed to its flavonoids:  antioxidant compounds in cocoa that may boost the cardiovascular system.

In other studies, researchers have shown that flavonoids can enhance blood flow by relaxing blood vessels and lowering blood pressure. They may also inhibit clumping of platelets and reduce inflammation, both of which contribute to cardiovascular health.

So what?

Do we start gorging on chocolate to protect ourselves from stroke?

Not exactly.

Chocolate is decadent and is meant to be eaten in moderation. “Consuming too much chocolate is probably not good, as chocolate is rich in sugar, fat and calories, and may lead to weight gain, which increases the risk of chronic diseases,” says Larsson.

But as far as I am concerned, I will be making sure I eat a little each day !



Lesson to be learnt from Queen's Jubilee

Sip water – and take a ‘comfort break’

English: Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, hus...


Everyone was sad when HRH Duke of Edinburgh was taken ill during the Jubilee celebrations, and felt for HM The Queen when he wasn’t at her side during  the Royal Pop Concert.

Ever a devoted Consort, it is seldom that he isn’t there when she needs support, and the day before he had stood stoically by her side in the pouring rain for four hours, scorning the thrones supplied for them to rest on.

Be warned!

Anyone undertaking the same schedule MUST have regular sips of water, and go to the loo.  Dehydration is bad for anyone;  but worse for the elderly.

It is more than likely that the Duke could have been dehydrated;  certainly standing for four hours is not the ideal thing to do at 86, let alone 90, so we were lucky that The Queen looks to be healthy.

What might have happened
Both The Queen and her husband stood stoically for four hours, and didn’t take a sip of water, let alone nip down to the loo as far as one could see.  This is not good for anyone, let alone two OAPs, and although we know Prince Philip would have scorned any medical advice, The Queen is always keen to set a good example.  So if the planners had built in a short stop she would surely have taken advantage.

Appoint a Footman
Although the Palace is in to austerity, surely it is time The Queen appointed a Footman of the Silver Salver, whose duty would be to present the Royal OAPs with a glass of water every hour or so?  In this Jubilee year, couldn’t Parliament vote to be less greedy, and allow Her Majesty to increase her allowance enough to pay for an extra footman, particularly if it is giving work to an unemployed youngster?

Obviously he/she could be given other duties, including searching out a discreet loo, but it would help to keep this incredible couple healthy.

Mind you, knowing what the Duke thinks of pop music, I reckon he was far better off in King Edward’s Hospital.  Anyone who has ever been treated there will know what I mean;  if you haven’t – it is run by a Matron – enough said..