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.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Muga Scan ~ CHECK!

MUGA scan done! Just one of several tests to complete this week. I'll be glad when this step of the process is behind me. Here's a bit about what the heck a Muga Scan is and my experience, which was pretty uneventful.

Muga Scan: a multigated acquisition scan checks to see if your heart is pumping blood properly. Other names for this test include cardiac blood pooling imaging, nuclear heart scan, nuclear ventriculography, and radionuclide ventriculography. Wow; more cool vocabulary for the day!

Some people with cancer receiving chemotherapy may need to have this test during their cancer treatment. Survivors of childhood cancer who have had radiation therapy to the chest, spine or upper abdomen; a bone marrow/stem cell transplantation, or
This test is done to be sure I am up to chemotherapy with Doxorubicin (Adriamycin), which is an anthracycline. Anthracyclines are a type of chemotherapy that can damage the heart and its ability to pump blood to the rest of your body. Because of this, I may also need a MUGA scan as part of my follow-up care. 

A MUGA scan checks for:
  • Your heart’s ability to pump blood to the rest of your body
  • The size of the ventricles (the two lower chambers that hold blood) in the heart
  • Any abnormal movement of blood through the heart
About the procedure
A MUGA scan is much like a (CT) scan, and is performed by a nuclear medicine or radiology technician. Before my MUGA, a small amount of a radioactive material, called a tracer, was injected into a vein my arm. This material is much like a dye and binds to your red blood cells (blood cells that carry oxygen throughout your body), making it easier to see how blood moves through your heart. After they injected the tracer, the technician put a gamma camera (a special camera that uses gamma rays together with a tracer) above me while I was lying on my back, and took pictures of my heart. AND, I didn't have to wear one of those flimsy tiny gowns. They did it all through my clothes! This part I liked very much.

There was a series of three pictures, each lasting 10 minutes. I really didn't feel a thing other than a cool feeling in my arm when the saline was injected and a weird taste in my mouth at the same time. And I was out of there in an hour!  :-)

During my procedure I was asked to lie on a table beneath the camera, and stickers called electrodes were placed on my chest to monitor my heart’s electrical impulses during the test. The camera, which is about three feet wide, was placed close to my chest.

As the tracer moved through my bloodstream, the gamma camera took pictures to see how well the blood was pumping through me. Three different views were taken, each one took 10 minutes.

Normal results of the MUGA scan mean that your heart is pumping blood efficiently throughout your body. A result of 45% or higher is normal. An abnormal result can mean blockage in an artery, poor pumping function, heart valve disease, or other disorders. If you have an abnormal result, your doctor may decide to switch treatments or give you a different type of chemotherapy.

I will learn the results of my test soon.  :-)

Best part of the day was that then my sister Nancy met me and we went to Sonoma Taqueria for lunch. We had a nice long visit before she headed out to visit a patient on her rounds as Hospice for Memorial Hospital.  It was great to catch up with her. We hope to do that more often since I will be in her neighborhood quite frequently for the next 4 months or more.

Hugs, Debbie... aka the cancer warrior


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