Monday, November 23, 2009

Yeah, Baby!

What a fun -- but so busy -- weekend! The best part was having little Kate with us for the weekend -- along with Casey, John, Anna and Zach! Because of the Auburn-Alabama game being on Friday, messing up the whole Thanksgiving weekend, we had our family Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday, and Gary, Carolyn, Brian and Amanda came down from Birmingham.

It took a little while for Kate to warm up to us -- and Stacy scared her and made her cry! I tried to tell him to use his "indoor non-school voice!"

Along with the Civic Club Rival Run that we did Sat. morning -- and Casey and Anna ran in -- we had Jenna's wedding that Anna was a maid-of-honor in. The wedding and Jenna were just beautiful -- and so sweet. We certainly wish Jenna and Brent a wonderful life! Kate even did some dancing -- no, not by herself. She can't even walk yet!

So Stacy and I brought Kate home after she conked out at the reception while the kids stayed til the end! That's just what you do for your grandchild! And so worth it!

Casey and I went up to the attic and got down some of the girls' toys for Kate to play with -- that get to stay here at the house! I think I need to find a toy tub! Of course, the Tinker Toys (Casey's favorite), the Fisher Price Zoo, a couple of My Child dolls, sock monkey, rocking chair . . .

So you can see we had a fun weekend! And the best part is we get to see her . . . ugh, them . . . again on Friday for the big game . . . well, the game. Don't know how big it will be this year. Not expecting too much! But I'm going to baby-sit while everyone else goes to the game! What I'll do for my granddaughter! Isn't she cute?

Monday, November 16, 2009

We're just a statistic

With the healthcare debate in Congress, it was only a matter of time before the government got into deciding how many people saved by cancer screenings was enough to make it worthwhile.

Evidently 15% of women saved by early detection of breast cancer isn't enough to recommend mammograms for women age 40-49. That's because some are false-positive and may cause some women discomfort and stress from having a biopsy when they might not actually have cancer. What's the discomfort of finding out they actually do have cancer and it wouldn't have been found if they hadn't had the mammogram?

And earlier this year it was testing for prostate cancer. Nope, don't need it any more according to the government. Not enough people saved to make a PSA test worthwhile or cost-effective. Again, the discomfort and stress of a biopsy aren't worth saving a few lives. You're supposed to make your own "personal health care choice" about whether you need the test or not based on your own "beliefs and values."

These reports were made by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, "an independent panel of experts in primary care and prevention that reviews the evidence of effectiveness and develops recommendations for clinical preventive services." What it really is? A panel of experts funded and appointed by the government of the United States. And it has no oncologists on its board of experts.

Basically, they look at statistics and decide if the statistics warrant the expense of tests. Is it any wonder that these reports come at a time when the government wants to cut back on health care costs? What better way than to get rid of expensive tests? Why bother if you can't save enough people with those tests?

Is this what we have to look forward to for our future in healthcare in the U.S.? Going backwards in decades of research and trying to save lives? Now what it's down to is the question: "Is the expense worth saving 15% -- or must we have 25% -- but why not make it 50%?"

I know why it's worth it! For my brother Walker, diagnosed with prostate cancer at age 45 -- wouldn't have happened with these new guidelines. Ask him if the inconvenience of a biopsy and treatment was worth it?

For my friends Lynn and Ann and Janet and Dianne and Deborah and Alice -- all diagnosed with breast cancer under age 50. Ask them if they were worth it? You better believe it!

This is a comment from one of the articles I read on the subject: "When examined at the level of individual case histories, screening saves lives, period. About 95 percent of women diagnosed early with breast cancer now survive their disease. Most of that gain came from early detection (self-exams and mammograms) despite what the large population statistics may suggest. Until we figure out how to identify whether your cancer, diagnosed early, will kill you or not, get screened, or risk becoming one of the people who end up on the wrong side of the statistics."

Read the article in the Wall Street Journal about mammogram recommendations. Read the article about prostate screening. Then you decide if you or your friends or family are worth the expense? Evidently our government doesn't think so. To them we're just a statistic.