M*A*S*H what a show! The following quote is a sure stress reliever. It was said towards the beginning of the episodes and then revisited in the last one. It was given as advise for times when life becomes too serious and strenuous,

"Ladies and Gentleman, take my advice, pull down your pants and slide on the ICE" . . .
. . . or in our case- slide on the ice glacier!!!

Radiation History

Picture thanks to Dalyn Montgomery, a brilliant artist.  
In honor of one of the great pioneers in radiation history, Madame Curie, I thought it would only be fitting to share an overview of her contribution to the world.  

Madame Curie was born in Warsaw, Nov.7 1867.  In 1891 she went to Paris to study at Sorbonne and received her Physics degree.  She married Pierre Curie, a professor of physics, in 1895.  In1898 Pierre and Marie named the elements "Polonium,” and named "Radium" for its intense radioactivity — a word that they coined.

She shared the Nobel Prize for Physics with Becquerel (another pioneer in the field of radiation),in 1903 and was the first woman to be awarded a Nobel Prize.  In 1906 her husband died and she took over as physics professor, the first female professor at the University of Paris. 

She studied Radioactivity and its uses in medicine, often using herself as a test subject.  Her first studies were conducted into the treatment of neoplasms (cancers), using radioactive isotopes. In 1911 she received a second Nobel Prize, this time in chemistry, and was the first person honored with Nobel Prizes in two different sciences. Since she was unaware of the deleterious effects of radiation exposure, she would work with radioactive substances with no protection; Marie and Pierre had no idea what price they were paying for their research.The damaging effects of ionizing radiation were then not yet known, and much of her work had been carried out in a shed without any safety measures. She had carried test tubes containing radioactive isotopes in her pocket and stored them in her desk drawer, remarking on the pretty blue-green light that the substances gave off in the dark. Due to their levels of radioactivity, her papers from then (and even her cookbook) are considered too dangerous to handle. They are kept in lead-lined boxes; those who wish to consult them must wear protective clothing. 

She died in PassayFrance on July 4th, 1934 at the age of 66, from aplastic anemia, almost certainly contracted from exposure to high levels of radiation. 


Thanks to her research we now target cancer cells and destroy them with radiation, most all cancers can be cured with high enough doses of radiation.  Research continues in trying to target tumors more specifically, allowing radiation to be more effective against cancer, and in turn decreasing or eliminating side effects.    


The Curie (symbol Ci), a unit of radioactivity, is named in her and Pierre's honor as is the element with atomic number 96 -Curium. She even has a currency with her face on it.   

The above drawing was done by Dalyn Montgomery, a talented local Philadelphia artist.

ROCKY, the indomitable man

Many of us living in Philly are very familiar with the Rocky statue at the Art Museum.  Look closely at this picture (double click to enlarge the picture),  and you will see a long line of people waiting to get their picture taken with the Rocky statue. When people come to Philly there are a few things that they love to see: Independence hall, the Liberty Bell, and the Rocky statue.  They run up the stairs of the art museum, then once at the top, jump up and down with their arms thrown in the air in a victorious salute! 
 Why would the Rocky statue be on the list? 
                    Why the long line?

The Rocky statue is a tangible object of something that comes from deep within us all. When looking at the statue we realize the greater underlying meaning. . . In Rocky III the statue is first presented to Philly with the thought, "A person who defies odds and logic and fulfills an incredible dream." The statue stands, "as a celebration to the indomitable SPIRIT OF MAN." A strength that lies in each of us, saying we can do it! And deep down we all believe this to be true, YES we  have incredible strength and drive inside us all!

Thoughts from a Friend

A good friend sent me a few of his thoughts with the intention that I might share them with anyone who might be confronting the diagnosis of cancer.
-He said, “I came across a painter (and an entire movement actually) who's palate and emotion put onto the canvas left me feeling still and peaceful. His name is Georges Lacombe and the piece I saw was one of a green wave breaking within a slot canyon wall. The perspective was such that I felt crouched within the canyon myself awaiting the mist of the break.
-The significance for me was the understanding that the wave came with penetrating force and made its way to such a hidden place. It's symbolic of the walls we find ourselves surrounded with in life, from circumstances and intentions - the cold rocks of grief, doubt, loneliness, and pain. The life giving water blasts through, symbolic to me of the living water.”

Radiation Oncology basics:

Radiation Oncology is the medical use of Radiation to treat cancer and nonmalignant tumors. Radiation has a high success rate at curing many cancers.
Radiation is used for:

1. Definitive treatment: The main treatment modality to cure cancer.
2. Adjuvant therapy: Used after the primary treatment, being either surgery or chemotherapy.
3. Palliative care: To alleviate pain and symptoms from metastatic cancer lesions.

Radiation can be delivered in many ways, the three most common ways are:

1. Linear Accelerator: This is a machine that
generates photons/energy particles that can
be directed at the cancer cells, destroying
the DNA of the cancer and thus killing the

2. Brachytherapy: This mode uses small,
BB sized Radioactive pellets which
can be placed in the cancer to destroy it.

3. Systemic therapy: Radioactive monoclonal
antibodies which can be taken systemically, are
cancer cell specific and kill the cancer cells.