Thursday, August 27, 2009

Potpourri on the Russian River

During our stay here we have been lucky enough to enjoy the time with friends, our eldest daughter and son in law, their dog, our dogs in lazy hours of summer serenity.

The mornings have been cool and our days have started slowly. As the day progresses we have found our way to walks or the beach, to the deck or out to the river. All along the way we have had the chance to talk, like you never can when life's responsibilities are yelling so loudly in your ear. I was taught Texas Hold-em by my son -in -law and won...Watch out APR! Sonya and I had a chance to spend some time together we haven't had in way too long. Patti and John came to drink a little, walk a lot and float on the River.

Our dogs know this is a vacation. For Dexter, our Colorado visitor, he has discovered some lost gene from a swimming breed. He hit the water like he had found his long lost best friend. The ease and pure joy he showed as he chased a ball in the river, was a distinct difference to our two dogs who tentatively try their paws in the shallowest of waters.

On our walk, Patti and I discussed, why people get Breast Cancer. As survivors we have seen people try to no avail to find that A+B=Cancer answer. Marin has had a higher number of women diagnosed with the disease (in line with other higher income areas on the coasts). Why people ask..why is that? Ultimately it may come down to the reason why one person is born with a big huge nose while another's nose is a small button.

For me, I was told I had no risk factors for Breast Cancer when I was younger. They would ask "Did you Mother have Breast Cancer?" I would say no and they would say " well then we won't have to worry about that." I would explain that she did die from Cancer as did my Grandfather and they would reassure me that so long as it wasn't BREAST cancer I was at no higher risk. On the face of this, this doesn't make logical sense to me. I believe that some people will simply be more available to cancer than others because their families show a history of getting cancer when other people don't. My grandfather had cancer of the larynx (from smoking cigars), then later colon cancer (no connection). My mother had lung cancer which metastasized to the brain (from smoking cigarettes). Obviously, smoking would be a bad idea for me. But what about estrogen.

Estrogen is what is in birth control pills. I took BC pills from my freshman year in college until I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer (except for my pregnancies). I would get non pain migraines that were induced from too much estrogen in my body. My mother never took birth control, and she died just as she started hormone replacement (at the age of 49). My cancer tested as 98% estrogen sensitive. Who is to say whether my mother, if she lived, would have also had breast cancer.

Patti, also has been on BC pills and more recently hormone replacement. One of the things scientists have pointed to is the higher than normal rate of Breast Cancer in women who have delayed childbirth (or never had children at all). In our Marin world most of these women took the pill. They have been able to afford the education and medical care that makes childbirth often a choice. Certainly the delay to have children is the norm here. I remember being a young sprout at 29 at my Lamaze Class (I thought I was getting old to start a family!).

So as we walked on our 8 mile walk to nowhere, Patti said she was disturbed by the claim she heard from one doctor that wine causes breast cancer. Yeah, that disturbs me too. I participated in a study trying to prove that eating fruits and vegetables in large quantities could help avoid Breast Cancer recurrence. After 5 years, they determined, it didn't have any effect, but eating more fruits and vegetables is good for you in other ways.....

Ah ha....

They say some red wine is good for your heart. Just because you have had Cancer doesn't mean you won't die from heart disease! Too much alcohol and your liver suffers, not to mention your reputation! I believe that most things in moderation never hurt. And after visiting Gary Farrell yesterday, I can say, some things like wine... are a very good idea. But for me... I would say estrogen is a decidedly a BAD idea. But does this mean it is bad for you??? I couldn't say. Glenn's grandparents smoked regularly and lived to be 96.

Now our guests have departed and its just the dogs and us. The strange sight of four computers all hooked up to the wireless is made a little better by the fact that I am the only one sitting at one. That's a sure sign river life is taking its hold. The kids are down at the river with their dog. I am heading off to put on my swim suit. All is right with the world... and as a reward for all this fine living, a listing of mine received what looks to be a great offer. I could get used to this.

For your viewing pleasure enjoy the following photos and videos.

Your good friends can almost win... until you take the final pot.

Dexter the river dog!

Now if you'll excuse me, its time to float.