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.

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.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Ready, Set, Go ~ Treatment Plan In Place

We have a plan! Which is a huge relief.
 I'm in the Que, and it feels good.

First off, I am pleased to say that the 7.9 cm tumor size reported to me yesterday after the MRI was a bit inflated. Actually, I probably misunderstood. The overall length of the tumor area is 7.9 cm, rather than the actual diameter. The number the doctor says we should refer to is actually 3-6 cm. While this sounds huge. It is not as "huge" as the 7.9 cm number I received yesterday. So I guess this is good.

So... Mark and Alura and I met with Oncologist Dr. Ian Anderson, of Redwood Regional Medical Group, for a good 2 hours. He reviewed my patient history form, asked some questions, then performed a physical exam. He returns after I dress to tell us about the MRI results, which I've summarized above. One thing I did not know is the MRI scanned the lymph nodes and they look clear. YIPPEE!!!!!

The appointment with Dr. Anderson was very positive. He talked and walked us through all the options, the pros and cons, what he felt was the best for me now considering the tumor size, fact that my cancer is estrogen negative, Lymph nodes do not er to be involved, etc. After about an hour or so, it is apparent that Mark and I are kind of overloaded with information. Alura takes up the note taking and we all continue to ask questions. 

After two hours of consultation with Dr. Anderson, I have decided that chemotherapy is my next step . In a nut shell, there is a 30% chance that my tumor could disappear altogether with chemotherapy, shrink somewhat, or stay the same. Chemotherapy will also tell us if my cancer is responding to the treatment. Chemotherapy will last 16 weeks and  be followed with surgery. Depending on how the cancer responds to chemotherapy, surgery will involve a lumpectomy or mastectomy. Once chemotherapy begins, I will be monitored. If at any time, the tumor size increases, chemotherapy will be stopped and surgery will take place. Surgery will most likely be followed by radiation.

All things considered, they will do some diagnostic tests, blood work, CT scan and bone scan, check my heart strength. Then a port will be inserted into my chest for chemotherapy treatment to begin soon thereafter.

I'm not sure yet when my chemotherapy will start, but it will involve 4 rounds of treatment with one med, for every other week. for 8 weeks. Then a new med is used for another 4 rounds for 8 more weeks. This means a 16 week period of chemotherapy. Each treatment is preceded by blood work to see if my blood counts are as is expected and needed for the treatment. The next day I go through a 3-4 hour chemotherapy treatment. The third day I will return for a drug to be administered that helps to bring my blood count back up to normal. The rest of that week I have off to recover, as well as the following week. The third week I return and start all over again. Doesn't sound all that bad, does it. :-) There are many side affects of course, but the alternative is one I can't consider. So I'm prepared for nausea, baldness, and exhaustion. I'm confident that everything will fall into place as far as scheduling within the next few days.

A funny story is that Dr. Anderson took us into the chemo treatment room so a nurse could check my veins to see if a port would be better for me. Both Mark and Alura looked around and said, "Wow what a great view." You would have thought we were in a spa or restaurant. Common guys, I'll be spending 3-4 hours here for chemotherapy. This ain't no spa. But YES, the view is very nice! :-) Besides, I have some knitting projects all lined up so don't expect to be gazing out the window all the time I'm there.

One new tidbit that the MRI showed is that my tumor is close to, or may be attached to, my chest wall. As Alura puts it, "That is why they are doing chemo, Mom". So logical and to the point. I love her to death. She makes it all sound so perfectly expected and "okay". 

When we three arrive home, we find Sarah here with lunch prepared for us. It was nice to spend the rest of the afternoon with our girls, talk about "things" and snuggle on the couch.


I'M READY. BRING IT ON. I have my warrior suit all pressed and ready to go into battle. And Basooka Bear is ready at my side.

My hope is that everything will move quickly from here.

Hugs, Debbie... aka the cancer warrior



  1. I am so relieved it is not in your lymph nodes Deb. Hang in there. I know you will do great. I am glad your family is there to help you through this. Thank god for family! Love you!

  2. You are so strong and I am very proud!!! I love you, I love you! Donna


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