Saturday, October 10, 2009

Oh food, how I've missed you!

This weekend I've been under house arrest, having undergone a radioactive iodine treatment for papillary thyroid cancer. During the three days following this treatment, it is important that I limit my interactions with others in order not to subject them to any radiation that may be emitted from my body. Hence, the "House Arrest".

In preparation for this treatment, I've been on a low iodine diet for the last three weeks, in order to starve any thyroid cells that remained after thryoidectomy, of iodine. Once I'd swallowed this radioactive iodine, the theory goes, the remaining thyroid cells would flock to the iodine, only to be killed by the radiation.

For three weeks, I've not consumed any dairy, fish, commercially produced bread or baked goods, and a slew of other things that might contain iodine. This experience brought home to me how much I rely on these very foods in my diet. Over these weeks, I ate more fruits and vegetables and was challenged to eat new foods. I ate more avocado, salt free peanut butter, more salad, fresh tomatoes, roasted chicken. Not a bad thing.

But Oh! Joy! I've just finished a lovely tuna fish sandwich made with lots of red onion, parsley, capers, mayonnaise, on a lovely french roll from the Vietnamese bakery in my neighborhood. Life is good. What to make for dinner?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

a long hiatus...

Well, the Unemployed Dragon got side lined in July by some health issues. After a physical exam revealed an asymmetrical thyroid, I was sent to San Francisco General Hospital, for further tests, which brought me to a diagnosis of Papiliary Thyroid Cancer.

Yeah, Cancer. The Big C. Hmmmmm....

So, I went on to have surgery at SFGH, having my thyroid removed. Initially, not fun at all, but I've made a rapid recovery and am currently getting ready for the second phase of treatment, Radioactive Iodine, which I swallow in order to kill any stray thyroid cells.

So I have cancer? Somehow it hasn't hit me... I don't have a feeling of dread or fear. Rather, I keep thinking: "This is a big pain in the butt. It's getting in the way of the life that I'm trying to get back in the form of working. Instead of working, I'm going to doctors...surgereon, endocrinologist, nuclear medicine.

But dread? Fear? Nope.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Joe Wilson just doesn

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Frugal eats

So much of frugal food is where the good food really is. Basic ingredients combined with slow cooking bring out flavor that you might not realize is there. Early this morning I put leftover rice in my slow cooker and added chicken stock from the freezer (made from the bones of a chicken some weeks ago), and some fresh ginger and let it cook for about 2.5 hours. The rice eventually fell apart in the broth, releasing its starch, resulting in a creamy tasty porridge. The ginger mellowed contributing it's sweetness with a little spice to the mix.

Please?...may I have some more?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Dear Congress: I can't wait for you.

Stop threatening to vote no on a health reform bill that does or does not include a public plan.

I don't have time. I need you to work out a solution to this problem.

I am among the uninsured, though I am receiving excellent care through San Francisco's' Healthy San Francisco program. This means though, that: I cannot consider moving; that I do run the risk of incurring huge hospital bills, should something happen to me while am away from San Francisco. It means that I have not pursued a graduate degree, in part because of the health insurance issue. It means that I have not trained for, or raised money as part of the AIDSLifeCyle a phenomenal fund-raiser bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles, in order to avoid the admittedly slight risk of being injured far away from San Francisco. That's $3500 or more that could care for those living with HIV/AIDS in San Francisco.

I am among the uninsured at fifty years old. When my COBRA benefits expired after eighteen months, the insurance carrier that had covered me through my last employer presented me with a premium that was utterly unfordable. My attempt at finding affordable coverage on the open market failed, when Kaiser Permanente, declined my application because of several pre-existing conditions which, while one is significant, included high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, common maladies of mid life, but which left untreated can bring about catastrophic and expensive consequences.

This is not fair.

People with great ideas are not creating new businesses and the jobs that come with that in part because of the huge burden that health care places on employers. These ideas could provide some of the keys to our recovery from the economic situation we are in. Individuals are staying at jobs that they no longer enjoy or are only performing marginally well, simply because they would lose the heath benefits that they receive through their employers.

Lives are being put on hold. This is wrong.

Think outside of your own ideology. Push back against the industry lobbyists and others who would have us continue the status quo.
Take the courageous leap to find consensus and help our country to move towards solving this issue. Be brave. Be creative.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Nutrition? in a hospital?

After a test at our San Francisco General Hospital, I was hungry for lunch, but had only a little time before I had to get to the job that I have right now. I stopped at the hospital cafeteria, thinking I'd get a quick bowl of soup. Imagine my shock when I read on the menu that that days' soup, Clam Chowder, contained 1510 mg. of sodium per serving.

I'll say that again, 1510 mg in a bowl of a hospital.
The US Governments' Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005, published every five years, recommends that Americans limit their sodium intake to
2300 mg per day. So, this bowl of clam chowder would provide one with about 65 percent of their recommended daily salt intake.

The City of San Francisco has banned soda and other junk food from it's schools, and requires chain resturants to post the nutritional data for their food, in an effort to encourage healthy eating by it's residents. At the same time, the City provides care to it's residents at SFGH, yet on this day a bowl of soup contained a level of sodium that is beyond unhealthy. That doesn't make sense.