Sunday, December 14, 2008


No not a wig from the Raquel Welch Collection although they do have some good names, one of my favorites is Relentless, but why oh why do I have this?

Sandy came over Friday. She is a 4 year survivor of B cell lymphoma, Stage 4 and went through a chemo regime that makes mine look like a run in the park. At some point in the conversation, she asked why I thought I got this -not why I deserve this. I repeated the whole overexposure to estrogen theory though this might not have any bearing on TNBC which has completely different demographics and probable causalities. She wondered if I hadn't considered my time in the lab-about 35 years worth (I was probably exposed to even more carcinogens as an undergrad as we had no gloves or ventilation). She has fingered benzene as the probable villain for her lymphoma. There are many cancers linked with chemical exposures: brain tumors, leukemias, lung and liver cancers but breast cancer is not generally on that list. And there's the radiation. I took I131 to destroy my thyroid with beta rays 14 years ago. I was told to keep away from people for a few days. When I came back to work, I decided to have the radiation safety people there measure me. I was 30 feet away and around the corner when I started hearing the loud static from the Geiger counter with them giggling, oh she must be coming close. Off the charts once I was in their office. Although beta rays (very deadly) only travel a few mm, the gamma rays were flying all over the place. They wouldn't have to travel far to my breast. At the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium concluding this week, it was reported that the link between Prem-Pro and breast cancer is more definitive than ever. So maybe my tumor started off estrogen positive and then mutated into its awful, undifferentiated self. Some tumors do this and it is not good.

Julia told her grandparents about my cancer. Her grandfather (Reverend Lowtalker to those of you who went to Josh and Julia's wedding) is a pastor of some fundamental "Christian" church in a very small western Michigan village. (Ironically, on one of our cross state bike rides when Josh was 11, we spent some time there trying to find a phone and we both thought the place was a desolate hell hole). His message to me was not to have them poison me but to take up juicing. I am surprised he didn't mention prayer. He repeatedly told his daughter (Josh's mom-in-law) that her bad eyes were due to a failure of faith-she just did not pray enough and so was cursed with myopia. This did not make her pray any harder but become very cynical at an early age on what her dad was preaching.

Of course my father too blamed me for my myopia though not because I didn't pray enough. No I read too much. These glasses were really expensive!!! You did this to yourself with all that reading in bad light. Consider this your birthday present!!!

Actually he was probably right though he didn't know for sure as he didn't read so much himself but early short focusing is associated with myopia.

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