Saturday, December 20, 2008

Ack! Pneumonia!



I knew the weather outside was frightful this holiday season, but didn't think it was scary enough to wreak havoc on Moshura's lungs? I'm not sure we're sure what caused it. See below for health information on Pneumonia.

The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute has some key points on Pneumonia:

Pneumonia is an infection in one or both of your lungs. Many small germs, such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi, can cause pneumonia.

The infection causes your lungs’ air sacs, called alveoli, to become inflamed. The air sacs may fill up with fluid or pus, causing symptoms such as a cough (with phlegm), fever, chills, and trouble breathing.

The goals of treatment are to cure the infection and prevent complications. People who have more severe symptoms or underlying health problems may need treatment in the hospital.

Pneumonia can be very serious and even life threatening. When possible, take steps to prevent the infection.

- Wash your hands with soap and water or alcohol-based rubs to kill germs.
- Keep your immune system strong. Get plenty of rest and physical activity and follow a healthy diet.
- If you have pneumonia, limit contact with family and friends. Cover your nose and mouth while coughing or sneezing, and dispose of tissues right away. Follow the treatment plan your doctor gives you and get plenty of rest.


It may take time to recover from pneumonia. Some people feel better and are able to return to their normal routines within a week. For other people, it can take a month or more. Talk to your doctor about when you can go back to your normal routine.

Visit the Pneumonia page on MedlinePlus.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Here's What's Cookin'



From The Wife:
Well it will be 2 weeks since M&M had his surgery and he again has come out like a champ. He has been up and around none stop. Cooking the turkey to completing fixing his T.V and little things around the house. You amaze me everyday honey ....I love you....I heart you too.


We are now looking forward to the holidays coming up.

I am glad to inform everyone that Kriticona and Sunshine have had their baby boy ....yesterday night at 10pm 7.4lbs 18in and he is one handsome little boy........
CONGRATS!!! Nothing like smelling a brand new baby....ummmm.

Friday, November 28, 2008

BBQ Turkey - But not at COH!


Weezy (Videographer), The Wife (Fire Starter), Moshura (Head Chef), ODAT (Observer)

FROM THE WIFE:

Gobble,Gobble,Gobble hear the turkey sing.....but not for long.

We are all so thankful and greatful to everyone for again being their for us especially M&M.

Thanksgiving is an especially emotional time for me......because i know that there is no way in my life time that i will be able to repay all the support we have gotten from each and everyone in the family. And i mean, the support comes from miles away and we appreciate it all.

Saying thank you and not crying would be something i will never be able to do again because THANK YOU has a whole different meaning and appreciation.
The tears i am shedding even now are far deeper than just a simple thank you and gratitude for all that has been done for us.

I being with a great big Thank You!for asking to see how we all are, calling,cooking,walking with Machini in the rose garden,having lunch and dinner at the Bistro with DLP and Machini while we all wait to hear that M&M is out of surgery,cleaning,financial help,e-mails by the dozen,long distance calls,you name it.
To Dr. T we owe a great deal too, his surgical hands has again saved M&M's leg for the second time and to him i am sincerly thankful and for COH i don't even need to express how we all feel of COH it is a place of comfort to be there and know that M&M is in good hands.

Know that all is appreciated and we love you all. Now let's have some turkey!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING DAY FROM MENDEZ FAMILY!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I thought I liked Piña Coladas...



From the Wife:

We want to thank everyone for being there and calling to see how it was going for M&M all those long hours we had to wait till he was called in for surgery.

Dr.T did an amazing job again on M&M's leg. He is an outstanding Dr. you can't even tell where the surgery begins and where it ends.

M&M has been resting and enjoying all of Momma M's cooking. We really appreciate momma's hard work on the stove.

M&M is very excited to know that his family is coming over for Thanksgiving.

He is even anticipating BBQ'N a turkey himself i told him to take it easy and we will see what that day will be like and if he is up to it, why not. I will let you know what happens.

M&M has been doing very well with everything and its so good to see him with a smile on his face and singing Pina Colada (new favorite song)

Thanks to all for being there!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Turkey Day and all the Trimmings



Bad joke bad joke, I know... It's Moshura humor. More leg surgery to cut away a new sarcoma tumor growing behind the knee. Will Moshura be making BBQ Turkey from the City of Hope parking lot this year? Details, I need more details!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Thursday, August 14, 2008

K through 12




From The Wife:
On Monday August 11, 2008 Machini started kindergarten . His homework that day was to make a collage of his family at home and to choose some things he likes and something his family does together.

Machini choose all the pictures in his collage and he sounded out everything he wanted to write to describe what the pictures where for his teacher.

Top left hand corner ha choose a picture of DLP, Machini and myself because he likes this picture he said.
Center the boys at an Angels game cause he loved this day he says.
Right hand corner a picture of the apples we get at Oak Glen each year.

Left Center grama because she is always at our house and grampa in center right and they take me everywhere.
Center he says that is the best picture of his family that he likes a lot.

The lower left side is his Papa and himself fishing " Boy I really loved this day with my Papa and me fishing" he said as we pasted it on the collage.

Lower right side is a picture of a "family picture a couple of years ago and he said he liked it because everyone was making a funny face as he laughs.

And last but not least he choose City of Hope he said because he had to let his teacher know that this is where we go with his papa to make his leg feel better and he said.
Underneath the picture he wrote my papa has cancer

I thought this was pretty amazing that he understands what is going on. And he felt that he had to share City of Hope as part what are family does.
He could of chosen Laughlin but instead he choose City of Hope. He should M&M and he loved it. You could see Machini was very proud of his work.

I thought I'd share a piece of Machini's first day of school.

DLP is settling in, in High School and seems to be enjoying it. She started getting homework already. As soon as DLP has a project I will post on the blog.(haha)

Till next time

Saturday, August 9, 2008

My How We've Changed!





These pictures were taken 4 years ago in August 2004. What's going on with you four years later? I'm sure lots. But, anything you want to share...With us in the FSTS neighborhood :)? I'll go first: I am glad Moshura's lung cancer tumors were nabbed in May (and that we're still on the lookout for more) and that I have you crazy people to keep me up to date on everything while I am here on the opposite coast. Also, that I am done with school and can devote more time to the blog once summer is over. Just waiting for my vacation in September and possibly new job and then things will fall into place, I promise... With a new look and new features!! You'll see!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Randy Pausch: My Childhood Dreams



He was a geeky, funny guy who had pancreatic cancer. This lecture is worth the view. Makes me wanna achieve my childhood dreams - Professional breakdancer/Hamburglar anyone? He mentions the brick walls toward your childhood dreams. What are your brick walls? Mine: not flexible enough, slightly overweight, breakdancing is whhhaaack now... and stealing hamburgers is pretty pathetic... maybe I should recast my childhood dreams? Doctor... Brick wall: F in Algebra, faint at the site of blood. Guess I can always keep dreaming though!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!



It's a work day but there's no reason not to celebrate!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Monday, May 19, 2008

The All-in-One Remedy



Don't you wish there were one little pill that took away everything that sucked about life?

I know you guys are trying hard to hang in there, especially after the Wife's latest news.

I can't wait to see you all this week!!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Fighting Sarcoma Rally Monkey




From The Wife:

Introducing our very own rally monkey to help us all feel a little better while Marco is in surgery. This monkey carries a lot of little badges of courage representing everything we have overcome. Like the color yellow for cancer and the purple ribbon for lung cancer. These monkeys have been made with lot of love for everyone to share.

We hope you like them...

Marco I know you will be alright and we will be back home soon. I love you very much.

Also, if anyone is interested in purchasing a rally monkey family for your loved ones, please email us at sarcomasucks@gmail.com. We will be happy to give you the details on a token of support for your loved one. Made with love by the wife and family to help all of you get through this! Contact us!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

First Sarcoma Surgery 2007




Sarcoma matters. My brother's cancer matters. Not many people know that people get this cancer - Soft Tissue Sarcoma - and suffer through it with their families each and every day across the globe. Check it out. Learn more about Soft Tissue Sarcoma.

Lots of people are praying for your recovery from your Lung cancer surgery on May 1, 2008. I don't understand why this is happening to you, so fast and so aggressively. But I accept it as God's plan. I love you and we are are all wishing you the best of health during this horrible ordeal, channelling positive energy, and know you will come out stronger after this experience. Damn. The only way to look is up though... I love you. We love you. Stay strong

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Who's afraid of long needles?



From The Wife:
Well, today we got the surgery date. Marco is scheduled for surgery next week Thursday, May 1st.

M&M (Marco) was asking if we could request to have the same recovery room at City of Hope because he loved the view. He was trying to figure out what the menu read and what he liked from the menu.....I told him I loved the cream of wheat and the ice cream and he couldn't remember what he liked.

Everyone is doing a little better this time around knowing that M&M is being taken care of at COH. Like we all said from day one - we know he is a fighter and nothing will bring him down. We will help him fight-on and we will rally together to get M&M through this again.

I would like to take this time to thank Weezy for being brave at the donor center at COH. One Day at a Time, The Wife and Weezy gave it their all to donate blood for the up coming surgery for M&M. In case blood is needed, it will be used by someone in need of blood.

Well as the day went on we all got brave and walked in the center determined to donate blood. Little did we know we would be faced with a thousand questions that made you think twice about going to the next level (there was three steps to be approved) all for the good of the patients at COH.

As we all followed in a row through each step it looked like we would all be eligible to donate. I was first to be called and was rejected because of my hip surgery 5 months ago. That feeling of rejection was harsh. I walked out of the room with my head hanging in disappointment. One Day at a Time passed me by with a smile on her face knowing she would be donating and not even five minutes passded and she too came out with her smile upside down...rejected! We waited for Weezy to come out as well. She was taking a lot longer than we all did.

We were all laughing. Weezy would be the one to be eligible to donate! She was the main one not sure if she could go through it in the first place because of the long needles. We were very proud of her bravery and came out like champ with a new T-Shirt.

Great Job!!

Love,
The Wife

Friday, April 11, 2008

City of Hope...





From The Wife:
Every six months we have been going with Marco to City of Hope to have a CT Scan of Marco's lungs - a routine check to catch any signs of the cancer spreading, the lung is where it would go to first if not in the calf muscle. This appointment is not one we look forward to - at least I never do. I do not like the unknown.

This appointment brings chills to my spine. I can only imagine what goes through Marco's as he sits in that room waiting to see Dr. Trisal.

The last appointments have been great news. There had not been any signs of cancer. And we all cheered and we were very happy for the news. Marco's last CT Scan was on September 2007 - about six months ago with everything looking good.

Today is April 10, 2008, six months to the day of his last CT Scan and the day we never wanted to come.

Today Dr. Trisal let us know that Marco had a small tumor in his left lung. It needs to be removed right away. Dr. Trisal says it has grown rapidly in the last six months to about 11 mm in size.

The next step is waiting for the surgery date. I will keep you posted.

And we fight on..........and as Dr. Ronnie Kaye says in an article I read yesterday in COPING Magazine she says.......

In struggling to come to terms with this issue "cancer" her patients have learned:

First, while there are no guarantees after cancer, there were never any guarantees before cancer either. Vulnerability is simply a fact of life for all human beings, not just for cancer survivors.

Second, no matter whether we live 90 more days or 90 more years, we cannot lose and cancer cannot win as long as we live our lives as fully as possible and refuse to give up our ability to love and our capacity for joy. (positive thinking)

We are all praying for our Moshura.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

CancerCare: Living With, Through and Beyond Cancer


The Survivorship Series is here! Click on the image above to ZOOM IN on this year's schedule!!

I was very excited to get this year's CancerCare telephone workshop schedule in the mail. I participated last year and it was very useful and interesting! Check out the post from last year's workshop. By participating, I mean I dialed in while I was at work, and just listened to what many healthcare professionals and providers as well as survivors had to say about coping with cancer.

It was easy to sign up and select the workshops. Maybe you should listen in on this year's series? There are three different topics on different dates: Communicating with your Doctor about Follow-Up Care, Rediscovering Intimacy following Treatment, and Family, Friends and Loved Ones.

There are lots of other workshops and information brochures available on the CancerCare site. I just thought this survivorship series was cool. So why not register and dial in? We won't get mad at you if you don't, or if you have to hang up while on the call, you don't have to say a thing while on the call. Being incognito and just eavesdropping is pretty much the idea here!

So here's the deal. Register with the folks at CancerCare via the website. Easy as pie. It's also free. Sweeeet!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Love is... pretty awesome!



This message is from Weezy:

Hello Everyone!
Last week it was the Wife's Birthday. Happy Birthday! This week is time for Valentine's, so I think it's a good time to appreciate those we love. Love heals and is forgiving and you guys have shown me you are greater and more wonderful the more the days pass. You guys are living the challenge and yet you still have strength to pull others through. I was reminded this week that love is strong within us and am glad you embed that in us. Happy Valentine's Day! I leave you with this little thought about love as my little gift of love to you!

Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Where are we in Sarcoma Research?



Ever wonder where sarcoma research money goes? The National Cancer Institute's page called the "Cancer Research Portfolio" lists the research projects scientists apply for to advance sarcoma research. This page lists a large number of projects specific to Soft-Tissue Sarcoma.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Why Radiation is Important....


For all Sarcoma patients after limb-sparing surgery. Sadly, Black patients don't seem to be getting the treatment they need. Interesting findings in a recent study... Listen in too


Racial Disparities Seen in Sarcoma Treatment and Outcomes

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Jan. 22 -- Outcomes and treatment for patients with extremity soft-tissue sarcoma vary significantly by race and ethnicity, investigators here found.

Black patients had a 39% decrement in disease-specific survival compared with other groups and Asian patients had a 33% improvement, Steve R. Martinez, M.D., of the University of California Davis, and colleagues reported online in advance of the March 1 issue of Cancer.

Blacks also were significantly less likely compared with whites to be given adjuvant radiation with limb-sparing surgery. Hispanic patients had a 24% decrement in the rate of limb-sparing surgery compared with other groups.Action Points
Explain to interested patients that race and ethnicity appear to influence the treatment and survival in extremity soft-tissue sarcomas.

Note that the reasons for the disparities could not be determined by this study.
Disparities in treatment and outcomes have been reported previously for several malignancies, but not extremity soft-tissue sarcoma. "These disparities were not explained by differences in patient or tumor characteristics," the authors concluded.

"We believe that these differences probably are multifactorial," they added. "The identification of racial/ethnic differences should serve to focus our efforts toward improving [extremity soft-tissue sarcoma] treatment and outcomes for all patients, especially those most at risk."

An estimated 9,220 cases of soft-tissue sarcoma were diagnosed in 2007, half involving an upper or lower extremity, the authors said. Limb preservation is preferred to amputation and remains the standard of care for extremity soft-tissue sarcoma.

Only about 5% of patients require amputation because of anatomic issues, the authors continued. Radiation therapy, either before or after surgery, has dramatically improved outcomes, providing effective local control for as many as 91% of patients.

The authors reviewed the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database and identified 6,406 adults with extremity soft-tissue sarcoma diagnosed and treated from 1988 to 2003. The patients were separated into four racial/ethnic groups: whites (N=4,636), blacks (N=663), Hispanics (N=696), and Asians (N=411).

Treatment and disease-specific survival were analyzed in logistic regression models that controlled for patient age, sex, SEER geographic region, extent of disease, tumor grade, tumor size, and histology.

The analysis revealed significant differences in patient and tumor characteristics. Black and Hispanic patients were younger than Caucasians and Asians (P0.001). Whites were less likely to have large tumors (≥5 cm) compared with the other groups (P0.001). Blacks also had a higher proportion of tumors that were undifferentiated/anaplastic or of unknown grade (P=0.003).

Hispanic patients were significantly less likely to receive any form of limb-sparing surgery (odds ratio: 0.76, 95% CI: 0.59 to 0.97). Blacks were significantly less likely than the other groups to have both surgical resection and adjuvant radiation (OR: 0.77, 95% CI: 0.66 to 0.90).

The analysis showed that adjuvant radiation was underused, irrespective of racial/ethnic group. The proportion of patients given both surgery and adjuvant radiation ranged from 39.5% in blacks to 48.7% in Asians. Overall, 46.3% of patients were given adjuvant radiation.

"We were really surprised by the overall low rate of adjuvant radiation," Dr. Martinez said in an interview. "Limb-sparing surgery plus adjuvant radiation has been the standard of care for quite awhile. We could not tell from this dataset why so few patients received adjuvant radiation."

Blacks had the highest five-year mortality (18.4%), followed by whites (13.6%), Hispanics (11.7%), and Asians (9.4%). The differences translated into a 39% excess mortality risk in blacks (95% CI: 1.13 to 1.70) and a 33% reduction in mortality risk among Asian patients (95% CI: 0.46 to 0.97).

As to limitations of the study, the authors noted that they excluded cases before 1988, even though surgery and adjuvant radiation had already been established as the standard of care. The authors lacked good information about the appropriateness or adequacy of treatment that patients received. They also did not have information about patients' socioeconomic status, which can have a substantive effect on treatment and outcomes.

The authors reported no disclosures.

Primary source: Cancer
Source reference:
Martinez SR, et al "Racial and ethnic differences in treatment and survival among adults with primary extremity soft-tissue sarcoma"Cancer. 2008; 112: DOI: 10.1002/cncr23261.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Thursday, January 3, 2008

2008 Cancer Advances



I thought it would be important to note some of the major medical advances and milestones in cancer care. Take a look!

ASCO lists the following as significant advances:

Magnetic resonance imaging for breast cancer screening.
The role of human papilloma virus in head and neck cancers.
Decreasing use of hormone replacement therapy linked to declines in breast cancer cases.
Preventive radiation therapy improves survival and decreases brain metastases in patients with advanced small-cell lung cancer.
Sorafenib (Nexavar, Onyx/Bayer) improves survival in liver cancer.
Bevacizumab (Avastin, Genentech/Roche) improves treatment of advanced kidney cancer. The report notes that in recent years, 3 new agents have been approved for kidney cancer — sorafenib, sunitinib (Sutent, Pfizer), and temsirolimus (Torisel, Wyeth) — and future trials will need to compare bevacizumab with these agents and explore combinations.

The following are considered to be "notable" advances:

Arsenic trioxide (Trisenox, Cell Therapeutics Inc) improves leukemia survival.
Dasatinib (Sprycel, Bristol-Myers Squibb) active as first-line treatment for chronic myelogenous leukemia.
Lenalidomide (Revlimid, Celgene Corp) and bortezomib (Velcade, Ortho-Biotech) more effective together for myeloma.
Hypofractionated radiation (fewer but larger doses) appears to be as effective as standard-dose radiation in early-stage breast cancer.
Bevacizumab with irinotecan (Camptosar, Pfizer) effective against gliomas.
Radiotherapy improves survival of elderly patients with glioblastomas.
Cetuximab (Erbitux, ImClone Systems) improves outcomes in colon cancer when added onto the FOLFIRI regimen (fluorouracil, irinotecan, and leucovorin).
High-fat diets linked to recurrence of colon cancer.
External-beam radiation does not improve outcomes in endometrial cancer.
Cetuximab with chemotherapy as first-line treatment prolongs survival in head and neck cancers.
Investigational drug axitinib (under development by Pfizer) shows activity against advanced thyroid cancer.
Less intense treatment for children with neuroblastoma achieves high survival rates.
Small investments can improve childhood cancer treatment in low- and middle-income countries.
Imatinib (Gleevec, Novartis) increases recurrence-free survival in patients with gastrointestinal stromal tumors.
Aspirin use promising for prevention of colorectal cancer.
Long-term health problems in survivors of childhood cancers.
Survivors of childhood leukemia and brain tumors have elevated stroke risk.
Most survivors of childhood cancer do not get recommended follow-up care.

J Clin Oncol. Published online December 17, 2007.