Be Careful with OTC Drugs

OTC drugs are not risk-free!

For many people, there is a misconception that over-the-counter (OTC) drugs are always safer than prescription drugs. And that simply is not true.

Consider these observations from AARP:

“If the good news is that over-the-counter pain killers such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen won’t put you at risk for addiction issues like prescription opioids or narcotics can, the less good news is that no pain pill comes without the potential for problems, says Nitin Sekhri, medical director of pain management at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, N.Y.”

“Acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, is considered the safest option by many, and yet, Sekhri notes, it’s still to blame for about 50 percent of acute liver failures in the U.S. Acetaminophen also is the leading reason behind calls to poison control and to blame for more than 50,000 emergency room visits a year.”

“Often problems arise from people not realizing they’ve taken as much acetaminophen as they have. The over-the-counter painkiller isn’t just in Tylenol: It shows up in remedies meant to fight allergies, colds, flu, coughs, and sleeplessness. It’s also an ingredient in prescription painkillers such as Vicodin and Percocet.”

Click the image to read a lot more.

Be Careful with OTC Drugs

 

We Are NOT Alone — Part 2

This is a continuation of yesterday’s excerpt from my book Surviving Cancer and Embracing Life: My Personal Journey. It is available FREE by clicking here.

In the U.S. alone, people share their lives with 70 million dogs (in 43 million households) and 74 million cats (in 36 million households) – as reported by the American Veterinary Medicine Association. We love our pets; and they love us in return.

Before getting to my personal pet story, let’s consider how vital pets are to our psychological and physical health. Over the past several years, we have witnessed the growth in companion pets. Although some individuals may stretch the rules in getting their “companion” pets onto planes and into other venues, the basic premise is sound: Pets can be soothing and calming.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says:

Studies show that the bond between people and pets can increase fitness, lower stress, and bring happiness to their owners. Some health benefits of having a pet include: Decreased blood pressure. Decreased cholesterol. Decreased triglycerides. Decreased feelings of loneliness. Increased opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities. Increased opportunities for socialization.

A great example of the value of pets involves military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome after returning home. There are several non-profits that help to enrich the lives of those veterans, including Companions for Heroes, Pets for Veterans, and America’s Vets Dogs. The dogs are well-trained and help vets to reduce stress.

Linda and I are cat lovers and have shared our home with many cats over the years. Yes, cats can be affectionate and intuitive. One cat, Tucker, will sit in my lap all day in my home office and lie on me for hours when I’m on the couch in the den.

When I returned home after my surgery, our cats KNEW I was sick. They lay in bed with me 24/7 and often cuddled next to me. They constantly nuzzled my hand. Their attention required no effort on my part and was crucial early in my recovery.

 

We Are NOT Alone — Part 1

This is another excerpt from my book Surviving Cancer and Embracing Life: My Personal Journey. It is available FREE by clicking here.

It may be hard for you to believe that I am a very private individual when it comes to all aspects of my personal life. After all, here I am opening myself up in a way I never would have dreamed of before. But my community helped to show me how cathartic it could be for me to share my getting pancreatic cancer with other people outside of the community. I’d like to think that in this intense situation I finally realized the true value of communication and sharing. It is only by letting others in that they may help us in our journey.

I also learned much more about how not to be so judgmental of others (and myself, too). We all approach good times and bad, adrenaline rushes, fear, thoughts of our own mortality, etc. in much different ways. It took me a while, but I finally got it that some of my friends did not want to think about the “C” word, and therefore avoided me.

This gave me greater thankfulness for those who were there with me through the toughest parts of my journey. It must have been hard for them to see me looking like a skeleton (due to my weight loss) with limited mobility and a variety of post-surgery side effects. They never turned away. They were my knights (of both genders) in shining armor.

These are vital socialization observations from “Life After Cancer Treatment: Social and Work Relationships” by Journeyforward.org. Keep them in mind when interacting with others – regardless of your role (survivor, caregiver, etc.):

Having cancer can change relationships with the people in your life. It’s normal to notice changes in the way you relate to family, friends, and other people that you are around every day. And the way they relate to you. When treatment ends, families are often not prepared for the fact that recovery takes time. In general, your recovery will take much longer than your treatment did. Survivors often say that they didn’t realize the time it took to recover. This can cause disappointment, worry, and frustration for everyone. Families also may not realize that the way their family works may have changed permanently as a result of cancer. They may need help to deal with the changes and keep the “new” family strong.

Most cancer survivors who are physically able to work do go back to their jobs. This can help them feel they are getting back to the life they had before being diagnosed with cancer. Whether returning to their old jobs or beginning new ones, some survivors are treated unfairly when they return to the workplace. Employers and employees may have doubts about cancer survivors’ ability to work.

Some friends, coworkers, and others may be a huge source of support, while others may be a source of anger or frustration. Some people mean well, but do not know what to say. Maybe they don’t know how to offer support. Others don’t want to deal with your cancer. If friends and coworkers seem unsupportive, it could be because they are anxious for you or for themselves. Your cancer experience may threaten them because it reminds them that cancer can happen to anyone. Try to understand their fears and be patient as you try to regain a good relationship.