|Jim Doby||Country Lawyer||Life As A Lary|
|Ibuprofen & Aspirin||Mixing||Research|
|Larynx Cancer||DNA Changes||Research|
|Larynx Cancer||New Treatments||Research|
|Kapitex Lary Tube||New Product News||Equipment|
|Battery Charger||New Product News||Equipment|
|Singer Lary Tube||New Product News||Equipment|
|Welcome||New Members||News & Events|
Internet Laryngectomee Support
The Country Lawyer - Jim Doby
He calls himself "the country lawyer." While Jim Doby IS originally from the country (born in Georgia), he is also a graduate of Harvard Law School. He's 84 and retired now, but you rarely meet people a decade or two younger who have as much enthusiasm and love of life. His immediate goal is to make it to age 90, but says 100 is not out of the question.
Jim has lost a great deal to cancer. First he lost his wife, Gwen, in 1981 to breast cancer which had spread throughout her body. "She died at home in my arms as I gave her a last kiss," he recalled. "I am sorry now that they put her through chemo. All it did was cause her to lose all her hair. I think that bothered her more than having cancer. I remember one day as I was giving Gwen a sponge bath, she looked at me and said, 'Jim, how can you love me when I don't have any hair?' I said, 'Honey, I have never told you this before because I was afraid you would think I was perverted. But I have long been turned on sexually by bald women. And right now you turn me on as much as ever.' She laughed and said: 'You crazy horny Irishman. I love you so.'"
"Gwen had always said she wanted to buried next to her mother. After she died I had her body cremated. When I talked to her father in Northampton, Massachusetts (Gwen was a Yankee and I was a Southern boy [we ended the Civil War when we married], I was told there was no room for a casket beside her mother. But since she had been cremated and her ashes were in a small container, the container could be buried just above her mother's casket, which happened. So I like to think Gwen is in her mother's lap."
One of Jim's sons, Jamie, also had cancer. But his surgery was successful.
Jim had smoked two packs a day for decades, but finally quit "cold turkey." Ironically, three months later his cancer was discovered. After his laryngectomy in 1989 he began two months of radiation. He could only communicate by writing or typing, so he devised a code to communicate with his sons on the telephone using the Morse Code he had learned in the military during World War II. He reports that it was not too satisfactory, and he ultimately purchased an electronic larynx. He later learned traditional esophageal speech, but ultimately obtained TEP speech, which he prefers.
Jim has always loved politics and international relations and can usually be found glued to the Cable News Network or C-SPAN. A lover of progressive causes, he was active during the Civil Rights era in the 1960s, and was an antiwar activist during the Viet Nam war period. As Jim says, "Even though the label 'liberal' is now in some quarters considered out of date (and even subversive), I still proudly proclaim myself a liberal who voted for FDR (4 times), Truman, Stevenson, Johnson, Humphrey, McGovern, Clinton and Gore. Speaking of voting, I am proudest of having voted against Richard Nixon FOUR TIMES! I went to Washington with JFK, I marched right behind Martin Luther King, Jr, and was there when he said ' I have a dream.' How is that for a little white boy from Georgia?" No pacifist, Jim trained to be a fighter pilot during World War II, and considers himself a "hawk" on war with Iraq. Never one to hide his true feelings, he equates Saddam Hussein with Adolph Hitler.
Of his service during World War II, he said, "I entered pilot training in April 1943. And became an officer and pilot in June 1944. I was selected for special training as a fighter pilot, and was in New York on my way to Europe when the war ended in Europe. Then I was moved around getting ready to go to the Pacific, and was in San Francisco waiting to get on a plane to go to the Pacific when Japan surrendered. I figure the Germans and Japanese found out I was on my way and decided to surrender."
"On being a laryngectomee (I like that word--sounds like a county or river in Mississippi), I am glad I survive! And I am glad I lost only my voice. I just had to learn to speak in a different way, which I did (even can now sing, in one octave). After all, I had to learn to speak a little different when I tried to modify my southern accent so Yankees could understand me."
Jim can be reached at JimDoby@aol.com
Research Suggests not mixing Ibuprofen with Aspirin
If you are among the millions who take aspirin daily to help prevent heart attacks or strokes, a recent study suggests that you should avoid using the over-the-counter pain reliever ibuprofen at the same time. A study carried out in Scotland and reported in the prestigious English medical journal, The Lancet, concluded that individuals who use ibuprofen along with aspirin are at twice the risk of death.
Ibuprofen is used to relieve the pain, inflammation (swelling), and stiffness caused by arthritis. It also is used to reduce fever and to relieve headaches, muscle aches, aches and pains from the common cold, backache, and pain after surgery or dental work. Some common name brands for ibuprofen include Advil, Genpril, Haltran, Medipren, Midol 200, Motrin, Nuprin and PediaProfen.
According to the study, individuals who were prescribed both aspirin and ibuprofen had twice the mortality risk and a 75 per cent increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease compared with those prescribed aspirin alone. Professor MacDonald, who conducted the study, reported that patients taking both drugs also have an increased chance of bleeding from stomach ulcers. “Although our findings are not conclusive, they do support the hypothesis that ibuprofen may reduce the benefits of aspirin in people with cardiovascular disease.” He concluded by saying, “Perhaps it would be prudent that such patients...(take)...an alternative painkiller (to ibuprofen) at least until this issue is further clarified.”
There is nothing in the article which suggests that those who are not taking aspirin daily (or every other day) should avoid using ibuprofen for pain, but to use something else if you are regularly taking aspirin to prevent heart attack or stroke.
What's New in Larynx Cancer Research and Treatment?
The American Cancer Society recently distributed a document which summarized new areas of research and treatment of cancers of the larynx and hypopharyngeal. Researchers are continuing to look for the causes of these cancers and ways to prevent it, as well as further improving treatments.
As we have previously learned, patients with head and neck cancers have enjoyed the greatest decline in mortality rates for all cancers during the period 1990-1997 (see "Summary of Head and Neck Cancers - Larynx Cancer" in http://www.webwhispers.org/news/dec2002.htm), and newer approaches to treatment are helping to avoid the laryngectomy surgery and preserve larynges ("Surviving Stage 3 and 4 Head Neck Cancers" in http://www.webwhispers.org/news/feb2003.htm). Some of the leading edge research in understanding larynx cancer and how to prevent and treat it include:
A great deal of research is focused on understanding how changes in the DNA of certain genes cause cells in the larynx to become cancerous. One gene, whose location on one of the chromosomes has been identified, is known to suppress tumors. Changes in this gene are linked to the speed of the growth of cancers. Additional work with this gene may help to detect cancers much earlier, and may help detect exactly how far the cancer has grown (what is termed "the margins" of the tumor), as well as help determine if the best treatment will be radiation or surgery.
Those who have had one cancer in the head and neck area are prone to the development of second primaries (a new cancer unrelated to the first one). (See "Survival of patients with second primary head/neck cancers" in the January 2003 issue of the IAL News - http://www.larynxlink.com/Main/newslett.htm). A number of chemoprevention drugs are being tested to see if they can reduce the risk of developing a second cancer. Some promising research is being done with chemicals related to vitamin A to develop drugs which are effective and less toxic than many of the drugs currently used in chemotherapy and prevention.
According to the ACS, "It is becoming clear that the
combination of radiation and chemotherapy is as effective as surgery and better
at preserving the ability to talk." In addition to continued studies on
radiation and chemotherapy approaches used together, other treatment research
involves the use of drugs which have been effective in treating other cancers
such as Taxol, docetaxel, and gemcitabine.
Still another avenue of research is ways to deliver the drugs (most of which
either kill the cancer cells or make them more vulnerable to being destroyed by
radiation). One study involves injecting drugs into the arteries feeding the
cancer, and another looks at injecting the drug directly into the tumor.
Another area of research involves a new drug called IMC-C225. It is designed to deal with the fact that squamous cell cancers of the larynx (the most common type of larynx cancer) have unusually high levels of growth factor receptors. The drug blocks these receptors on the cancer cells and may "mark" them as foreign bodies so the immune system can attack and kill them.
Finally, a number of studies are underway to use viruses to treat these cancers. One is to inject a genetically engineered virus into a tumor which will change the cancer cells into normal ones. And another special kind of virus only attacks cells which show the kinds of abnormal gene changes seen in cancer cells.
The understanding of the causes and prevention of larynx cancer and its behavior and treatment are under continual study and revision. And as we talk to those diagnosed with larynx cancer we need to try and make sure our understanding of these issues does not end with our own personal histories and experiences.
(The ACS posting which was the source of the above can be seen at http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/content/CRI_2_4_6X_Whats_new_in_Laryngeal_and_Hypopharyngeal_cancer_research_and_treatment_23.asp?sitearea=
New Product News
New Lary Tube
The British company Kapitex has recently entered the
laryngectomee tube market. Laryngectomee tubes are primarily used to
the stoma diameter. Those who have problems with shrinking of the stoma
(stenosis or microstoma) may wear the tube for varying periods of time during
the day and night.
The Kapitex Laryngectomy Tubes come in 20 different sizes including internal diameters of 8, 10, 12, and 14. Lengths available are 20, 30, 40, 50, and 60 millimeters. Customizing service is also available. All edges of the Kapitex product are smooth and rounded. As is the case with other tubes made of soft silicone, this tube can be fenestrated (one or more holes punched in it) to permit air to pass through the top of it. This allows the user to occlude or cover the tube with a finger, thumb, or hands-free valve to facilitate TEP speech. (Contact http://www.kapitex.com).
Use an electronic artificial larynx
which utilizes 9 volt batteries? A new high tech battery charger is available
from Griffin Labs, and, while the new "Smart Charger" is far from cheap, it may
pay for itself in the long run.
The advantage of using 9 volt batteries has always been their availability. Just pop into your neighborhood convenience or drug store to get a new one. But major disadvantages have been much shorter battery life and, in the case of the rechargeable ones, lengthy recharge times.
Most who use rechargeable batteries have discovered the benefits of the nickel metal hydride type rechargeables. They can be recharged many more times than the older types, and do not develop what is called "battery memory" problems with the battery functioning for shorter and shorter periods of time due to charging when the battery is not fully drained. A new development in nickel metal hydride rechargeable batteries is higher capacity ones. The standard ones are 150 mini-amps, but new high capacity types are now available in 200-280 mini-amps. This translates into significantly longer use times between charges.
The "Smart Battery Charger" can handle both the 150s and the high capacity types, and charge them faster than older models. Two batteries can be charged at the same time, and once charging is complete, the charger switches to a "trickle" charge and flashes a green light. 150s can be recharged in about 4 hours, and the higher capacity ones take from 6-8 hours.
The charger is included with the purchase of the TruTone and SolaTone ALs, or can be purchased separately for $165. (Contact www.griffinlab.com).
Another New Lary Tube
entry into the laryngectomy tube market is the Singer Laryngectomy Tube designed
by Mark Singer, MD, and sold by Boston Medical Products. It features a wider
outer flange than other tubes, which is particularly helpful in period
surgery since it keeps tape and straps further away from the healing stoma. The
flange is also flat, which may help to occlude, or cover it with a finger or
thumb more easily. The larger outer flange may also help in keeping the tube in
The Singer tube also comes is a wider range of sizes than most competitive products. It is available in diameter sizes 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, and 16. It also comes in four different lengths--18 millimeter, 27 mm, 36 mm, and 55 mm. This later feature should reduce the number of laryngectomees who have to cut down the larger sizes available in competing products. It includes an adjustable neck strap and sells for $48 by prescription. (Contact www.bosmed.com).
based on an idea submitted by John Haedler
Marti can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome New Members
We welcome the 18 new members who joined us during February 2003:
Cleveland Heights, OH
Nr. Goole, Yorkshire, UK
Richmond, BC, Canada
Rachael (DeGroff) Kammer - SLP
Christine Kloeppel - Caregiver
Dottie Lake - Caregiver
Joseph E. Maxwell
John McMahon, Jr.
The Villages, FL