|Name Of Column
|Musings From The President
||Dr. Jeff Searl
||PC Cruise Photos
||News & Events
|News, Views, & Plain Talk
||News & Events
|Bits, Buts, & Bytes
|Welcome New Members
||News & Events
| Murray's Mumbles ... Musings from the President
Prior to our laryngectomy surgery, except in dire emergencies, we are faced with treatment choices. We may be offered chemotherapy, radiation or a combination of both. Laryngeal cancer is indeed rare as far as cancers go. When it is believed that there are only 50,000+ laryngectomees currently in the US this is a very small percentage from a population nearing 300 million. This is one of the many reasons why a number of ENTs and SLPs are unfamiliar with our disease as they have had little or no exposure to our plight. My first exposure to an ENT physician to whom I was referred by my primary care physician was a disaster. He specialized in cosmetic surgery and hadn't seen a case of laryngeal cancer since medical school. He performed a biopsy on my vocal cords but for some unknown reason the results came back "inconclusive". Fortunately he had the good sense to refer me to an ENT that specialized in head and neck cancer.
This doctor first scoped me and then did an immediate biopsy. The results were back quickly - cancer of the left vocal cord at Stage 2. There was no node involvement nor metastasis. I had 25 sessions of radiotherapy which the radiation oncologist assured me would have a 95% cure rate. Well, I joined the 5 % club that failed XRT. My voice returned for about a day and I was then hoarse again. Had I known that I would fail radiation I would have skipped it and opted for a laryngectomy at the outset. This would have saved me from the fistulas that developed in the radiated tissue and kept me in hospital for another ten days.
Well, that was seven years ago and times have changed with new treatments becoming available. We now have vastly improved and more accurate radiation equipment and new chemotherapy which shows much promise for curing this disease without salvage surgery which is the medical term for a laryngectomy performed after other treatment has failed to eliminate the cancer.
For those that live in the developed parts of the world I am hopeful that these new improvements will make the "laryngectomy" part of history.
Take care and stay well,
| VoicePoints [ © 2005 Dr. Jeff Searl ]
coordinated by Dr. Jeff Searl, Associate Professor ( email@example.com )
Hearing and Speech Department, The University of Kansas Medical Center
MS3039, 3901 Rainbow Blvd., Kansas City, KS 66160
Hello from the New Coordinator!
My name is Jeff Searl and I am thrilled to be coordinating the VoicePoints column! This month's column is to introduce myself and offer a few comments regarding the upcoming year. Before doing so, I extend a hearty thank you to Dan Kelly, the past coordinator of the column. He did a wonderful job and I hope that I can continue getting top-notch folks to contribute to the newsletter. Thanks, Dan!
In letting you all know a bit about me, the details aren't necessarily important but I would like readers to have a sense of who I am so that they might feel comfortable contacting me about the VoicePoints column with feedback and suggestions. I have been involved in laryngectomy work for the past 12 years, both as a clinician and a researcher. After finishing my Master's Degree in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Kansas Medical Center in 1991, I worked in hospital settings for the next eight years. Most of this time was spent at the University of Kansas Medical Center where I worked in both the ENT and the Hearing and Speech Departments. Although I saw a wide range of patients with voice and swallowing disorders in this job, those with various types of head and neck cancer constituted a large percentage of my caseload. I have been involved in training individuals with a laryngectomee in the use of esophageal, electro-laryngeal and tracheoesophageal speech.
While working clinically, I also continued work on my Ph.D., which I finished in 1999 (University of Kansas Medical Center). My research during the Ph.D. program focused heavily on acoustic and aerodynamic aspects of tracheoesophageal speech. With the degree in hand, I moved into an academic setting at Bowling Green State University (Bowling Green, OH). During my 5 year stay, I was involved in classroom teaching, research, and clinical work. During this time, I became involved in the IAL Voice Institute, completing the course and then serving on the faculty for the past few years.
This past summer, I accepted an Associate Professor position back in the Hearing and Speech Department at the University of Kansas Medical Center. I love being back in Kansas City
, close to family and also great colleagues at work. This job allows me to get back into the heart of a medical center - the best spot in terms of my clinical and research interests. In this job I also teach graduate students in Speech-Language Pathology, conduct research (much of it in the area of laryngectomy communication), and work clinically with people with voice and swallowing disorders associated with head and neck cancer, laryngeal voice problems, clefts, etc.. I love it!
That's a bit about me. Now a bit about the upcoming year and VoicePoints. The main goal is, I think, the same as what my predecessor had in mind, namely to get out clinically relevant information that will be useful to the those with a laryngectomy as well as healthcare professionals who read the online journal. While I am more than happy to brainstorm regarding future article topics, I also feel a bit queasy about being the sole person to decide what goes in here. I will be soliciting some of the lead clinicians and researchers to author articles - at times requesting them to give us something specific, but at others working collaboratively with them to decide on relevant topics that deserve attention. However, I also am very interested in hearing directly from the readers to find out what you all are interested in learning about or discussing. I have a running list of topics that I would like to keep adding to and picking off over the next year and beyond.
Let me know what you want to learn and we will see what we can do. Feel free to contact me ( Email is best: firstname.lastname@example.org ) at any point. Have a great New Year!
(1) The Cayman Islands "Shake, Rattle and Roll"
Your WebWhispers Cruisers visit to the Cayman Islands on December 14th proved to be a real "rock and roll" day for all concerned. Early that morning our good ship "Galaxy" anchored in George Town's harbor, which was crowded with other cruise ships already tied up to the docks. As is standard in such cases, those passengers taking shore excursions were then moved to shore via "tenders" ... small shuttle craft used to ferry passengers from the ship to the shore and back. That particular day, the seas were unusually rough and waves and swells made the loading, unloading, and transit of the tenders a real "MOVING" experience. However, by 5:00 PM all of us were safely back on board and at 5:45 joined with about 950 other passengers in sitting down for dinner in the Orion Restaurant. At about 6:00 the Galaxy pulled up its anchor and slowly began to depart the harbor for our next destination ... Ocho Rios in Jamaica.
At approximately 6:20, as the waiters elegantly presented the main dining course, strange rumbling noises lasting about 10 seconds passed beneath and through the ship. While most passengers may have noticed the noises and slight movements of the ship, none seemed to react with any alarm ... judging them just to be "normal", given the condition of the seas. Up on the bridge, however, it was a different story. The captain and crew immediately knew that "something was NOT normal" and immediately began a stem to stern inspection of the ship to determine what had happened to cause such noise and movement. As the ship inspection proceeded, the ship's radio room received the word as to what had occurred.
At 6:20, as our ship steamed out of George Town's harbor, a major earthquake, measuring 6.8 on the Richter Scale, had taken place 6.2 miles deep on the ocean floor about 20 miles South-Southeast of George Town in a "dog leg" of the Cayman Trench ... with about 11 smaller aftershocks taking place over the following half hour!! While the majority of the Galaxy passengers were largely oblivious to these events, the residents of the Caymans certainly were not, with one resident saying, "I got out of my house as fast as I could. I thought a plane was coming at us." Pictures fell from walls, store shelves rattled, and swimming pools cracked, but luckily there was no sign of major damage. The US Geological Survey office said the last comparable earthquake of this magnitude in the area struck back in 1900! The Caymans did suffer a smaller quake on September 9th, just days before Hurricane Ivan slammed over the island nation and caused damage estimated at nearly twice its annual economic output and destroying 70 percent of its buildings and damaging many hotels!
Our ship, of course, was undamaged, as confirmed by the crew's inspection, but it was not until the next morning that the Captain announced to the passengers what had happened and what precautions the crew had taken. Many were surprised, as they had not noticed the 10 second "rumblings" of the night before ... after all, who would have thought that while experiencing a SEA adventure we would also experience a major EARTHquake at no extra charge!!!
(2) "Cashless Cruising" Is How It Is Done!
One of the great conveniences of "cruising" is that one's onboard experience is virtually a "cash-free" life style. While you may need SOME cash during your shore excursions (for tips to tour guides or for on shore purchases that you elect not to charge), you will NOT need any cash while on board. "Cashless Cruising" was created by all cruise lines for their convenience AND for the convenience of their passengers as well. So, how does this system work?
In essence, when you check in for your cruise, you are issued a standard-size, plastic "credit card" - tied back to a personal credit card that you told your cruise line to charge your purchases to. In the case of Celebrity Cruise Lines this card is called a "SeaPass"... an example of a typical card is shown at the left. It has standard information on the front side and on the back is a magnetic strip and a place for your verifying signature. It functions not only as an onboard credit card, but also as your cabin key. Normally, all "food, coffee, tea" and "normal entertainment and activities" on the ship are free (that is, included in your original cruise price). To pay for all other items on board, such as bar items (soft drinks, wine, cocktail drinks), shore excursion charges, spa treatments, Internet access fees, gift shop/duty free purchases, etc., you simply present your card. The staff then "swipes" it through a machine and the purchase is simply charged to your SeaPass account.
You may also use your SeaPass card to pay for (charge) your "end of cruise" gratuities (tips) to your waiters and stewards, etc. You would simply stop by the "Guest Relations Desk" sometime during the cruise and let them know the AMOUNTS you wish to "tip" each person. These will be noted on your account and just before the cruise ends, the steward will deliver pre-addressed and pre-paid "coupons" to your cabin which you can then hand deliver to the appropriate waiters and stewards, per your previous directions.
A running total of your account can be seen on the interactive TV from your cabin anytime. And at the very end of the cruise, a "final statement" is delivered to your cabin which fully and completely itemizes all the charges you incurred during the cruise and that final amount is then "charged" against the personal credit card you chose when you checked in to the cruise. These charges will then show up on your next regular billing from your personal credit card company after you return from the cruise.
It is a great system that works very well and allows one to travel virtually cash-free for their entire trip. If, however, while on the cruise one would ever need CASH it is always available from either the ship's Purser's Office or from an onboard ATM. "Cashless Cruising" is certainly a great, convenient way to travel!!
(3) The Panama Canal - Highlight of the Cruise!
Traversing the Panama Canal was certainly the highlight of this WebWhispers Cruise. The Panama Canal extends across the Isthmus of Panama from Colon on the Atlantic Ocean (Caribbean Sea) side to Balboa and the Pacific Ocean. The canal was constructed in two stages. The first between 1881and 1888 by a French company, then followed by the Americans, with their construction completed in 1914. In 1883 it was realized that the tide level at the Pacific side was almost 19 feet higher than the Atlantic side. Engineers concluded the difference in levels would be a danger to navigation. It was then proposed that a tidal lock should be constructed near Panama City to preserve the level from there to Colon. Eventually, due to some new thinking, and in an effort to do it right the first time, it was decided that the original plan should be modified and the widely accepted lock system should be used. So now, when a ship traveling from the Atlantic side reaches the Gatun Locks, a series of three locks raise the ship about 26 feet each time (a total of 85 feet) to Gatun Lake. Then it's a 40 mile trip to the locks at Pedro Miguel, locks that lower the ship 30 feet. At the Miraflores Locks the ship is then lowered an additional 52 feet to Pacific Ocean sea level.
Each lock is approximately 110' wide X 1000' long (By the way, our ship, the Galaxy, was 106 feet wide ... leaving a 24 inch clearance on either side). Each lock may be filled or emptied in less than 10 minutes, and each pair of lock gates takes two minutes to open. A 30,000-pound fender chain at the end of each lock prevents ships from ramming the gates before they open. Water is not pumped into and out of the locks, but flows from the artificial lake through culverts 18 feet in diameter running lengthwise within the center and side walls of the locks. There are a total of 100 holes in each chamber for the water to enter into or drain from, depending on which valves are opened or closed.
. Electric towing locomotives, called "mules", guide the ships by cable through the locks. Most ships require six of these mules, three on each side.
Note the rowboat ...
... rowing a guideline out to the ship!!
Galaxy slips into the locks
2nd set of locks to our left ..
... slowly raise another ship
Note railroad tracks for the "mules"
Lock filling with water
Ship raised 26' in 8 minutes!
Leaving locks into Gatun Lake
A dam at Gatun Lake is able to generate the electricity to run all the motors which operate the canal as well as the mules in charge of guiding the ships through the canal. No force is required to adjust the water level between the locks except gravity. As the lock operates, the water simply flows into the locks from the lakes or flows out to the sea level channels. The canal also relies on the overabundant rainfall of the area to compensate for the loss of the 52 million gallons of fresh water consumed during each crossing.
Some interesting facts: A ship traveling from New York to San Francisco can save 7,872 miles using the Panama Canal instead of going around South America. The average time spent in transit from ocean to ocean is approximately 8 - 10 hours. Until Lake Mead was formed by the building of the Hoover Dam, Gatun Lake was the largest artificial body of water in the world.
We have posted 4 "Panama Canal Cruise Pictures Pages" to the web site which we hope you will all enjoy!! These pages begin at:
| News, Views, & Plain Talk
by Pat Wertz Sanders, WebWhispers VP - Web Information
By this time, I have accepted that I will never be rich, thin, or beautiful, so it is nice to be able to settle for reachable goals. Manage my finances well and stretch Social Security as best I can to be comfortable and still do some of the things I have wanted to do. Keep myself to a reasonable size, try to maintain weight and just settle for clean and neat!
Attitude is not something I have aused to be.
I will do interesting things and keep a variety of friendships going. I will read, work puzzles, and play games to keep alert. I will keep up my work on WebWhispers and with the two newsletters and hope that I will have volunteers to join me and expand their world as it has expanded mine.
I will exercise daily. I did for several years but earlier this year, I slipped when I had an electrolyte imbalance and was tired and out of whack. I will not set my goals as high as they used to be because at three quarters of a century, I have the right to cut them back. I will have a reasonable goal for my exercise and I will meet it if at all possible. I will also stretch, get an occasional massage, and use good posture as often as I can remember..
Notice that I use the words reasonable and moderate. I like those words. When so many of us have been through so many treatments for cancer and other diseases, I don't want to make life too hard. If an unforeseen illness prevents me from meeting these goals, I will do the best I can considering the circumstances and I will be forgiving if I miss.
However, I will feel big problem maintaining. I think I was born smiling and I am a happy person most of the time. I'm lucky. Yes, even with two separate cancers, I am lucky because we found them when we did and I am, in the next few months, going to celebrate an eleven year anniversary for breast cancer and a 10 year anniversary for vocal cord cancer. I am lucky to have had those years.
Now health is a different subject and my resolution this year will pertain to staying as healthy as I can, taking a moderate amount of vitamins, calcium and magnesium on a daily basis. Take my medicines at the proper times and get all of my check ups on schedule. Eat foods that are good for me as well as leaving space for a few that I love. After all, ice cream does have calcium and it is easy to swallow for someone whose throat is a bit smaller than it guilty if I don't try.
| Dutch's Bits, Buts, & Bytes
(1) Top 10 Internet Hoaxes and Legends for 2004
Courtesy of Urban Legends and Folklore:
( http://urbanlegends.about.com/od/internet/a/top_10_uls.htm )
The year 2004 is now at an end and it's time to unveil our partly-scientific, partly-subjective roundup of the Top 10 Net Hoaxes and Urban Legends of 2004. Contenders were ranked according to reader interest and longevity as measured by volume of email submissions, page views and search queries throughout the year.
Unsurprisingly, the threat of terrorism and the conflict in Iraq figured prominently in the Netlore of 2004, alongside more "evergreen" topics such as sex, missing children, uncanny images and, of course, free money. In a somewhat less predictable result, the Top 10 wound up almost entirely free of political content despite a veritable tsunami of rumor mongering in connection with the U.S. presidential election during the latter half of the year. Netlore aficionados will note that several of the items on the list, though long since debunked, are holdovers from previous years, proving yet again that "the truth never stands in the way of a good story."
Here, in ascending order of popularity, are our Top 10 Net Hoaxes and Urban Legends of 2004:
10. 'Sex Bracelets'
Rumor has it there is a game popular among junior high school students in the United States called "Snap," in which sexual favors are granted to whoever breaks a jelly bracelet off of someone else's wrist. What is a jelly bracelet, you ask? Let me put it this way: if you have teenaged children and you don't know the answer to that question, you will want to educate yourself on the subject, which caused quite a stir this past year in many parts of the U.S.
9. Bill Gates Is Giving Away His Fortune!
Believe it or not, this logic-defying Internet hoax is seven years old and still going strong. As originally composed, Microsoft founder Bill Gates purportedly promised in a personal message to pay $1,000 to each and every person who helped him beta test his new "email tracking software" by forwarding the missive to everyone they know. Subsequent versions included phony news reports about mergers taking place between AOL, Microsoft and chip manufacturer Intel. Do I need to add that not a word of this is true? Judging by the fact that this remains one of the top-circulating specimens of Netlore ever, evidently I do.
8. Patriotic Pepsi Can Omits 'Under God' in Pledge Excerpt
Though completely innocent of the charge, Pepsi-Cola inherited a sizable burden of bad publicity when an unknown hoaxer replaced the brand name "Dr Pepper" with "Pepsi" in an email circular condemning the former for omitting the phrase "under God" in an excerpt from the U.S. pledge of allegiance on a special promotional soda can. Despite a terse disclaimer on Pepsi's Website, hundreds of thousands of people accepted the hoax as true and passed it on to friends and family, urging them to boycott the popular soft drink in the name of outraged Christians everywhere.
7. Terrorists Are Buying UPS Uniforms on eBay
Despite a miniscule grain of truth - namely that articles of clothing bearing the UPS brand have occasionally shown up for auction on eBay, leading to at least one FBI investigation - the main implication of this still-circulating message from February 2003, dubbed "the urban legend of missing uniforms" by a United Parcel Service spokesperson, is false: no large cache of UPS uniforms has fallen into the hands of suspected terrorists. Definitely scary, if true; but it's not.
6. The Eye of God
This striking composite photo of the Helix Nebula, a "trillion-mile-long tunnel of glowing gases" 650 light-years away, was taken by the Hubble Space Telescope and Kitt Peak National Observatory in 2002. Because of the angle from which we view it here in our solar system, the unfathomably large Nebula bears an uncanny resemblance to the human eye - hence its popular nickname: "The Eye of God."
5. Altoids Mints as Sexual Aid
This perennial crowd-pleaser has generated constant reader interest ever since the 1998 Starr Report revealed that Monica Lewinsky had flirtatiously handed President Bill Clinton an email printout of the Altoids legend during a secret White House rendezvous in 1997 (the president rebuffed her that night, by the way). I apologize for not being able to verify the rumored erotic benefits of chewing Altoids mints conclusively. There is considerable disagreement on that point even among those who have put it to the test.
4. Giant Human Skeleton Unearthed in Arabian Desert
If it surprises you that educated adults in the year 2004 would buy into a photograph of an archaeologist literally dwarfed by the gigantic humanoid skull he appears to be digging out of the ground, consider that a recent Gallup poll showed that two-thirds of Americans aren't convinced that the theory of evolution is supported by scientific evidence. One-fifth fully agree with the assertion that man was created by God in his present form only 10,000 years ago. It appears we live in an age when, for a great many people around the world, mythology still trumps science, so it should come as no great shock that some are open to the notion that there really were "giants in the earth" in the not-so-distant past. For the record, this much-circulated image was fabricated for entry in a Worth1000.com Photoshop contest in 2002.
3. Penny Brown Is Missing
Not a month goes by without tens of thousands of people forwarding this heartrending plea for information leading to the whereabouts of a 9-year-old girl named Penny Brown. The problem is, she never existed in the first place. This distasteful hoax was launched in 2001 by an anonymous prankster and has circumnavigated the globe many times over since then, with variants adding insult to injury by claiming that Penny Brown originally went missing in Texas, Australia, Singapore or Namibia. Stay tuned for next year's version.
2. World's Tallest Woman
Even if the strapping female depicted in this set of forwarded images were really 7 feet 4 inches tall as the accompanying text claims, she'd fall three inches short of stealing the title of "World's Tallest Woman" from the real record-holder, Sandy Allen. Still, at 6 feet 5-1/2 inches, Heather cuts a fine figure - especially when posed in 6-inch heels beside male and female models chosen for their diminutive stature.
1. Attack of the Camel Spiders
Thanks to the ubiquity of digital cameras and wireless Internet, the war in Iraq is the first to be documented instantaneously by soldiers on the ground. Among the earliest dispatches to make the rounds of inboxes back home was a photograph of a nasty-looking critter unfamiliar to most Americans (even though it can be found in the southwestern United States as well as in the Middle East) called a camel spider. "With a vertical leap that would make a pro basketball player weep with envy," the anonymously-written caption reads, "these bastards latch on and inject you with a local anesthesia so you can't feel it feeding on you." In reality, entomologists say, camel spiders are neither venomous nor a threat to human safety.
(2) Oops! No Wonder Potential Employers Were Silent
(Courtesy of Jay Lee's Help Line, Houston Chronicle, December 2004)
Question: I've got a puzzling situation that I haven't been able to resolve. I've been e-mailing resumes using Outlook 2000 for several months, with no response. It turns out that Word-format resumes that I attach are being converted to win.dat files. The recipients can't open the attachment, so they delete the e-mail. Is there a solution I can apply on my end so I can ensure that these potential employers see my resume?
Answer: When you send an e-mail with an attachment, your mail program has to take that file and encode it. This encoding basically breaks the attachment into a string of characters that are included into the body of the message. The recipient's mail program then takes these characters and decodes them back into the original file format.
The problem you are experiencing is caused when you send a message in Rich Text Format. When you compose a message using RTF, you can use different fonts and styles. This is what gives your e-mail a little extra pizazz. However, this pizazz must also be encoded when the e-mail is sent. Therein lies the problem. Some e-mail programs receive the message and, because of compatibility issues, combine the formatting encoding and the attachment encoding into one file: win.dat.
To resolve this issue, you should send your message in plain text. This will cause your mail program to encode only the Word attachment and nothing else, giving you the greatest amount of compatibility with any e-mail system.
For what it's worth, I recommend that you use plain text e-mail whenever e-mailing something professional. The use of fancy backgrounds or multicolored text or blinking icons not only has the potential to hinder your message but also to irritate the recipient. And if that recipient is the one who can get you an interview at the company, you sure don't want to do that.
ListServ "Flame Warriors"
Terms of Importance
1. n. A hostile, often unprovoked, message directed at a participant of an internet discussion forum. The content of the message typically disparages the intelligence, sanity, behavior, knowledge, character, or ancestry of the recipient.
2. v. The act of sending a hostile message on the internet.
1. n. One who actively flames, or willingly participates in a flame war ... (Another Example Below) ...
| Filibuster and his pet topic form an endless loop. If his first
thrust doesn't win the day, he will try to gain ground with a
second, third, fourth ... nth repetition. He may even make a
good initial attack, but his monotonous hectoring and
prodigious output rapidly clears the field of other Warriors.
Filibuster eventually lands in everyone's "delete file.".
Above courtesy of Mike Reed
See more of his work at: http://www.winternet.com/~mikelr/flame1.html
Welcome To Our New Members:
I would like to welcome all new laryngectomees, caregivers and professionals to WebWhispers! There is much information to be gained from the site and from suggestions submitted by our members on the Email lists. If you have any questions or constructive criticism please contact Pat or Dutch at Editor@WebWhispers.org.
Take care and stay well!
Murray Allan, WW President
We welcome the 12 new members who joined us during December 2004:
Nadhal Al Rehani - Caregiver
San Jose, CA
Isabel Brintrup - Vendor, Helix Medical
Lynn Hurd - Caregiver
Dolores Norman - Caregiver
Rock Hill, SC
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Kristen Sheehan - Caregiver
| John Ulrich
San Angelo, TX
WebWhispers is an Internet-based laryngectomee support group.
It is a member of the International Association of Laryngectomees.
The current officers are:
Pat Sanders............V.P.-Web Information
Terry Duga.........V.P.-Finance and Admin.
Libby Fitzgerald.....V.P.-Member Services
WebWhispers welcomes all those diagnosed with cancer of the
larynx or who have lost their voices for other reasons, their
caregivers, friends and medical personnel. For complete information
on membership or for questions about this publication, contact
Dutch Helms at: email@example.com
The information offered via the WebWhispers Nu-Voice Club and in
http://www.webwhispers.org is not intended as a substitute for professional
medical help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in
understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be
consulted for any health problem or medical condition.
As a charitable organization, as described in IRS § 501(c)(3), the WebWhispers Nu-Voice Club
is eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions in accordance with IRS § 170.
© 2005 WebWhispers
can be found on our