Lain's Log

What's to Blame?

April 2/11

Anyone who gets the big C diagnosis wonders how it happened. Genetic? Random? Environmental?

In my own case, there's been no history of breast cancer in the family.
I never smoked a day in my life. I've heard obesity may boost the odds of cancer in older women, but I've always been fairly slim. (Right now, at 5'3", I weigh 113).

They say diet plays a big role. I've tried to have a balanced diet, not heavy on sweets. I'm not a vegetarian, but tend to opt for lean meats or chicken. I admit I do love pasta and potatoes - (and naturally, cake and ice cream at birthday parties). I haven't always taken vitamins or done regular exercise, though I'm quite active.

So, what happened? The oncologist told me, in my case, no one can ever know for sure.

Now, it's time to face personal facts and come clean. Could I have brought this on myself?

1.) I've lived in a major city almost my whole life, surrounded by vehicle exhaust and other pollutants.

2.) I spent decades taking daily oral contraceptives, (Ortho-Novum and Triphasil). Both, of course, contain estrogen.

3.) My husband worries I was exposed to his second-hand smoke for about nine years, before he quit. (I hate that he feels any guilt in all of this).

4.) For 26 years, I held down fast-paced, deadline-driven reporting jobs in radio and TV. The stress was constant. Most days, my heart would be racing as I rushed to prepare for interviews or newscasts, ran off to locations around the city, zipped back to the station to screen, write and edit stories in time for the next newscast, (often waiting in line at the editing department, breathlessly begging Freddie, the supervisor, "PLEASE get me an editor. I'm not gonna make my slot!!," - I drove the poor man crazy - I know my old Global pals will be laughing when they read and remember all this), and then not getting assigned an editor till 30 or 40 minutes before deadline, ploughing through the story to make air, then rushing the tape directly into master control, and running, top speed back to my desk to type in the chyron names and times, sometimes seeing the story start to roll before chyron was even complete! (think Joan Cusack in Broadcast News - one of the best scenes to EVER capture the way the news biz can really be!) But the strange thing is, - I LOVED it! Every non-stop, frantic frenzied minute of it. That deadline pressure, the adrenaline pumping, - pretty much nothing could beat the rush and excitement. But looking back now, could stress have brought this on?

5.) OK. This one is hardest to write about. (and I'm quite sure, anyone who knows me, has been wondering if/when I'd bring it up). Alcohol. I've loved wine since I was about 18. Red, white, rose, sparkling, you name it. From early college days up until now, wine has always been a part of my adult life. I'm not talking secret drinker or daytime drinker, but wine at the dinner hour or in the evening almost every day, (except during pregnancies!) I guess we all know alcohol can increase the risk of cancer.

Upon hearing these "theories," an old friend of mine asked, "So, should we all be munching solely on raw broccoli and blueberries washed down by green tea? NOTHIN' is safe"!

I tend to think she may be right and this is the only way to go.



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