Crazy Cancer Cures: Drinking Breast Milk

You guys! It’s time again for another in my series on Crazy Cancer Cures, where we discuss the many dumb ideas I’ve heard about alternative ways to cure my cancer. Today’s is one that made my oncologist look like he was going to throw up when I told him about it, and that’s saying a lot because he’s a doctor, so he’s seen a lot of nasty shit in his career. Are you ready? Here we go…

Drink breast milk. Yep. Let that sink in for a minute.

Now, with both of my kids, I made a CRAPLOAD of breast milk. I mean, I could have easily fed twins with the amount of milk I was making. So, I had a lot of excess milk that we gave away to friends who were struggling to produce enough milk, or who had adopted a baby and wanted to feed it breast milk. But when I was producing milk for The Girl, The Hubs did some research into selling breast milk. Turns out it goes for a couple bucks an ounce on the internet if you’re giving it to someone with an actual baby, or if you don’t care what the buyer does with the milk, it can go for as much as $10 an ounce. I figured I was making about 350 ounces a week, of which The Girl needed about 250, leaving me 100 ounces a week to sell. That’s a shitload of money…but I just couldn’t get past the creepy factor of selling my bodily fluids to some weirdo with a milk fetish. Because EEEEWWWWWW.

I’ve read a lot of articles about people claiming that drinking breast milk either cured their cancer or put them into remission. Problem is, all of them were also getting chemo and other treatments. So, the idea that chemo, which science has shown to actually work on cancer, isn’t the thing that’s working, that it’s breast milk instead, is a pretty dubious proposition. Don’t get me wrong–there are lot of good things about breast milk, and there’s some recent studies showing that breast fed kids are less likely to get childhood cancers. But, my mom breast fed me, and I had a TON of breast milk in my boobs, and here I am with breast cancer. Anecdotal evidence cuts both ways, folks.

Then there’s the cost, which no insurance is going to cover. Even if you’re only paying $5 an ounce for it, and you drink what seems to be the most common “dose” of 8 ounces a day, that’s $40 a day, or $1200 a month. Unless you have a lactating family member who’s willing to donate that much milk to you, this is going to be an expensive proposition. Which is one of the main problems with a lot of these unproven therapies. You have to pay for them out of pocket, and for someone living off of SSDI because they can’t work anymore due to their cancer, the costs are simply out of reach. 

And then there’s the problem of germs. People on chemo and some other cancer treatments have depressed immune systems. Breast milk bought on the Internet is pretty much completely unregulated, so basically you have no idea how it’s been stored or whether the donor has some creepy infection or not. You can hope that it’s “not” but check out this paper and see how much of the breast milk bought online has bacteria in it. Let’s just say the odds are not in your favor.

Do I hope breast milk will someday be found to be a miracle cure for my cancer? Sure, I’m all about miracle cures. I’m also hoping to win the lottery and buy a bungalow in Tahiti, but I’m not holding my breath. 

Got a Crazy Cancer Cure idea you’d like me to write about? Leave it in a comment!

The Coolest Gift I Have Ever Received

You guys. I have gushed before about how awesome my friends are, and how they gave me amazing presents and paid for a cleaning service for us when I got cancer. I don’t mean to minimize their kindness or their awesomeness, because it is very appreciated, but I think you will all agree that this gift from my friend Emily is, by far, the coolest gift I have ever received. The gift is this: she wrote me a song.

WROTE ME A SONG ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!

When Emily sent me an email with the rough cut of the song and told me she wrote it for me, she said that if I didn’t like it, she wouldn’t tell anyone it was for me, but, she wrote it for me. And I listened to it and cried and FREAKED OUT and said “ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME” like 3o times during the song because seriously, the song is fucking amazing. Like, the lyrics are fucking amazing, and the melody is perfect–it’s so upbeat, but then there’s this one moment where there is a minor cord and you’re like “Ohhhhhh, she hasn’t gone off her rocker, she’s just putting on a brave face.” So I emailed Emily back and I’m pretty sure I used the phrase “are you fucking kidding” (I say fuck a lot) and told her the song is perfect and I love it and this is by far the coolest gift I have ever received.

As if that wasn’t enough, she dedicated the album to our family. You see, Emily’s brother is Mr. E, of cocktail and death threat fame. Which means, Emily grew up with The Hubs and can tell all kinds of crazy stories about the shit Mr. E and the Hubs did that would get them arrested if they were doing it today.

If you asked Emily why she wrote the song for me, she’d tell you it’s because of something I did for Mr. E’s daughter back in 2012. Mr. E’s father in law was in the hospital, and Mrs. E was there with him, and away from their infant daughter, which predictably led to breast milk supply issues. Unfortunately, their daughter is, like Mr. E, a connoisseur of fine foods, and thus refused to drink formula. Just flat out refused. They were starting to panic when The Hubs said, “Hey, let’s give them some of your milk.” I was such an overproducer that the milk was overtaking our spare freezer by then, so I said, “Great idea!” So, Mr. E drove the two hours up to our house and took a couple coolers full of the stuff, and that got them through until Mrs. E could get back to their daughter and get her supply back up.

To me, it was no big deal to give that gift. I mean, what was I gonna do with all that extra milk anyway, make ice cream? It felt like they were doing us a favor by taking it off our hands. But to Mr. E’s family, that milk was liquid gold. It helped them get through a very rough time, and they were incredibly grateful. So grateful that Emily wrote on my copy of her album “I will be forever grateful for what you provided for” her niece.

We all have talents that we don’t think of as being that big of a deal, but to people who are in need of those talents, they are HUGE. And I didn’t know it, but I needed this song. It is nourishing my soul in a way that I can’t even begin to express. I have many redeeming qualities, but jazz-musician-level coolness is not one of them–but it is a quality that Emily has. And┬áthat song is just really fucking cool. Emily is craaaaaazy┬átalented, and her band is just really fucking good.

If you are in the Seattle area this week, and you’d like to hear Emily and her band, Emily Asher’s Garden Party, play my song live, then come to the Triple Door downtown tomorrow, Wednesday November 5. It’s an all ages show and I’ll be there with The Hubs and an entire entourage of people, including a couple of bloggers you may follow (you’ll have to come to the show to find out who!), two of my cousins, and my adorable oncologist and his lovely wife. You can buy tickets here, or at the door. I would love to see you guys there! And if you’re not in the Seattle area, you can buy her album and find out when her band is playing in your area, and even listen to my song, at their website.

Emily, thank you for this gift. You are amazing, and your family has meant so much to The Hubs over the years. We love you!