Last Thursday I saw my oncologist, Dr. Wendt, for the first time in over two months. Nick and I definitely felt a little unsettled getting on the elevator and exiting on the 4th floor in route to his office. The hallways have a medicinal smell that brings me right back to those four months I spent so sick coming and going from his office during chemo. I had my blood drawn, per usual, and Nick and I waited patiently to see the doctor. I think we were both scared that he was going to tell us something new or something we weren't ready to hear. When Dr. Wendt walked in, all smiles, we both knew things were still fine. That's what I want to know for the rest of my long life, that things are just fine.
You see, Dr. Wendt is the quarterback of my cancer treatment. Not that I understand one ounce of football, but I do know that Eli Manning scores the most points for my fantasy football team, and he's a quarterback, so in this equation, Eli and Albert (Wendt) are my go-to guys. I kind of have to do what he says. He said I need to exercise five times a week (yikes), take the drug tamoxifen for five years (which I have officially started as of Friday), and get this, pretty much eliminate drinking alcohol. WHAT?? There seems to have been a recent study of women who had an increased recurrence of breast cancer when they drank more than 3 alcoholic beverages a week. I spit out "But what about the nutritionist at the radiologist's office who said I could have 3.2 drinks a day if I upped my folate?". His answer was that excess folate increases colon cancer and I shouldn't be taking that either. Crap!!
So, of course I am doing tons of research, and calling everyone I know to find out what the deal is here. I mean, I will definitely stop drinking my daily glass of wine or beer, but can I have a few special occasion cocktails without worrying that I'm killing myself? The jury is still out. It does seem that Dr. Wendt's study was stratified by postmenopausal, obese women. Neither of which I am. In fact, the study further says "no association (of recurrence) was observed for premenopausal or normal weight women". Ok, I like that part, but if alcohol increases my chances of cancer recurrence even a tad, it is of course not worth it.
I am still trying to decide the right thing to do, so while I'm figuring it out, don't judge me if you see me having a cocktail. I have had many, many people point out the fact that medical marijuana usage was just passed here in Arizona for certain ailments, and oh yes, cancer is on that list. Has anyone seen the show Weeds? That might be me soon, the soccer mom selling pot to pay grocery bills. What a crack up.
Last thing, he said we should all be taking one low dose aspirin a day. It does amazing things to combat a wealth of diseases, including breast cancer. So do it. Please.
Happy turkey week,