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.


Friday, June 17, 2011


I know it may seem trivial, but it looks like I will be loosing a few finger nails from the chemo. Both Adriamycin and Taxol are the culprits, which I received, as well as some other chemo drugs. I've had pretty discernable ridges growing out from my nail beds for some time. Now, from those ridges to the nail tips the nails are either very white or very dark; both looking like the nail is barely attached tat the ridge.

This photo doesn't really do it justice, but this is another one of those side effects that isn't really discussed. I wonder why that is? As a matter of fact, this wasn't really mentioned at all to me and when I saw some evidence of the ridges a few months back, my Oncologist did not seem too concerned.

Thankfully the ridges have grown 1/3 to 1/2 out, so what I do lose will only be a partial nail. The nail on my left index finger is just barely hanging on. So I wear a bandage to protect it as long as possible and keep it from tearing off. The two thumbs are pretty bad too, but I think the middle finger on my right hand may be the next to go as the old and new nail are starting to separate from each other.

I just recently learned about a technique being used at some infusion centers for nails which makes sense to me. You may have seen something on the news last year some time, like I did, about a technique designed to prevent hair loss during chemotherapy. It is called a cold cap, or ice cap, and is used to prevent total hair loss if used at the time chemo is administered. It works by cooling the cells of the hair root and restricting the flow of blood to them so these cells are less likely to be affected by the toxic drugs. But it doesn’t work for all patients and some say the unpleasantness of the ice-cold cap on their scalps is worse than any other aspect of their chemo. Apparently this technique is also very expensive and not covered by insurance so you don't hear about it much or see it being used.

The technique for the nails I'm referring to is holding the finger tips and toes in an ice bath during chemo. Apparently it has a similar effect as the cold cap does on the scalp and hair. One website tells about all the patients in their infusion centers using bags of frozen peas. Another patient messages that she was instructed to use this technique for just the first and last ten minutes of infusion. While the technique may be more painful than the resulting loss of nails, it would certainly seem to pay off for patients I just read about who ended up with oosing nail beds from their chemo. I guess I will need to ask my Oncologist about this when I go in for my check up. It may be something to at least inform chemo patients about and let them make the choice for themselves.

Oh the things we go through...


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

1 comment:

  1. Weird...never heard of that before. Is it affecting your toe nails also?

    I hope your nail tips stay on until they have grown enough that when they do fall off, you will have no pain. What you do not need is more pain.

    What I see in the future for you is having a manicure and laughing about the time you had crazy looking nails. really are amazing!

    Hugs, ~Michelle


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