Dr. John Campbell

Dr. John Campbell is a retired G.P. living in Carlisle in the U.K. He produces an almost daily video on the state of Covid in the U.K. and various parts of the world including Canada. His insights on the spread of Covid and his vitamin and mineral intake recommendations are invaluable. His most recent video can be seen above.

This is unrelated to Weston / Mount Dennis but I believe readers will find Dr. Campbell’s videos to be a useful resource.

Update: Dr. Campbell’s doctorate is in nursing education. He was a nursing educator at the University of Cumbria. Thanks to Hans Havermann for spotting my error.

Further update – here is Dr Campbell’s take on vitamin D. According to a growing number of people in medicine, most people are deficient in vitamin D.

Did you know….?

An UP Express train at Weston Station (file).

Metrolinx has just published news of increased GO Train speeds along the Kitchener Line, specifically through Guelph. Speeds will be increasing from the current snail’s pace to slightly faster. What caught my eye was that the changes were given in miles per hour. Apparently all railways in Canada must measure their speeds in the old Imperial system – which might explain some of their other idiosyncrasies.

In the same blog article was a warning that trespassers can be hit with a fine of $5000. Cor blimey mate, that’s almost £3000 in old money!

A poll, and bearhunting

Yesterday my daughter and I went bear hunting in Weston. We did great, catching a dozen at least. Thank you to those who are making this a little less unbearable for the kids and kidlets!

On the way home, we decided to have a little competition and take some arty photographs. My eldest is quite convinced that she has an poet’s soul and much talent. I think it’s time we disabuse her of this notion and get her into solar cell engineering, a field in which I am certain she will excel.

Please vote on the following photos and let me know which is your favourite. In the name of science, I shall not say who took which photo. You will have to vote on their merits alone.

Childhood restrained

In the first, entitled “Childhood restrained” we see an allegorical photograph of a child’s toy seemingly held back by caution tape. Is the tape holding the toy in? Or is it keeping the children out? The background, softened by a long lens and open aperture, shows a play structure, empty, made misty as if by memory or time, accentuating the distance between childhood and the present.

In the latter photo, called “Piece of tape”, we see some tape.

Leave your comment below. “Childhood restrained” or “Piece of tape”? The loser (my daughter) does the dishes.




A word about comments, again

A welcome to all!

I think it’s again time to draw everyone’s attention to a few rules we have.

We like discussion. However, we have a rule about what you can say (and what you can’t). It’s a loose rule, but loose rules, like pajamas, fit best. Our rule is this: if it wouldn’t be welcome at a dinner party, it’s not welcome on WestonWeb. So don’t be rude, crude, angry, or dumb. Don’t attack people. Discuss ideas.

If we see comments that break the dinner party rule, we delete them. We sometimes get more comments than we can keep up with, though, so if you see a comment that is not dinner-party friendly, please flag it with our newly (re)instituted “Report Comment” function. That will draw it to our attention.

About anonymity: We allow it, with reservations. I think the world would be a better place if we put our names to comments, so I encourage you to do so. I see, though, that the vast majority of people don’t. I think you have good reasons, which is why we haven’t made people sign up. If you disagree, though, I’m interested in hearing your point of view.

I understand that people will not always agree with the rules or our judgements. I hear cries of “Free Speech” and “Censorship” all the time. As always, my offer stands: if you would like to set up your own blog, send me an email. I’d be glad to help. Really!

Cancer – back to battle stations.

From prostatecancer.ca

Cancer is no stranger to the Murray household. My wife successfully battled two versions of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the first arriving in 2001 and the second in 2013. Thanks to an alert (and superb) family doctor and the world class expertise of Sunnybrook’s Odette Cancer Centre, she has made a complete recovery and leads a full life.

Imagine my annoyance and indignation to find that I too have cancer.

It started with a routine suggestion from my doctor to have a PSA test. This is a test that measures something called prostate-specific antigen. As men age, prostate antigen levels become higher. Cancer raises PSA levels too. I had resisted getting tested in the past because – well I just had. Put it down to boundless confidence in my immortality, some doubts about the test and yes, ignorance. About 12% of white men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetimes. For black men, the incidence is considerably higher while it’s lower for Asian men. The good news is that most men die with the disease rather than from it. The bad news is that it’s an unpleasant way to die. As some wit once said, “I’m not afraid of dying, I just don’t want to be there when it happens”.

From Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.

Anyway, in response to my mild concern that something might be happening ‘down there’, the doctor suggested and I agreed to the test. The result was double the normal level for my age and the follow-up specialist recommended a biopsy. Prostate tissue samples can confirm but can’t eliminate a cancer diagnosis as the samples may not be from an affected area of the prostate.

The biopsy was done a week later in the specialist’s office. Without getting into the gory details, I was bent over a bench and it felt like an electric stapler barging around and firing inside my body. Definitely a moment requiring a stiff upper lip! Thankfully it was done quickly and efficiently. I waited three weeks for the results, expecting the ‘all clear’ and wasn’t particularly concerned.

The news was broken matter of factly in the specialist’s busy premises, “Out of the twelve samples we took, ten were cancerous”. I sat in a daze while he handed me a pamphlet and talked about a ‘Gleason Score’ (lower is better; my score was 7, indicating a moderate involvement – maximum is 10) along with probabilities and options for treatment. Luckily my wife was there and asked some pertinent questions.

Treatments for prostate cancer depend on how far it has progressed with options narrowing if the cancer has spread beyond the prostate. Basically the major options are:

  • Active surveillance if the involvement is low and / or the patient is older.
  • A radical  or partial prostatectomy (Removal of the prostate) if the cancer has not spread elsewhere.
  • Hormone treatment to suppress the body’s testosterone production. (Prostate cancer grows a lot slower in the absence of testosterone.)
  • Various radiation options to attack the cancer cells.
  • Chemotherapy (These last three treatments can be used in combination.)
  • Palliative care -if the cancer is incurable.

Surgery is ineffective if the cancer has spread much beyond the prostate.

To determine treatment options, bone and soft tissue CAT scans were ordered. This was deja vu for my wife and brought back vivid memories of her own long agonizing hours spent in treatment and waiting for test results. After her first diagnosis she had radiation and in 2013, six chemotherapy treatments (every three weeks) with accompanying hair loss.

My CAT scans were clear indicating that the cancer hasn’t spread. What now? Luckily, I have the option to have the damned thing removed. This will likely eliminate the need for radiation and hormone treatments. The surgeon has ordered an MRI of the region so that he can plan his attack and the operation should take place in the next few weeks.

In the meantime, I’m 99% symptom free and a few weeks after the operation should be able to return to a ‘normal’ existence. I’m lucky that I have a loving wife to take care of me and access to a health care system that is second to none.

Note to men over 40: it’s probably a good idea to get a PSA test done so that a baseline reading can be established. The test isn’t totally reliable – see the diagram above – but it’s a useful diagnostic tool.

If members of your family have had prostate cancer you may be at increased risk. Early detection improves your chances and treatment options.

For more information go here.

Streety McStreetface

From nzherald.co.nz

A while back according to BlogTO, Toronto residents were asked to submit possible street names for the reconfigured Six Points area where Bloor, Kipling and Dundas used to merge in the form of a 1960’s dystopian mini expressway. The dystopian part is being demolished and replaced with some new streets and the city wants us to help with the naming via an online survey. Six hundred names were originally submitted by the public and the short list (chosen by city staff) is to say the least, interesting and contains a controversial name.

One of the contenders for your vote is the late local councillor and Mayor Rob Ford. According to the CBC, Rob Ford’s name was submitted for consideration, “…with a signed consent form from a representative of the Ford family”.

As if to steer voting towards the Premier’s brother, few of the remaining nine choices are compelling and even include the names of living people.

Here’s the list:

  1. Adobigok (Missisauga First Nation Word from which Etobicoke is derived.)
  2. Wadoopikang (Another Mississauga First Nation word – both mean, ‘Place where the alders grow’.)
  3. Biindagen (An Ojibway word – means ‘welcome’ or ‘come in’.)
  4. Darwyn Cooke (DC Comics artist and Etobicoke resident who died in 2016.)
  5. Diversity (From Toronto’s motto, ‘Diversity is our Strength’.)
  6. Jerry Howarth (Former Blue Jays broadcaster and current Etobicoke resident.)
  7. Dr. Judith Pilowsky (Etobicoke-based clinical psychologist.)
  8. Rob Ford (The late former Toronto councillor and mayor.)
  9. Westwood Theatre (A nondescript movie theatre in the Six Points area that was demolished in 1998.)
  10. Dr. W.K Fenton (Former Etobicoke medical Officer of Health 1938-1954.)

I must say, I’m not a fan of naming anything after people, living or dead. One era’s model citizens are the next era’s pariahs.

Sadly, we’ll never know if Streety McStreetface was a contender but I’m betting more than a few submitted the name.

Regardless, once the public has voted, city staff will determine the winners (just in case we haven’t voted the right way).

Vote for your completely representative choice here.