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, June 8, 2011

2 Ultrasounds, 3 MRIs, and 2 Biopsies Later

Today I had an MRI guided biopsy. The purpose of this is to help the surgeon better determine what the recommended surgery will be for me. I was very curious as to how this would all work. You see, I've had two breast MRIs this year and they are performed with the patient lying down with breasts dangling through two openings in the table. Then the table is raised and moved back into the MRI chamber for the image. So I wondered how the biopsy part of the procedure would happen.

Well, the images are taken of the breast only this time there is a grid used so the exact areas of the tumor are identified. Th imaging took about 20 minutes or so and a contrast was used again this time since it had been used on the previous MRI. Then the Radiologist numbed the area in question. Because my tumor is on the inside of my breast, this procedure required access from the outside of my breast. So whatever was being done, required them going through my entire breast all the way across to the inside of the breast. You see, when you are lying face down for the MRI, there is no way for the Radiologist to get to the inside of the breast without coming in from the outside of the breast. I guess if they used some mechanism like when they work on cars.... Maybe I will suggest that next time I am there.  :-)

So the numbing started on the outside and the needle was inserted all the way across to the other side, numbing along the way. This was uncomfortable and I almost moved during the process.

Then comes the large hollow needle that allows access of the vacuum that removes the tissue for pathology. This tugs and again was pretty uncomfortable. So by now my shoulders and forehead are pretty uncomfortable as well. You see, your arms are held straight up over your head, and by now we are going on an hour. It felt like my weight was carried by my shoulders and forehead, and of course I could not move even the slightest bit until the procedure was complete. Once the Radiologist had the needle in place, then another image is required to be sure they are in the right spot. He confirms that we are on target! 

Now another instrument is used to take the sample, and it performs more numbing as it is inserted. There is some discomfort during this step, but heck, I've made it this far -- no backing out now so I manage. More images are taken and the Radiologist decides he wants to go a bit further to make sure he gets the right spot, which he does.

The last step is to place a tiny marker into the breast at the point of the biopsy, and then one more image is taken.

I was so relieved to sit up and move my arms. My shoulders were very uncomfortable by now. The technician checks the opening, gives me my followup instructions, applies steri strips and a protective covering, and then there is one more thing to do. I get to put on my pants and shoes to go down he hall to Mammography. A couple of images are taken so they can also record the marker for future reference.

When all is said and done, I was there for exactly two hours, which is what I was told to expect.

On the way home I could feel the pain starting and took a couple of Tylenol. We picked up pizza along the way and I promptly iced my booby when I got home. I could already feel a very hard area having formed where the biopsy was taken. So after icing for about an hour, we will have some pizza.

I should get a call tomorrow with results from the biopsy, and presume that then a surgery date will be on the calendar very soon.

I'm glad that this is now over. It was manageable, but not something I would look forward to again anytime soon. But heck, it is a bit of a precursor to surgery, isn't it?


Debbie... aka the cancer warrior ... AND SURVIVOR!!!
Sonoma Relay for Life Team (8/6/11) ~  Debbie's Blasting Crew.


  1. As I read your experience of having a MRI guided biopsy, I was picturing myself having the same procedure. My handled it better than I would. It would have been terribly hard for me to NOT MOVE.

    I continue to learn and become better educated from your writings. You really need to write a book about your journey.

    I hope the Tylenol and icing helped ease the discomfort in your breast and you slept fairly well last night.

    Soon you will know what your next journey will be and I will be supporting and praying for you along the way.

    Hugs and prayers, ~Michelle

  2. YOU SEE!!!! I am not the only one who thinks you have a talent for writing!!!XOXOXOXOXO


  3. Just want to let you know I think of you and your family often. Special hugs go out to you and an extra one or two special hugs from me for you to pass on to your dear husband.

  4. Did I say that I recited Hail Mary's and Our Fathers throughout the whole thing. I thought of it as a good way of distraction, besides, it was the only thing I could recite from memory in that moment in time -- good ole Catholic upbringing! :-)


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