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Many here know that one impetus of my request for this board was the onset of serious illness among family and friends.

Along those lines, I thought I'd provide an update based on news received today.

My brother had his first appointment with the rheumatologist. The doctor took his medical history and drew 5 vials of blood for testing.

Upon learning of the course of powerful steroids that my brother took last summer following his brain tumor surgery, the doctor told him that he believes there is a link between steroid use and the onset of arthritis, claiming that many of his fellow physicians don't concur with that opinion.

He has an apt with the neurologist on Friday. He believes my brother suffered his first post-surgery seizure last week, so he's going back for evaluation of his anti-seizure meds. I don't know much about seizures, but they sound like a misfiring in the brain network. I'm worried for him, hope they can control these.

My co-worker with the recurrence of breast cancer, has been referred to hospice. I almost cannot bear the thought of this.

My best friend, also with breast cancer, is still undergoing another round of chemo and hanging in there.

These folks are all in their 40s and should have so many more healthy days of life ahead. All I can do is keep them in my thoughts and prayers.

On a somewhat lighter note, fingers crossed, my brother's wife is due to give birth in five weeks. We should have a new baby in the family soon. She was diagnosed this week with preeclampsia so she is resting at home and they are monitoring her condition and hope not to have to take the baby too soon.

My grandparents, 87 and almost 90 were on the phone with me today, relaying their little aches and pains. I told them to count their blessings and stay warm.

Wishing you all the best - MG
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