Thursday, December 21, 2006

Shortest Day - Longest Night of the Year

On this Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere, I'm still thinking about sunlight and the lack thereof. The sunlamp came a few days ago, and it's felt good to sit with it, even though it's only for 3 minutes to start. I exposed my face for two days, and today I think I'll do my legs. Skin everywhere on our bodies can take in that sunlight to make the Vitamin D.

Suddenly, it seems that something on my mind is everywhere. Newsweek had an article about Vitamin D, the "Sunshine Vitamin," two weeks ago, but I just read it this week. Also, thinking about the comment made by Carol in Ohio about Vitamin D and osteoporosis - thanks, Carol! - I looked at my calcium supplement, and found that it actually includes Vitamin D as well as the calcium. And I heard an amazing story during the church coffee hour on Sunday from the aunt of a friend. Now retired, she participated in a study on osteoporosis a few years ago. She would go in for blood tests every two weeks, and during one two week span in the winter, she went to Florida. When she came back, her Vitamin D level had jumped so much that the techs asked her what she had been up to. So, there you have it. Vitamin D can be good for bones, good for cancer prevention, and good to slow the spread of cancers we already have. Of course, the ideal levels haven't been set, and like many things, there's probably potential to overdo it with supplements.

In any event, I'll continue to get a few UV-B rays each day with the new sunlamp, and hope that my body is making all of the Vitamin D it needs, and hopefullly, keeping the cancer cells at bay.

My last post, on sunlight, also generated some ideas about language for a medical disclaimer from Teresa - thanks, Teresa! - and I think I've pasted it into my sidebar, although it hasn't appeared yet. Although I do like "translating" material for others once I've understood it, I really don't want anyone to think I'm giving medical advice. Even if I had medical training, which I don't, it's so clear that everyone's experience with illness is unique, and that's why medical experts need years of training to be able to give us medical advice.

And, finally, all of this thinking about sunlight led me to really notice what the sunshine looks like these days in Massachusetts, so I took some photos two days ago, when the sun was actually shining. The angle of the sun was so oblique that it looked like the end of the day at 2:00 p.m. I've posted one photo that Patty took of me standing next to a New England stone wall, with a neighbor's small pond in the distance, and one of my water garden, with a fish or two visible along with the sharp reflection. I would have put the photos at the end, but this is my first photo attempt, and blogger chose the spot!

Happy Solstice to all! I celebrate that after today, the light will be returning, slowly at first, but returning.


Anonymous said...

Hi Lynne
Its been a while since I "blogged" in and commented, but you have been in my thoughts. I especially liked reading your blog on expectations. I am heading into a tricky holiday for reasons I won't get into here and I have been sharing my emotions with my husband. He keeps reminding me that a lot of my feelings: stress, grief, loss, etc. hinge on expectations and that if I enter situations with no expectations, I won't face disappointment or frustration. So, I'm trying to be open and "taoist" and just let things be what they are. I'm fortunate to have your wisdom to tap into also!!
Wishing your family a very merry holiday season. I hope Santa is good to the kids! (and you too, of course).

Lynne said...

As creator of this blog, I thought I'd post the following as a "comment" even though I've copied it from another website. I just completed the survey, and it was painless and interesting.

Dear Bloggers:

You have probably received this message a month ago, but we still need your help. Can you help us with our cancer blog survey? We are posting the original message again. Can you encourage visitors to complete the survey and make the survey link visible on your homepage? You are also welcome to participate in our study. For those of you who have already participated, we deeply appreciate your help. Thanks in advance!

This is a message to those of you who maintain/read/participate in blogs related to cancer. Might we request your assistance in an academic study about cancer blog usage?

My name is Deborah Chung, and I am an assistant professor at the University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications. My research focuses on the use of new communication technologies and their potential to empower information consumers. Currently, I am interested in examining how health information seekers, particularly cancer patients and their families/friends, adopt blogs.

I am teaming up with Dr. Sujin Kim, also at UK, who is an assistant professor in the School of Library and Information Science and has a sub-specialization in medical informatics. She has been working closely with the UK Cancer Center to build a biorepository information system (UK-BIS) for lung and ovarian cancer samples. Together, we would like to learn about how new information channels, such as blogs, are being used by cancer patients and their families/friends — specifically we are interested in their motivations, uses and consequences of using blogs.

As approved by our internal review board (IRB) at UK, this study is an anonymous survey that does not carry any risks to cancer patients. At the same time, we believe the information gathered from this study will greatly contribute to our understanding of the adoption of new communication technologies by cancer patients. This information will in turn assist in supporting the needs of cancer patients for future information technology and service development.

Thus, we would appreciate your participation in our survey. You can find the survey at You might get a notice regarding the validity of the certificate. If that happens, please continue to proceed.

We appreciate your time, and thank you in advance for your help.


Deborah S. Chung, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
School of Journalism & Telecommunications
University of Kentucky

Sujin Kim, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
School of Library & Information Science
University of Kentucky