The Virtuous Vituperator

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Pictures, for scientific purposes, of course!

Oh man, oh man! (literally)

Out of New Delhi comes what would be many a man's dream come true-

Sat Aug 19, 10:10 AM ET
NEW DELHI (Reuters) - An Indian businessman born with two penises wants one of them removed surgically as he wants to marry and lead a normal sexual life, a newspaper report said Saturday.

The 24-year-old man from the northern state of Uttar Pradesh admitted himself to a New Delhi hospital this week with an extremely rare medical condition called penile duplication or diphallus, the Times of India said.
"Two fully functional penes is unheard of even in medical literature. In the more common form of diphallus, one organ is rudimentary," the newspaper quoted a surgeon as saying.
The surgery was expected to be challenging as both organs were well-formed and full blood supply to the retained penis had to be ensured to allow it to function normally, he added.
The newspaper did not disclose the identity of the man or the hospital to protect the patient's privacy.

There are about 100 such reported cases of diphallus around the world and it is known to occur among one in 5.5 million men, the newspaper said.
It is caused by the failure of the mesodermal bands in the embryo to fuse properly. The mesodermal bands are one of three primary layers of the embryo from which several body parts are formed.

While we all smile inwardly, I am now pondering some of the unanswered questions.
Are they both hooked up to the same bladder? Does he pee twice as much? Can he masterbate with both hands? (great way to be ambidexterous) Has he actually had sex with both of them? At the same time? Can he be an "organ" donor? Define fully-formed for me? Is it hereditary? What were his parents thinking when they let him grow up like this? What about the ob/gyn who delivered this fellow into existence? Where was he? Are they horizontally placed or vertically? Diagonally? How does one choose which one to remove? Did his girlfriend/boyfriend get a say-so on this operation?

While getting a chuckle, this poor man may have suffered a bit through his life. He has probably suffered mentally, and silently for the better part of his life. I can see why he is doing this quietly. Who would want that sort of press? Although, now that it has made international newslines, his odds of remaining anonymous are slim.

I'm TRYING to be sensitive to this situation because I feel oddly rubbernecker-ish. I hate that feeling. Gawking at someone elses pain (and apparently, he's not happy as he is) is wrong. It's cruel. It cannot be psychologically comfortable for this man to attempt to have a normal dating/sex life.

Our snickers actually magnify that to me. We laugh, but do we really want to be that one in a billion person with a third breast? Second penis? Honestly, aside from being a sideshow attraction, or a well-paid porn-star, it really serves one no good in living a normal life if word of something like that were to get out.

So while I draw attention to it, I also learn from it. Many folks may say to themselves, "oh to have such a problem" Not so easy if you live with it.
And sadly to admit it- I would still want to see the pictures!

Friday, August 18, 2006

Big Win for the Little Guy!

I chalk this one up to a victory of empowering people with the choice to manage their own health care. When assisted suicide is banned or legal depending on the state you live in- and you've endured so much as a patient, generally a person knows what they can and cannot face. They are already looking death in the eye. It's there, they've conversed, and I believe this young man has made his own inner peace with himself, his God and Death.

ACCOMAC, Va. - A 16-year-old cancer patient's legal fight ended in victory Wednesday when his family's attorneys and social services officials reached an agreement that would allow him to forgo chemotherapy.
At the start of what was scheduled to be a two-day hearing, Accomack County Circuit Judge Glen A. Tyler announced that both sides had reached a consent decree, which Tyler approved.
Under the decree, Starchild Abraham Cherrix, who is battling Hodgkin's disease, will be treated by an oncologist of his choice who is board-certified in radiation therapy and interested in alternative treatments. The family must provide the court updates on Abraham's treatment and condition every three months until he is cured or turns 18.

"It's all over. It's everything we fought for, everything we wanted to ever have, we've won. We got our freedom back," Abraham said outside the courthouse after the hearing.
Tyler emphasized that the decree states that the parents weren't medically neglectful.
Abraham said that he saw the doctor last week, and the doctor assured him that his cancer is curable. The teen said he will continue following an alternative herbal treatment called the Hoxsey method, as well as his doctor's treatment plan. The regimen won't include chemotherapy, but radiation is a possibility, he said.

After the short hearing, the judge looked at Abraham and said, "God bless you, Mr. Cherrix."
Last summer, the teen was found to have Hodgkin's disease, a cancer of the lymphatic system considered very treatable in its early stages. He was so debilitated by three months of chemotherapy that he declined a second, more intensive round that doctors recommended early this year.

He since has been using the Hoxsey method, the sale of which was banned in the United States in 1960. After Abraham chose to go on the sugar-free, organic diet and take liquid herbal supplements under the supervision of a Mexican clinic, a social worker asked a juvenile court judge to intervene to protect the teen's health. Last month, the judge found Abraham's parents neglectful and ordered Abraham to report to a hospital for treatment as doctors deem necessary.

Lawyers for the family appealed, and an Accomack County Circuit Court judge suspended that order and scheduled a new trial to settle the dispute. The judge scheduled the trial for two days but has indicated he would like to finish in one, said John Stepanovich, a lawyer for the parents.
Carl H. Bundick, attorney for the Accomack County Department of Social Services, told the judge the department considers the agreement to be in Abraham's best interest.
Abraham is still on the Hoxsey method, but Stepanovich stressed that the family hasn't ruled out other possible treatments, such as immunotherapy or radiation treatment in small doses.
According to the American Cancer Society, there is no scientific evidence that Hoxsey is effective in treating cancer in people. The herbal treatment is illegal in the United States but can be obtained through clinics in Mexico, and some U.S. naturopathic practitioners use adapted versions of the formula.


Kudos to him and his parents for going the way they believe is best for them. No one can judge or deem what is best when sane and loving people have done what "they" said to do, have exhausted their internal and external resources to beat a microscopic demon.

I could never say what I would do in that situation until I lived it. It can't be answered until you hear the words, "you have cancer". It's yours. It lives inside of you. I find young Mr. Cherrix to be very brave. Whether he dies is his cross to bear. People are told all the time their cancer is treatable and they'll be fine- only to die six months later. Others are told they have six months to live and go on for 10 more years.

The truth is- a positive outlook and living the life you have is important. If you had an undetermined amount of time left, and you were 16 years old- would you want to be ravaged by chemotherapy? Possible to die in the hands of the treatment that is supposed to save you? Especially if you had done that once before and knew what you were in for- Or would you want to explore alternatives and truly live the life you were given? It's a rhetorical question saved only for those who actually face it.

It's a brave choice and I firmly believe in this circumstance especially, no court has the right to tell this family what to do.

I can only pray this fellow beats his cancer and goes on to become the amazing advocate he may be destined to be!!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Where's my damned gold star???

I'm a wife and a mother of four. Yay for me! I didn't get my gold star at the door so maybe there's a side entrance into this place? Everyone else has a gold star!

I also work about 60 hours a week on a volunteer job I love. Work another 15 hours a week at our gym for to offset the expense of having three All-Star cheerleaders, run errands, make sure the bills are paid on time, do laundry, try to cook on occassion and somewhere in there actually get some sleep. So does it make me special? nope.

What's up with all this competitiveness on how much we all work and how stressed we all are nowadays?

Would people simply cease to go to work without a spouse or child? no. But, oh, the martyrdom of the working parent. It's not a contest, it's not a race, even though I felt the need to spell out my typical week first. Somewhere along the way the long suffering parent has to come to the reality that it is like this for most of us. They called the 70's the "Me Decade", I really don't see it that way. That was a precursor of work-work-working to earn more and obtain more of the 80s. The semi-backlash of it we had going in the 90s, but it was actually a big-business grunge, HMO good times- and now the backlash of it all for those busting their asses these past 30 years who all want their parades.

Working moms do have it hard. Single working parents have it harder. We're all into our Zen candles, quiet corners, happy pills, ongoing therapy, 5th marriages and retreats again. It has shades of the 60's without the flower power crap. We all want our peace and piece at the same time. Earn enough to take it easy in that rustic little 5,000 sq ft house in the mountains, complete with internet, satellite radio and digital.........everything. Gotta stay connected, ya know.

So how is it folks have more stuff to make life easier, but work more? Or do we work more? Is that a real stastitic? We're playing on the internet at work- according to one survey (Jupiter Media Metrix, 2001) people spend more than 22hrs a month on the web while at work. That's almost one full day out of the full month, not factoring in weekends etc. Perhaps that includes research etc but that's a LOT of time since you're only at work (supposedly) 160 hrs a month. That's 13.7% of your work time. That was five years ago- it has to be closer to 20% easily now. One-fifth of our work time. Well, if work isn't getting done, then perhaps that extra 10 hours of "work" a week isn't really extra work, it's make up time.... hmmmm? Now I have to ponder if I am actually "working" those 60+ some hours a week. And I know I'm not...

Now I think I get why resumes' have to include a new catchphrase- Good Time Management.

I think the competitiveness comes from wanting more, doing less and trying to put on the brave face about just how much we accomplished while squeezing Yahoo Gaming time under the radar from the Bossperson. So we're all bragging and boasting and falling behind on the work that, in all probability could have been done in 40 hrs and putting in overtime on the weekends thinking we're still suffering for The Man.

I still want my gold star...

Thursday, August 10, 2006


I've just hosted my fourth conference for patients suffering from a common ailment. It's a lot of work, I love what I do. Each year I often have felt how much people simply do not "get" the amount of work that goes into bringing in patients for a shared goal- education.

This year the opposite happened. I received accolades for both myself and my team. It's a bit overwhelming and I am not accustomed to it. Now I find myself in a strange bit of inner confusion.

I do not wish to be the person who sits back and martyrs myself for THE CAUSE- unappreciated and willing to share it with anyone who will listen. At the same time, too much acknowledgement is, well, too much. I do not like being the center of attention in this capacity. I'm not used to it, I don't like it either.

Simple "thank you's" suffice. How often does that actually happen though? Not often enough. Finding a middle ground is usually not such an easy thing. We wouldn't have a 60% divorce rate in the US if that were the case.

I've learned a lesson I didn't realize I needed to learn out of this inner conflict. Saying "thank you" once (and meaning it) is sufficient. Whether I am saying it, or am the recepient of the gratitude, it IS enough. Who made it not okay to accept a simple thanks anymore? Why does thanks have to be given, and shown, and paid for, and reciprocated with dinner in a never ending cycle of appreciation?

There are certain circumstances where these things are warranted. I do find that it is not always necessary and this year I was on the opposite end of this equation. Maybe its just me, but the whole "they don't appreciate me" thing has a new, and lower meaning in my book now. I won't use that sentence so cavalier-ly in the future. It was as easy as opening my eyes AND MY EARS to the folks around me.