Thursday, June 05, 2008

Better Than Google

I tell you what you need to do if you have cancery questions to ask. Don't google, no, no. All you're going to get there are worst case scenarios and, if you're anything like me, you can work those up all by yourself. Instead I suggest you cultivate a friend who will come to casual dinners and when you gently work cancer into the conversation will say soothing things.

This delightful friend of mine explained the squamous cell thing to me. Apparently the squamous cells themselves are, indeed, not at all dangerous. What they are, though, are cells that reproduce faster than normal cells. The reason that you keep an eye on them more carefully is that if they were to mutate into something cancerous they would then spread more quickly because they divide more quickly already. Now I get it and feel better about it. She's very fair skinned and prone to the same sorts of skin problems while also having started her career as a cytologist diagnosing cancer and on top of that she's very matter of fact about these sorts of things so she's the perfect source.

As a bonus feature she also explained why you'll probably never be able to use my blood for a transfusion. I lived in the UK during the original Mad Cow outbreak and because of that I've been banned from giving blood or blood products. I thought that, some time in the future, that ban might be lifted but she says no. It's because the disease isn't a bacteria and there's no test for it. If a contaminated sample goes through their very expensive machines they have to throw the machines away because you can't clean the problem out of them. She provides a caveat, though, if it's an emergency and it's my blood or imminent death you should take it anyway because you'll at least live a little longer and probably won't have any problems at all. But only in an emergency, OK?


  1. I tell you what, you have very careful and observant doctors! I probably have squamous thingies all over me but nobody ever noticed.

    Mmmm....blood. Speaking of which, I need to borrow those "Twilight" sequel books from you.

  2. My husband traveled to England off and on over a year or so. The trips totaled 20 something weeks a year. Now, he can't give blood because he spent over 3 months there. And, he was one of those super donors who went in every 2 months and deposited his pint. I am sure the blood system hates to lose a reliable one like him. Hopefully, in the future they can either test for it or prove it cannot be transmitted via blood.

  3. From what my friend was saying it's not very likely they'll find a sure fire way of reintegrating us into the blood supply. I've never given blood. I tried a few times when I was younger but I always had some physical issue that precluded it. It's really too bad your husband got booted out of the rotation, he was clearly one of the good ones.