Category Archives: Health

Remission 12th anniversary

Photography by Miriam Hurdle

I was diagnosed with a rare melanoma cancer in July 2008. None of the doctors who treated me had seen it. It started with stage I or II but turned into stage IV within a few months. I completed the year-long bio-chemotherapy, surgeries and radiation on August 1, 2009. Today marks the 12th anniversary of remission. I’m thankful to be alive, enjoy my family and have the joy to watch the grandchildren grow. I have been writing about my cancer journey since 2016. The distance from the event allows me to have reflection and a proper perspective. It will be a part of my legacy to pass on to the generations to come. This was a one-day-at-a-time journey of faith, hope, and strength. It was a journey cheered and supported by family and friends.

To celebrate the 12th anniversary of my remission, I wanted to share an excerpt with you. The working title of my legacy is The Winding Road, and I’m working on the tagline.

Chapter 2

The hysterectomy surgery was on July 31st, 2008. I wanted to rest for two or three weeks after the surgery before returning to work when the new school year began. 

My husband, Lynton, drove me to St. Jude Medical Center which was 3 miles from home. He stayed with me until the hospital attendant transported me to the surgery room. After the attendant and nurses lifted me onto the surgical table, the anesthesiologist called my name and introduced himself to me and said Dr. Gray was on the way. Before I smiled at him, the blackness came upon me. 

I woke up in the hospital room in the afternoon. There was no pain in the abdomen. Perhaps the anesthesia was not worn off yet. Lynton came with a bouquet almost the same time I woke up. He stayed with me until dinner time and said he would call me early in the morning. It was a relief that the fibroids I had for years were out for good.

At 10:00 p.m., Dr. Gray came to the room and greeted me with a smile. I returned a grin with apprehension because no doctors would visit patients late at night unless there was an emergency. He sat down by the bed. “The surgery went well,” he said, “and I wanted to share the pathology result with you.”

My puzzling grew but nodded and kept smiling.

“The pathology result shows that the vaginal mass was melanoma. I’ve never seen it before, not in vagina, so I did some research. The research shows that melanoma is the most aggressive, invasive and dangerous cancer.”

He detected the perplex on my face, and said, “It looks like it’s in stage I or II, the beginning stage and the cancer has not spread into other parts of the body yet.”

I wanted to ask questions, but my mind went blank. What questions could I ask? The moisture saturated my eyes.

“I have lined up the referrals for you to see the specialists for treatments. Call my cell phone if you have questions. I’ll start my vacation tomorrow.” He handed me a note with his phone number. It seemed like he did a lot of homework that afternoon.

“But you’ll be on vacation,” I said, still tried to find words.

“That’s what a cell phone is for.” he smiled. “I’m glad God put you in my care.”

His visit transported me to the thickest fog in the dark.

~ ~ ~

The next day, I still had no pain after the anesthesia was worn off.

Lynton called me around 9:00 a.m. to let me know he was coming to see me later that day. He told me his dad passed away, and he was on the phone with his siblings. His dad had been in Loma Linda ICU since last Wednesday with a heart-attack and a kidney infection. The infection went into the blood and his condition went downhill. After the infection was gone, he was on dialysis to give the kidney a break to see if it could be reversed. Lynton and I went to see him last Wednesday. He was unconscious when we got there. The entire family of twelve people were there talking to each other about the latest progress. Lynton’s dad heard our voices and opened his eyes. We went close to his bedside to hold his hands and spoke to him. His eyes sparked a little and then went back to unconsciousness. That was the last time I saw his dad.

“Would you ask your family to schedule the funeral service after I get home from the hospital? I want to be there.”

“Don’t worry. My family will consider that when they plan for the funeral service. I’m on my way to the hospital to see you.”

When he arrived, I gave him the news. He faced me with the brooding look and said he would research on melanoma as soon as he got home.

“How are you feeling?” the nurse came in to check on me.

“I’m feeling very well with no pain. Can I go home today?”

“The attending doctor is not here yet. Let me check your incision and change the dressing. I’ll let the doctor know of your condition. He has to authorize the discharge.”

The doctor came in an hour later. After checking my progress, he authorized the discharge.

“Thank you, doctor,” I said to him while my mind spun at a record speed, miles into the search engine, chasing the meaning of melanoma.

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The Covid Effect – Vaccinated or Unvaccinated

The US President Biden announced on Thursday, July 29, 2021, that people will get $100 in payment to get vaccinated! Here’s the story leading up to the current news.

The IMF and COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

The Covid-19 Devastation

The first announcement of pandemic and lockdown in California was March 2020. In the following nine months, Covid cases and deaths throughout the nation spread like a plague. The entire world was in a helpless and desperate state as the scientist wasted in no time to find a solution. I developed a spreadsheet to track the numbers and paid attention to the cities, states, and countries where I have family and friends.

I canceled my trip in March 2020 to be with my daughter for the birth of my younger granddaughter, Nora. My husband and I didn’t go to my niece’s wedding in October 2020 in Hong Kong. We didn’t go to my husband’s niece’s wedding in November 2020 in New York.

We watched the news and waited. Then Pfizer and BioNTech announced on December 11, 2020, that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized the emergency use of the mRNA vaccine against Covid-19. The authorizations of Moderna and Johnson & Johnson were issued early in 2021. The news highlighted President Biden and Vice-president Harris received the vaccines.

Source: Pfizer

The Hope

People lined up for miles waiting to get the vaccination. Some even drove from New York to Florida to get their shots. In the months to come, individuals and organizations volunteered to make appointments for the folks who couldn’t get through the busy phone lines. Again, individuals and car rentals stepped up to give rides for many to the vaccination sites. Mobile clinics delivered vaccines to some hard-to-reach neighborhoods.

The Relief

After the spring break for schools in 2021, the cases and deaths declined steadily, showing a sign of recovery in the society. There was such a relief of hope that life will become normal again. President Biden promised that there would be a July 4th Independent Day celebration. There was!

We watched the Washington D.C. spectacular fireworks with such excitement. I made up the lost time in visiting my daughter’s family. We have visited them and enjoyed the granddaughters in March, May, and June 2021, and have scheduled at least the next trips in August and September. Our church met in person on June 20. The adult fellowship and women’s groups scheduled different small group gatherings. I’ve attended almost two meetings a week. I also attended my chorale rehearsal held in a member’s backyard.

 Déjà Vu

The month of July has seen Covid-19 cases in the United States increase at the fastest pace since last winter, marking the start of the latest wave of infections to afflict the nation. A new STAT analysis of Covid-19 case data reveals this new wave is already outpacing the spring and summer waves of 2020.

Source: Statnews July 26, 2021

“The current COVID-19 surge in the U.S. – fueled by the highly contagious Delta variant – will steadily accelerate through the summer and fall, peaking in mid-October, with daily deaths more than triple what they are now.

“In that scenario, at the peak in mid-October, there would be around 60,000 cases and around 850 deaths each day. Each scenario also includes a range of how bad things could get – the very worst end of the range for the most likely scenario shows about 240,000 people getting infected and 4,000 people dying each day at the October peak, which would be almost as bad as last winter,” says Justin Lessler, an epidemiologist at the University of North Carolina.

Lessler notes that there’s a lot of uncertainty in these projections and that how things play out depends on lots of factors.

Source: NPR July 22, 2021

The Skepticism of Vaccination

Rochelle P. Walensky, Director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pointed out that the new surge became a pandemic of the unvaccinated. The outbreaks of cases in parts of the country are higher because of the high percentage of unvaccinated people who are at risk. And the communities that are fully vaccinated are generally doing well. The news reports showing that those being hospitalized or dying of covid-19 are overwhelmingly unvaccinated.

NPR reported that the vaccine rollout reached a critical stage in which most adults who wanted the vaccine have gotten it, but many others were holding out. There were 12 influential social media users have impacted the outcome. These 12 individuals are well known to both researchers and the social networks. They include anti-vaccine activists, alternative health entrepreneurs and physicians. Some of them run multiple accounts across the different platforms.

Source: NPR May 13, 2021

Vaccine Incentive Programs

As of July 28, 2021, at least 189,494,180 people or 58% of the population have received at least one dose. Overall, 163,588,042 people or 50% of the population have been fully vaccinated.

On Thursday, July 29, President Biden called on state and local governments to use funds from his $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan to offer $100 payment to individuals as incentive to get vaccinated. The payments would be offered to newly vaccinated Americans.

Source: ABC News

Do incentives work? Yes… and no. Some people are motivated by cash incentive but some are not.

On May 27, 2021, California Governor Gavin Newsom launched the $116.5 million vaccine incentive program – the biggest in the nation – to boost vaccinations as California prepares to fully reopen the economy June 15, $100 million in $50 prepaid or grocery cards for the next two million newly vaccinated people, and $16.5 million in cash prizes for all vaccinated Californians.

Ohio’s Vax-a-Million lottery program, which offered $1-million prizes and full-ride four-year college scholarships to vaccinated people. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests lottery incentive programs do not increase the likelihood that individuals will become vaccinated.

Gov. Gavin Newsom of California and winners of the “Vax for the Win” lottery in Los Angeles last month.

Vaccination Mandate from Employers

President Biden announced Thursday a strict new vaccine requirement for US federal workers, the nation’s largest workforce with some two million people. The order requires employees to show proof of vaccination or be subjected to mandatory testing and masking. “This is an American tragedy. People are dying, and will die, who don’t have to die,” Biden said in the East Room of the White House.

After months of encouraging employees to get vaccinated against Covid-19, companies are beginning to roll out mandates – a dramatic escalation of Corporate America’s approach to halting the spread of the virus.

On Wednesday, Google and Facebook became the first two Silicon Valley giants to issue mandates of their own.

Here are the companies that have announced Covid-19 vaccine requirements for at least some of their employees:

Google, Facebook, Twitter (TWTR), Netflix, BlackRock (BAAPX), Morgan Stanley (MS), Delta, Disney, Saks Fifth Avenue, The Washington Post, Ascension Health, Lyft, and Uber. The list is growing.

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What do you think about vaccination?

Do I enjoy being poked by the needles? No, I don’t. I’m allergic to some unknown medications to me and my doctors. The allergic reaction caused inflammation to my entire body and I ended up in the hospital in March 2018 and November 2019. Yet, I signed up on three scheduling sites to line up for vaccination. I only got a sore arm from the first shot and a mild rash from the second shot.

My son-in-law is one who fears needles since a kid. My daughter and he signed up to fill the spots when individuals failed to show up for the vaccine. At the time they signed up, only the folks 65 and above were eligible. They received notification for the availability and went from Portland, Oregon to Vancouver, Washington to receive the vaccine. I was there visiting them when they had the second shot. My son-in-law rode his bike for more than an hour from his home to the clinic to take his mind off the fear of the needle.

During the sixteen months lockdown, the one frequently asked question was, “When can I go see my grandchildren?” I asked the same question many times. I only visited my granddaughters twice during the first twelve months of pandemic. My daughter and I had several discussions on this matter. We had the same understanding that I might be at risk of virus and could pass it on to the babies. For the benefit and well-being of everyone in the family, it was not wise for me to go.

Going to visit my granddaughters became my motivation to get vaccinated. I was so excited to receive the second vaccine several days before my trip to Nora’s first birthday. I had an allergic reaction after the second shot, but my daughter said one of her friends also had rash. After taking ibuprofen for several days, my rash went away.

Some people do not take the vaccine for medical reasons. A long-time friend suffered from the collapse of both lungs. One lung is nonfunctioning, and the other lung has 22% breathing capacity. The doctor didn’t recommend him to take the vaccine in case he had an allergic reaction which might worsen his breathing.

The vaccine incentive may not motivate all the unvaccinated people to take the vaccines. I hope that when large companies step up to require their employees to prove the vaccination status to return to work. This mandate plays a heavier weight on motivating people to take the vaccines even though it’s not their preference.

In the meantime, I wear the mask when going out to protect myself and others. Stay safe, my friends!

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #91: Simplicity

Patti Moed invited us to focus on the theme Simplicity this week as the Coronavirus pandemic spreads and intensifies, many of us around the world are spending a lot of time at home, following governmental regulations to shelter in place.

As of April 6, 2020, California has 15,221 cases reported and 351 deaths, according to a New York Times database. The government issued the rules of wearing masks outdoor and when shopping.

 

We have tried our best to stay home and keep things simple. We set up a home gym with workout bench, dumbbells, and treadmill. Hubby has a manikin to practice boxing. He runs in a nearby park. I walk around a nearby lake or in the neighborhood.

1. morning walk

2. morning walk

 

We eat simple food with eggs, avocados, tomatoes, and fruits for breakfast, vegetables and alternate chicken and salmon for dinner. The shopping list is simple, so Hubby only goes once a week for a quick run. I rarely go to the stores.

3. breakfast

 

To increase physical activity, I do more gardening when weather is clear. I planted some seeds for gladiolus several years ago. They multiplied, and some flowers grew under a grapevine last year, not getting enough space and sunlight to grow. I dug them up last week and transplanted to another area to grow better.

4. flowers3

5. gardening5

 

My daughter has a Tinybeans.com account where she posts photos of her kids and family activities. I checked the account every day to look at the photos and videos. They give me much joy and I look forward to them every day. The daycare is closed, so Autumn stays home. She plays in the backyard, rides her balance bike or skateboard in the nearby park or on the street.

6. Autumn skateboard2

 

Stay safe and please share with me in the comment how you maintain simplicity yet keep your life interesting.

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #91: Simplicity

 

 

Merry Christmas

It has been a challenging time for me since the beginning of November. I have an allergic reaction toward something, possibly medications. After having gone to the Urgent Care twice, Emergency Room twice, hospitalized for five days and seeing eight doctors, no doctor could pinpoint what happened to the constant inflammation of my skin. All they could say was to ask me to discontinue this and that medication. I will discontinue ALL my medications in less than a month. What a motivation for me to get rid of all the medications I have been taking. They gave me some treatments such steroids and antibiotics. I spent Thanksgiving in the hospital and was hoping not to miss all the celebrations in Christmas.

 

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Messiah Performance

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Messiah Performance

With great effort and determination, I gathered my energy and ensured a pleasant appearance; I managed to sing in one of the two performances of Messiah. I couldn’t sing in the first one because I was still miserable. Laying in my bed, I could hear the choir singing. My disappointment was no greater than my motivation. I quietly plead for good health the next day so that I could sing. Oh, what a miracle! I woke up feeling the coolness of my body. It was a great joy for me to spend hours to prepare myself. The photos showed my red face (with no make-up) from the inflammation. My friends in the audience were happy to see me.

 

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Retirees singing to the retirees

I also got to sing in one of the two chorale concerts. I missed the first one when the group sang in a retirement home. The second one was as fun when we sang to the fellow retirees.

 

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Precious group of ladies at the Christmas dinner

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Joy to the World celebration

There were two Christmas parties I was delighted to go and had fun seeing my friends of thirty years. One was the ladies Christmas dinner, and the other was the adult fellowship Christmas party.

I haven’t seen the end of the tunnel yet. I’ll still must take a blogging break until my health is fully recovered. Until then, I wish you all

A Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

 

SoCS 2019.10.05 – Healthy Taste

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “-tast-.” Find a word that contains “tast” and use it in your post. Enjoy!Linda G. Hill

For health reason, Hubby and I are on a low carbohydrate but tasty, healthy and balanced diet. When he retired in 2016, he said, “You have been cooking for me for twenty years. From now on, I’ll do all the cooking.” He has kept his words literally. We eat two meals a day. He makes a tasty and colorful brunch with eggs, fruit and vegetable. For dinner, he makes tasty salmon and different vegetables. Once in a while, he makes thin crust pizza and continues to improve on his secret recipe. Two or three times a year, we have barbecues with lean meat.

For dining out, I usually have seafood and he has steak. Basically, we stay away from fat and starchy food.

 

 

brunch 2017.08.28

Brunch – Hubby’s portion, half size for Miriam

2018 pizza 1

Thin Crust Pizza – Pepperoni for Hubby, Veggies for Miriam

2017 BBQ

Barbecue dinner with homemade potato chips

Crusted New York Strip

Dining out – Hubby’s dinner

Cedar Planked Salmon

Dining out – Miriam’s dinner

 

 

SoCS 2019.10.05 – Healthy Taste

 

 

 

 

 

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives #Family – #Kidney Transplant – A Good Match by Miriam Hurdle

I’m over at Sally Cronin’s blog today. She features my archive post about my brother’s kidney transplant. It was an unforgettable experience in our family. Please click the link below to read the story.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome back to Miriam Hurdle with the third of her posts from the archives and this week a life-saving operation is needed for her brother-in-law.

Kidney Transplant – A Good Match by Miriam Hurdle

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In the summer of 2008, my husband Lynton, my daughter Mercy, her boyfriend (now husband) Will, and I planned to attend my nephew’s wedding in Hong Kong. That was the year when China was hosting the 2008 Summer Olympics. The airfares going to Hong Kong from the U.S. were higher than usual because of the people traveled to Beijing through Hong Kong. After searching, I found a Bangkok tour from the U.S. via Hong Kong, and we could stay in Hong Kong at any length of time. It was a deal I couldn’t resist. I had never been to Bangkok, so this would be a bonus for our trip. All we had to do was adding…

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Share Your World – April 2, 2018

Cee’s Share Your World posts these questions for this week and here come my responses:

1. What was or is your favorite cartoon?

My favorite cartoon is Peanuts. I like that because many of the comic strips have thought-provoking quotes rather than funny ones.

Peanuts is written and illustrated by Charles M. Schulz (November 26, 1922 – February 12, 2000) which ran from October 2, 1950, to February 13, 2000, continuing in reruns afterward. The comic strip is the most popular and influential in the history of comic strips, with 17,897 strips published in all, making it “arguably the longest story ever told by one human being.”. At its peak in the mid to late 1960s, Peanuts ran in over 2,600 newspapers, with a readership of around 355 million in 75 countries and was translated into 21 languages. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peanuts

 

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Image result for charlie brown quotes

 

Peanuts 3        Charlie Brown Quotes About Life Charlie Brown Quotes On Life Peanuts Quotes About HappinessPeanuts 2        5d598d1b18d013f8ea8c12016272a4db

2. Which cooking utensil (other than the usual pots and pans etc.) would you miss the most?

All my life until the time I was retired, I worked long hours. For many years I worked full time and went to school full time (It seemed like I was going to school all my life). Cooking has never been my favorite thing to do. When I do cook, I made due of whatever is at hand.

 

Image result for cooking images

3. Would you dare to sleep in a haunted house overnight?

I’m not an adventuresome person. If there were ghosts, I don’t think they would harm me. But if I saw one, I would be scared.

I have a friend who is a real estate agent. After her mom passed away, she was selling her mom’s house. she showed it to a buyer one day. While talking, that buyer said, “Is there anyone living in this house?”

“No.” My friend said.

“There is a person standing behind you.” The buyer whispered.

“Described that person to me.” My friend said without turning to look.

The buyer described to my friend of whom she saw. My friend said, “That’s my mom.”

 

4. What did you appreciate or what made you smile this past week?  Feel free to use a quote, a photo, a story, or even a combination. 

I’m thankful to be well again. During my hospital stay last weekend, after many testing to rule out the virus and disease, the doctors concluded that I had an allergic reaction to some chemicals in my high blood pressure medication. Whatever chemicals that didn’t agree with my baby, I had taken it for nine months. Then my baby didn’t like it anymore and reacted to it violently and cause 103.8 fever and rash all over my body. The medication was replaced by new one, and I’m doing well.

My granddaughter turned 6-month-old on March 28. I’m going to see her tomorrow, Wednesday, April 4, 2018.

 

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Cee’s Share Your World – April 2, 2018

Nutrition Benefit

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 My husband Lynton and I have changed our diet since April 24, 2017. What a difference it makes in our health! He wished he had the knowledge about nutrition and how it affects our health in the early years.

Lynton was diagnosed with prediabetes several years ago. A nutritionist was assigned to him for discussion, along with attending some nutrition classes. He then just mentally avoided eating too much sugar. He didn’t have a specific nutritional plan, except eating less carbohydrate and sugary food.

I have no concern about my diet. I am a quasi-vegetarian, in that, I am not an official vegetarian but crave for vegetables naturally. I can do without eating meat and not missing it a bit. When I do eat meat, I could eat two or three ounces.

During the last lab test, Lynton’s blood sugar level got bumped up to the low level of diabetes. Both of his parents are diabetics, so this lab test raised his concern. He diligently watched YouTube videos on nutrition every night for many weeks and then decided to change his diet.

Ever since April 24, we have freshly squeezed orange juice from our tree, rather than processed juice, plus tomatoes and eggs for breakfast. We have the vegetables and mixed berries smoothie for lunch and dinner, and add salmon for dinner several times a week.

Prior to changing our diet, whenever Lynton watched TV in the evening, he would be snacking off and on all night. After we changed our diet, he has no craving for snacks or sweet. This is a great revelation to him. He monitors his blood sugar level with the home test kit. So far, his blood sugar level has been below 110 and is as low as 97. He feels more energetic.

We now have two happy campers in our house!

M&L

Daily Prompt: Revelation

Daily Prompt: Snack

Imaginary Mountain

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When I was done with the bio-chemotherapy and radiation in 2009, I only had the summer to rest. I needed to go back to work for one more year to make the most of my retirement. I worked twenty-four years for my last school district. As the district policy, if I worked twenty-four years, the calculation of my retirement income would be based on the average income of the highest three consecutive years. If I worked twenty-five years, the calculation would be based on one year of the highest income. For this reason, I went back to work for one more year.

I was not in a good shape to go back to work. During that year, whenever one co-worker got sick, I got sick. My immune system has no ability to fight germs. I had severed cold three times. My sick leave days were down to minimum. What I did was to leave work two hours early to go to the doctor. I was able to take two hours leave for four times to count as one sick day. I looked so much forward to the end of the year for my retirement!

My body didn’t start to recuperate until one year after the treatment. There was one incident illustrated very well of how physically weak I was. I went to a store to get a hummingbird feeder. The section with all the pet items was in the back of the store at the far right corner. When I went to the cashier in the front of the store to pay, I changed my mind of the color of the feeder. I asked the cashier if someone could go to the back of the store and get me the other color. They wouldn’t do that for me.

I looked at the corner of the pet section, diagonally from where I was standing. My whole body felt there was an imaginary mountain in front of me. Yet I only had enough energy to go home. So I left the hummingbird feeder with the cashier.

Getting the hummingbird feeder would be another task for another day!

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Daily Prompt: Imaginary

God’s Healing Power – 9 Gratitude links

 

Haiku

Fore’er remember

Surviving melanoma

By God’s healing pow’r

~     ~     ~

My Melanoma treatment experiences are written in the following posts:

Gratitude Moment #1

Gratitude Moments #2

Gratitude Moments #3

Gratitude Moments #4

Gratitude Moments #5

Gratitude Moments #6

Gratitude Moments #7

Gratitude Moments #8

Gratitude Moments #9

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Daily Prompt: Survive

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