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.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Up, Down, AND All Around

Emotions.... that is.

Maybe it was the fact I got up early to do some "homework" and read the info on line and in my books about "Triple Negative" breast cancer, and began to focus in on the negative part of Triple Negative, or maybe it is because chemo is now on the calendar. Perhaps it is because today and tomorrow are full of tests and procedures, or that next week is already booked for the same. Or maybe it is just a blue day amidst all the gorgeous sunshine in Glen Ellen and Santa Rosa tocay. BUT today was a down day for me.

I had a full schedule of activities today, most of which were spent at my latest new Home Away From Home, Redwood Regional Medical Group offices, Sotoyome Campus. There is something about this word "campus" that feels a bit strange. I'm not really learning here, but I do seem to be spending a bit of time here! 

On today's agenda is an injection for the bone scan, CT scan, then a break when I hope to purchase a juicer. Then I'll return back here for the actual bone scan. Oh, and don't forget a trip somewhere in the day to the "Fountaingrove Campus", aka Cancer Center, to pick up a packet for my chemo teaching appointment on Monday. Are we having fun yet? I think I need to make a visit to see Mom sometime real soon. By that I mean a long-overdue visit to the cemetery. I want to bring her one of those silk Hawaiian leis I have stored somewhere and leave it draped around the angel we seven kids chose for her headstone. It's about time she and I had a good talk about what is going on in my life right now. Not that she isn't fully aware.... but I think I need it most.

My latest Home Away From Home

10:45 AM     Injection (Radioactive Tracer) for Bone Scan. Am I glowing yet?
It is starting to feel like Connie and Bill and I are good friends now. This is my third visit with Connie, as she was the one to receive me for the MRI Breast Scan last week. (Was it only last week ? -- feels like much longer ago already.) This was pretty uneventful.

11:15 AM     CT Scan
Connie walked me a short distance over to the brand-spankin-new CT Scan room. It even had clouds on the ceiling. This was a nice change although it didn't help much when the actual Scan was taking place, since the machine obstructed the view. 

A tall, pleasant young gentleman greeted me, and introduced himself. I don't remember his name, but I remember him saying he was new, or a student, or some such thing.  It is not that the CT Scan was a bad thing, it was that I didn't realize I would be getting another injection, and that the authorization/release form I had to sign for it was frightening to say the least. I mean, did they already have the MUGA scan results to know if my heart would survive this test that they were doing to help check my heart. HELLO! Is this making any sense right now????? 

Yes, the scan was quick, yes the other, experienced female technician was very nice and considerate of my tears at the end. Yes, this injection gave me a warm, but weird, feeling all over my body and made me (as it does most women) feel like I would urinate (but thankfully that doesn't really happen!!!!). And then I felt light headed when I got up to leave, but was quickly told to sit down for a bit. WHY DO I GET MYSELF ALL WORKED UP OVER THESE THINGS??? 

So, the CT Scan was over and I went out to my car to cry for a bit and call Mark. Yep.... silly me! I told him I didn't need him today, that he he should stay home and take care of things he needed to do rather than sit around in doctor's offices. Dumb idea on my part, for sure!!!

The fun part of the day was when I drove over to Macy's between appointments to shop for a juicer. The sale did not apply to electronics, but they had it marked down anyway. I picked up some cute little Fiesta bowls in turquoise and also in the new celadon green color. Then later in the day I returned to Macys to pick up our new Breville Ikon Juice Fountain. I've been fasting all morning for these tests so by now I want much more than juice. But I am anxious to get started doing some juicing.

1:00 PM     Bone Scan     I'm back! :-)
Other than this procedure taking a full hour. And considering the injection occurred earlier in the day (injections of radioactive material into my veins seem to be the thing that gets me going.) This procedure was actually restful, as long as I kept my eyes closed so as not to see the camera that was about 2" above my head at the start of the the first 27 minute "photo shoot". Of course it was kind of comical when, during one of the breaks between shots, Bill stopped to ask if I had ever had any trauma on my right side. He was pretty amazed at how all the broken ribs were still evident after the 15 years since I was struck by the SUV while crossing in the cross walk. He asked if they still give me trouble. I replied, "Only to ache intensely when the weather changes." Is that barometric pressure changes?

So now I am off to the Fountaingrove campus to pick up my packet from The Infusion Room!!! (Dun, dun.... dun, dun).

And I finish off the day picking up my new juicer and shopping for lovely fresh greens and fruits at the fabulous new Whole Foods in Santa Rosa. So see, there is a silver lining to my day. :-)
Now.... to head to home sweet home, and my sweetie. Then to start fasting again tonight for the Port procedure tomorrow. Just another day in a soon yet to be breast cancer survivor's life. BETTER WATCH OUT.... HERE I COME.

What is a CT Scan?  ~  Courtesy of
CT scanning is a noninvasive medical test to help physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. It uses special x-ray equipment and computers to produce pictures of the inside of the body. The cross-sectional pictures can then be examined on the computer, or printed.
CT scans provide images of internal organs, bones, soft tissue and blood vessels; and reveal more details than regular x-ray exams. The CT Scan assists doctors to more easily diagnose cancers, cardiovascular disease, infectious disease, appendicitis, trauma and musculoskeletal disorders.

This exam only lasted a few moments after the injection of the contrast dye. My experience today with this scan was pretty uneventful. Once I got past the weird warm feeling that moved through my body with the contrast material injected right before the scan, and the bit of weakness I felt after the exam, I was fine. The worst part of the experience was reding the authorization form, and learning ll the horrible side effects possible from the contest dye. I wondered what was worse, cancer or reding and signing this form.
 What is a Bone Scan?  ~  Courtesy of
 A bone scan is a nuclear scanning test that identifies new areas of bone growth or breakdown. It can be done to evaluate damage to the bones, find cancer that has spread (metastasized) to the bones, and monitor conditions that can affect the bones (including infection and trauma). A bone scan can often find a problem days to months earlier than a regular X-ray test.
For a bone scan, a radioactive tracer substance is injected into a vein in the arm. The tracer then travels through the bloodstream and into the bones. This process may take several hours. A special camera (gamma) takes pictures of the tracer in the bones. This helps show cell activity and function in the bones. Areas that absorb little or no amount of tracer appear as dark or "cold" spots, which may indicate a lack of blood supply to the bone (bone infarction) or the presence of certain types of cancer. Areas of rapid bone growth or repair absorb increased amounts of the tracer and show up as bright or "hot" spots in the pictures. Hot spots may indicate problems such as arthritis, the presence of a tumor, a fracture, or an infection.
A bone scan may be done on the entire body or just a part of it.

A bone scan is done to:

Hugs, Debbie... aka the cancer warrior, and soon to be survivor!


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