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.


Monday, January 31, 2011

To Port or Not to Port

Beam me up, Scotty!

So, you may have read the entry where I mention the Infusion Room. Sounds pretty luxurious, doesn't it? :-) Will I be infusing my hair in a lovely bath to make it dark and silky, or will I be infusing my body into a warm, steamy bath of oils and hydrating luxury. Nope, Nada, Absolutely NOT!

The Infusion Room is where I will have my veins and body infused with chemotherapy drugs. I think I'll stop with that description there so as not to scare you and me both at this moment.

The latest update is things have ramped up this week, as I suspected they might. I have all my pre-chemo tests set up and it will be a busy week. I finish up the week with the outpatient surgery to install/insert the port, which is about a 4 hour experience between prep, light sedation, and recovery.

These tests are to make sure "everything" is operating properly and I am ready for chemo, which will then tear it all back down. The side effects are so very scary, but what choice do I have? We just watched Crazy Sexy Cancer the other day and it has empowered me to bring some better health  practices back into my life. I can't believe where I was 30 some years ago when the girls were young, to where I am now. I mean, we are somewhat cautious about food and such, but I remember the food coop days that we were involved in here in Glen Ellen/Kenwood, using carob instead of chocolate, a sugar-less household, making my own whole wheat bread, and making so many other good (and sometimes not so well-received) dishes for the family. What the _ _ _ _  (heck) happened?

I guess it was just a busy, hectic lifestyle. So, I am on the hunt for a juicer and may try some yoga and meditation again. Can't hurt right???

This week is comprised of three days of different tests, which includes the port. I'm not sure when chemo starts, but it will be a 16 week ordeal, with one week on, one week off. I'll start with two drugs for 8 of those weeks, then they'll switch it to a different drug. Apparently there is all sorts of other stuff I'll be doing, like blood draws before each session to see if I've recovered enough. Then chemo is followed the day after with an injection or pill to bring the blood counts back up, hopefully, or the next chemo treatment may be delayed. Amongst all that, a slew of anti-nauseau stuff, etc. I'm still reading and learning, and a "chemo teaching" session will be scheduled for me before treatment. Can't wait.

I'm hopeful that the chemo treatment will start up next week or sometime soon thereafter. I'd like to get on with it and get IT all over with so I can get back to life as a survivor.

So what the heck is a "Port", you may ask.

Here is some info on the port: 
What is a Port Infusion?
A port infusion uses an under-the-skin (subcutaneous) port that has been implanted by a surgeon. The port is located either in your arm or your chest, (mine will be in my chest) and is connected by a soft, slim catheter tube that goes through your vein all the way to your heart. This catheter protects your vein during treatment. The port is an entry point that your infusion nurse can find each time you come for a treatment, and it can be used for a blood draw, as well as infusion of drugs. Your chemotherapy nurse will use a special type of needle to access your port, and won't have to hunt for a good vein to use. The needle will be taped into place to prevent it moving around during your infusion.

One reason for the port is this: The chemo drugs are so caustic that if the IV were to leak,  the damage to the skin from the drugs would require surgery, and perhaps even plastic surgery. Ummm, order up a Port for me pronto, please!!!

Hugs, Debbie... aka the cancer warrior


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