Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Lucky 72

I just kissed Nick goodbye as he and his buddy Paul headed out the front door for a little boy time at the bars in Scottsdale.  Tonight we had a wild houseful as our friends the Palmers and their three kiddos visited us from Southern California.  All I can say is that at one point the big ottoman in our master bedroom was on its side, pieces to Nick's acrobatic marble game were strewn across the floor, and both four-year-olds, Fisher and Sean, were in time outs. I'm not sure who had more fun, the kids or the parents. It was great to see our old friends, Karey and Todd, who we truly love and have known since college when we were super wild ourselves.  

Paul mentioned that he noticed that I wasn't drinking (alcohol) tonight.  Well, as I was reminded by my oncologist, Dr. Wendt, at my appointment yesterday, I'm not really allowed to drink anymore.  "At all??  Ever??" was Paul's response.  Unfortunately, it kind of seems that way.  I can have one here and there, and I will, but my big party days are over. When I asked Dr. Wendt about this point blank yesterday, he quoted studies that indicate that even three or more cocktails a week truly increase cancer recurrence rates.  That part really sucks.  

I had other questions for him too.  In fact, I arrived armed with a whole list.  Besides the alcohol thing, I wanted to know the data behind why I was prescribed to exercise five times per week by both him and my radiologist.  I was told that studies prove that three hours of weekly exercise significantly cut recurrence rates.  So, you'll find me, five days a week, huffing it around Steele Indian School Park or up and back the Bridal Path on Central Avenue.  Sweet Nick bought me some fab workout attire from the fancy Lululemon store that I adore.  It's my new uniform.

So then a tough one... something that has been gnawing at me. Ready?  I read that Stage 3 breast cancer patients have a 50/50 chance of living for five years past diagnosis.  I've been stewing that one in my brain for a while now.  I desperately wanted to hear from Dr. Wendt that this prediction was bogus, but I was scared out of my mind that he would confirm it.  So I finally got the courage to ask him. GREAT news.  For me, it's not true.  He said "You are really interested in your prognosis, aren't you?"  Well, yeah, I think I am. The long and the short of it is this.  Because I took the most aggressive treatment possible, which included double mastectomy, dose dense chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation, my prognosis is that there is a 72% chance that I will still be here in ten years.  I mean really, can anybody claim much better than that? Anyone can get hit by a bus, crushed by a piano or eaten by a shark at anytime.  72% for ten years, and he had a color chart to back it up. I'll take it.  Add to that my new clean living lifestyle, I'd say my prognosis is even better than that.  Huge sigh of relief.

So leave it to Nick to bring up the really big question.  "So," asks Nick, "what about marijuana?" Dr. Wendt had definitely answered this question before.  He replied with a slight smile that while marijuana does not have actual healing powers, it may improve a patient's state of mind.  He continued that it has been proven to increase bladder cancer, surprisingly not lung, but if I got caught buying it, he could probably help me find a medical reason for my purchase.  How awesome is that?  He's a total stud.

I'm off to bed because tomorrow I'm in for a real treat.  I'm using a generous gift from our friends Pete and Mellissa Moser in New Jersey and enjoying a little spa morning at the gorgeous Royal Palms Resort here in Phoenix.  My first massage since surgery is way overdue.  While I still can't lay on my stomach comfortably, I'll be more than happy with a neck and shoulder massage while on my back.  Just the idea of it puts a big smile on my face.

With love on a rainy but cozy Phoenix night,


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