Sunday, June 18, 2017


Many years ago, my mother (may she rest in peace) forwarded an article on Facebook that was clearly fake news, and after doing some investigation, and I called her out on it. She wasn't happy about it and thought I was trying to make her look stupid, but I explained that without looking at all the facts before forwarding articles, she was perpetrating lies and spreading misinformation, feeding the beast of misinformation.  Eventually she came to know that I wasn't trying to publicly shame or her belittle her and that we were on the same side. 

I had to make a point then and I have to now…..

This morning another relative (who I will not mention and who has told me he has my feed blocked so he doesn’t have to see my bleeding heart liberal rants) posted an article on his Facebook wall, claiming California’s new $15 minimum wage is killing off restaurants.  
The article, “Restaurant Die-Off Is First Casualty of California’s $15 Minimum Wage,” is posted on the extreme right website, “The Federalist Papers Project, and it writes about the demise of 60 restaurants in the San Francisco Bay area.  

The article hints (without saying so) is that giving poor people a livable wage is bad for the economy, but it ignores some other facts, including those referenced in its own source.

First it must be pointed out that the San Francisco Bay area has roughly 18,000 restaurants. The closure of sixty restaurants is not even a blip on the restaurant radar in the area.  It constitutes less than one third of one percent of all restaurants in the area.  A number that has no impact on the area’s economy, and still leaves diners with plenty of choices, and according to a recent CNN article is the same percentage someone has of being killed during a foreign-born terrorist attack.

More importantly, the article cites as proof, another article from the East Bay Times, certainly not a right-wing newspaper, with the headline, “What’s Behind the Spate of Recent Bay Area Restaurant Closures?”  Though the author, Brian Thomas, references the article, I do not think he ever it, because if he had he would see that while the increase in minimum wage is given as one reason for the closures, nearly all business owners claimed there are several other factors such as the areas decades long low unemployment (between 3.5% and 4.0%,), the increased cost of commercial real estate, and the overall high cost of living in the area as contributing factors.  Many individuals interviewed for the article even admitted that perhaps their business models were outdated, making them less competitive.

In the referenced East Bay Time article, Gwyneth Borden, executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, clearly places the blame on the labor shortage in the area, and one business owner, Randy Nelson, blames an upcoming 50% rent increase as the culprit for business closing.

So why blame the demise of the restaurants on the minimum wage increase? 

It’s the same as always.  It demonizes and blames the people who benefit from the increased wage-poor people.  It points the finger at people of color and other lazy people for not working harder to raise themselves out of poverty so they don’t need the safety net of a minimum wage.  In other words, blaming the victim which is a standard practice of the right.

But the Federalist Papers Project’s article is just propaganda, like everything else on their website.  They feed their base lies that reinforce their preconceived notions that poor people are sucking off the system and ruining our country.

What bothers me the most is “my relative” believes this crap he reads, and he is a smart, educated person.   According to him, he is the smartest in the family (obviously, a little joke,) but it is no joke that there are thousands and thousands of other educated people just like him that will read an article like this and believe it to be the truth, when it fact it is just kindling to fuel the fire of lies and deception, and separate us as Americans.  

Poor people are not to blame for the ills of this country.  They are not powerful enough to have any impact on anything, especially our economy.   

I will end this rant with one question…..Who does have the power and money to truly impact the economy and the court of public opinion? 

(I am a horrible editor of what I write, and spell check often doesn’t catch my errors because I type words instead of characters.  There may be many typing errors.)

The two articles cited in this post are:

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


Today at lunch-time I went to the Cancer Center at Mayo Clinic to pick up the new drug I am starting tomorrow as part of clinic trial “Alliance #A031201” which is studying the effectiveness of treating patients with progressive metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) with either enzalutamide (Xtandi) alone or a combination of enzalutamide (Xtandi), abiraterone acetate (Zytiga,) and prednisone. 

It is a randomized study, meaning some patients get the Xtandi and some get the Xtandi, Zytiga and Prednisome.  A computer spits out who gets what, and after much consideration I have been hoping for the Xtandi alone.

Yesterday I received an email from the study coordinator at Mayo Clinic informing me that I would be receiving the Xtandi alone –exactly as I wanted.

My rationale has been that there are currently “X” number of treatments available for my type of prostate cancer and both of these drugs are currently in my arsenal…separately.  If I use them both up at the same time, once they stop working, as they typically do, I have fewer options.

I am also not keen on taking so many drugs, and have concerns about the side effects and the negative impact on my body.  Each drug has its own side effects but combined, they seem to be out-of-control.

The side effects for Xtandi, without the Zytiga and Prednisone, are still scary as hell.  The standard side effects include:

-       weakness or feeling more tired than usual
-       back pain
-       decreased appetite (I need that – even though my doctor doesn’t want me to lose weight)
-       constipation
-       joint pain
-       diarrhea
-       hot flashes (I’ve been having these for 1 ½ years already)
-       upper respiratory tract infection
-       swelling in your hands, arms, legs, or feet
-       shortness of breath
-       muscle and bone pain
-       weight loss
-       headache
-       high blood pressure
-       dizziness
-       A feeling that you or things around you are moving or spinning (vertigo).

There are even some more serious side effects:

- Seizure
 - Posterior Reversible Encephalopathy Syndrome (PRES).
 - infections
 - Falls and injuries from falls.

None of it sounds much fun, and I am hoping this drug doesn’t negatively impact my  quality of life.  Up to this point, other than when I was doing the chemotherapy, my disease has had little impact on how I live my life.  I don’t want that to change and suddenly start feeling the effects of the drugs and that becomes my entire life.

We leave for vacation in Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks in 14 days and I plan to hike a minimum of one hour each day.  I am hoping Xtandi doesn’t change that.

Wish me luck!

Below are a couple of links regarding my clinical trial….



Monday, May 30, 2016


Tomorrow is going to be a magical day. I can feel it in my bones... literally.
I am spending the entire day at Mayo Hospital getting poked, injected, photographed and studied, and later in the afternoon, I am planning on my doctor delivering some good news. I don't think I have unrealistic expectations and I don't have my head in the sand, but I have been feeling so good the past couple of weeks.  
If I hadn't been told there is a battle going on inside of me, I wouldn't know it.
I remember feeling fairly good a few weeks after undergoing chemotherapy last spring, but don't recall feeling quite this good.
It has been 17 days since my third and final Provenge infusion, and I had been a little skeptical about doing this procedure so soon after chemotherapy. More disappointed I guess. After all, I finished chemo only ten months previously, and I was initially told it should help me for a few years. I was thinking three to five years, not 10 months.
But now that I have endured the tedious, and sometimes painful, four hour blood draws, followed three days later by bone chilling re-infusion, I am feeling more like my old self.  While I may not be able to run a marathon, but I probably couldn't at 25 years old either, I am ready to conquer Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and Glacier National Parks. We leave in 30 days.
Too be continued.....