What North Star patients are saying about Tootie

“Tootie, you sure mean a lot to people around here. We are so glad you come and visit. You brighten the whole room up.”

Patient: “Can I take a picture with Tootie?”

“Sure!” I answered as I bent down to pose next to Tootie.

Patient: “Um, I just want a picture of Tootie. Better yet, can you take MY picture with Tootie?”

A little red faced…but giggling inside, I kindly stepped out of the way and snapped a picture of them.

Tootie is a little celebrity.


Talking to a friend or relative who has cancer

Talking to a person with cancer can be uncomfortable. But you can stay connected during this difficult time.

Scary, confusing, unfair—whatever words come to mind when you think about cancer, figuring out which ones to share with a friend or relative with cancer can be difficult.

Fight the fear

Everyone needs hope, especially when facing illness or hardship. And there is reason for people to be hopeful about cancer.

Cancer survival rates have gone up as the disease has been detected earlier and treated more effectively. It’s important to keep this in mind and focus on the positive.

Remember the person

The American Cancer Society (ACS) says it’s important to accept people with cancer as the people they were and still are.

No matter how much their outward appearance may change, inside they’re the same as always.

As much as they’re physically able, try to involve them in the same activities you shared before they were diagnosed. Invite them to participate in as many shared activities as possible.

Listen, listen, listen

Let them set the time, place and tone for conversations about the disease. Be a good listener and don’t feel you have to say something. Be open, honest and comfortable—they’ll sense it and appreciate it.

Stay informed

Learning about the disease helps you and your loved one. Understanding cancer can help you cope with it. Good places to start include the National Cancer Institute, the ACS, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control.

Seek support

Everyone needs help sometimes. There are lots of support sources for people facing cancer and their loved ones. Ask your health care provider about support groups in your area.

Hot spots: How to avoid heat illness

Warmer weather means a higher risk for heat illness. Plan ahead and heed the signs to keep yourself safe.

Heat may be natural in the summer, but it isn’t always harmless. High temperatures increase the risk of heat illness, especially for young children, older adults, and people who are overweight, ill, or working or exercising outside.

You can protect yourself by taking some simple precautions, and by knowing the signs of heat illness. If you or someone else has symptoms, acting right away can prevent a medical emergency.

A healthy respect for the heat
High temperatures should affect what you wear and what you do. To reduce your risk of heat illness:
• Use air conditioning or cool showers or baths to keep yourself cool. If you don’t have air conditioning, spend a few hours a day in an air-conditioned shopping mall or public library, or call your public health department to find out if there’s a heat-relief shelter in your area.
• Wear lightweight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing.
• Drink plenty of fluids. When you’re well-hydrated your urine should be very light or clear. This is especially important when you’re active. Learn more about exercising during hot weather, here.
• Avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can dehydrate you.
• Schedule outdoor activities during the coolest parts of the day, usually mornings and evenings.
• When you’re outside, wear a hat or visor, sunglasses and sunscreen.
Signs you’re overheating
Heat illness is a sign that your body temperature is getting dangerously high. If you ignore the symptoms, your temperature can keep rising. Your body can get hot enough to cause brain damage or death.
The three types of heat illness, in order of increasing severity, are heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat cramps are often the first sign that your body can’t handle the heat. These muscle cramps usually affect the legs, arms or abdomen.
If you have heat cramps, stop all activity and rest in a cool area. Drink water or a sports drink.
If you have heart problems or are on a low-sodium diet, you should seek medical attention for heat cramps, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). You should also see a doctor if heat cramps don’t go away within an hour.

Heat exhaustion can come on gradually (possibly over several days). According to the CDC, symptoms may include skin that is cool, moist and pale, dizziness, nausea, fainting, headache and muscle cramps. People with heat exhaustion may also develop fast, shallow breathing and a rapid, weak pulse.
Again, resting in a cool area and drinking fluids can help your body cool down. Consider a cool shower, bath or sponge bath, and seek out an air-conditioned environment.

Heatstroke is a medical emergency. The body’s systems for cooling itself shut down, and body temperature can rise to 106 degrees Fahrenheit or higher within 10 to 15 minutes.
Symptoms can include:
• Red, hot, dry skin.
• Rapid, strong pulse.
• Throbbing headache.
• Dizziness.
• Nausea.
• Confusion.
• Unconsciousness.
Heatstroke can be deadly. If you see someone who has these symptoms, send someone to call 911 while you try to cool the person down. Move the person to a shady or cool area and use whatever means you have for cooling them, such as a bath, shower, garden hose or sponge bath. If you’re in a dry climate, wrap the person with a cool, wet sheet and fan him or her vigorously.

Be a buddy
Because people don’t always recognize their own symptoms of heat illness, it’s a good idea to use a buddy system on hot days. If you have an elderly or ill neighbor, for instance, check in on them at least twice a day during heat waves. If you work or exercise in the heat, assign yourself a buddy. If one of you gets overheated, the other can help.

“Sailing Away to Key Largo….”

Dateline The Third “End Of America To End Cancer:….Key West Florida. Your Intrepid Cancer Cure Rider finally made it to the official Key West, most Southern point in America marker today. It’s very picturesque and tons of people were standing in line to take pictures with it. Yours Truly took the video and then snuck in later for pictures. Hopefully by the time the local Gand de Arm realize where the ‘Wing is in the picture the statute of limitations will have gone by! – See more at: http://cancerrideamerica.org/blog/cancer-ride-america-visits-corner-number-key-west-florida#sthash.qCzKkUr0.dpuf
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Donate To Help Cancer Care in Yakima >>

Starting the end of May 2013 I will be riding around our great nation to raise funds for cancer research and treatment. Join me in supporting our cause… ALL donated funds go directly to The Memorial Foundation. My wife and I are funding the ride expenses.”