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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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.





Monday, December 5, 2016

Have You Voted today?

PLEASE VOTE DAILY. Thank you!  
 
My Blog, Deb's Breast Cancer Journey, is once again nominated for Healthline’s Annual Best Health Blog Contest! Check it out here: 



You can vote once per day until December 12th when the winner will be announced.

 
AND there is a cash award this year.

  1. Click link above. 
  2. Scroll down to search field to vote on page (daily)
  3. Put Deb's into the search window. Be sure to use capital D and apostrophe
  4. Then choose my Blog,and click VOTE.
  5. Click on the box to prove you are not a robot, you might have to scroll up to the top to find that message. 
  6. You may also need to verify email address the first time you vote. After that first vote, your browser makes it much easier for you.
  7. Vote from different devices with different email addresses, if you have them, to vote more frequently.
Thanks so much - hope you can take some time to vote for me.
 

PLEASE VOTE DAILY.


Nominate your favorite health blog until November 21st, then vote for the best, which receives a $1000 cash prize!

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, November 29, 2016

Slow Progress

It's been a decent weekend, although I'm still laying low per doctor's orders. I saw my surgeon Friday morning for the bandage removal and reveal (see previous post). He was so sweet to meet me at the back door of their office for a visit, since the office was closed on Friday. Then Mark and I had a lovely lunch out and returned home. By Saturday, the smaller gauze dressing was covered in blood, so another day yet before it is safe to shower. 

The bandage tape is horrible. Maybe it is just because of the type of surgery. I've not had this much pain when removing bandage tape before, and I've had a few surgeries in my life. During surgery, my skin had to be peeled up from tissue on most of my chest so it could be moved to the appropriate area to cover the surgery site and be sutured. It is a large site, and radiated skin has no elasticity, so I have to be very careful so healing continues as it should. I am told that radiated skin can be slow to heal and infection happens more often than with normal non-radiated skin. Whenever I peel off the bandage tape, certain areas feel as though my skin is being pulled away from my body, like it's barely attached (the skin). Thankfully, now I am finally down to a large bandaid. The shower is still on hold until there is less draining and the hole from the breast drain heals up a bit more. 

Saturday afternoon I drove for the first time. I was a bit stir crazy with all the information about shopping and fun holiday events, so I drove down to Sarah's in Sonoma and hung out there, playing games with she and Grandson. Then we took a walk down to the plaza to see the beautiful lights. It was a nice outing. I returned home and Mark and vacuumed the house (Yay!!!) and made chili. I made some corn bread and we had a heart-warming meal. 

By Sunday afternoon, I was finally good to go for a shower. Ahhhhh; that sure felt good.


My artistic hubby. :-)
I'm getting hair. YIPPEE!



















A few Thanksgiving moments...

Cousin love.

Our daughters, their husbands, my brother and his wife.

My nephew with his 3 cousins (our grands). Looks like trouble.


Today is Monday. It is a beautiful sunny morning right now, and  I hope to make it out tonight for a knit night and meditation. Maybe we will even start in on some Christmas decor for the house. We shall see. But I still need to restrict use of my left arm to prevent any edema and swelling, which is a big no-no with the radiated skin and such.

On Wednesday I return to see my surgeon, Dr. Elboim. Hopefully I will get the green light to do the exercises to keep my shoulder loose, and be able to lift over my head and do some light lifting. Then Friday I will return to see my Oncologist to do some labs and see if I am healed up enough and when I can get back on my chemo routine and keep this cancer at bay.

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.



Monday, November 28, 2016

Please Vote For My Blog

My Blog, Deb's Breast Cancer Journey, is once again nominated for Healthline’s Annual Best Health Blog Contest! 

Check it out here: 
http://www.healthline.com/health/best-health-blogs-contest

You can vote once per day until December 12th when the winner will be announced.
AND there is a cash award this year.
  1. Scroll down to vote once you are on page.
  2. Then put Deb's into the search window to find my Blog. (Must use capital D and apostrophe).
  3. May need to confirm email, and look for box you will need to check stating you are not a robot. :-)
  4. Then vote!
Thanks so much - hope you can take some time to vote for me.

~ Debbie Emery


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.