Posts filed under ‘health’

All things relative – September 3rd- Chris Ritchey


Life continues to be in an upheaval , what with concrete chunks through windows, downspouts of retribution being the “breaking news” as Nikki stated to me as I breakfasted with her.

Anymore Breaking News this morning?

Sounded like something YOU would say and it did bring a smile. As I get older , I realize there really is nothing you can do to stop uncivilized behavior or downright meanness for because we can sake.
Uncle John
It was your Great Uncle John’s 104th birthday this week. Memories returned- letting you drive ( on the wrong side of the road) down the lanes to his cottage when we were on our trip to England for soccer. We went to the pub and introduced you to “real cider” – You thought it like American cider, it wasn’t – as you soon found out , needless to say you did not drive back.

In order to escape my mind and life in Lorain I tuned out of the present and tuned into all things British Acorn TV-
I have been watching a series Lilies

Lilies details the lives of Iris, May and Ruby Moss, three Catholic sisters living with their widowed father and brother in a terraced house in Liverpool in the early 1920s. The story is set in the years immediately after the First World War and, as such, the after effects of that conflict are apparent

Their little two up – two down terraced house with the back “yard” once again brought back the familiar; Nana’s sister , my Auntie Kath, who had the self- same little house- although in Ipswich not Liverpool. I remember playing in such a familiar yard, the step down into the kitchen, my granddad plucking the chicken for Sunday dinner. The program covered the Scarlet Fever epidemic
and once again memory bells went off!


Your Nana had written about her experience with having Scarlet Fever during that epidemic of the late 1920’s. You had designed the cover of that book , written initially for Nikki the only grandchild she had at that time of writing , then adding more for you.

Nana has lived here in this house now for 4 years, thanks to mean mindedness of yet another “in law” relative. Although she never really bounced back from that episode in her life , more fragile than she was , she is still one of the very few to whom I can turn with my demons.

But what a joy it is to have my mother here, her wonderful take on life- so different from my own, caring hands that bring a cup of tea when I am in pieces, for such a tiny person she has the strength of the ages. Maybe it was what her generation had to deal with the poverty, the great depression, World War 2 being bombed three times , I don’t know all I do know is she is a hell of a lot stronger than I ever was or can be. As she helped clear the glass from the window destruction

she said with a smile

I think I will change my address to High Street, Afghanistan.

Can one imagine a little girl not much older than Gavin, being taken from your home by ambulance ( Fever Van) and put into an isolation hospital, no mother or father to visit?

The Fever Van by  Lowry

The Fever Van by Lowry

“The presence of a fever van in the street meant that a child would be forcibly taken from the family, with a strong likelihood of never returning, such was the high mortality of scarlet fever and diphtheria. Moreover, there were more materialistic concerns. The disinfection procedure that followed the removal of the child was likely to have a very destructive effect: ‘The child’s books and toys were to be destroyed, its bedroom disinfected by the application of concentrated solutions of powerful germicides to the floor, bed, walls and furniture. Wallpaper must also be stripped and burned’.5 These procedures caused much disruption and discomfort for the household.

The Isolation Hospital –
Hendon Isolation Hospital was the place Nana, her sister Renee, brothers- Mark and Paisy were taken . The hospital had been built near the Hendon Sewage Works and Johnson Chemical Factory – Hindsight – what were they thinking category!!!
Hospital marked with cross- you can see the proximity to the “sewage farm”

Nana remembers well the sewage farm, the smell coming in the windows but apparently the tomatoes grown in the vicinity of that sewage farm were huge and plentiful( apparently tomato seeds are not easily digested and sprout) and sewage is used even today .

For six weeks she , her sister and brothers stayed in that hospital, no contact with kith or kin or the outside world. Mere children , taken from all that was familiar put into in scratchy hospital shirts and boots. The food she remembered was awful-

“it was like a minced beef – only I am not sure how much beef there was in it- horrible tasting stuff and bread with no butter , the bread fell apart and crumbles

– her young mind turning to poetry wrote :

“There is a place, a barn of a place right in the middle of the sewer and mince and crumbs come out our bums and back into the middle of the sewer”

not bad for an 8-year-old .

The children were sectioned in very long open wards similar to the photo shown here ( no source found and believed to be in the public domain)
Her brothers were separated from the girls and were put in the men’s ward. Mark, just two years her senior, found a way to sneak from the men’s isolation ward where there was a large cupboard( storage) housing fruits and vegetables . Mark would appropriate the fruit , sneak in during the nurses break to his little sisters loaded with the fruit which eased their sore little throats. Nana said after the Scarlet Fever rash went away your outer layers of skin would flake off just like having had a bad sunburn. She thinks the taste of that wonderful fruit gave her the love of fruits and vegetables she has today.

” I think all those stolen fruits and raw vegetables Mark smuggled into us each night certainly helped us as Renee and I recuperated much quicker than anyone else on that ward.

I wish you too could’ve been healed and write your own story, but if wishes were horses beggars would ride- so I will write your story….. I love you


September 3, 2015 at 1:08 pm Leave a comment

Paula Tobias-Department of Defense and Ovarian Cancer

This is a guest blog post by my wonderful friend – Paula Tobias- Paula has been fighting her own battle with Ovarian Cancer –

How are the Department of Defense and Ovarian Cancer connected?
Action Centeres
When I read this yesterday I was in one of many daily Pain moments; you know, on the scale of 1 – 10 (10 being the worst) I was a 9. The weather and more importantly the surgery, chemo and subsequent meds, tests, x-rays and PET/CT scans I believe have something to do with the agony dealt with on a daily basis.

Senator John McCain

Senator John McCain

The Department of Defense has funded innovative biomedical research programs for years that impact troop readiness. The Ovarian Cancer Research Program was added in 1997 and has since been funding research primarily aimed at finding an early detection test and better treatments for ovarian cancer.
Finding an early detection test for ovarian cancer is of critical importance to the military. Currently, any active duty military woman with a suspected case of ovarian cancer must receive her treatment in the United States (due to the availability of specialists here), so correctly identifying women that either do or do not have ovarian cancer is of critical importance to the military. Over the last five years alone, over 2,600 military women have had a suspected case of ovarian cancer. “
Senator John McCain will be adding an amendment to a bill in the Senate that would strip many of the research programs run by the Department of Defense, including the $20 million for the Ovarian Cancer Research Program(OCRP). The OCRP funds $20 million in innovative, high-risk, high-reward ovarian cancer research each year.
Senate staffers are calling this the biggest threat to medical research in 20 years.

I immediately called my Senators and left voice mails with my history. It took a lot to maintain composure while doing this and as soon as I was done, Frank (my loving, caring, patient husband) came in from work and surprised me. Well I surprised him with a burst of tears and language a soldier would blush hearing. At the end of that tirade I said, “Do you think the Senator would be asking this if it were his testicles at stake?”

I support all battling their cancer diagnosis, patient or family. I volunteer at my Oncologists office to empathize with those. I try to offer hope and comfort.

• Click here to send your Senator an action alert email that will tell them to oppose the McCain Amendment.
• Call your Senators and tell them to oppose the McCain Amendment

Please help and pass along this information and if we (Frank is still my miracle -13 yr. Pancreatic Cancer Survivor) can help anyone with their Cancer Battle, contact Loraine and she’ll connect us. Paula Tobias

ED NOTE: Whilst looking for the date of the vote I came across the following – it seems McCain’s amendment will not only effect Ovarian Cancer funding but Prostate Cancer funding as well

Senator McCain amendment might kill Prostate Cancer research funding

Again and again and again Senator McCain (R-AZ) has attacked the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP), which for PROSTATE CANCER has been among the most productive research vehicles we have to conquer PROSTATE CANCER.

It is beyond my understanding why he has taken up this vendetta. Every year he is our biggest enemy, trying his best to stop the great progress we have made. As usual, he is at it again!

Senator McCain is a major advocate for funding of the Defense Department, but he seems not to understand that the money that flows to the CDMRP does not take one dollar away from our defense budget. The money that flows to the CDMRP is over and above any budget dollar that will go to the Defense Department. So, why the vendetta against the CDMRP, I cannot explain it.

June 17, 2015 at 8:06 pm 3 comments

January 3rd- Goals – Chris Ritchey

January 3rd- All over this planet people are starting this year of 2015 with goals- losing weight , spending more time with family, giving up smoking etc. My goal, is to be able to sit in the chair in the den long enough to write my 3rd of the month post for you my son. Not to do so would be , for me , breaking faith with not letting the world forget as so many in your life have already done, that you existed were loved and made a difference.


Without going into too much detail, I have had chronic pain for a few months. First the drugs were tried and they took care of it so it was manageable for a few weeks at a time but then more and stronger were needed. I have learned through your months of “hospitals and doctors ” more negatives than I ever wished to know about the health care system and some “professionals and hospitals”. Because of my life for those many months watching and seeing the outcomes I now trust only my instincts , my intelligence and my own research.
Yes that is right Chris, the one thing I learned is that I should have taken more charge of what was happening to you- I didn’t. Would the outcome have been the same? In all probability YES but the pain of our journey would have been lessened and hope would not have been sold “wholesale” for as long as the insurance paid and you would not have been Cleveland Clinic “lab rat”.

As I researched and interviewed Drs. I refused to be sent to anyone having anything to do with my dreaded Cleveland Clinic or doctors that took their residency under a certain Program Director at South Pointe Hospital –
I knew too much about that aspect of Dr. training from personal experience.

You would be amazed at the faces of potential health care professionals when I interviewed them. I am sure a couple were getting out the “white coat” for me. But remember this is my body , my choice, they are not gods, just people earning a living in the health care industry and not all doctors are of the same level. Putting a MD or DO to their name doesn’t make then all-knowing or of more than a “passable” expertise ! You and your insurance are paying for their expertise and yet so often we turn ourselves over to people we don’t know or know very little about or who know about you and say “save me”. You trust in their ability or the ability to refer but to whom?? You have rights as a patient and I now choose to exercise those rights.

However, I have managed even with my “outrageous to some” criteria to find a few wonderful doctors, and two very special hospitals, small enough to know my name and to whom , I and my family are people and not just an insurance number or the next condo in the islands payment .

One, St. John West Shore
has literally saved my husband’s life twice in the past 18 months and have treated my strange proclivity’s with patience, caring and understanding.


The pain worsened , I managed with drugs and hot water bottles and a lot of understanding from family and friends for the two weeks it took for the “insurance” to tell my doctor it was Ok for the next step.

Every time I filled the red hot water bottle , too hot for my bare skin, I thought of you the hundreds of times the five hot water bottles we filled in Texas as you went through the “trial” with no one but you and I. The number of scalding hot baths you took every night to ease the pain in your body. You never complained to me I know you didn’t want to scare me , you were “eating pain pills like candy” I knew you were just trying “to be”. I watched the pain envelope you but the phone would ring and you would answer in a voice so strong so as to hide the agony you were going through.

chrisart collage
I am not afraid of dying, you have left me that gift as you have given me so many others. but I don’t handle pain well , it stops my ability to think. clearly, to tolerate and makes me so impatient.

December 17th found me having the first procedure which went well, in fact better than expected and for 10 wonderful days I had only very slight discomfort- the pain forgotten as I got through Christmas. I was waiting for the procedure in the operating room and the anesthesiologist as he stated ” you will feel a little burn then nothing”- I remember thinking

I wish you could make me feel nothing! I wish you and your anesthesia had something to erase this horrible debilitating grief( that you are unaware of as I lay here)

But just like the tsunami of grief that is held at bay whilst life continues, so the pain laid low for a bit roared back into being . It came back after departing for a just a brief while,- contained – only to break through the medical barrier stronger for the respite as my body probably was doing more than it should without the warning of pain.

New Years Eve, found me once again laying on the table waiting to have my misery relieved. I have in the past months learned to live outwardly not showing for the most part the grieving mess I really am- the powder and paint of normalcy painted on like a mask every morning.
This time although I felt nothing due to the anesthesia and how that works is a mystery to me and also to others

” Despite their necessity in modern medicine, scientists aren’t sure exactly how anesthetics work. The best theory suggests that they dissolve some of the fat present in brain cells, changing the cells’ activity. But, the precise mechanisms remain unknown. ”

Well the fat cells in my brain may have been dissolved but apparently “according to the nurse” my fat body ( she didn’t say that though) was not co-operating and was moving around in pain on the table for a bit even after my brain was anesthetized .

Not such a good thing for the doctor, I would assume, poised to do a delicate procedure. I, of course was unaware this happened although in my mind’s eye this great lump of a body laden with grief flopping around on the table half-naked probably wasn’t a great sight for him that New Years Eve. He earned his money that day.

So here it is January 2nd , my pain has lessened although I am not fully functional but I am endeavouring to sit in a chair for as long as it takes to finish this post for you. – a lap top may be in my future-

But somehow I will get this post written and posted even if I have to take jpgs of these scribbles and post them.
Another year without you in our lives will not be happy but hopefully it will at least be free from physical pain…. and I think of you every waking minute of every pain filled moment… I love you Chris
Disclaimer : The views and opinions in this post as to various doctors and hospitals are entirely my own based upon my varied experiences with such entities through out the illness of my family members and myself. I have no medical expertise but the life experience of having been there immersed in the world of medicine !

January 2, 2015 at 10:46 pm 1 comment

Sept 3rd- Confidence- Chris Ritchey 2014

mumand dad
The day war was declared- your Nana, a survivor of living history,remembers that Sunday well like it was yesterday.
It was one of those defining moments in life. A war, that saw your grandfather have his youth , innocence and joie de vivre ripped from his being , not to ever fully come back to him.
Their young lives changed forever by a few words spoken on that September 3rd .

Your life was changed forever and ended by words – you have cancer

I know that I have changed but I hadn’t realized how much. Last month a gift- a VHS tape – found on the floor of the garage-

Your dad brought in the bag of VHS tapes and started to play them. There you were, once again, your childhood played out in the pool, on the soccer field , rowing boats , Christmas morning, skiing laughing and loving with us

I still can’t watch most of the tapes , it is like trying to breathe underwater. Looking at the dance tape of Nikki with Braedyn and Gavin – little Braedyn glued to the screen as his mummy danced, Gavin telling his mummy – you are beautiful
I saw myself , the MC of the event taking center stage – I was so confident, knowledgable , open to the audience , carefree, laughing, smiling and welcoming. I saw myself in a swimming pool with our family, your sister and friends racing the lengths of the pool , the music of laughter rang once more in this house as the tape played and those voices of summer came back from the past. .

And then a Christmas morning , the living room which held so many Christmases, your Nana and I sitting on the couch surrounded by presents , the noise, everyone talking at once, the puppy – that was Sheena , the paper wrapping making a pile in the center for Sheena to attack. What struck home with me was the laughter and conversation in which Nana and I were engaged. We didn’t stop talking and laughing – I was confident enough to make a complete fool of myself with the most horrendous pair of earrings. I still have those damned earrings , but I no longer have you or the me that I was.

I knew I lost ME when you got cancer and died- but I hadn’t realized how much of me I had lost . I was looking at another person, not recognizing her at all anymore. She died too and I grieve for the faces of life caught in a web of video. I grieved for the loss of laughter, happiness and confidence. I am so different , no longer the daughter, wife, mother , friend and neighbor of before.

I am reminded by the collage that will play such an integral part of the book I am writing “of you”

.chriscollage snob the “confidence artwork”

Confidence Gone– I opened up to you and my lack thereof – in Texas on another September day as you wrestled with cancer and untruths- set in a holiday setting of palm trees and sparkling waters – I spoke to you that day – unsure…

You see when a son marries he brings into his life another woman- it is very difficult in the best of circumstances for a mother to sit back and watch decisions being made that in some cases I did not agree with in a normal situation- this terrible situation we find ourselves all thrust into makes it doubly hard. But I have deferred to you both and to her “medical expertise” with this obscenity of Hodgkin’s that has engulfed us. It has been one of the hardest things in the world for me not to interfere or to put in my two cents. There have been times Chris, when I have doubted my own abilities and lost confidence in myself – I have gone against my own gut feelings and yet there is a voice that tells me to still be protective of you .

Other self  by Chris Ritchey

Other self by Chris Ritchey

and so I continue – no longer me – no longer with hope, no longer belief in a greater all knowing supreme being, no longer happy, welcoming and confident just a transparent shell of before…. whose smile only surfaces when two little boys break through the endless night of losing you…….. the other self


September 2, 2014 at 11:39 pm Leave a comment

HypNOTic Regression- The Session PT 1

Chris Ritchey CIA

Chris Ritchey CIA

A couple of months ago I watched a television program on
past lives and regression therapy.

Being the cynic that I am , I looked at the show with more than a hint of skepticism. In ALL things I look at the “agenda” who profits from promoting “health” – “beliefs” from organized religions of the world to those that can talk to the dead and those that can say we are reincarnated. As I reach my sell by date in this life I suppose I will find out the truth soon enough ;)

However, curiosity got the better of me , I decided to try this regression therapy- after all I pride myself in not being a follower, having some intelligence , not easily fooled. I also wondered IF hypnotism would work – maybe I could change the habit of “food for comfort” !

I spent a few days researching those practitioners within a reasonable driving distance who had certain qualifications – one being clinical psychologists who would allow the session to taped and also witnessed. I found half a dozen that fit most of the criteria but only one ( who happened to be the most reasonable – this does not come cheap) the closest and also the ONLY one who allowed the taping and the witness. That was the deciding factor for me ! I was going to see a complete stranger on their turf. I wanted one of my own with me . I didn’t want to end up barking like a dog at the next council meeting if someone gave a trigger word.

Purposely , I did not research what it is like to be hypnotized, what happens, regression techniques, or relaxation techniques. I did not want to go to the session with any preconceived ideas planted in my brain.

I took my daughter with me and our trusty tape recorder and for once a “purposely” open mind .

The diagnostic box- self- portrait  Chris Ritchey

The diagnostic box- self- portrait Chris Ritchey

Would I really find out it I had lived before? Would THIS life and the tragedy that befell me and mine with the losing of my son finally make any sense? Because none of it in this life time makes any sense to me, not the faith-based religions, not the medical diagnosis and subsequent explanations which amounted to a “shoulder shrug” or the crassness experienced by those that supposed to love. Would I find out from a previous existence what I had done?

Answers, we spend our life looking for answers to questions of the unknown, looking for logic where there is none. Humankind, desperate to find out we are somehow “special” – more so than the other inhabitants both vegetable and animal of this planet who come into being, live, feed, procreate and die leaving another generation to carry on. What makes us so special to think there is a plan” for us? We certainly haven’t learned much from all the teachings in the books of organized religions. Thinking that maybe I WAS “special” and there was a plan, a reason for this gutting pain that would ,at last make, some sense.

Had I done something in my past life that now revisted me in kind in this? Was I supposed to right a wrong or deal with the cretans in this life I had neglected so to do in a past life? Some sort of Karma ?

Chris Ritchey- CIA

Chris Ritchey- CIA


Karma is a Sanskrit word from the root “Kri” to do or to make and simply means “action.” It operates in the universe as the continuous chain reaction of cause and effect. It is not only confined to causation in the physical sense but also it has moral implications. “A good cause, a good effect; a bad cause a bad effect” is a common saying. In this sense karma is a moral law.

Now human beings are constantly giving off physical and spiritual forces in all directions. In physics we learn that no energy is ever lost; only that it changes form. This is the common law of conservation of energy. Similarly, spiritual and mental action is never lost. It is transformed. Thus Karma is the law of the conservation of moral energy.

By actions, thoughts, and words, man is releasing spiritual energy to the universe and he is in turn affected by influences coming in his direction. Man is therefore the sender and receiver of all these influences. The entire circumstances surrounding him is his karma.

With each action-influence he sends out and at the same time, receives, he is changing. This changing personality and the world he lives in, constitute the totality of his karma.

Karma should not be confused with fate. Fate is the notion that man’s life is preplanned for him by some external power, and he has no control over his destiny. Karma on the other hand, can be changed. Because man is a conscious being he can be aware of his karma and thus strive to change the course of events. In the Dhammapada we find the following words, “All that we are is a result of what we have thought, it is founded on our thoughts and made up of our thoughts.”

The first part of the session which lasted over two hours, was a getting to know each other and explanations of what would be happening to me as I went through the process. The do’s and don’ts and also the “why” I wanted this session. I was completely open and relaxed……
The following links explain pretty much what I was told in the beginning of the session
I was told- I would be aware of my immediate surroundings, I would hear the “outside noises etc” and so we began
……. To be continued……….

July 8, 2014 at 1:07 pm 1 comment

Humira -auto-immune medicatons check the box

selfportrait- Chris Ritchey

selfportrait- Chris Ritchey

ED Note
Every single day this blog receives searches looking for answers and information on Humira and other auto- immune medications. The information on this blog has been garnered not from the medical community, the drug sales force, the commercials but from the mothers of those who are the faces of the “black box warning” .

– No one wants another mother to share their pain. Graciously in the midst of their own suffering they have answered emails sent through this blog and elsewhere to advise from their own personal experience- the following is one such response to those that search.

You are right to look for information about Humira, and any other kind of powerful auto-immune medication–and there are several on the market today of similar biological make-up. In addition, there are other drugs that are frequently prescribed in combination with these auto-immune drugs (a protocol called recombinent drug therapy) which when taken together, can have additional serious (deadly) adverse side effects. All of these meds are/can be very, very dangerous, but every situation and individual is different.

If you are concerned, it will be entirely up to you and/or your family to do the appropriate research before you make a decision one way or another to take these kinds of medications.

Please, DO NOT waste your time contacting the sales reps for the drug company. They do not know, and WILL NOT tell you anything even if they do. They are not research scientists, doctors, or experts in anything except how to sell a product and make a commission.

Unfortunately, it is probable that your doctor will not know much more since they, too, purchase the meds from these same salespeople. Nor can you assume or expect a pharmacist to know any more about the dangers of these drugs than what is included in the package insert they dispense. The bottom line is no one can give you information unless it has first been provided by the drug companies and this is precisely why we are in such trouble.

dollars for docs
I strongly suggest that you do as much research as possible about any auto-immune medication being prescribed for whatever your particular condition might be. Humira and other similar medications can be, and are used safely by thousands of people, but not everyone.

You may be fine with this medication, but it would probably still be a good idea to

1. find another one or two doctors for second or third opinions.

2. Ask as many questions as you can about length of treatment and expected outcome.

3.You should also go online to the FDA website for information about Humira (and other auto-immune drugs) and look for material specifically regarding adverse events. You need definitely to do this, if you do nothing else.

Any information about dangerous side effects for these drugs will be listed there. You will not be able to get this information in any format that is intelligible, providing you can even find it, on the label.
Canda FDA
It is interesting to note as well, that Canada’s equivalent of the FDA is often years ahead of the U.S. in terms of issuing safety warnings for a variety of drugs that are freely prescribed in this country without a second thought. I would suggest that anyone with concerns check Canada’s governmental health website.
Also, here are two excellent websites.

Do a thorough search of your condition and its drug treatment in the professional medical journals. I cannot stress this enough. This means you will need the help of a librarian, possibly at a University, school, or hospital who will have electronic access to a wide range of peer-reviewed serials and/or medical databases that you will not be able to find online on your own. This is important because a lot of what you can locate through a Google Search will not include the kind of information you will find in peer-reviewed medical journals—which are ONLY available at a medical (hospital) or university library. And it is this specific information you want.

Finally, don’t take any one doctor’s word on the safety profile for this (or any, drug). You need to gather as much information as possible on your own so you can present your concerns up front.
calm and research

The important thing is not to panic. Do your homework and don’t rush into anything before you feel as comfortable as possible with your decision. Our sorrow is a result of not being fully informed (warned) in advance of the dangers associated with these meds–because the information was not made available either to the general public or prescribing physicians until years after my boy died.

The bottom line really is ask questions about everything, do your research and if you feel uncomfortable with any kind of vague response…be cautious. Ultimately, you will have to make a decision, but an informed decision is absolutely necessary.

Consider all possibilities, including NOT taking a drug and what that might mean for you as well. Sometimes, horrible things happen regardless of how much you know and the most carefully considered decision. Sometimes, all that we can do, and have done, is not enough. Sometimes, there is no other choice–taking a particular medication is the lesser of two evils (disease vs. treatment). But, there is everything to be gained by being fully informed about ALL possibilities/options before you put yourself or a loved one at risk.

May 7, 2014 at 12:34 pm Leave a comment

Humira- the Black Box and YOU

Two years ago I wrote the following post as part of a series on drugs and Doctors. I have been unable to write further about my own medical journey on the cancer road that dead ended with he loss of my son. I receive searches every day on Humira – nothing has changed not the commercials or the hype -it is time once again to remember those of the black box warning ……

UPDATE: The latest FDA information on the drugs mentioned can be found here

Reaching out- art work- Christopher Ritchey

Part One

Part Two

As I stated in Part two – reliving the journey of my experience with Doctors/ hospitals – the medical profession and what ultimately became our tragedy in the loss of my son – Christopher Ritchey – I knew writing the series was going to emotionally take me to places I may not be strong enough to go . So, like a marathon runner in training to get to the main event, I decided to start at the beginning of my experiences hence my memories of a three-year old.

During the course of my journey of grief at the loss of my son I have met so many people , especially mothers, who share my road. I was introduced to Joanne Cacciatore, PhD and her blog where “those in part of the “healing profession , are trying to pigeon-hole and make grief just another disease to take a pill”
and move on. Some of the drugs prescribed for this “illness of grief” can be found here :

Depression is big business for the drug companies- I “STRONGLY” suggest you check and see the side effects of these drugs- but Hey! not to worry if you suffer a few – that is OK – I am sure Doctor MD/DO will have another drug in his repertoire to counteract those symptoms and so it goes…..

All types of media from print to electronic now bombard you with “cures for your ills”

Ask your Dr. about XYZ drug – you can live a normal life – just ask him/her about OUR drug.

The snake oil salesmen of the 21st century meet our with our need to hope and be well and we rush to their call with our little insurance cards in hand –

I have watched the commercial, as probably you have ( the commerce drug of the moment- this drug in the billions of dollars – bigger than some country’s budgets ) HUMIRA for many months and any of number of times a night. I have noted the voice over of the side effects- can cause . Lymphoma/ Cancer Tuberculosis ( this is a CURE!!!!!”) and HOW MANY SERIOUS SIDE EFFECTS HAPPENED? I walked the path of the Curable Lymphoma – Hodgkin’s
Why would anyone take this drug ?
from their own website

Important Safety Information About HUMIRA® (adalimumab)1

HUMIRA is a TNF blocker medicine that can lower the ability of your immune system to fight infections. You should not start taking HUMIRA if you have any kind of infection unless your doctor says it is okay.

ED NOTE: OH OK so according to Humira we put our trust in our Doctor- how many Dr’s ( I bet yours is ) are part of the pharmaceutical sales onslaught- you have seen them with their suits and cases as you wait in the world’s waiting rooms for your turn with the Good?? Dr.

From the Princeton Review – emphasis mine

Pharmaceutical sales is a fast-paced, high-turnover business that rewards assertiveness, persistence, and knowledge. Pharmaceutical sales representatives spend most of their business time on the road, talking with pharmacists, hospital personnel, physicians, patient advocacy groups, and even retirement homes, increasing the visibility of their company’s products and the volume of their sales. “Sell sell sell learn learn learn sell sell sell,” wrote one sales rep, who included his business card with his survey, in case we wanted to purchase any pharmaceutical supplies………………
………..For many, a significant portion of their income is riding on their ability to get the product into the hands of the consumer. So, why is this job so addictive? Perhaps because the “EXCESSIVE PROFIT MARGINS” of many brand-name pharmaceutical products can mean enormous commissions

and for your further reading –
Confessions of a Pharmaceutical Sales Rep

•Serious infections have happened in people taking HUMIRA. These serious infections include tuberculosis (TB) and infections caused by viruses, fungi, or bacteria that have spread throughout the body. Some people have died from these infections. Your doctor should test you for TB before starting HUMIRA, and check you closely for signs and symptoms of TB during treatment with HUMIRA. If your doctor feels you are at risk, you may be treated with medicine for TB.

•Cancer. For children and adults taking TNF blockers, including HUMIRA, the chance of getting lymphoma or other cancers may increase. There have been cases of unusual cancers in children, teenagers, and young adults using TNF blockers. Some people have developed a rare type of cancer called hepatosplenic T-cell lymphoma. This type of cancer often results in death. If using TNF blockers including HUMIRA, your chance of getting two types of skin cancer (basal cell and squamous cell) may increase. These types are generally not life-threatening if treated; tell your doctor if you have a bump or open sore that doesn’t heal.

During my journey, I have met on-line the mother of one of the “SOME PEOPLE”- a mother who trusted – who put the most important person in her life – her child- her son into the hands of the snake oil salesmen – they trusted their medical practitioner to help her son.

This is the face of “SOME people” – he is the reason there is a disclaimer- his life given – His name is Maxx Wendell- a young man with an oh so bright future- a young man full of life, humour and love. WE should all pay attention – because we are the “people” who may also end up as disclaimer as the money rolls in .

His mother, Lisa, wrote a comment on this blog which I have reprised below. Lisa fights through her grief and terror so that no other mother has to walk the path of “induced death” – the some people side effect of this drug . As you look at the side effects of any drug and see some cases , some instances, some deaths remember there is a face behind those side effects who have paid the ultimate price for pharmaceutical profits- Lisa Wendell and her family are “some people”:

Lisa wrote:

For those who read your blog, I am the mom of the son who was prescribed a combination of immunosuppressive medications (what are called biologic TNF blockers) to keep his ulcerative colitis, a non-life threatening chronic autoimmune disease in remission. As a result, Maxx developed Hepatosplenic T-Cell Lymphoma, an aggressive, deadly cancer that killed him in 17 weeks. He was 21.

We were NOT informed of the dangers of this drug precisely because the makers of the drugs (Johnson and Johnson/Centocor and Abbott) had not yet labeled the medication with Black Box warnings advising of the 6 fold increase in risk for this disease in a pediatric population of young men between the ages of 17 and 24. In fact, we were specifically told that the risks for any serious side-effects, including Lymphoma were so low as to be virtually the same occurring in the general population. The combination of the doctor’s ignorance/arrogance and the out and out cover up by the drug industries of deadly side effects (levels of corruption that are unimaginable and occurring across the board all the time with regard to all drugs) killed our boy. Thousands of people a year lose their lives so drug companies can reap profits we can scarcely imagine.

One of the drugs, Remicade, was labeled shortly before he became ill. By that time he was no longer taking Remicade but had been prescribed another medication, Humira, with a different “delivery system” (self-injectible vs. infusion) that was supposed to have a better “safety profile.” Essentially, all this turned out to mean was that the Black Box warning had not yet been required on Humira. As of April, 2011 Humira now carries this warning as well.

Maxx a young man who was proud of his athleticsm- and the results of his training regime

In the meantime, my son is dead. Doctors are still prescribing these medications to people with a variety of autoimmune disorders including Rheumatoid Arthritis, Chron’s, Ulcerative Colitis, and refactory cases of Psoriasis. In the four years since Maxx died, another 41 people have been reported to have died from HSTCL.

We cannot know if they were ever told by their physicians of the dangers, however, we were not informed. We did not consent to taking any risks. Never. We would never have taken such a risk with Maxx’s life. We asked repeatedly about the safety of both Remicade and Humira and were always told the same thing. The drugs are safe. The real information was supressed. Deliberately and for as long as possible to allow the drug makers literally years to make billions. Humira is one the top three selling money making drugs on the market for its manufacturer. What are 40 deaths when compared to billions? The true story’s behind drug company cover ups, lies,marketing scams, and greed are now common knowledge.

I will talk to anyone who is interested in knowing more about Maxx’s story and I welcome contact with other parents who have lost children to medical “fraud” and terminal disease.

I also urge anyone taking drugs for any chronic condition to thoroughly research the medications you or a loved one have been prescribed. Keep reading, keep asking, keep pestering, never stop. Keep fighting to get the information you need to make an informed decision. Our family is not stupid. Maxx was brilliant. We were duped. He lost his life, and I lost my heart

Only those of us who have walked the path of such utter confusion in the medical maze and have lost our reasons for being know how gut wrenching and brave it is for Lisa to write of her journey- she is still giving in the name of her son – and trying to save others from the depair and terrible agony of such a loss- my heart and “knowing” are with her….. LISTEN to Lisa …….. we could all end up as the legal disclaimer one day as one of the ………. “SOME people”

May 6, 2014 at 2:27 pm 4 comments

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