Lab rats

For the past 18 years I have been part of a research group on teachers and cancer. I signed up at a meeting that was held at our school one day, not realizing how long the study would go on. There were a number of female teachers I knew who had been diagnosed with cancer. Many had died. The idea was that there might be a correlation between the profession and the disease.

Over the years there has been an assortment of questionnaires to answer, usually arriving during the summer vacation months, when teachers would have plenty of time to fill them out, asking about our lifestyle, the conditions in which we teach, the foods we eat, etc. I’ve really lost track of the whole thing except when a newsletter would arrive, filling me in on what was going on. That happened a few months ago where I saw a notice that the study was looking for participants who would be willing to provide a blood sample for the research. I emailed that I would do that and received an email saying that the study had not yet reached the San Joaquin Valley, but would be here soon. Yesterday, the phlebotomist called to set up my blood draw in a few weeks. She told me the blood will be stored at one of University of California campuses, but I forget which one. She asked about medications I take, mainly if I’m on any blood thinners, and if I had recently undergone surgery or chemotherapy. Having no health issues, we set a date and time for her to come to my house and take the blood. She also told me I would  receive $10.

Terry is also involved in a long-term health study. His is on stroke and is out of the University of Alabama. He has lost track of how long he has been in the study, but it’s over 10 years. Like mine, he gets a yearly questionnaire as well as a phone call to see how he is doing. When Terry signed on for the study, a doctor came to the house and examined him. A few weeks ago he received a phone call asking him about all sorts of ailments, surgeries, diseases, etc, to which he could answer in the negative for all of them. There was, in addition, a list of medications which he answered no to all of them. The researcher, on the other end, was a bit surprised that a man his age was on no medication and had no ailments. They didn’t ask about hearing. I know Terry doesn’t hear as well as he used to.


6 responses to “Lab rats

  1. you are both lucky with good genes…no meds, wow.

  2. My husband is 72 and on no meds at all. His doctor was surprised when he realized that, a new primary care physician. He said he wished it could be true for all his patients. Good for Terry! 🙂

    • Terry’s mother is 92 and has one med she takes. My mother, who died at 86, had only a thyroid pill that she took for many years until some dr got ahold of her and decided she should be on coumadin. Everything went downhill from there. Sometimes I think one needs to stay far, far away from drs. My friend who died a couple of years ago at 68 was on 15 medicines when she died. Each medicine was taken to counteract what another med was doing.

  3. Years ago, I was part of a skin cancer study. I’ve had it several times since, but as I was a military dependent the study lost me long ago, when my first spouse and I divorced.

  4. This was quite interesting. I once taught in a school that experienced a very serious chemical exposure. Time will tell all that comes from that.
    I try to stay away from drugs. I have had some doctors not very happy with me, but I think the medicines can cause more problems than they help. My mother, nearly 98, was only on synthroid for until her heart attack 12 years ago. Even after that heart attack, she only takes a blood pressure medication and the synthroid. She also was never vaccinated as a child.

  5. Pingback: The lab rat gives blood | Dkzody's Weblog

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