The wonders of jagua

Jagua is a fruit-based temporary dye. It is not black henna, which is henna mixed with black hair dye, and can cause all sorts of nasty blistering and infection. No, jagua is no such animal. With a tube of jagua gel (and without using the little pointer tip until the end, because I was too lazy to go upstairs and look for it), I created a medusa on the top of N's new chemo-head. N is getting chemo, then surgery, then radiation. Then more surgery. I mention the lack of pointer tip, because without it, the gel came out too quickly and I think I wasted some jagua. In any case, it took a whole tube to form the medusa and snakes. This is how it looked when I finished:
I was copying freehand from a design and I think I made the medusa too friendly-looking. Here is how N looks from the front:

The pictures were taken when the ink was still wet. When the jagua dries, you peel it off and underneath it's like dark gray paint. It can last up to two weeks. When N sends me a photo of it after it's peeled off, I'll post it here.

Pregnant and diagnosed with cancer--not the end of the world?

reported this morning about women who survived chemo while pregnant and gave birth to healthy babies. Usually, it's simply a terrible accident of timing: The pregnancy has nothing to do with the cancer's emergence.

You might be thinking that higher hormone levels are causing cancer at this time, but CNN reports that studies show that pregnant women are more likely to have hormone-receptor negative tumors than hormone-receptor positive tumors--meaning they are not fed by pregnancy's higher levels of estrogen and progesterone.

If You Recall the Past in Detail, You'll be Less Depressed than if You Recall it Only Generally

Australian firefighters who experienced trauma were more likely to have PTSD if they couldn't recall the events specifically.
That is what the New York Times is telling us.

The Times reports: “People with P.T.S.D. tend to ruminate at a very categorical, general level about how unsafe life is, or how weak I am, or how guilty I am,” said the lead author [of the firefighter study], Richard Bryant. “If I do that habitually and then I walk into a trauma, probably I’m going to be resorting to that way of thinking and it’s going to set me up for developing P.T.S.D.”

Overgeneral memory can protect people from traumatic memories and such people have it easier than those who think back to the trauma specifically--in the short term.

Without detailed memories to draw upon, dispelling a black mood can seem impossible. Patients may remember once having felt happy, but cannot recall specific things that contributed to their happiness, like visiting friends or a favorite restaurant, according to the Times.

“If you’re unhappy and you want to be happy, it’s helpful to have memories that you can navigate through to come up with specific solutions,” Dr. Williams said. “It’s like a safety net.”

Mindfulness meditation can help people accept their negative memories and not ignore them, according to Dr. Williams. “I always tried to forget the past, the very bad past that made me depressed when my husband died,” said Carol Cattley, 76, who attended a mindfulness course here [Oxford, England] taught by Dr. Williams. “I’m much more interested in it now.”

[Image: Meditation by Alphonse Mucha]

The MAAMies

The votes are in, and Cancer Bitch did not win a MAAMie this year, but CB congratulates the winners of Mammogramatically Challenged And/Or Also Metsters [meaning those with metastasis] blogging awards nonoring those who disrupt the cancer culture status quo.
Click here to read more.

Image: © Chnutz vom Hopfen
From an issue of Romaunt de la Rose, 15th century

Statute of Limitations on Chemo Brain is Extended or: Where Did That Noun Go? Check Back in Five Years.

The New York Times Well blog reports that chemo brain doesn't necessarily fade away after a year. It can last up to five years. Or more. Researchers measured the cognition of 92 surviving patients who had blood cancer treated by chemo as well as bone marrow or stem cell transplants. According to the Times, the results should be the same with people treated for breast and other cancers. Read the abstract here in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
Judging by the abstract (which I'm sure isn't fair) this study seems pretty loose. Are the same chemotherapy drugs used to treat various kinds of cancer? Were certain chemo potions more likely to render their recipients word-less? I looked for the complete article via Smart University's online library, but could not find it. I'll keep trying.
[Illustration: women hunting for nouns that escaped from the tips of their tongues. Also deer.]

Another temporary bald head

Nicole Xylouri Osborne is going through chemo with attitude. Here she is with her new "do" by Sheba of Sparrow.