LIVESTRONG:

And in June 2013 we are back in the revolving door of doctors, this time for my heart. So the focus has shifted, 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 strength to others & will help to strip away the fears we each experience.


LIVESTRONG: I am strong. I am loved. I am healthy. WE WILL WIN!

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.

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.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Happy Valentine's Day to You, Your Heart & My Heart

During this month, American Heart Health Month, wish your heart a Happy Valentine's Day and remember these important steps to keep it healthy -- for you, AND YOUR LOVED ONES!


I am just so thankful that this, my birth heart, is still with me and keeping me going to live life to the fullest. To keep it healthy, I try to get out and walk frequently, restrict my sodium intake, eat healthy and get adequate rest. What do you do?

Thank you to the American Recall Center for inspiring heart health month! Check out how other bloggers are celebrating  their hearts here!"


Life is Good...

Debbie... aka the cancer SURVIVOR, 
AND now the Cardiomyopathy warrior!!!
• I AM STRONG • I AM HEALTHY • I AM LOVED •

THANKS for visiting! I look forward to your comments.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Always a Relief

It is always a huge relief when that letter arrives from mammography stating that the results of my latest mammogram do not show any signs of cancer. Time to do a little dance, click my heels, and smile REAL BIG.


Life is Good...

Debbie... aka the cancer SURVIVOR, 
AND now the Cardiomyopathy warrior!!!
• I AM STRONG • I AM HEALTHY • I AM LOVED •

THANKS for visiting! I look forward to your comments.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Who Owns The Rights?

Who owns the rights to the information gleaned from my ICD (Implantable Cardioverter Device), which is, in the simplest terms, a defibrillator and pace maker combined? Apparently I do not.

I know this only because when I see my cardiologist, and he checks (they call it "interrogates") my ICD, I do not get a copy of the report unless I specifically request it. And when I do, it is about 20 pages long, and really doesn't mean a whole lot to me. It is not written for, or to, me. It is for my doctor and the device manufacturer and their staff, in this case St. Jude. Doesn't it seem odd that something that is implanted into my chest, hooked to the inside of my heart, does not provide important life-saving, and sometimes life-enhancing, data to me. It does to me.

Shirwin Siy just recently wrote the article, "Copyright Law and My Mother's Heart" to take part in Copyright Week, a series of actions and discussions supporting key principles that should guide copyright policy. Every day this week, various groups are taking on different elements of the law, and addressing what's at stake, and what we need to do to make sure that copyright promotes creativity and innovation. 

Mr. Siy wrote the article on January 20, 2015, so I must presume that Copyright Week that week. But that doesn't really matter. What does matter is that I happened upon it on Facebook, and it spoke to me very intimately.

Hopefully, one day, this information will be owned by me, or at least available to me on a real time basis. Because then it will be really useful to me and my cardiologists and potentially life saving. Wouldn't it make much more sense for me to have a hint of when my heart is challenged and give me the opportunity to maybe do something about to prevent a shock, rather than just wait for the shock, if in fact it happens timely and does what it is meant to do -- restart my heart in a normal rhythm?

Just saying...


Life is Good...

Debbie... aka the cancer SURVIVOR, 
AND now the Cardiomyopathy warrior!!!
• I AM STRONG • I AM HEALTHY • I AM LOVED •

THANKS for visiting! I look forward to your comments.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Is Cancer Just Bad Luck?

I'm finding the new reports of most cancer types being just bad luck very interesting. Often times I read about or hear others talk about how they "saved" their lives by changing their diet drastically, or changing their lifestyle, or began some new regime. The following article from John Hopkins talks about cancer often being the luck of the draw.

So let's not be so hard on ourselves, or others, by second guessing why or how they got cancer. One cannot judge what another should be doing to get healthy from, or prevent, cancer. Instead, we need to allow others to navigate their way through what is best for them, with the assistance of their highly educated doctors, and advice from loved ones. Until we walk in someone else's shoes...

John Hopkins - Cancer Due To Bad Luck

And while on the subject, this is a simple video discussing the importance of self breast exam and early detection.

Breast Cancer 101 ~ What to look for


Life is Good...

Debbie... aka the cancer SURVIVOR, 
AND now the Cardiomyopathy warrior!!!
• I AM STRONG • I AM HEALTHY • I AM LOVED •

THANKS for visiting! I look forward to your comments.




Mammogram

I'm sitting here waiting for my annual Mammogram. My first one as a screening, rather than post-cancer diagnostic. It feels good to be four years out, but these tests always always cause me anxiety.

Life is Good...

Debbie... aka the cancer SURVIVOR, 
AND now the Cardiomyopathy warrior!!!
• I AM STRONG • I AM HEALTHY • I AM LOVED •

THANKS for visiting! I look forward to your comments.



Friday, January 2, 2015

Cardiologist Appointment - CHECK!

Well our phone land lines have been down for a couple of days since that wind storm. Finally today we are back online with a temporary fix, so I could get back to this post I had started back then. It is much easier for me to do this kind of keyboarding from my desktop computer rather than the iPad or phone. So finally, here goes ~

A couple of days before New Years, we made our quarterly jaunt to Stanford Hospital & Clinics for a follow up appointment with Dr. Michael Fowler, my cardiologist. I'm usually less than excited about a 1pm appointment, because that can mean, as he is often running late (a good thing because he devotes as much time to each patient as they need -- me included), we will get into commute traffic through SF coming home and it will take twice as long as the ride down. Which it did! 1.5 hours to get there, 3 hours to get home. 

Happy couple on the way down, with a beautiful sky that opened up 
o gorgeous sunshine for the remainder of the day.
 


And the drive home was not especially fun with a broken out window just behind me in the passenger door of our pretty new truck. Thank you thugs at Stanford Mall when we stopped for a quick bite before my appointment. As we returned to the truck from that quick bite, I walked to my side and saw glass on the ground and running board, never thinking it was from our vehicle. As I looked up, I noticed the window was gone. 

 

At first it looked like nothing was disturbed or missing. Everything there was just as we left it 20-30 minutes earlier, we thought. It wasn't until later Mark remembered bringing his iPad mini, so went back out from the waiting room to double check. Nada! Lucky for us we had just installed the app to "Find & erase" a device remotely, just in case someone got past his passcode protection.  So as we sat in the waiting room, we took care of all this business.  Thankfully the truck wasn't harmed in any other way and we are so thankful it wasn't worse. It was definitely a bit of an inconvenience as I then needed to catch a cab to my appointment while Mark dealt with filing reports with the mall security company and then the police. And then there was the trip back and forth to the truck to check on it's contents while we waited for our turn with the cardiologist. 

And I need to add that while Chipotle seems to be a smart fast-food stop, when considering other options, I have changed my mind totally. We've been there a few times in the last couple of years, and I liked how you could order something more healthy, like the salad bowl, and see all the calorie contents overhead as you make those choices. But why oh why don't these companies consider other health issues, LIKE SODIUM. Fat is not the only evil. I believe that the lower fat choices are all being sabotaged with either salt or sugar. And sodium is my biggest evil of all. I fight with it every time I shop. There are some good choices out there, but they are few and far between. Just saying, Chipotle, clean up your act. A serving of tomato salsa alone, without any chicken or beans/rice, tortilla, etc., is 470 mg of sodium. A woman cannot live on salsa alone. Just saying. Check it out here on this link and see what I mean. I digress -- sorry for the rant.

But on to the news of my appointment with Dr. Fowler...

It was a very good appointment, considering. Vitals all good, weight good, body not retaining water. So the myriad of medications I continue to take are doing their job. Because, as the doc reminded us, just because I'm feeling good does not mean my heart is better. He does that each time, and each time it kind of gives Mark and I a reality check -- BIG TIME! The fact I had four or so echocardiograms within a six month period, and all showed a very low Ejection Fraction ranging from 12-18%, he says it is unlikely that my heart will improve greatly. Apparently I have about 8-9 years before I would then be bordering on being too old for a transplant. But he also confirmed that the echo is not everything, and the way I feel says so very much. So for now, we continue as is, and live each day to the fullest. I'll see him again late July and we will finally do another echo to see exactly what the old ticker is up to then. Who knows, miracles do happen, and maybe I will surprise them all. I can only think that way now, as it does no good to get down and feel sorry for myself. Especially when I know that others have far more difficult issues they are struggling with.

So we jumped in our truck (without a back side window) and headed our merry way up the Hwy and across the Golden Gate Bridge. At  40 degrees outside, it was a good thing we had a beach towel which Mark fixed over the window held tightly by the door jam. Thank you seat heater. Luckily there was no other damage to our truck. 

A stop Mary's Pizza for some yummy takeout pizza helped to lift our spirits. We will drive up to Sacramento in a couple of days to get the window replaced, and all will be good again here at Brookfarm.

If you are a praying person, please continue to keep me in your thoughts and prayers for continued health throughout the New Year and years to come.

Someone deposited an adorable moose in our midst ~ Maddie.



Life is Good...

Debbie... aka the cancer SURVIVOR, 
AND now the Cardiomyopathy warrior!!!
• I AM STRONG • I AM HEALTHY • I AM LOVED •

THANKS for visiting! I look forward to your comments.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Love our Christmas Celebrations

Christmas has come and gone, and we survived some kind of intestinal bug. It took DH down pretty good for nearly a full week. Thankfully I only had to deal with it for a couple of days, and a much milder version. Regardless, it is never fun to be sick around Christmas. We were well for the actual holiday, though, so that is a positive note to it all.

We started off all the fun with our annual family holiday gathering. This is where most of my siblings come over for a day of nibbles and holiday cheer. As usual, my dear sweet sister and her family from Montana were greatly missed. A younger brother had a bug and wasn't able to join us either. But between our daughters and their families, including the three most adorable grandchildren I know (wink, wink), four of my siblings and their families, two cousins and spouses, and Gaigey's other Nana, auntie, uncle, and cousin, it was a full house and loads of fun. Everyone pitches in and brings appetizer type plates for us to graze on throughout the afternoon. Then of course there is some gift sharing, lots of visiting, playing outside on what was a nice sunny December Saturday, and just lots of fun times.

Then our girls and families join us Christmas Eve for a wonderful Cioppino dinner and overnighter. We are blessed that they still stay over and we can experience the magic of Christmas morning with them and their three little ones. I imagine that won't last for too many more years as they will most likely want to be in their own home for Santa to visit. Time will tell. Two 3-yr old boys in the house made for quite the active household. But I think everyone slept reasonably well. It was such fun to see the boys interact and play. They are so different, yet alike. It is such fun to see these two cousins getting to know each other and learning to share and play together. It can be such a challenge for a child who is learning all about and exerting their independence. But I think everyone had a good time together.

So now we have the house back to ourselves and are looking forward to a New Year.

I hope you enjoy a few snapshots from our holiday fun.

Alura and Madeleine Mae, our newest member of the family (nearly 5 months)


Nico & Maddie


Auntie Sarah reading to Nico & Maddie

Gaige getting Maddie to smile & laugh.


                               Cousin Denise & I
 

                                                                     Bob & Christine





And New Year's Eve, my sweetie of 42 years (our romance began on New Year's Eve) enjoyed a late lunch at one of our favorites - Rosso Pizzeria, then a movie (Wild), and home by 7:30pm. I think this should be a New Year's Eve tradition. I mean, one can start a new tradition at 42 years into a relationship, can't they?






2015 ~ We welcome you with open arms. 

Life is Good...

Debbie... aka the cancer SURVIVOR, 
AND now the Cardiomyopathy warrior!!!
• I AM STRONG • I AM HEALTHY • I AM LOVED •

THANKS for visiting! I look forward to your comments.