Review Category : Health

7-Year-Old who Gave Hair for Kids’ Cancer Wigs Has Stage 4 Tumor

The Desautels Family (ROSEVILLE, Calif.) — A California boy who selflessly donated his long locks to kids with cancer has been diagnosed with the disease himself.

Vinny Desautels, 7, of Roseville, California, was diagnosed less than one week ago with stage 4 Ewing sarcoma. The news came just one month after Vinny sent his hair to help make wigs for children with cancer, his grandfather Ron Desautels of Somerville, South Carolina said.

“Vinny, we Facetimed with him a couple times and this past weekend, he was always upbeat,” Desautels told ABC News. “He said, ‘Hey, I’m going to do everything I can to get better.’ He’s just a happy little guy. It’s just unreal.”

His grandfather added that he had been growing out his hair for more than a year, about 13 months, so it could be long enough to cut and donate to making wigs for cancer patients.

“He felt very happy about it, that he was helping someone else out,” Desautels said. “That’s how he is. He’s not a selfish little guy, he’s like the ones that broke the mold.”

Vinny arrived home from school and was complaining of a pain, Ron, 60, said on May 5. A lump was soon found on the boy’s hip. Vinny’s eye was also shut and he was taken to the emergency room under the suspicion he had an insect bite that may have become infected, his grandfather said.

The next day, he was brought to Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento where tests were conducted. The outcome was not something the family ever expected.

“My wife called me while I was at work and she said, ‘Can you come home a little earlier? I’ve got some sad news,'” Ron recalled. “I just couldn’t believe it. It took a day to sink in. We do have a pretty close family.”

Vinny’s father, Jason Desautels, wrote in an email to ABC News that his son’s oncologist confirmed the cancer was stage 4. The disease has traveled from the hip through to the eye “indicating distant spread.”

Vinny’s oncologist was unavailable for a comment.

According to the National Cancer Institute, Ewing sarcoma is a type of tumor that forms in the bone or soft tissue.

Ron Desautels created a GoFundMe page titled “Victory for Vinny” to raise donations for his grandson’s medical expenses.

The page has accumulated over $86,000 in nine days.

“[We’re] pretty overwhelmed,” Ron said. “We started the GoFundMe thinking, they [Vinny’s parent] will miss work and have extra medical bills. Between that and people hearing his story of how it all started of him wanting to help others, it just brings faith. There’s a lot of good people out there who really want to help. They really care.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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UNDERGROUND: How This Transgender Woman Used Black Market Drugs to Transition

ABC News(NEW YORK) — Ivana Black sat nervously on a plastic-covered couch in the home of a stranger; a person she had never met and with whom she was trusting her life. She had driven almost 100 miles to get here.

The 18-year-old was told the woman who lived here could get her the shots she needed. Ivana felt her life depended on it.

An older woman wearing a nightgown-dress emerged and summoned Ivana to a bedroom. She told Ivana not to worry. But Ivana was terrified.

Ivana watched the woman as she took out a syringe and the drugs for which Ivana had paid $40 in advance. Then Ivana turned around and bent over for the shot.

This is worth it, she thought.

The sting of the needle pierced her skin, and made her feel dizzy. It was the first of many gambles Ivana would take with black market drugs, drugs that she said allowed her to physically transition into the woman she is today.

Ivana Black was assigned male at birth. Now 45 years old and living as a woman in New York City, she works part-time as an entertainer and an actress. She lives in West Harlem with her small dog, Angel.

Ivana started transitioning in her late-teens while living in the Midwest. She began with birth control pills because, she says, they were the most accessible form of hormones at the time.

Ivana said she wanted to transition to a woman as quickly as possible. Faced with too many financial hurdles and finding difficulty in navigating the health care system, she turned to alternative means.

For most of her life, Ivana says, she has used black market drugs, including hormones and silicone injections she bought from strangers or people on the street. While Ivana does use some legal drugs now, she still gets hormones outside her prescription because, she says, they can be stronger and she wants an extra “little boost” here and there.

Transgender women take estrogen, often adding an androgen blocker that stops the body from producing testosterone. The hormones help change a person’s appearance, including body shape, breast development, hair growth and skin texture. People may use silicone injections to make their breasts or buttocks larger, and to make cheekbones have a more feminine appearance.

“There’s that time when you were this person, this boy and there’s a time where you know you’re going to be this woman,” Ivana said. “That time in between is going to be the hardest time, because this is the time you’re going to fight for, when society gives you the most problems … I’ve been shot at, chased, discriminated against.”

Although health care laws have evolved since her transition started, many transgender people remain without health insurance coverage for transition-related care. Eight states and the District of Columbia now offer transgender health care under Medicaid, and 15 states and the District of Columbia require private insurance companies to cover transgender health care, according to the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund.

“Insurance care is a patchwork and a real sore spot for transgender people, many who cannot access coverage for the care that they need,” Michael Silverman, executive director at Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund, told ABC News.

“We have a few states that have moved to require equal coverage for transition-related care. But most states still do not require that. And most transgender people are simply struggling to get the care that they need.”

Dr. Zil Goldstein, who specializes in serving the LGBT community, and who has transitioned herself, said that even if a client has insurance coverage on paper, it can be a challenge to sift through the red tape to receive transition-related care.

To be prescribed hormones, some providers require a psych evaluation and others still use a three to six month “real life experience” guideline, which means living as the gender a person identifies with, Goldstein said.

Even with a prescription, patients can still face challenges.

“I’ve written prescriptions for hormones and they’ve been rejected by the pharmacy,” Goldstein said. “Then the pharmacist has to call my office, we have to talk to the insurance company, the insurance company has to send us paperwork, we have to send it back to the insurance company, then the insurance company has to let the pharmacy know, the pharmacy has to let the patient know. Then, hopefully, the patient can pick up their prescription.”

If insurance does not cover the medication, hormone prices range from $60 from a compounding pharmacy — which creates drugs tailored to a specific patient — to $400 if the client receives a brand-name estrogen shot. Oral hormones can be a lot cheaper, but there’s some evidence they are not as safe, Goldstein said.

Some, like Ivana, turn to black market drugs. While it’s difficult to put a number on how many seek out services outside of the doctor’s office, Goldstein says, “a lot of people” go outside the medical system for these interventions. The costs of black market hormones vary widely. People will charge anywhere from $50 to $350 for a single shot of estrogen, Goldstein told ABC News.

But using drugs without a doctor’s supervision can be dangerous. Although Ivana said she has no known health complications from using black market drugs, she knew people who weren’t as lucky.

“When you do the black market drugs you don’t have doctors to check the hormone levels,” Ivana said. “I knew someone back in the late-‘90s; she ended up dying. I think her kidneys failed or something.”

For those seeking to alter their body shape, silicone shots are often used as a cheaper alternative to cosmetic surgery. Also termed “silicon pumping,” the practice can be extremely dangerous, doctors say. After being injected under the patient’s skin, silicon can slip into the bloodstream. The injection itself is sometimes thinned with dish soap or motor oil before being injected into the body.

In September, a woman in New York City died after having silicone injected into her buttocks. Four years ago, a dancer from London died after low-grade silicone traveled to her lungs.

“So all of this stuff sounds really extreme and I’m sure some people are thinking, ‘Well, why would someone do that to themselves?’” Goldstein told ABC News. “But it’s really, incredibly distressing to feel like your body doesn’t match who you are.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Adorable Pug Puppies Love to Follow Their Toddler Owner

ABCNews.com(EDINBURGH, Scotland) — Take a look at tiny Louie Flynn, in Scotland, as all his 7-week-old pug puppies follow him around the house.

The chubby little pugs don’t leave the tot’s side and he crawls along the hardwood floors, and even if he darts ahead, they’re never far behind.

Little 15-month-old Louie doesn’t seem to mind however, occasionally pausing mid-crawl to bend down for a bunch of puppy kisses.

Louie’s mom, Lynne Flynn, chronicles her son’s adorable adventures with all their pugs on the Instagram account, pugsnkisses84, which has nearly 130,000 followers.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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‘Second Skin’ Polymer May Do What Makeup Just Promises

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — What if you could make your wrinkles disappear?

In a new report published in Nature Reviews, engineers and physicians at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Massachusetts General Hospital teamed up to develop a so-called “second skin” to make skin look younger.

The silicone-based polymer, called XPL, forms an invisible top layer, and when used on the lower eyelid, it noticeably improves the appearance of the skin, smoothing it out and making under-eye bags smaller. The compound, why they say rubs on like lotion, also diminishes the appearance of wrinkles.

In the future, researchers note the second skin product could be used to restore skin function and appearance to damaged and aged skin, protect against ultraviolet radiation, conceal blemishes, or even assist with the application of medications.

Although the second skin is not commercially available, it may represent a promising new frontier in skin restoration without an injection or pricey procedure.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Couple’s Infertility Announcements Document Journey Trying to Conceive

Whitney and Spencer Blake(NAMPA, Idaho) — When Whitney and Spencer Blake got married and decided they wanted children, they had no idea of the 7-year struggle they’d face in their quest to become parents.

Now, the couple are mom and dad to two boys they’ve adopted and are sharing their journey of infertility in a light-hearted photo series.

“Whatever sting infertility still may have, our little boys are our everything,” Spencer Blake of Nampa, Idaho said. “If we had tried to make these [photos] before we had kids, maybe we wouldn’t have been in the mood for it.”

“I think the fact we have our boys,” he said. “Now it’s OK for us to talk about it.”

Whitney Blake told ABC News Monday that she endured several years of fertility treatments but was not able to get pregnant.

The doctors, she said, did not have a definitive explanation.

“It was definitely a difficult time,” she said. “It was a very hard time. It was a lonely time. It kind of felt hard hard to watch the people we love very much being blessed with something we wanted to enjoy. We felt like we were getting left behind, but we tried to enjoy life and not let it consume us.”

“We have talked about how one of the harder parts of it is hearing other people’s pregnancy announcements,” she continued. “We try to be happy and congratulatory, but when we are at the heart of our struggle, it’s really devastating.”

Whitney and Spencer Blake

Spencer said: “I felt the same type of hopelessness. You think about growing your family, but you can’t do it. It’s those moments when the husband wants to make it right for the wife and you can’t. That’s when it gets extra hard.”

The couple decided to adopt, first in 2012 and then in 2014. Afterwards, Whitney and Spencer said they got the idea to take popular pregnancy announcements seen on social media and re-imagine them into infertility announcements.

“We truly feel for people that struggle with infertility and we remember what those days were like,” Whitney said. “We just remember that time and kind of wanted to offer encouragement, I guess.”

The couple shared the photos on Whitney’s blog during National Infertility Awareness Week at the end of April.

The project made international news and Whitney said she received mail from people dealing with infertility, thanking her and Spencer for their support.

Whitney and Spencer Blake

“It’s the side you don’t always see — the person on the other side struggling with infertility,” Whitney said. “We heard people that said, ‘Wow, that made me think about it in a different way’ [and] it’s nice to hear that. I’ve grown in the way that I feel about it. If it wasn’t for infertility, we wouldn’t have our boys.”

As of 2006 to 2010, there were 6.7 million women in the United States unable to carry a pregnancy to term. That represented about 11 percent of the reproductive-age population in the country — according to the CDC.

Sharon N. Covington, director of Psychological Support Services at Shady Grove Fertility in Rockville, Maryland, told ABC News that she found the Blakes’ photo shoot touching, and “right on target.”

“Infertility is an experience that touches so many people in this country, yet is something that is still, for many, very hard to talk about,” Covington said. “There’s a lot of private shame and pain associated with it. Our patients talk about how social media can be a powerful source of support, but a painful one as well. They [the Blakes] did this with humor and were able to speak to the core issues.”

Whitney and Spencer Blake

When asked how it felt to finally become parents to their sons, both Whitney and Spencer had one answer:

“Indescribable,” they said.

Spencer Blake is an anchor for ABC News affiliate KIVI-TV in Idaho.

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Infectious Illness Sweeps Canada Evacuation Center After Wildfire

COLE BURSTON/AFP/Getty Images(FORT MCMURRAY, Alberta) — One of the evacuation centers for the wildfires blazing through the Fort McMurray area in Alberta, Canada, has become the epicenter of another crisis: a stomach bug that has made almost 50 people ill within the past 48 hours, authorities said Monday.

In the Northland Expo Center, one of seven evacuation sites in the region, officials are trying to identify the illness that is spreading, but Dr. Chris Sikora said during a news conference Monday that the cases “seem to be viral gastroenteritis,” and that people are suffering from “nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.” Sikora is the senior medical officer of health in Edmonton.

The wildfire in Fort McMurray started one week ago, and now there are over 600 people taking shelter in the Northland Expo Center, according to Kerry Williamson, senior media relations adviser for Edmonton at Alberta Health Services.

“Most of the time the fires burn [in areas] without a lot of people,” Williamson said. “This one was the largest one they have seen in Alberta’s history.”

The confined spaces and close quarters that characterize evacuation centers can be a recipe for disaster when it comes to containing the spread of infectious illnesses such as norovirus.

“Controlling norovirus outbreaks is very challenging because the virus is incredibly contagious and people can get the infection more than once,” said ABC News Chief Health and Medical Editor Dr. Richard Besser. “In temporary shelters in which there is crowding, the challenges are even greater. The virus can spread from person-to-person, from contaminated food or water, and through contact with surfaces with norovirus on them.”

In addition to intestinal viruses, respiratory viruses like influenza can also be spread more easily in confined spaces, according to Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious diseases specialist at the Vanderbilt Medical Center.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides guidance on ways to limit the exposure and transmission of contagious diseases. Besser, who headed the CDC’s public health emergency preparedness and response functions from 2005 to 2009, reiterated the basic principles.

“To control an outbreak, you want to keep people who are sick away from those who are not,” he said. “You want to ensure access to hand-washing stations and if that isn’t available, alcohol-based hand sanitizers. People with norovirus should not be involved in food preparation. All potentially contaminated surfaces need to be disinfected with a dilute bleach solution.”

Sikora emphasized that the Northland Expo center is taking a three-step approach to combating this contagious infection.

“First, we are trying to keep the well people well,” he said. “The second step is to help assist and maintain the health of people who are ill. The third is to maintain continuity of business here at the reception center.”

Schaffner emphasized that the longer people are together in enclosed spaces, in close proximity, the more likely these outbreaks become. And while these illnesses may not be deadly to most of the population, they are “a more serious threat to the very young, the very old, and for people with underlying illnesses such as diabetes.”

Though this fire is the worst the region has ever seen, Sikora emphasized that the people of Alberta “are a resilient bunch, and we will help our staff and public get through this.”

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Truck Convoy Honors Moms, Make-A-Wish Foundation

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(LANCASTER, Pa.) — A 590-strong truck convoy that wove its way through south central Pennsylvania on Sunday is on track to break a Guinness World Record.

The convoy was organized by the Make-A-Wish Foundation in what has become a more than 25-year tradition on Mother’s Day in the Lancaster, Pennsylvania, area.

“A lot of people here and everywhere don’t have a mom to say thanks to in person on Mother’s Day and for a lot of our volunteers, their participation is a way to say thank you [to moms],” Ben Lee, regional director of Make-A-Wish of Philadelphia, northern Delaware and Susquehanna Valley, told ABC News.

The first convoy was held in 1990 when a Make-A-Wish kid had his wish granted of sitting in a big rig truck and calling his sister on a CB radio. Forty trucks came out that first year and the event has grown ever since.

This year, all 590 trucks met the Guinness World Record qualification of weighing at least 11,000 pounds, according to Lee. Make-A-Wish will now have to wait three to four months for Guinness to confirm they broke the current world record of 416 trucks previously set by a group in the Netherlands.

The convoy, which featured one truck driver who had three grandchildren with wishes granted by Make-A-Wish, is also expected to have raised more than $300,000 for the local chapter to grant more wishes.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Woman Delivers Baby in Car on Mother’s Day While En Route to Hospital

KABC(LOS ANGELES) — This is one Mother’s Day a new mom in Los Angeles certainly won’t forget.

As Sasha Murphy and boyfriend Mohammed Tindley were racing to get to the hospital on time before their baby arrived around 4 a.m. Sunday morning, they were pulled over by two LAPD officers who quickly noticed why the couple was speeding through red lights.

Murphy, 20, had just delivered her own baby in the car.

“The pressure started hitting and I was like, ‘Ok, this baby is coming and I hope it’s not going to come in the car,” Murphy told ABC News of the shocking ordeal. “I kept telling myself, ‘I’m going to be able to make it, I’m going to be able to make it.’ I felt more and more pressure and I propped my feet up on the dashboard and he slid right out.”

The couple saw the police officers following behind them and realized they had two options.

“It was either keep going and get to the hospital and they’ll understand when we get there, or pull over and they’re going to help us. And that’s exactly what we did,” Murphy explained. “All they saw were legs propped up and the baby and they said, ‘Ok we gotta go.’ The female officer was the first one to approach the car and once she saw the blood and saw the baby she said, ‘It’s time to go.’”

Officers Maraea Toomalatai and Bryan Armendariz helped safely escort the proud parents the rest of the way to Dignity Health California Medical Center where baby Messiah Tindley weighed in at a healthy 7 pounds and 10 ounces.

“He’s healthy. He’s strong. He’s getting his diaper changed right now,” Murphy said.

Although the hurried delivery was a “big surprise” for Murphy, she joked that the first thought that went through her mind when the baby was born was, “Don’t show my boyfriend because he’s going to go into a panic attack.”

But all was well, and the couple is thrilled to have brought a happy ending into the hospital’s emergency room.

“Knowing I’m one of their positive stories is very good,” Murphy said. “The team at the hospital was very helpful.”

The first thing Murphy plans to do with baby Messiah when she gets out of the hospital Tuesday is “show him to his big brother.”

“He’s very excited,” she said of her 1-year-old son, Mohammed Tindley Jr.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Wheelchair-Bound Dog Travels Freely Despite Neurological Disorder

Tom and Tamara Dilworth(NEW YORK) — Meet Mel. He’s an 8-year-old pit bull who has a neurological disease that affects his balance.

Mel got a second chance after being adopted from Yonkers Animal Shelter in New York six years ago by Tom and Tamara Dilworth. Soon the married couple of 12 years realized that Mel had a hard time walking, so they took him to Eddie’s Wheels for Pets back in 2012 to outfit him in a custom wheelchair.

“He was off and running instantly,” Tom, 49, told ABC News. “As soon as he got into it, he kind of stood there and figured it out and then he started walking. Once he started there was no stopping it.”

Mel is getting tons of attention online thanks to Tom, who is a professional photographer based in Mahopac, New York. He’s been documenting the dog’s travels on social media.

With his wheelchair, Mel has been all around the U.S., from Colorado to Rhode Island to Connecticut to Florida.

And despite being “clumsy” thanks to his disease, Tom said his dog is a “happy normal dog with a normal life.”

His favorite hobby?

“He loves getting out and walking around. And hiking,” Tom said proudly.

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Your Body: Caffeine’s Effects on Pregnancy

TongRo Images/ThinkstockBy DR. JENNIFER ASHTON, ABC News Senior Medical Contributor

We’ve all heard about not drinking too much caffeine while pregnant, but what about before getting pregnant?

A new study shows that a woman is more likely to miscarry if she and her partner drink more than two caffeinated drinks a day in the weeks before she gets pregnant. This study was interesting because it looked at both men and women’s behavior before conception and early in pregnancy, and their intake of caffeinated beverages.

In OB/GYN, we generally say that about 200mg of caffeine a day is fine. But remember: A lot more goes into fertility status and healthy pregnancies than just one isolated behavior.

If having a baby were such a fragile, delicate process, the human race would have ended long ago.

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