Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Brief Intermission

I'm away for a holiday. The photo gives a good clue as to what we will be doing. Regular posts will resume when I return July 23rd. Meanwhile, please browse my previous posts and links. Merv.
p.s. July 23rd - We're back from Myrtle Beach fully refreshed and rejuvenated. Just what the doctor ordered! If you would like to see what the Myrtle Beach area is like I've put a few photos on my web site: Myrtle Beach

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Lung Transplant Hats & T-Shirts For Sale

We have t-shirts, grey, in several sizes, and ball caps, dark blue, from the recent golf tournament for sale. They are proving to be very popular and you may wish to get some while supplies last. The caps have Lung Transplant Open 2005 in gold on the front and the back reads Lung Transplant Research, Toronto General Hospital. The male golfers below are all wearing the ballcaps and Frank Bialystok, second from the right is wearing one of the T-shirts. Others in the photo: Mike & Anne Chwastiak, Brad Romeo. Don't they look terrific?

Prices: T-shirts: $10 Ball Caps $15 Combo Deal $20. Order from Peter Laurence via email: (all proceeds go for lung transplant research at Toronto General Hospital)

Friday, June 24, 2005

The Stress of Waiting For A Transplant

This is one of a series of articles published by Transplant

Emotional Aspects of Waiting
Waiting for a transplant is a difficult experience for patients and their families. That's because it may be long and stressful because of the uncertainties about whether and when a suitable donor organ will become available. In addition, facing the reality of a serious illness, fearing what is involved and dealing with complex medical information can seem overwhelming. The below link provides guidelines for managing stress and developing a positive attitude.
Coping With The Emotional Stress of Waiting For a Transplant

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Lung Transplant BBQ & Picnic June 26/05

There's only a short time left to let us know if you will be attending our Annual • Lung Transplant Picnic and BBQ which will be held this coming Sunday, June 26, 2005 at 12 noon in Huron Park, Mississauga, ON.

Location: 830 Paisley Blvd. W (between Queensway and Dundas St. W. west of Mavis)

If you are planning to attend we would like to know as soon as possible to give us an idea of how big a crowd to expect and to make sure we have enough food on hand. We would also like the names of those in your party so we can have the name badges prepared. Of course, we understand that some people are not able to decide until the last minute for health or other reasons and last minute guests will still be welcome.

Respond by email to Merv Sheppard or call me at 519-632-7940.

The BBQ is a great opportunity to socialize with others in the transplant community and is open to pre and post-lung transplant recipients, their supports, friends, families, the transplant team, hospital staff and related parties. See photos from last year at: Picnic 2004

Bring your own lawn chairs, coolers, beverages and a pot-luck accompaniment such as a salad, desert, rolls, snacks or whatever else you prefer. We will provide hamburgers, hot dogs, sausages, condiments, plates, cups, cutlery, napkins, etc.

A donation will be collected to help defray expenses.

For planning purposes please let us know how many each of hot dogs, sausages and hamburgers your party will require. Vegetarian? If you prefer a vegetarian burger, hot dog, etc. please bring your own and we will BBQ it for you.

If you are on oxygen please make sure you have an adequate supply.

As noted above please respond as soon as possible. Also, let us know the names of the individuals in your party for name badge purposes. Include the name of your organization if you are representing one. If you are a pre or post-transplant recipient please let us know this and the date and type of your transplant (double-lung, single-lung or heart & lung) for the name badge. Thank you.

Respond to: Merv Sheppard

Monday, June 20, 2005

Will You Be Ready For Surgery When The Call Comes?

Transplant Living: Be Ready for Surgery When the Call Comes

Are you waiting for an organ transplant or do you know someone who is? Waiting for a donor organ can be a stressful experience, especially because the amount of time you'll have to wait is unknown. Regardless, there are important steps transplant candidates can take to ensure they are ready for surgery when the important call comes. Click on the above link at UNOS for a list of the things a transplant candidate should be doing right now.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Make This Site Your Home Page

Make Merv Sheppard's Transplant Network your home page.


AOL Web Browser
When you click Internet on the AOL toolbar, the browser opens a predetermined world wide web page called the home page. When you install the AOL software, the home page is set to America Online's home page at You can change your home page at any time.
To change the default browser home page
1. On the Settings menu on the AOL toolbar, click Preferences.
2. In the Organization section of the Preferences window, click Internet Properties (WWW).
3. In the Home Page section of the General tab, type
4. Click the Apply button on the bottom, then click OK.

Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0 and higher

Go to the "Tools" menu and choose "Internet Options."
Click on the "General" tab.
In the top Home page section type in
Click "Apply" button at the bottom.
Click "OK" button
Quick Way to Set Home Page: Left click on the icon immediately to the left of the link in the address bar while Merv Sheppard's Transplant Network is open, hold the mouse key down and drag to the icon that resembles a house. Let go, and you'll be asked to confirm that you want Merv Sheppard's Transplant Network to be your home page. Click Yes and Merv Sheppard's Transplant Network is now your home page. WARNING: do not do this from this page or it will be your startup page. Do it from my home page at:

Netscape and Mozilla
Click "Edit" on menu bar
Click "Preferences"
Click the "Navigator" option
In the "Home Page" text-entry box, enter
Click "OK."

Mozilla Firefox
Click "Tools" on menu bar
Click "Options"
Click the "General" option tab on left hand side
In the "Home Page" text-entry box named Location, enter
Click "OK."

Microsoft Internet Explorer MAC 5.0
At the top left of your screen, click on the Apple icon to open the Apple menu.
Go to the Control Panels and select Internet
Click on the Web tab. In the middle of the window, in the Default Pages section, find Home Page and type in
Close the Internet window and click Save. Merv Sheppard's Transplant Network is now your default home page.

MAC X 10
Open Safari and in Safari menu select Preferences.
Click the General icon.
In the 'Home page' section type

Click "Navigation" on menu bar.
Click on "Set Home Page"
In the text-entry box, enter
Click "OK."

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Transplant Open a Big Success

The Transplant Open June 9th to raise funds for lung transplant research was a huge success as a result of the wonderful support our committee members Kim Cassar, Peter Laurence and I received from our donors, sponsors and volunteers.

We will announce the amount raised for transplant research soon but it looks like we will have close to $13,000 to donate.

Some of the pictures are already on the web for your enjoyment. See link below.
(if you attended the event and your photo is not posted yet check again. More pictures from other photographers will be added soon)

Next year's tournament is already booked for Wednesday, June 7, 2006 at the same course, Castlemore Golf & Country Club, Brampton, Ontario. Mark you calendar!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

In Praise of Lynne & Peter Laurence

At times, a crisis brings out the best in people and there is no finer example than the kindness my friends Lynne and Peter Laurence showed me last Thursday, late at night.

We were just winding up our very successful first annual Lung Transplant Golf Tournament at Castlemore Golf & Country Club, in north Brampton, Ontario. We started to load our vehicles for the trip home when I discovered that I had lost my car keys. We searched and searched but no luck. So there I was, parked in a golf course lot more than 60 miles from home, where I had a spare key.

So here's what the Laurence's did. They took me to their home in Mississauga, put me up for the night, fed me breakfast and then Peter drove me the 100 miles return from his home to mine to pick-up my spare key and then drove me all the way back to the golf course to get my car.

Who could ask for any better friends than that?


Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Last chance for Transplant Open June 9th

This is your last opportunity to take part in this fund raising event to support the Lung Transplant Program at Toronto General Hospital.

Thursday, June 9, 2005
Castlemore Golf & Country Club, Brampton, Ontario
Castlemore Web Site
(off Airport Road north of highway 7).
Registration: 12noon - Shotgun start at 1pm
Cost: Golf, Cart, Dinner & Putting Contest $175 per person
Cost: Dinner only: $60

To sign-up to play, attend dinner, sponsor a hole ( $250) or make a donation: Contact Peter Laurence: Email
7128 Upton Cr., Mississauga, ON L5N 7L6
(416) 471-1421 Fax (905) 814-5220
Visa, Master Card and Amex accepted.
Make cheques payable to Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation

For full details click on: Golf June 9,2005

Monday, June 06, 2005

News from Pfizer: FDA Approves Pfizer's Revatio as Treatment for Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension

NEW YORK, June 6 -- Pfizer Inc said today the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved RevatioTM(sildenafil citrate) as a treatment for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a rare, aggressive and life-shortening vascular disease. Sildenafil citrate is the active ingredient in Viagra®, Pfizer's erectile dysfunction medication used by more than 26 million men worldwide.

PAH is characterized by dangerously high pressure in the blood vessels that lead from the heart to the lungs. It is estimated to affect approximately 100,000 people worldwide. Symptoms include difficulty breathing, dizziness and fatigue. Left untreated, patients have an average survival time of less than three years from the time of diagnosis. "Pfizer undertook a six-year clinical development program in PAH because patients with this devastating disease needed more medical options, and there was evidence that sildenafil could be an effective treatment," said Dr. Joe Feczko, Pfizer's chief medical officer. "Revatio demonstrates our commitment to developing treatments for unmet medical needs, including rare conditions such as PAH, regardless of commercial potential."

Click on the above link for the full press release.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Experimental Shingles Vaccine Proves Effective in Nationwide Study

Stronger version of chickenpox vaccine cuts incidence and severity of shingles in older adults

Zostavax™, Merck's Investigational Shingles Vaccine, Reduced the Incidence, Severity and Duration of Shingles Pain in a New Study Published in The New England Journal of Medicine

For the many transplant recipients who have had shingles, or who are potential candidates for developing shingles because they had chickenpox earlier in life and are now immune suppressed, this is wonderful news. I experienced shingles just a few months after my lung transplant and the resulting pain (post-herpetic neuralgia) was the most debilitating and discomforting sickness I ever had. At no time pre or post transplant did I have pain that severe and I hope never to experience it again. You can believe that I will try to get this new vaccination as soon as it is available. Merv.

In one of the largest adult vaccine clinical trials ever, researchers have found that an experimental vaccine against shingles (zoster vaccine) prevented about half of cases of shingles—a painful nerve and skin infection—and dramatically reduced its severity and complications in vaccinated persons who got the disease. The findings appear in the June 2 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.

The Shingles Prevention Study, conducted over 5 ½-years, was led by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and carried out in collaboration with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Merck & Co., Inc. (Whitehouse Station, NJ).

“This is very promising news for older persons,” says Stephen E. Straus, M.D., an infectious diseases specialist at NIAID and Director of the NIH National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, who participated in the design, oversight and conduct of the trial. “These striking results indicate for the first time that we can use a vaccine to prevent shingles, one of the most common and debilitating illnesses of aging. And among vaccine recipients who did get shingles, the episodes generally were far milder than they otherwise would have been.”

“For some people, shingles can result in months or even years of misery,” comments study leader Michael N. Oxman, M.D., an infectious disease specialist at the San Diego VA Healthcare System and the University of California, San Diego.

Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is caused by reactivation of the virus that causes chickenpox. Once chickenpox infection has run its course, the virus is not eliminated; rather, it retreats to clusters of sensory nerve cells usually located near the spinal cord, where the virus persists in a dormant state. As immunity weakens with advancing age, the virus can reactivate, multiply in and damage sensory nerve cells to cause pain. It then migrates to the skin, causing the blistering rash of shingles.

Generally, shingles first manifests as pain, itching or tingling in an area of skin on one side of the body or face. Then a painful blistering rash develops in that same area of skin; the rash can take two to four weeks to heal.

Anyone who has had chickenpox—which includes most adults in the United States—could develop shingles, though not all will. The two major risk factors are increasing age and declining immunity. Half of all people who live to age 85 will get the disease. Experts estimate more than a million new cases of shingles occur in the United States each year.

Read the full NIAID release:
Shingles Vaccine

See Merck"s release: