web analytics
January 23, 2017 / 25 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘cancer’

Chantel, Loving Mother and Wife, Cancer Diagnosis….

Thursday, December 15th, 2016

A family moves from France to Israel, the parents hoping to make a better Jewish life for their children. For 14 years they do the best they can, their mother leading the family, working day and night to take care of everyone. Who will step in if something happens to her? Chantal C. is the eternal optimist. From the day she and her husband Yaakov landed in Israel and moved to their Beit Shemesh home her hope, her plan, was that they would raise their children here in happiness. They would handle any hurdle or obstacle that came their way. But despite her optimism, it wasn’t to be. Yaakov’s disability and breathing problems prevented him from holding down a full time job. Chantal worked for hours on end at low paying jobs, barely able to cover their bills.

The family lived in poor conditions, struggling to buy food, unable to provide their children with new clothing, but always with hope that at some point because of her work and determination things would improve. Steadily, despite Chantal’s hard work, perseverance and bright outlook their debt continued to grow. Chantal never despaired, though. She never gave up hope that things would improve and she never gave up, period. Determined to do the best she could to keep her family afloat, she kept working as hard as possible, employed full time as a dishwasher for a caterer, often starting at 5:00 a.m. and continuing until late hours of the day. Sometimes she even worked at night, too. It wasn’t until this past September that she was forced to stop. Right before Rosh Hashana Chantal began having odd pains in her side and other strange health issues. At first she hesitated to visit the doctor, as that would take her away from work, away from doing her best to care for her family. But once the pains lingered and intensified, she went for her appointment. The grim CT results showed tumors, many of them, in her lungs, in her liver and in her intestines. Chantal had apparently been sick for quite some time without knowing it. Never one to complain, even had she suffered discomfort she would not have mentioned it to anyone. She was not daunted by her news, however. After an initial hospitalization (which she dreaded because it took her away from her job) radiation and chemotherapy appointments were scheduled. Ever the optimist, she accepts they are just one more thing she will have to deal with and she has started the sessions. Unfortunately the already dire situation in her home has now grown worse. The poverty is compounded by Chantal’s days of lost income. Though he takes every opportunity to bring in income for his family, Yaakov can’t hold a job for more than about two weeks, as employers he’s had won’t keep someone who isn’t physically stable and can barely get up a few steps to get to work. The debt is overwhelming and the poverty is unimaginable to most people: Chantal can’t afford to travel to her chemotherapy appointments. She has reluctantly had to borrow money from a friend for transportation, but doesn’t know for how much longer she will be able to do so. Her 14 year old daughter hasn’t gone to school in months-not because she is incapable of learning but because her parents owe too much money to the school. The living conditions in the home are frightening-there are no doors on any of the rooms. Most people would not use their bathroom. There is one jar of olives in the refrigerator and on a recent Shabbos their meal consisted of tuna from a can.

But if you speak to Chantal (Simcha bat Chava), if you spend time with her, you will only see a bright-eyed woman full of life, strength and joy (as she is aptly named). Someone who must keep moving forward. The situation in the home is alarming, her health is in grave danger, yet Chantal’s main worry right now is once again not for herself, but for her children, including getting her daughter back in school. She wants so badly to provide for her family’s most basic necessities but without her small income her situation is worse than ever.

We could not hear about Chantal’s heartbreaking story without trying to help her and her family. As we don’t know what her future holds, we must collect $7,200 as soon as possible. With it we can allay some of her worry by getting her daughter back in school, putting proper food on the family’s Shabbos table and covering transportation costs so she can continue her chemotherapy treatments.

Though Chantal’s prognosis is grim, her inner strength and optimistic outlook drive her to work through her illness. She says “Thank G-d I have optimism, I don’t own a lot, but my optimism? No one can take that from me.”

Milkas Fund, founded and managed by Yad Eliezer is a safe and secure way of donating money to help individuals with compassion and enable them to live a life with their problems solved.

Jewish Press Staff

18-Month-Old Sara Leah was Diagnosed with Cancer [video]

Sunday, December 11th, 2016

As you navigate the impossibly narrow streets of Jerusalem and Safed, you get to meet people who are usually hidden from our view and living lives of real deprivation and pain.

Jerusalem, and the rest of Israel is filled with grandeur and beauty and some of the most wonderful individuals in the world.

But, there is another side to Israel, the side that walks into Yad Eliezer’s office daily, asking for food and help with their troubles.

Welcome to Milka’s world.   Milka Benziman sits at the front desk of Yad Eliezer.  She negotiates with beggars, dries the tears of people who struggle to get by each day, and advises, comforts and visits with our neediest.   She gives out food coupons to those who need them, coats and blankets for those who are cold, a shoulder to cry on for those who are alone, and baby formula for hungry babies.

But there is so much more that she/we can do.

Milka’s Fund is here to introduce you to her world. To a place where need is a constant.  But it is also a place where goodness and kindness can surmount these challenges.  We will introduce you to the real individuals who inhabit Mika’s world.  These are people whose needs extend beyond our regular programs…

Meet Sara Leah, an adorable, smiling toddler. At one and a half years old, she loves to do the things that most babies do: play with toys, scribble with a crayon, explore her surroundings on little feet that have just discovered the miracle of walking…

About two weeks ago, instead of exploring in her family’s makeshift apartment, she learned to explore the hallways of the hospital.

Sara Leah lives with her parents Peretz and Zelda R., and her three older siblings in a Jerusalem home that would not be considered average by any definition. The place they call home is actually just an underground storage room, and the family of five has gotten used to living in the shabby, cramped, freezing cold space, as this is the most they can afford.

To try and get an idea of what their home is like, see if you can picture the following, Zelda has no oven, so heats up whatever food she can in a toaster oven they received years ago. When the children want to see what’s going on outside, they take turns looking out the one window that was hastily installed at some point. When the rain leaks in, Peretz does his best to creatively devise ways to keep it out. But despite his efforts, the frigid water gets through, drenching the floor and saturating the walls and ceiling. The mold is everywhere, and the result is a mildewy, dark, wet and arctic home in which to raise a family.

Even though the R. family has accepted their living quarters as “livable” they have never been acceptable by any means (the conditions would shock most people) and for Sara Leah the home is now life-threatening. Just two weeks ago she was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma (a cancer occurring most often in infants and young children) and any form of mold or germ is a lethal danger to this very sick child.

The doctors made the startling diagnosis after a month of Sara Leah’s recurring high fevers and other symptoms. Until that point Peretz and Zelda found themselves constantly dropping their other children off at their grandparents’ home at a moment’s notice, to rush Sara Leah to the hospital to get some care for their sick baby.

By the time the disease was detected, it had already spread to multiple locations throughout her little body, so five sessions of aggressive chemotherapy were scheduled to begin right away. Each round lasts 3 days, during which Peretz and Zelda take turns staying with Sara Leah in the hospital. This is in addition to the spontaneous hospitalizations and antibiotics she needs the minute her temperature rises above 100 degrees. A port was surgically inserted into her chest to administer medications. Zelda and Peretz themselves have become experts at doing this too, as they are required to give Sara Leah separate injections of antibiotics twice a week and an immune system booster.

One must try to imagine the chaos this situation has thrown the family into. Despite their ambitious efforts to support themselves (Zelda has a part time job and Peretz gets whatever work he can, including tutoring and washing the shul floors) the R. family was already severely struggling, financially. But now there is no home life at all, as it has turned into a whirlwind of appointments and hospitalizations. Neither parent has been able to go back to work. The living space, already run down, is in worse condition than ever. The older children rarely see their parents or baby sister. If they are lucky to get a day or two together, the minute someone coughs or sneezes, they must separate immediately.

Doctors do not know what Sara Leah’s prognosis will be. They hope the chemotherapy treatments will attack the main mass of the cancer, and subsequent surgeries will remove the “roots”. They don’t yet know if her bone marrow has been affected but if it were (G-d forbid), a transplant would be required.

This is a heartbreaking story on several levels so we are turning to you with a request for your urgent, generous help. Getting the R. family out of their terrible apartment is paramount, and though we have found an appropriate place for them to move to, we can’t get them out until we raise the funds for moving expenses. With $10,000 we will cover costs of the move, the difference in monthly rental fees for a year, and basic appliances for the home. Their high transportation costs and last minute taxis to emergency hospital visits are overwhelming the family, so money raised will help with that, too. With your donation, we can take care of all of these, doing our best to save this child’s life.

There is one more thing, an additional request: Please say a tefilla for the family of Zelda and Peretz, and of course, for sweet Sara Leah bat Zelda.

Please ClLick: Milkas Fund, founded and managed by Yad Eliezer is a safe and secure way of donating money to help individuals with compassion and enable them to live a life with their problems solved.

Jewish Press Staff

Battling The Scourge Of Cancer, One Drug Cocktail At A Time: The Work Of Medical Pioneer Dr. Howard Bruckner

Thursday, November 17th, 2016

On a balmy evening in a neighborhood restaurant on New York City’s Upper East Side, I sit across the table from renowned oncologist Dr. Howard Bruckner. “Today,” he tells me, “I gave the news to a longtime patient that the cancer was in remission, baruch Hashem.”

A small black yarmulke perched on his head of graying hair, Dr. Bruckner acknowledges the words of the rebbes who call on his help: “Everything but everything in life is orchestrated by Hashem; the doctor is a shaliach.”

He has earned a reputation of being the doctor of last resort for those battling complex gastrointestinal and gynecological cancers with high mortality rates. He notes that Jewish philosophy categorically rejects hopelessness. “A sensible scientific plan and a ‘can do and must try’ attitude benefit everyone and are absolutely necessary.”

Dr. Bruckner explains that he has identified special criteria for integrating lessons learned from testing tumors in leading laboratories. He has further refined these findings in his laboratory in order to integrate them with the most promising clinical treatments from the leading cancer centers. This approach has made formidable inroads in enhancing their application to integrative and personalized medicine, thereby already extending many (and potentially countless) lives.

His earliest discoveries for exceptionally ill patients have now become fundamental parts of standard treatments used both before and after surgery. They substantially improve long-term survival. He hopes that because his current innovations are more potent they will have a greater impact on both heavily treated and new patients than his earlier successes that are now used worldwide.

He explains that from the onset of a patient’s diagnosis tumors are too often already recognizably resistant to standard treatment, and he expresses the hope that the new technology, which can identify resistance, will allow his safer treatments to provide earlier help for many previously resistant patients.

“We’ve discovered,” he says, “that as a result of these treatments, patients with our most challenging cancers often survive two to three times longer and more often. ”

A pioneer in the field of designing new moderate low-dose chemotherapy regimens to treat a variety of tumors that are often resistant to standard treatments, Dr. Bruckner has been a member of more than 20 national professional societies and committees, a consultant and reviewer for numerous professional journals and pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, and has authored and co-authored more than 150 peer-reviewed reports and articles.

In his 40 years as an academic and full professor, he was a frequently invited speaker for various symposia and lectures. In addition to training at both Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Yale University School of Medicine, Dr. Bruckner has held appointments at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Medical Center.

He began his own practice in the Bronx in his sixties, when many doctors start thinking of retirement, Under his leadership, the staff of physicians and nurses work as partners with their patients to find the best treatment plan for each.

* * * * *

“My approach,” he says, “is to substantially add to the options offered at major cancer centers; to work toward complementing and refining existing treatment programs. In essence, we are not here to compete with the standard oncology practices but rather to build on them by providing complementary interactive treatments in time to help patients.”

It was while Dr. Bruckner was immersed in immunological research at Albert Einstein Medical College that he was offered a coveted position at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) where he would work with a Nobel prize-winning physician. He did not take that position or an already offered postdoctoral infectious disease position at Harvard. He recalls that during an interview for the NIH position, the associate director of the NIH’s National Cancer Institute (NIC) “told me of a number of best research projects they had started and offered me my choice to join any one of them. I explained to him why each one would not succeed because the technology was not up to par in order to measure the critical pathological factors under study. After giving what I had said some thought, he said I was ‘a very good critic.’ ”

Asked whether he could propose practical research objectives, Dr. Bruckner suggested investigating why therapy causes infections and offered testable stratagems to make cancer therapy safe, which became his key career-long priority.

Startling revelations quickly emerged from Dr. Bruckner’s first experiments as a special assistant to the NCI associate director. Offering an explanation in layman’s terms, Dr, Bruckner said he used a very important but dangerous leukemia drug and injected it into laboratory mice. He then gave the mice antibiotics to protect them from infection, as this mimicked everyday clinical practice. The wholly unexpected finding was that the antibiotic was not helping. The opposite, in fact, was true.

Dr. Bruckner came to understand that the action of antibiotics also improved the use of cancer drugs against the tumors. Most important, recognition of the problem led to solutions, still applied, that make many cancer drugs safe and increase their therapeutic benefit.

He then began to create “models” that mimicked critical problematic strategies in cancer therapy in a lab setting in order to test drugs in depths impossible to achieve in the clinical research. This remains his preferred research method.

“In six months, I showed how the normal human bacteria would affect radiation and drugs, making them safe and unsafe. Bacteria determined the metabolism of the oral and intestine mucosa and bone marrow, and the metabolic rate determined safety.”

After NCI, while at Yale Medical College, Dr. Bruckner found that most international cancer research and treatment had not been applied to ovarian cancer. The ovarian cancer survival rate was a dismal 5 percent. This became a pivotal factor in his decision to move on to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City where he found a strong working interest in gynecologic cancers. It was also an ideal setting in which to explore the numerous science-based treatment opportunities.

“In essence, we knew about a promising platinum drug that was too toxic to use. I figured out how to use it safely and that led us to discover step-wise how the drugs could work even more effectively without killing people. We made it usable. We have made and can make many drugs safer and more effective.”

* * * * *

It was working on patient safety and ovarian cancer that led to Dr. Bruckner’s novel laboratory and clinical methods designed to optimize drug matching: finding a better and safer dosage and comprehensive team comprised of a cocktail of partners for drugs. This even led to successes with patients suffering from pancreatic cancer, which he describes as perhaps the “worst and most dangerous form of cancer.”

“You can’t just pair any two drugs,” he says. “Drugs that barely work individually will work with the right drug partner, especially multiple partners.” Through his lab work he found multiple simultaneous moderate and low-dose safe partners for combination drug therapy that has since had unprecedented success against resistant cancers.

Recently, leaders in cancer drug development have afforded multi-drug methodology new praise. They recognize a possible HIV analogy, where multi-drug methodology provided both critical safety and efficacy breakthroughs. Dr. Bruckner says that when this approach is applied to cancer it results in not only safer additional drug treatments but also safer drug interactions. It also empowers anti-vascular tumor starving drugs and promotes immune stimulation.

Fern Sidman

Israeli Physician Advocates Legalizing Cannabis Completely

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

An Israeli physician who sees patients in the northern Negev city of Arad advocates the legalization of cannabis altogether — not just for medicinal purposes — saying that more than 100 years of bans on various drugs have not stopped substance abuse. In fact, Dr. Yuval Rabinovich says it’s time to legalize everything.

“As physicians, we are not very good in refusing patients’ requests, but the society expects this from us,” Rabinovich said originally in a response to a post on a colleague’s Facebook page. “The primary problem is regulation. Politicians think that banning something that is bad for you is a good idea.”

Speaking to JewishPress.com in an interview on November 1, Rabinovich said that after more than a century of fighting heroin use, “we didn’t succeed in preventing people from getting it — and the price didn’t even drop.”

“Medicinal” cannabis has the “alleged attributes of classic panacea,” Rabinovich said, “a remedy for all diseases with the proof for none: fibromyalgia, epilepsy, cancer pain, Parkinson’s disease. The list is endless.”

He also noted that so-called “medicinal” cannabis has “no standardization of use: dosing, route of administration, post marketing follow-up, or anything else,” and went on to say that the “worst thing about cannabis is that it is described as harmless, a thing that it is definitely not.

“We are now 99 years since Prohibition. Alcohol was banned unless you could get a prescription, and indeed it was prescribed,” Rabinovich said. There were prescriptions for alcohol to relieve anemia, tuberculosis, pneumonia, high blood pressure, “and whatever you would expect from an early 20th century panacea.”

It is time, he said, “to put away with regulating substances and legalize everything.”

He pointed to alcohol as “a good example,” saying that one is not allowed to drive under its influence, nor is anyone allowed to sell it to children.

“Apart from that, as doctors we advise you not to consume it in large quantities, but you do not break any law if you do. This way we have good regulation. We tax it, the manufacturing conditions are adequate, and we do not pretend it to be a medicine.”

The Israeli Ministry of Health includes a Medical Cannabis Unit, which is the authorized unit that “examines applications and issues permits to hold, use and research dangerous drugs under the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance.

“The Medical Cannabis Unit examines medical recommendations to use cannabis for medical purposes, in accordance with the established procedures,” including as an adjunct treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Hana Levi Julian

Report: One-Fourth of US Cancer Deaths Linked to Smoking

Monday, October 24th, 2016

A new study has found the one-fourth of all deaths from cancer in the United States are linked to cigarette smoking, according to the American Cancer Society.

The results, published Monday in the JAMA Internal Medicine, showed that the highest rate was among men in southern states where tobacco control policies are less stringent. The highest rate was in Arkansas, with 40 percent of cancer deaths linked to cigarette smoking. The highest rate among women was found in Kentucky: 29 percent, according to the American Cancer Society.

“The human costs of cigarette smoking are high in all states, regardless of ranking,” the authors wrote in their findings, which included in analysis of 2014 health surveys and government data on smoking rates and deaths from approximately 12 smoking-linked cancers, including leukemia, lung, throat, stomach, liver, colon, pancreatic and kidney cancer.

The lowest rate of deaths from cancer was found in Utah, where 11 percent of women and 22 percent of men died of cancer linked to cigarette smoking.

In Israel, the issue of smoking is complicated by the Middle Eastern practice of “hookah” or “nargila” — the use of a water pipe, which many erroneously believe mitigates the dangerous effects of tobacco.

A study published this year in the International Journal of Public Health by researchers at Weill-Cornell Medical-Qatar medical school analyzed 28 studies dealing with the health consequences of smoking a hookah, or nargila, as it is also known in Israel.

The findings, based on studies carried out in Egypt, Iran, Tunisia, Lebanon, and other similar nations where use of water pipes is common, showed that “hookah” use greatly increased the risk of esophageal and lung cancer. The reviewed 8,714 cancer patients and control groups, totaling 35,746 people. According to the research, hookah use tripled the risk for cancer of the lungs and esophagus.

A separate study carried out under the auspices of the Israeli Health Ministry by researchers Gary M. Ginsberg and Haim Geva reported similar findings. The research, published online in August 2014 in the Israel Journal of Health Policy Research, found: “Tobacco use is the single most preventable cause of death, associated with more than five million deaths annually worldwide. By 2030, tobacco-related mortality is likely to rise to more than 8 million people. Up to half of the world’s more than one billion smokers will die prematurely of a tobacco-related disease.”

According to the study, in 2007 there were an estimated 8,932 Israeli deaths from smoking-related causes. Seven years later, the figure dropped due to intensive anti-smoking campaigns by the government and the Israel Cancer Association — but there were still 7,025 deaths due to active smoking attributable mortality (SAM).

In Israel, the Israel Cancer Association works to limit tobacco use with information campaigns aimed at the general population, but also tries to underline the point that “smoking a hookah can kill, just like a cigarette.”

Hana Levi Julian

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, 50, Succumbs

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson succumbed and passed away on Sunday at the age of 50, after a fight with cancer. Thompson was the borough’s first black prosecutor.

“Incredibly saddened to hear of the passing of Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson,” wrote Brooklyn City Council member (48th district) Chaim Deutsch of Midwood on his Facebook page.

“We have lost a fervent voice for justice. My prayers go out to his family and friends during this most difficult time.”

Deutsch spent years representing and protecting the Jewish community as a member of the local Shomrim civil defense group.

Hana Levi Julian

Shiloh Musings: “Strategic Advantage” like Living with a Disease

Sunday, October 9th, 2016

For decades already, basically since the 1973 Yom Kippur War, successive American governments have promised to “help” the State of Israel by assuring us “Strategic Advantage” over our neighboring enemies.

That is how Nixon and Kissinger supported, sic, Israel during that war. Their aim was to allow Israel a victory without its truly defeating Egypt and Syria. They wanted Israel to be fully dependent on American aid/support without its being destroyed/defeated. This was the first time Israel had fought a war for survival with any sort of foreign ally. Our 1967 Six Days War’s victory was ours and ours alone, with the help of Gd and the Jewish People all over the world.

Israel’s tragic mistake, which we’re still paying for, is not acting like a victor should. We didn’t fully accept the surrender of the Arabs in 1967. We’ve been attempting to negotiate “peace” ever since, which just makes us look weak and act weak.

That’s why Egypt and Syria thought they had a chance to defeat us just six years after their defeat. This yearning for peace makes us appear weak, which isn’t an illusion. That’s why the State of Israel has been accepting the fork-tongued assistance and aid from America. The latest package/deal from Obama is the actualization of the Nixon-Kissinger plan. The conditions for Israel’s acceptance of the aid, sic, buy-in-America shopping coupons is the weakening of the Israeli military industries, which makes Israel even more dependent on the USA.

“Strategic Advantage” does not give Israel the ability to fight our enemies into submission. We can only “slap it” and if we need more weapons, it is only with American approval/permission. They not only hold the purse-strings, they have the keys to the factories. 

If you liken our enemies to a “cancer,” this is very much like those who have been told by their doctors that the best scene scenario is “living with cancer” which can be controlled by periodic or frequent doses of chemo, just enough to keep the cancer from growing and not enough to kill the patient.

It’s one thing when you have no choice, as in certain types of cancer, but we do have a choice. This American so-called aid is also an addiction. Withdrawal may be painful for a period of time, but afterwards the body will recover and be healthy.

The Jewish People have just celebrated the beginning of the new year, 5777. It is time for us to take charge of our fate, continued existence. Gd will help us if we take the right steps.

Gmar Chatimah Tovah
May We Be Sealed in the Book of Life
Batya Medad

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/shiloh-musings/shiloh-musings-strategic-advantage-like-living-with-cancer/2016/10/09/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: