LIVESTRONG:

What started as IDC (Infiltrating Ductal Carcinoma) in 2011, then turned into CHF (Congestive Heart Failure) in 2013, probably partially caused by chemotherapy along with a genetic pre-disposition. Here we are now in March 2016 and I am newly diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer in the left breast and liver (LMBC - liver metastasized breast cancer).


So the focus has shifted yet again, BUT... I continue to THANK YOU for your prayers, love & support. I receive them with open & loving arms. My wish is that I will gain strength from you, will provide helpful information and strength to others & will help to strip away the fears we each experience.


I am strong. I am loved. I am healthy. I WILL SURVIVE!

Have you or your loved one had their annual mammogram? PLEASE, don't put it off. Speaking from experience, I highly recommend monthly self exam as well. And if you are now cancer free of breast cancer, do everything you can to insist that your doctors follow up with an occasional PET Scan and labs for tumor markers.

WARNING:
Contents may be uplifting, sad, funny, scary, downright depressing ~ THAT IS CANCER .... at it's best, at its worst.

PLEASE ~ Feel free to share this blog with anyone who is interested to learn about my journey. While I welcome their support, I hope that by sharing this experience freely to the universe I may help to support others by breaking down some of the barriers and fear associated with breast cancer and the treatment.

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Sunday, February 12, 2017

They Call it Life

The good, the bad, and the ugly.... or should I say deranged. 
 
I do try to stay away from politics here, but for those of you who follow me on Facebook, or are true friends with me in real life, whatever that is, you know that I cannot stay silent with what is happening around us in our world today ~ namely 45 and the new administration of our Nation. The challenge, the confusion; it is all so hard to come to grips with. I know that even in California, there are some who do not agree with me, and even some in my family. My closest friends are usually so shocked to hear this and always question me to say, "Who could possibly disagree, or feel that way; especially in CA?" And I know that they too experience the opposing side from time to time, again in surprise and confusion. It is all just so challenging and disheartening. I will hold my thoughts on this topic right about here, but I will leave you with this article; just click on the words "this article". I hope and encourage you, I URGE YOU, to read this and give it your honest thought and heartfelt review. There is so much we can all do if we just pull together. And please, do not say that we need to give 45 time, a chance. Just look at how things have gone in the little time he has already stolen from us. Please, read this and then do what is in your heart to rectify these wrongs and craziness, in your own way, whether silently or out loud. But please refrain from trying to silence others. 

On the health side, I can't complain, and I am very grateful. Life is good right now, and I'm gonna keep it this way as long as I can; maybe forever. I received results from my recent CT Scan, and they were good. All tumors are still there in the liver, but they are just a bit smaller than 3-4 months ago. This is good news and all I can hope for. My bloodwork shows nothing alaraming -- again good news. Especially since I had a bit of a scare shortly before the scan, causing me to move up my Scan date and followup oncology review appointment. I had swelling in the neck area and a very tender spot on a bone right below my neck. Thankfully there is nothing there at all, at least not from the scan. I do still have that tiny spot in the lower section of my right lung that appears from time to time. They keep telling me it is residual from a recent cold or infection, or something; although I've not been sick in many months. Oh well, I'm not about to look for trouble.

And on the treatment side, I am doing pretty well. One good thing about the week on, and week off, of 6 Capecetabine (Xeloda) tablets (3 in am and 3 in pm), is that I am not going to the oncologist for infusion every single week. So my life has been freed up of many of the doctor visits. In fact, my oncologist does not want to see me for another two months. I'm not sure whether that makes me happy, or nervous, or offended (just kidding, of course). It gives me time to enjoy my family, to get out and walk without the fatigue, and try to lose these few pounds that crept on recently. Time to return to Tai Chi, learn my ukulele, and try to meditate. Time to be with friends, and especially my beloved grandchildren. The one side effect from the Xeloda is the morning bathroom routine. It does keep me close to home for a few hours as everything seems to flow freely in the morning, if you get my drift. (I know, TMI -- but then this Blog is about me, my health, my life, treatment, etc. -- at least I haven't shared photos of my mastectomy - YET) 😍 

Well, we are up to 58.5" of rain for the rain year (Oct 2016-today), and that includes a whopping 26.5" in January, and 11" already for this month. They say that the North Bay is out of the drought. So I am enjoying these past few days of sunshine. I even got some lettuces and greens planted in my raised planters a couple of weeks ago, so I am sure that they are enjoying the sunshine as well. And we are looking forward to a fun camping trip soon and also we're planning ahead with more fun activities in the months to come. 

So, I'm feeling kind of normal, have good energy, and loving time with family and friends. Now if we could just correct some of the happenings I mentioned in the beginning, life would really be good!

That's it for now...



Filling my life with love, laughter, family & friends!


Peace and Love




Die cancer, DIE. You are messing with the wrong woman!!

Debbie... aka the cancer FIGHTER

AND Cardiomyopathy warrior!!!
B  E  L  I  E  V  E

• I AM STRONG • I AM HEALTHY • I AM LOVED •

THANKS for visiting!        I look forward to your comment.




 
 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

They Call It Hair, and Other Musings

Look, Ma... I have hair!



Enough for it to even get messed up when I wear a hat, which is still most of the time. But I do go hatless indoors more frequently now that this little bit of fluff is giving me some warmth. And I'm glad it is. 

Now if I could just get my eyebrows, lashes, and  nails to cooperate. But I won't be greedy on this account. I am thankful for what I have.

HATS & MARCHING


Speaking of hats, I was so very honored to participate in one of the over 600 sister marches to the Women's March on Washington DC on 1/21/17. As you can see from the tiny image in the background pic of our 3-girl Glen Ellen/Sonoma/Napa team of me, Kate & Karen, we marched at our State Capitol of Sacramento, CA. The crowd is estimated to be in the neighborhood of 30,000 and it was an experience of a lifetime for me. The vibe was positive, supportive, inclusive, and the intent was, and is, to stand up for the rights of all human beings, especially women; which we believe are being threatened at lightning speed under the new President and administration.

 These are called pussy hats. And if you've heard any of the derogatory statements from our new President from recent history, you know what this means.
This are called pussy hats. Google it if you don't know the meaning, but you couldn't have missed it in the last few weeks if you read/watch the news or do anything online.

A lot of people are calling this song the anthem of the Women’s March movement. It brings tears everytime I hear it, and especially watching this wonderful women sing it in DC.
“We are the song rising in the twilight. Sing it once more, #ICantKeepQuiet. A #WomensMarch anthem."

 

A GETAWAY


Right before the march, Mark and I, and three of our other trailering couples (we call ourselves the Vino Vagabonds), made a treck up to our favorite winery, Pacific Star Winery, for a few days. It was the annual crab feed and the crabbing strike ended just in time for us to enjoy the most delicious dungeness crab from the Fort Bragg area. We are part of the "crew" for this event so we help with set up, take down, and even a little food prep and flower arranging. But the best part is the open welcome from the winery owners Sally & Marcus, the gorgeous setting, and the friendship of this group. Not to mention some delicious wines and THE VIEWS. What an amazing place and fun weekend.

 





 BBC NEWS

And then there is some exciting news on the breast cancer front:

Breast cancer: Scientists hail 'milestone' genetic find

Scientists say they now have a near-perfect picture of the genetic events that cause breast cancer.

The study, published in Nature, has been described as a "milestone" moment that could help unlock new ways of treating and preventing the disease.

The largest study of its kind unpicked practically all the errors that cause healthy breast tissue to go rogue.
I say, keep this kind of good news coming!


That's it for now...



Filling my life with love, laughter, family & friends!


Peace and Love




Die cancer, DIE. You are messing with the wrong woman!!

Debbie... aka the cancer FIGHTER, AND Cardiomyopathy warrior!!!
B E L I E V E

• I AM STRONG • I AM HEALTHY • I AM LOVED •
THANKS for visiting!        I look forward to your comment.




 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

New Year ~ New Me

Or so I hope!

My new motto for this year is...
  • Move a little more; sit less
  • Eat a little better; more real food, one bite at a time.
  • Sleep tighter; every good day starts with a good night.
  • Take a moment to calm your mind, be in the moment.
It's been a wet and soggy month so far, bringing 17" of rain to our little farm here in Glen Ellen, Brookfarm. So it has been hard to get out and do the Move a little more part. But I did get a two-mile walk in yesterday at our regional park. So that is a start.

I also made it to a meditation class the other day, and then meditated at home one day. If I can only keep on track and keep progressing in a positive direction, that is the real test.

I've been feeling really good of late, and now back on my chemo pill after a one-month break post mastectomy. It was a nice break over the holidays but I am ready to get back at it and be the cancer warrior. In early February I'll be back to see my oncologist for a new CT Scan, which I hope will show further reduction in number and size of lesions.

Today I hosted lunch for my group I meet with once a month. I call it a cancer support group, but it is really a women's support group -- a group of local Glen Ellen and Sonoma women, most of them I have known for many years, usually because of connections from our children growing up and being close in age. But there are a few newer friends too. What we all have in common most recently is cancer, in one form or another. I've told you about this group before, so won't go over it all again. But let's just say that they are the best ever. We all have kids and grandkids, are loving, caring, and creative women. We are on the same page politically. And we are all cancer warriors at different stages in our fight against the disease, or recovering from the death of a loved one to the disease. We talk, we share, we laugh, we eat, and then we plan the next lunch.

We just made our plans for next month and we will meet on Valentine's day at Community Cafe. Why then and there, you may ask? Because it is the anniversary of the death of Denise Emery, and we want to honor her there at one of her favorite spots and will toast her with a glass of white wine. Gone far too soon, my sweet cousin and dear friend. We all miss you and know you are watching over us all now planning to make us all cranberry sauce, or pesto sauce, or bringing lemons; always thinking of others. It will be a lovely way to honor Denise, share memories, and just support one another.


Here's to 2017!
Fill it with love, laughter, family & friends!


Peace and Love




Die cancer, DIE. You are messing with the wrong woman!!

Debbie... aka the cancer FIGHTER, AND Cardiomyopathy warrior!!!
B E L I E V E

• I AM STRONG • I AM HEALTHY • I AM LOVED •
THANKS for visiting!        I look forward to your comment.





Saturday, December 31, 2016

It's Been a Lovely Holiday Season...

... Full of family and friends, love and compassion, holiday crafting, adventures and treats! 



I couldn't have asked for a better 
December 2016.


I believe some of it is because of being off any chemo drugs for a full month to help me recover from the November 16th mastectomy surgery, plus the extra holiday time this allowed from not spending so much time in treatment and seeing doctors. My body has healed well and rejuvenated, so to speak. My energy level is up, my hair is growing back, I've been feeling pretty normal. And for that I am very grateful.

There is much to update about though. So I'll get on with it.

I see my oncologist next week for a port flush, lab work, and office visit. Hopefully all is going as well as I feel. I started back on my Capecitabine (Xeloda) chemo pills two weeks ago; so I am on the second week of pills right now. Meaning one week on, one week off, and now back onto the "on" week. Some of the side effects return each time I start the pills up again; sluggish bowels, some fatigue. I also seem to be experiencing more hand and foot syndrome symptoms -- the dryness and my feet are very sore even if only standing for a little bit. But all these are manageable in the greater scheme of things.

My hair is coming back pretty good; so much so that I have been going hatless most of the month, when inside and warm enough. This short Do is kind of fun. Maybe I'll keep it on the short while for a bit. But it is baffling to me that the hair on my legs is very dark, where the head is not. And my hair does not seem to be as wavy as it was 5 years ago when it returned after those rounds of chemo. Again, it is all good.

The mastectomy site has healed up nicely. It is not very pretty, but it is what it is. No pain, mostly. Just a bit of tightness and once in awhile a bit of soreness. I feel very fortunate from some of the pain and lymph node/edema issues so many have. Fortunately I did not need to have any more lymph nodes removed so that helped greatly.

I return for checkups with my breast surgeon and cardiologist in early February.

Today I am feeling a bit melancholy. Just kind of off and a bit dizzy. This happens from time to time and is usually related to sinus issues or vertigo. Again, it is manageable; and we will have a nice New Year's Eve dinner, just the two of us, in our cozy home. We may stay awake long enough to watch the ball drop in New York on our new gigantic TV that Santa brought this year. 

So I will close on 2016 after reviewing some of the fun from this month. And in doing so, I am now recalling all the great times with wonderful family and friends; and beginning to understand why I need to take some R&R time -- it's been a busy month (and this is just some of it)!

A Danish Smorgasbord where we learned to build beautiful sandwiches
with wonderful girlfriends who are the best cancer support team anyone could want.




Holiday fun at Cornerstone

A couple of days in SF getting into the Christmas spirit with great friends.

The Christmas tree hunt in Papa's red sleigh

A very serious decorator at 5 years old.
Swedish Lucia Pageant with niece Kiana as Lucia

Hawaiian concert at Green Music Center


Family Holiday Gathering


 





Holiday fun with wonderful friends.


Christmas Day with the family.




 


Wishing you all a Happy New Year 
filled with love, laughter, family & friends!


Peace and Love




Die cancer, DIE. You are messing with the wrong woman!!

Debbie... aka the cancer FIGHTER, AND Cardiomyopathy warrior!!!
B E L I E V E

• I AM STRONG • I AM HEALTHY • I AM LOVED •
THANKS for visiting!        I look forward to your comment.





Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Feeling Scarily Well

And by that I mean, almost normal, maybe even better than pre-cancer.

Why is that scary, you may ask?

Because it's as if I'm forgetting that I am very sick. Not sick in a feeling way, at least not at this moment, but sick as in terminal cancer. But then, aren't we all terminal in some way? I mean, we will all die, some way, some day. Thinking this way does help me to be real that I am really no different than anyone else.

And again, I digress. 

The fact is that I don't feel as though I can relax into this feeling. While it gives me the opportunity to get out more than usual and enjoy the Christmas Cheer, I know it can be very fleeting. 

And I also know that part of the reason I'm feeling well is I have had no chemotherapy treatment for nearly a month. This reason being that my mastectomy was on November 16th; and my surgeon and oncologist wanted me to stay off all Chemotherapy, or any immune depressing drugs, for a full month to give my body and skin the opportunity to heal as much as it could in that time, and while not taking too long of a chemotherapy break.

Then there is the fact that I haven't been to a doctor's appointment since December 1st, and today is December 13th. That is pretty much unheard of for me since March 1st this year. And I don't have another appointment scheduled until January 4th. Which is pretty amazing these days.

So tomorrow I start back on to my Capecitabine (Xeloda) chemotherapy pill regime. Three pills in the morning and 3 pills at night, a total of 3,000 mg per day. I do that for one full week, then take a week off, then repeat.  

I guess if I'm going to get a reprieve, no matter how long, I'll take it at this time of year.

And hopefully all will continue well going forward. 


Peace and Love




Die cancer, DIE. You are messing with the wrong woman!!

Debbie... aka the cancer FIGHTER, AND Cardiomyopathy warrior!!!
B E L I E V E

• I AM STRONG • I AM HEALTHY • I AM LOVED •
THANKS for visiting!        I look forward to your comment.