Purgatorio to Paradiso

I find myself writing about something I don’t have at present and seriously thought I wouldn’t be having in future.  I’d adjusted to this new reality, had no feelings of sadness or deprivation but wondered if I would still have the occasional yearning and if so, how I would respond. These were vague musings because the point at which temptation might resurge is still some way off – they were musings none the less.

Today I muse no more on this subject because as the saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining, or to be precise a Tuscan red one. 

This morning I discovered that the odd glass of Tuscan red (or French, Californian, NZ, Argentinian… etc.) might be a good thing, indeed a very good thing.  According to a report by CBS Atlanta, red wine is beneficial for women fighting breast cancer. (Study: Red Wine May Improve Chances Of Surviving Breast Cancer « CBS Atlanta.)

Amaron, Serego Alighieri, Italy. Credit: valpolicellaweb

A study undertaken by the University of Cambridge followed 13,525 women for seven years and its findings indicate that ladies who partook of c. three and a half small glasses of red wine per week were 10% more likely to survive breast cancer than those who were tee-total.  Even more astounding given the well-known risks of excessive alcohol consumption was the discovery that women who drank seven small glasses of red wine a week were 20% more likely to survive.  Dr Pharoah, Dept. of Oncology said “it is reasonable, if you’re diagnosed with breast cancer, to enjoy the occasional drink of alcohol.”

I don’t want to get too excited about this or encourage people to go out there getting drunk as a skunk.  If it was this easy we could all enjoy a nice glass of red wine every day and forget the spectre of breast cancer, but life isn’t that simple.  It does, however, mean that I may return to supping a glass of wine without wondering if I’m in some way sealing my own fate. It means that when I’ve had a bad day I don’t need to chastise myself for washing it away with a glass of the red stuff and when all this treatment is over it means I’ll return to another of my favourite places. 

The vineyards of Serego Alighieri call to me, it’s more than a decade since my last visit and sometime next year I’ll return for a new supply of ruby-red deliciousness. I don’t imagine this trip will be possible for a while yet but when it is it will be a reward, a celebration of walking out of the Inferno. 

From Purgatorio to Paradiso accompanied by a small glass of red wine is more than good enough for me.

Vineyards Serego Alighieri. Credit: flickrhivemind


3 thoughts on “Purgatorio to Paradiso

  1. It can all be so confusing – do, don’t do or don’t do too much. I wish there was a better answer for us all than “hope, wait and see.” Meanwhile I’ve resolved not to be too tough on myself if I have a little of the things I enjoyed before all this happened. I’m not sure how healthy my mind would be without the odd glass of wine or chunk of chocolate after a stressful day. Whatever else I do to remove stress, the insanity that is sometimes work seems intent on creating havoc. I’ll get round to writing about it at some point – the madness can be astounding.


  2. Tracy, the research I looked at suggested that one glass of red wine per day decreases recurrence but beyond that, risk of recurrence increases. Did you read Servan-Schreiber’s, “Anticancer: A New Way of Life”? He did a nice summary of the research in the 2011 update of the book, though more research has come out in the subsequent years. One of the things that really impressed me about the book was that it was endorsed by the director of the Anderson Cancer Center in Texas, one of the leading cancer centers in the U.S.


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