Thursday, June 11, 2009


I decided to weigh myself only once a week so I wouldn't go crazy. Although I've lost 10 lbs and am much firmer since I finished treatment, I still have a long ways to go. I didn't lose any weight this week which should be no surprise given graduation parties and dinner, which included a weekend of mindless noshing but I was still disappointed. Aside from the pain of looking at the mirror, there is a big difference in recurrence rates for TNBC for the obese vs the non-obese, which doesn't make sense to me. Fat produces estrogen so I could understand how excess fat cells could fuel estrogen dependent cancer cells. The insulin theory makes more sense-the obese in general have diets that cause insulin spikes-insulin is allegedly a tumor promoter. Exercise cuts down on insulin levels-I have to think that I exercise way more than the average fat person. At any rate, I am attempting to eat foods with lower glycemic indices.

I am up to 6.3 miles so more of my route is out in the country and I can go hatless. I see more and more deer than I used to. The Y ladies think my body has changed alot and can see the muscles under my fat veneer. I am to apply today for a scholarship to continue there as the LiveStrong program ends next week. I am to include our 2008 tax return, which makes us look quite wealthy but it is a result of Steve's big severance check, which was a one time thing.

I searched the phrase "Aetna Sucks" in Blogsearch to see if my entry shows up. Indeed it does but here's a shocker, it has appeared in numerous others' blogs including an entire blog totally devoted to the subject. Lots of sleaziness on Aetna's part going on. Note to Aetna: If you really want to save money, instead of chiselling cancer patients, perhaps you could consider instead reducing your CEO's package of TWENTY-FOUR MILLION DOLLARS. I have never understood the economics of executive compensation and bonuses. Is this guy (Ron Williams) worth that much? Why do companies pay bonuses to people whose reign has contributed to their companies' downfall? I have to think that this system of paying executives excessive amounts of money to screw up the company put the country in this crappy situation in the first place. These packages seem to be approved by Board members who sit on each other's boards ensuring for themselves fat paychecks.

As for the phrase 'Aetna sucks 'or the usual 'Cancer sucks', I remember reading in another BC patient's blog how much she hates that phrase. First she objected to its grammar, using a transitive verb as an intransitive verb (Sucks what?). She then pointed out that the phrase reminded her of something an inarticulate, crabby teenager would say. Finally she said it made the person sound like a bitter, unhappy person and she wasn't that person. I guess my chemo addled brain couldn't come up with anything more creative than 'Aetna sucks' to describe the incredibly frustrating experience of them arbitarily deciding that I had too much radiation. One of my fellow frustrated people had them deny all claims as her provider was not 'in-plan' despite the provider's name being on their website as an approved provider. When she sent physical evidence that the name was indeed on their website, she was told-Oh that's not up to date. You should have called-the provider did not renew her contract with us. A year later, the website still was not up-dated.

In the Wall Street Journal yesterday, they wrote about a study concluding that the uncertainity of knowing whether you had a potentially fatal condition was more upsetting than knowing you had a potentially fatal condition, which describes the hell we all felt when we were told that our lesion 'may be cancer' but it was going to take a while to find out. I ran into a wife of a former colleage at the Wellness Center yesterday for the nutrition class that Marilyn and I attended. She chose to be treated for her ovarian cancer very far away as the 2 centers here were going to make her wait more than a month to deal with her steadily growing tumor. They had told her the wait wouldn't make any difference. Well no difference to them, but I was going crazy with worry!!! I hadn't seen this woman in 12 years but I had by some miracle remembered her unusual name. (generally I am very bad at names-in one ear:out the other)

The class was about cooking with soy, a contraversial subject for most with breast cancer as soy behaves as a weak estrogen. Shouldn't be a problem for us with TNBC. The class showed how to make several tasty dishes. How to get protein without the baggage that animal protein carries.

Marilyn shared with me some irises which I planted last night. It is past iris season here so I will have to wait a year to see the results. In a few weeks, my little garden will be abloom with more cosmos and all my lilies.


Beth said...

Hi Sue, makes me thankful for our Canadian Health Care system which has covered everything I've needed so far. About your running, can you blog a summary of how you got back into it (at what point in treatment did you stop completely, and when were you able to build up to how far you're going now)? That would really help me, and I'm sure others too.

Sara Williams said...

I will back Beth up for more info on your running. I tried to run whilst on chemo but ended up sick for a few days. I feel so awful most of the time now I am half way through chemo. I am so glad I have the NHS in Wales! Free prescriptions too!

Sue in Italia/In the Land Of Cancer said...

Sure. I was running about 20 miles a week around the time I was diagnosed in early 9-08. I had 2 surgeries in Oct and took a few days off after them. By November, I was running 4-5/week averaging 20 miles/week. I started chemo 12-2 (Adriamycin and Cytoxan. I actually ran 2.5 miles the day after. I was careful not to let myself feel too tired. I would feel better the week after dosing ( I was dosed every 2 weeks)but sadly , I would run less and less the more cycles I had. Sometimes it would be because we had so much snow this year but mainly I was just tired. I only ran 4 times the whole month of January and only for a bit more than a mile. I started the 4 rounds of Taxol at the end of January and didn't feel so nauseaous but I had alot of muscle pain instead. I tried to walk as fast as I could instead for an hour. I noticed I covered alot more distance the weeks I wasn't dosed. I ran only 3 times in February though I covered more distance than I did in January (up to 2 miles-stopping if I got too tired)My last chemo was 3-10 and I started running again March 25. It was a major effort-running 2 minutes, walking 5 minutes. Throughout April I ran about 14 miles a week gradually getting my distance up to 4 miles and taking much less breaks. By the end of May, I was running 5 times a week and up to 25 miles a week. My longest run was 5.6 miles. Now it is June and I am up to 6.3 miles with just one or two stops. I can now handle the hills. I did radiation for most of April which probably made me somewhat tired. I keep a running diary which I looked at to write this. I am thrilled that running has become alot easier. It is discouraging to slow down so much during chemo. Also at the end of March, I started the LiveStrong program that Lance Armstrong began. I work out on weights twice a week and use the ellipitical trainer. I try to see how many calories I can burn in 20 minutes. At first, it was just 200 but I am now up to 300I don't run on the days I work out there. The program is over next week but they may let me continue.
I am running very slowly but go by time.I do 10 minute miles now. I used to run marathons at a 8:45 pace-5K at 7:20. But now I am old and fat and had cancer so I have to have an attitude adjustment here. Running does make me feel better. You, Sara and Beth will be back on the roads soon too.


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