Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Yesterday was a chemo day, so I don't have much in the way of original thought to offer up to you.

It was more stressful and a longer day than most but made infinitely easier by the presence of my friend T. We had lots to talk about and she ably distracted me when I felt the stress levels rising (the guy beside me was, for much of the time, having a shouted conversation with the man across the "pod."). She even tucked me in very sweetly as I settled in for my post Demerol nap.

Between bloodwork and chemo, T. and I went out to lunch at The Green Door. Over our veggies, we got to talking about food. I've been seeing a nutritionist, who has made some initial adjustments to my diet (minimal sugar, no dairy, more raw food, a high quality protein with every meal or snack). Since I told the nutrionist that I drank no more than five drinks a week, I've also been trying to stick to that. What I need to figure out is what exactly constitutes a drink. Is a pint of beer one drink? Two? One and a half?

T. told me that her doctor has been telling all his patients to stick to the following formula: 0-2-9-14

0 - at least one night every week you have no booze at all.

2- no more than 2 drinks at any given time.

9- women should have no more than 9 drinks per week.

14 - the maximum for men.

That makes sense to me and doesn't seem too onerous. Of course, if one is hoping to lose weight, drinking less (or not at all!) makes sense. Empty calories, decreased willpower, increased appetite...there really are lots of sensible reasons to forego the booze. I do enjoy beer and wine, though and don't do well when I try to cut anything I like out completely.

What do you think?


zoom said...

My family doctor recommends that I have no more than five drinks per week, because of the association between alcohol consumption and breast cancer relapse. She said 5 oz of wine is one drink - I forget what is was for beer (maybe a pint?).

My alcoholic ex's doctor told him that he would never have alcohol-related liver problems if he took a day off from drinking each week, a week off each month, and a month off each year.

Brenda said...

First, I don't know how you are coherent enough to post at all after chemo, good for you!

At the facility where I get treatment they reccomend that breast cancer patients not drink more than twice a week. Or give it up all together.

laurie said...

My oncologist has told me more than once "you can party" and has ordered friends to take me out for a drink after clean scans. I know that there are mixed results in tests on this subject but it's another good reason to stick to five per week as a max.

FlippyO said...

I would guess it would depend on the reason you drink - flavor, relaxation, etc. If it's for flavor, I don't have any ideas. If it's for relaxation, vaporized mmj (obviously not something you can have when you're out for dinner or watching tv with the kids, I suppose - cookies or brownies or something like that would work then, though) seems like a reasonable alternative to me. It won't affect your liver and there are studies that say that THC cuts lung cancer tumor growth in half, which sounds promising to me. Of course, there are other studies that say it can cause cancer, but I think vaporizing probably helps remedy that somewhat since you're not smoking.

It helps with nausea, which is always a plus. You can save on calories, but they might be replaced by wanting to eat more (or, if it's an edible version, then no savings at all), so the caloric savings are usually negligible.

I'm a lousy person to respond to this (so why am I responding???) because I don't like the taste of alcohol, unless it's a mixed drink that doesn't taste like alcohol, which is just a pain to make at home, so I don't bother. I've tried to like beer, and have tried so many different kinds (CostPlus sold lots of single bottles to me during my experimentation phase of a couple of months, and I had high hopes for the ones that had Starbucks coffee or chocolate notes or something...but still, no), but have never found one that I liked more than Pepsi or Hawaiian Punch. Or, uh, one that I even liked at all if someone was giving it to me for free. None of my three brothers like beer either, so maybe it's some sort of genetic tastebud that we don't have.

Nat said...

I know when I was being very strict my meal plan allowed for no more than 2 drinks at a time no more than twice a week. But it was for weight loss.

But 0-2-9-14, sounds reasonable to me.

Lene Andersen said...

I think that if it makes you cranky and feel deprived not to drink, enjoy a drink every now and again. Especially if your doctor's given the OK.

But then, alcohol gives me headaches, I haven't had a drink in years, so what do I know... (OK, I have a few sips of port every xmas with dessert. And get tipsy from it, much to the amusement of the rest of the family)

FlippyO said...

Aha! Genetics! The pieces of the puzzle are all fitting together. Cool. I don't like beer because my taste buds say I can't. :)

laurie said...

This is a very interesting little comment thread. And Flippy - thanks for the link. I've wondered about that - my mother, son and I don't like melons - something many say is the most benign flavour around.

Andrea -- Just One More Book!! Podcast said...

I stopped wine and coffee cold turkey the day of my diagnosis, Oct 6, 2009.

I cut out all sugar Dec. 3

But I found all the cutting myself off really accentuated my other-ness. My distance from my life and real life and others. And made me focus on the diagnosis.

I gave myself the ok for coffee and sugar sometime back in February, I think, and felt a nice, free feeling. Even though I rarely partake of either, just knowing I can if I want to makes me feel better.

As for alcohol, I'm really stuck.

I've read so much about its links with breast cancer and with recurrence. But nice red wine, good company, silly times and lots of good food has been one of my favourite parts of life.

I don't know what I'll do on this one.

Luckily, our insurance company completely ripped us off and being completely cash-strapped will make it tougher for us to host our generous wine and munchie evenings that we loved so much.


I think of you often, Laurie, and hope our paths cross again very soon.

be well and be happy,
-- -- Our Breast Cancer Journey

RivkA with a capital A said...

0-2-1-3-4- Send it to ZOOM!

can't help it. I saw those numbers and that's all I can hear inside my head!!