Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I Want to Go to Dairy Queen

During my recent visit with the oncologist, we corrected some misinformation in my records. The pathology done after my surgery in November 2008 showed that I had 5 lymph nodes that were cancerous, but a transcription error changed that number to 3 on my subsequent records. My ten-year prognosis had to be refigured based on the correct number, and the outcome was not encouraging. Before the mistake was corrected, my raw recurrence risk was figured to be 60%. The treatments I had received gave me a possible 20 percentage point advantage, bringing my recurrence risk down to about 40%. After the numbers were refigured, my raw recurrence risk is now calculated to be 83%, and with the treatment advantage, as low as 60+%. None of my treatment would have been different with the correct information.

When I talked to the oncologist about the problems I've been having with the Tamoxifen, she was about as blunt as she's ever been. She told me that my decision whether or not to keep on taking the Tamoxifen is basically a quality-of-life choice. She said that since statistics indicate the cancer is almost certain to return, I have to decide whether I want to burden my next years with these side effects or just make those years as pleasant as possible for my family and me. She was not eager to encourage me to drop the medication, but she was not opposed to other "quality-of-life" choices.

I knew my recurrence risk was high, so this wasn't exactly devastating news. I've known for quite a while that a mistake had been made in my records, so I was aware that the statistics I had been given were probably not accurate. And to make the picture brighter, I had recently begun doing more extensive research into alternative methods of reducing cancer recurrence, and the information I came up with was very encouraging.

Back when I first started this blog, I was, frankly, overwhelmed and discouraged with all the information on alternative treatments that I was receiving. But over the past two years, we have had time to sort through information and decide what we found trustworthy and reasonable. For the time being, I have decided to keep up the Tamoxifen while at the same time being very careful with my diet. I am trying to eat mostly raw fruits, vegetables, grains, no sugar, almost no meat. I've added a few specific items to my daily diet that are supposed to be very beneficial.

I'm about a month into this now, and it's becoming slightly easier. At first, all I thought about was food. Although I thought I didn't have a sweet tooth, I was craving Dairy Queen, chocolate, and cookies. I dreamed about steaks and hamburgers. I mostly felt hungry and grouchy even though I was eating nuts, fruit, and salad all the time. A couple of days ago, much to my relief, I finally felt satisfied with my meals. Today, we got coupon in the mail for a Dairy Queen Chocolate-Covered Waffle Bowl Turtle Sundae - my very favorite 1,000 calorie DQ treat. I hope I can get some satisfaction from just looking at the picture. Jon said if I can stick to this diet, maybe he'll get me one on my birthday. That's almost a year away. I'll be so healthy by then, I probably won't want one. I want one now. Right now. (Stomp Stomp Growl)

Has anyone noticed how, even in desperate circumstances, will power is hard to come by?


Anonymous said...

Amy, have you heard of Gerson Therapy? I'm just curious. We have been very impressed by what we have read and seen about it, and even though we are not dealing with cancer ourselves, we consider this therapy too good to keep to ourselves. I don't want to be the one to always "have the answer," but I also think that this therapy is worth considering. There's a great documentary on Netflix called The Beautiful Truth. Maybe you've already heard about it. If not, I hope you can take a look.

Aunt Bonnie said...

So well written, Amy. Don't we ALL want something once we know that we shouldn't have it? We will remember to remind Jon about your birthday present next year! Until then -- "bon courage!" Praying for you.

Ken and Vicki in Japan said...

Amy, as always your writing is a blessing and humbles me to be SO much more thankful for I can have/eat/enjoy but also to be careful to eat healthy. Let alone enjoy the small pleasures this life affords. I will continue to pray for you and know that you are being used by God in a very special way for His will! GANBA (persevere!)

Anonymous said...

I have been praying for you - I can't imagine your struggle, but i will be praying you are able to hold out until your birthday in May - even a bite will be a blessing!

It was great to see you recently - I have missed you and your family!
Ruth Bustamante

Anonymous said...

Dear Amy,
I have been following your blog for about a year. I also have BC, my husband has been doing quite a bit of research over the past year. He has found a very good book about integrative cancer treatment called, "Life over Cancer" by Keith Brock. Dr. Brock has a clinic near Chicago that we are thinking of visiting. My husband has written some of what he has found in a blog that you can find by goggling 'Betty's get better blog'. I am taking a number of supplements and juicing. I'm on a no sugar, low fat, mostly veg/fruit/grain diet. Don't put too much weight on the numbers the doctors give you, only the Lord knows what our walk will be.

Cakes by Suzy said...

Awww.... bless your heart. Its amazing how terribly you can crave something you know you can't have! I'm a junk food junkie and diets are so hard for me...trying to get back on one next week. I can't imagine my life depending on it.

We had a lady in our church who several years ago, before we moved here, was diagnosed with cancer and it was inoperable or something...a tumor... and I know this doesn't work for everyone but she got on one of those diets and the tumor went away and hasn't come back since. It shocked the doctors.

So I hope your diet works for you that well, too!

Anonymous said...

Hi, Amy. I haven't visited your blog for a while, but thought I would respond. I have to agree with the lady here who says that our times are in the Lord's hands. None of us knows how much time we have. Your blog has been a great encouragement to me. Perhaps we should all have a sobering diagnosis to face; we might live our lives differently with "eternity's values in view!" Praying for you, Lisa Arnold, Greer SC

Anonymous said...

Hi Amy,
I hadn't checked your blog for a while, so I am encouraged to pray more for you.
May God give you grace not to crave certain things.
I know it always seems like we want something more when we can't have it!

Have you ever read the book Choosing Gratitude by Nancy Leigh Demoss?
It has been a very good book for me to read. I am almost done with the 30 day challenge at the end.
It has really helped me get my focus right every day.

Love and prayers,
Tina Rains