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I haven’t had a chance to update everyone on my latest Dr. Oz interview! As a reminder, one of the Harpo producers emailed me last week and said Dr. Oz wanted to have me on his show again. He has a radio show on Oprah’s Oprah and Friends XM radio channel. After the Oprah’s Dr. Oz finale show a few months ago, they dialed me into Dr. Oz’s radio show so I could tell my story (which if you haven’t heard a million times already by now, you can find on the page links to the left, including the “My Dr. Oz Oprah Story” page). Anyway, when I called in the last time, I was on for like 5 minutes and they had a number of other people calling in to tell their stories, all of whom were featured 0n the wall of pictures with which Oprah surprised Dr. Oz during his tribute finale show. The show I taped this week was all about breast cancer and featured Nancy Brinker, the founder of the Susan G. Komen foundation (and also Susan G. Komen’s sister). I think I was the only caller who was dialed in but I don’t know because I didn’t hear the whole show. Nancy was there in person (in NY) and I was called in over the phone.
The producer called first and said Dr. Oz was finishing up his last segment and would be on with me next. At that point I was placed on hold and could hear the conversation but they couldn’t hear me. They were wrapping up and then Dr. Oz said something like “well, we’re going to take a quick break but stay tuned because up next we have a special guest, one of the women from the Oprah show to update us on where she is in her treatment”. They went to break and I could hear the producers working with Nancy to get her microphone adjusted and then they patched me through. Dr. Oz introduced me to Nancy and we made small talk, Dr. Oz welcoming me back to the show and asking me how I was doing. You know, since we’re BFFs now. 😉
The show returned from break and he started by reminding the listeners about his tribute show and introducing me again. He gave me some flattering comments and then asked me to recap my story. I explained my story again and Dr. Oz continued with several questions. We talked back and forth for like 20 minutes this time and Nancy was involved in the discussion too, which was very surreal. Some of the questions Dr. Oz asked were:
1. Where are you in your treatments, how are you doing now and where are you in the process? I explained how I was doing, mentioned how I was done with chemo, getting surgery on Monday and following with radiation after that. I told him about my positive (meaning good) MRI results and how all three tumors had a complete response to the chemo.
2. Tell us about chemo and whether or not you mind whether people ask you questions about it. I told him I didn’t mind people asking me questions at all. I explained the chemo room a little and mentioned how I got to know people over time, how I would see “regulars” but also noticed a lot of new people each time. I mentioned how it was scary but also somewhat positive in a way because it meant people were hopefully getting diagnosed earlier and were being more proactive, since breast cancer is the most common cancer at my oncologist’s office.
3. Did you do anything out of the ordinary like alternative medicine or diet changes? I mentioned how I started taking yoga classes in the beginning and tried eating all organic foods and avoiding sugar, but then proceeded to admit that that didn’t last long and I eventually just wanted that……at which point I paused and tried to think of a snack but the one that came to mind first was a Ho Ho and I didn’t want to say Ho on air. Ha. So, after a while of stuttering I said……… “brownie”. When we went off air later after the interview, Dr. Oz thanked me for calling in and told me to get back on that diet. I think I goofed on this question obviously. I mean, I should be encouraging healthy eating right? I mean, it is the Dr. Oz show, come on Danielle. But honestly, after 6 rounds of aggressive chemo, all I really wanted to eat was McDonald’s……..and fruit, I did like eating fruit………and salad (anything cold and wet, or juicy and greasy). Regarding the yoga, I would have probably continued but after losing my hair, didn’t really want to show up to class in a hat, wiggie or scarf. Sometimes they go around and massage you during class, I guess in an effort to keep you relaxed, but I wouldn’t have been so relaxed if they had approached me for a head massage and fainted when my hair fell off in their hand. 😉
4. What would you suggest to the listeners who are dealing with the same issue? I said for me it was important to stay positive and involve your family and friends in your journey.
5. He asked me about my website. I mentioned chemomaids.com and daniellemurray.wordpress.com 🙂 The last interview they edited out my answer so who knows if that’ll make it on air this time or not. If so, I hope my chemomaids.com site gets some hits! I need to work on it I guess.
6. Nancy asked if I had any other kids. I had mentioned earlier during my initial introduction and recap that I found the lump in my armpit during a pregnancy (followed by miscarriage). I was trying to be as positive as possible but I did mention how my cycles had stopped and was still having fertility issues but just beginning the adoption process.
That’s about it for my Dr. Oz interview I think. I don’t know when it’s supposed to air yet and I haven’t had a chance to follow up with them to see but I’ll keep everyone posted.
I had another appointment with Dr. Limentani on Wednesday, marking the first of my every-three-week Herceptin visits. Usually when I get Herceptin I go straight to the chemo room but now that I’m done with chemo, I’ll see Dr. Limentani every other Herceptin treatment (starting this Wednesday and then every 6 weeks after that, or every other visit). I asked a bunch of fertility questions and didn’t get the greatest news. I basically wanted to know a few things:
1. I know he had said earlier that I would be on Tamoxifen for 5 years following radiation and knew I couldn’t get pregnant during this time (making me 37 by the time I could). I asked if this was because of birth defects or a risk for me. He said it was mainly because it could cause birth defects but they didn’t know much about what types of birth defects. He also said that if I got pregnant they would take me off Tamoxifen and then it would be a risk to me since that is supposed to block estrogen (reminder: my tumors were ER+, meaning they had estrogen receptors which made them grow faster with estrogen). Wow, I just said my tumors HAD (past tense), that’s nice. 🙂
2. I asked if it would be ok to take a break from the Tamoxifen so I could harvest some eggs or get pregnant in between the 5 year period. The answer was basically the same – not really encouraged.
3. We talked about the risk for recurrence. Now that I’ve reached the end of my chemo with surgery approaching on Monday, I was thinking about what’s next. Am I going to be afraid the rest of my life, worrying the cancer could come back at any time? Is there a point in my life that it’ll be more likely to come back, like when I’m in my 60s or 40s? He said the highest chance for recurrence is based on the date of diagnosis and if it were to come back, it would probably do so in the next 2 years. And really it wouldn’t be “coming back”, it would have still been there, just undetected. He also said it wouldn’t come back in my breast or lymph nodes, since they did the surgery and radiation in those areas, it would come back in one of my organs (lungs, liver, bones or brain). That was kind of scary. I didn’t have to ask what that would mean. Stage IV. Boo hiss. That won’t happen though, but it’s scary to think about. Every time I have a stomach pain now, I’ll freak myself out probably. Think positive, think positive.
Well, that’s about it from my appointment. I’ll update everyone next week after my surgery. I am anxiously awaiting the pathology report until then, when we’ll know for sure if we got all the cancer out. If there’s some left, that won’t be good, but they’re expecting it all to be gone.