“Kick Cancer Ass” Cocktail Recipe

I went out dancing with my girlfriends last night after a very difficult and heart wrenching 24 hours.  It was nice to get out and let loose a bit after the news I got from my doctor on Friday.  In fact, it was even nicer to have had my first cocktail, Ginger Beer and Bushmills, after seven weeks on a macrobiotic diet, which of course includes no alcohol.  Yummy!

Unfortunately, my next cocktail will not be so yummy.  The recipe is as follows: 

Fill to rim with Taxtere, add a shot of Carboplatinum, finish with a splash of Herceptin followed by a chaser of hormones all served up in a port surgically implanted in my chest.

Shaken’ not stirred. 

Boy was I shaken’ after hearing this news.  Actually, I was scared shitless.  I met with the medical oncologist and breast cancer specialist in Newport Beach on Friday afternoon.  She spelled it out for me very clearly.  I have full blown cancer!  Not just a little cancer, CANCER in capital letters.  The key words in my diagnosis:  invasive, high grade, her-2/neu, pre-menopausal and estrogen receptors all resulting in aggressive breast cancer.  In other words, I have a full scale invasion of insurgents, out of control cells, rapidly multiplying, destroying everything it touches, nothing left behind cancer that will require an intensive counter attack.  It’s time to get the big guns out; surgery, chemo, steroids, drugs, hormones, you name it. 

Since I was diagnosed about 7 weeks ago, I have been extremely positive and optimistic while gathering information.  I truly believed that a little surgery and a change in diet and lifestyle would do the trick.  What can I say, I am the glass is half full kind of girl.  This overly optimistic attitude may have its roots in a bit of denial I must admit.  Reality slapped me in the face on Friday after many visits and tests with seven different doctors all coming to the same conclusion.  The verdict:  “You need the whole shebang girl!”  I was paralyzed with fear.  After screaming, “I don’t want chemo!”  “I don’t want to pump poison into my body!” “I don’t want to lose my hair!” “I am busy.”  “I still have so many things I want to do in my life.”  I saw death staring directly at me.  I finally accepted my reality and cried, “I don’t’ want to die!” 

I know that there are people out there that cure themselves from cancer without chemo using a macrobiotic diet and a change of lifestyle.  It’s amazing!  I also know that some of these people die!  I don’t want to live with the fear that every time I eat chocolate or drink a beer or think a negative thought that I could possibly be feeding my cancer. 

So I have decided to embrace Western Medicine.  The path to healing sucks and someday in the future I believe that people are going to look back and say, “Oh my god, doctors used to cut off women’s breasts to treat breast cancer.”  But today, this is what we’ve got and many people kick cancer’s ass with chemo and come out the other end healthier and stronger like Melissa Etheridge and Lance Armstrong.  Sheryl Crow and my cousin Holly are in remission after a lumpectomy and radiation.  Sussane Summers, Christina Applegate, Carly Simon, Jaclyn Smith, Sandra Day O’Connor, Peggy Flemming, all of them survivors of breast cancer.  Deanne Brown, The Yes Mom, will join this list and be cured as well especially after her special customized cocktail which looks something like this:

Deanne’s “Kick Cancer Ass” Cocktail:

  • 2 Mammograms
  • 2 ultra sounds
  • 5 Biopsies
  • 1 MRI
  • 1 Cat Scan
  • 1 Bone Scan
  • 1 Echocardiogram
  • 1 chemo port inserted surgically into my chest
  • First surgery – Mastectomy and first stage of reconstruction
  • 6 cycles of chemotherapy every three weeks
  • Second reconstruction surgery squeezed in between chemo treatment
  • Third and final reconstruction surgery
  • Radiation treatment
  • Herceptin every three weeks for one year
  • Hormonal Therapy for five years

Of course, anyone who has imbibed in too many cocktails knows that a nasty hangover is expected especially with such a potent cocktail.  Side effects include but are not limited to:

Deanne’s hangover:

  • Complete hair loss including eye lashes and eye brows (And, yes, I will lose all my hair down there.  I was a bit curious about what it would be like to have a Telly Savalas. Now I can get the Brazilian wax without the wax.)
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and/or constipation
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Numbness, tingling, or burning in your hands or feet
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • May lose nails (Did you ever see The Fly with Jeff Goldblum? OMG!)
  • Rash
  • Eye changes, may produce more tears (Honestly, who wouldn’t have more tears after going through this.)
  • Stomatitis  – sores, dryness irritation and bleeding of mouth and throat
  • Menopause (I can hardly type this one without crying – Maybe I’m odd but I really don’t want my periods to end.)

Now for the more serious hangover I plan to avoid:

  • Neutropenia – low white blood cell count
  • Infections
  • Possible allergic reactions
  • Fluid retention which can cause swelling in the chest and around the heart
  • Neuropathy (Again another possible side effect that I am scared to death of after watching my mom battle with Neuropathy these last three years.  Hmmm?  Cancer or neuropathy?  That’s a tough one!)

Did I mention complete hair loss?  The side effects really really suck but I will be working with a nutritionist (very expensive nutritionist) to keep me strong, my immune system up and the hangover at a minimum.

Next week, I plan to go shopping for a wig.  A wig made of human hair starts at $1,200.  Ouch!  On second thought, maybe I will wear my bald head proudly on behalf of every person on this planet touched by this deadly disease which is taking our beloved mothers, grandmothers, wives, daughters, sisters, and girlfriends away from us.   My son Riley has decided to join the cause and shave his head with me. 

I would like to share a conversation I had with my girlfriends last night during our GNO.  Several of us have signed up for a Women’s retreat in the mountains this coming May.  Yoga, long walks, classes, good food and beautiful women.  I was hoping to be done with my cancer treatment by this time but it turns out I will be right in the middle of it.  I still plan to go to the retreat but I may be a bit sick.  I told my girlfriends, “I will still go but you may need to hold my hair back while I am throwing up like my mom used to when I was a little girl.” Then I stupidly remembered, “Oh yeah, I won’t have any hair”.  We all laughed and at that moment I knew the recipe for the perfect cocktail.

The perfect cocktail: 

Fill to rim with friends, add a shot of family, finish with a splash of fun followed by a chaser of love all served up in a heart shaped life.

Not shaken, just perfectly stirred! 

PS I just finished reading a fabulous graphic novel, Cancer Vixen by Marisa Acocella Marchetto.  Her humor and edgy truth is very empowering and inspirational!  from Random House


“What happens when a shoe-crazy, lipstick-obsessed, wine-swilling, pasta-slurping, fashion-fanatic, single-forever, about-to-get-married big-city girl cartoonist with a fabulous life finds . . . a lump in her breast?” That’s the question that sets this powerful, funny, and poignant graphic memoir in motion. In vivid color and with a taboo-breaking sense of humor, Marisa Acocella Marchetto tells the story of her eleven-month, ultimately triumphant bout with breast cancer—from diagnosis to cure, and every challenging step in between.

But Cancer Vixen is about more than surviving an illness. It is a portrait of one woman’s supercharged life in Manhattan, and a wonderful love story. Marisa, self-described “terminal bachelorette,” meets her Prince Charming in Silvano, owner of the chic downtown restaurant Da Silvano. Three weeks before their wedding, she receives her diagnosis. She wonders: How will he react to this news? How will my world change? Will I even survive? And . . . what about my hair?

From raucous New Yorker staff lunches and the star-studded crowd at Silvano’s restaurant to the rainbow pumps Marisa wears to chemotherapy, Cancer Vixen is a total original. Marisa’s wit and courage are an inspiration—she’s a cancer vixen, not its victim.

8 Responses to ““Kick Cancer Ass” Cocktail Recipe”

  1. Tina Says:

    Dear, sweet lady, I am with you in spirit and hope 100%! You will do this and come out on the other side like a phoenix: renewed, reborn, reinvigorated. Let me know what I can do for you.

  2. Raundi Says:

    You are one bad-ass woman. I love you. And, I am so very proud to be your friend. The ginger beer and bushmills needs a name. Maybe we should call it theYesMom.

  3. Terry Says:

    Deanne, You do what ya gotta do to stay in this world…Your family and friends need you and I’m sure you feel the same about them. You are a beautiful person inside and out and you will always be that beautiful person! Just to let you know I have donated my hair for the past 3 years to cancer..I let it grow til June then at the Relay For Life they cut it.It gives me such a great feeling to know that I am helping someone out there! Hey maybe if you ever get a dark brown wig it will have some of my hair on it! lol anyway If there is anything we can do please let us know…It was great seeing you saturday and you looked fantastic!! Here is a poem I read and it made me think about you.. Enjoy! xoxoxoxoxo and some xtra xoxoxoxoxoxoxo


    A circle of friendship…
    is bound together,
    by sharing good moments
    and Life’s stormy weather:

    And should you feel lonely…
    you needn’t pretend;
    surrender your false pride
    and lean on a friend.

    A circle of friendship…
    is a growing delight;
    it helps dispel sadness,
    as it lets in the ‘light.’

    A circle of friendship…
    warms you in its glow;
    take that warmth with you
    and feel the ‘love’ grow.

    You stand in a circle…
    with hands reaching out;
    the giving of yourself,
    is what friendship’s about!

  4. Mom Says:

    I’ll have to think of a good name for your Bushmill cocktail. Do you know your great, great, great, great,great Grandfather was the CEO, or whatever they called them back then, of Bushmill’s in Ireland.
    I wish I was there now to help you through this. As soon as the date for surgery is set I am on my way. I can’t really say that I saw you bald when you were born because you had a mass of black hair (all over your body). Too much information. It rubbed off quickly!! You were, are and will always be beautiful in more ways then one. Your strength is an inspiration to everyone around you honey. When I get there I hope you will let me be your Mommy again. You can cry, scream, talk back, laugh whatever you need to do to get through this. I love you more that the whole universe and beyond..

  5. Charlotte Brooks Says:

    Hi Deanne, Thinking about you and sending love from all the Brooks/Lathrops. Keeping up with your new adventures through your Mom. And quite honestly, I read her post, and you are blessed to have her as a mom, even though I’m sure there are times…….(Don’t let her read that!)
    One day at a time, kiddo. You will win this, no doubt in my mind. Love, Charlotte

  6. Kevin Says:

    Let me know when we are shaving our heads. We have the clippers ready.

  7. clare Says:

    Deanne, I agree. In years to come we’ll look on chemo as we look on mercury treatments of the past as ignorant barbarity. It so goes against all instinct to poison ourselves. But, if you’ve read about or seen the docu-movie about the climber who was pinned by his arm under a boulder for 6 days he finally freed himself by cutting off his own arm so he could live. That, too, goes against instinct, but he is alive. I have to say, the only thing greater than a yesmom is the yesmom’smom. Your love is so moving and I’m sure it is the source of Deanne’s poise and strength.

  8. Sonya Joseph Says:

    Hey, don’t sniff at the synthetic wigs! I’ve actually worn them for acting work and good ones are pretty good. I’ve fooled people with them. Although I think the curly ones are more believable. Also The American Cancer Society and CancerCare collect gently used wigs and give them away to cancer patients. And if we can find someone who makes wigs–there must be lots of people in LA, I’ve got a big fat swatch of primo Indian hair–fat, thick, unprocessed, about 9-10 inches long that is all yours. Save a swatch of your own hair so they can dye it to look the same.

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