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PlaneTree's website
December 2011
Gratitude Beyond the Holi-daze 
Chinese Ribbon Dancer
     'Tis the season of delight and wonder, of sharing and caring. In winter's moments of reflection, we appreciate: Our breath drifting in cold night air. The familiarity of family traditions. Being able to give to others. 
     Awareness of our blessings, large and small, enriches our lives emotionally, socially, and physically. Experts recommend cultivating gratitude throughout the year.
     Gratefulness can be practiced in many ways. A perceptive chronicle of one woman's attempt to count her blessings is laced with cheeky humor and tips from research psychologists.
     Sometimes resentment, gratitude's opposite, creeps into even the closest relationships. If the routine tasks of household and family management are a source of conflict in your home, these thoughts on why couples and housemates often fail to appreciate - or even recognize - each other's contributions may help.
     May your 2012 be full of gratitude.
Support Circle
A circle of 12 unoccupied chairs
     If understanding peers could help you cope with an issue, consider a support group. Connect to local groups dealing with the following concerns:
Peripheral neuropathy (in Morgan Hill, Santa Cruz, San Jose)
Mental illness (includes groups especially for Christians, Jews, and speakers of Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Korean)
Caregiving (online support groups)
Grieving the death of a child
Colostomy, ileostomy, urostomy, or j-pouch
Brain injury (Select "Golden Gate" as the area served, then click "Search." The long results page loads slowly; be patient and scroll down.)
     If you are a participant in a helpful support group, please email PlaneTalk about it. We will feature other groups in future issues.
News You Can Use 
I can't eat that, I'm allergic (maybe).
Cookie with a bite missing     As patients and doctors often incorrectly diagnose the presence of food allergies, this news article from the New York Times will interest families trying to avoid one or more foods.
     A new guide for patients and families from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) will help anyone diagnosing or coping with a food allergy. Related clinical guidelines for doctors are also available.


A Better Blood-Thinner?
Blood clot in a blood vessel     Readers who take warfarin (Coumadin) may want to talk to their doctors about several new anticoagulants which appear to be safer, simpler to use, and more effective. The downside? Higher prices and very brief track records.


Screening Choices
     You probably know that colon and rectal cancers are quite treatable when caught early. But are you aware that you can choose any one of several screening methods, all very effective? Explore your options by reading about the various tests and when and how often to be checked. A technical review of each method's advantages and disadvantages is also available.
Doctor listening to a female patient     If you have not gotten tested because you dread preparing for a colonoscopy or sigmoidoscopy, talk to your doctor about the iFOBT. A recently developed fecal occult blood test (FOBT) which looks for immunochemicals, the "iFOBT" is inexpensive, effective, and self-administered. However, it must be used far more often than the invasive procedures (every 1 to 2 years, rather than every 5 to 10), because it does not detect precancerous conditions. This news report summarized research on the accuracy of iFOBT. 
     Readers aged 50 to 64 with limited incomes will be glad to know that free and low-cost colorectal cancer screenings are available.
Aging or Poor Nutrition?
     Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause anemia and many of the physical and cognitive declines stereotypically associated with Vitamin pillsold age. Its symptoms are sometimes mistakenly attributed to other conditions. People with possible symptoms who are at risk for B12 deficiency - older seniors, strict vegetarians, and others - may want to be tested.
In This Issue
Support Circle
News You Can Use
Upcoming Lectures
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Dear Santa,

Santa taking letter from mailbox 

    We've been especially good this year. Would you please be sure our organization gets a gift? Thanks so much!


PlaneTree staff

               & volunteers 


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Upcoming Lectures
3 older women, happy in swim caps
    Learn about fun ways to feel better and affordable, local resources for healthy aging. Pick your favorite Santa Clara County Library location for one of 7 free presentations, supported by The Health Trust and the Council on Aging. Attendees will be given a 75-page guidebook, Healthy Steps in Silicon Valley, available in English, Spanish and Mandarin.
    On a related note, PlaneTree's spring health lecture series will soon be set. Look for a rich schedule of free, informative talks in the next edition of PlaneTalk.
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WOW! Thanks!
Woman's hand holding tiny house made of dollar bills
    Record-setting attendance at last October's Showcase of Miniatures raised an all-time high of over $17,000 for PlaneTree. PlaneTree is grateful to the all-volunteer committee of talented local artisans whose year-round organizing efforts produce one of the top 3 miniature shows in the U.S.
    Show chair Barb Jones noted that "many attendees were first-timers. The high caliber of craftsmanship and our free workshops for kids and adults attract more people every year." If you keep meaning to attend the weekend event, also known as the "Good Sam Show," mark your calendars for October 6th and 7th, 2012.