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, June 30, 2011

Pleasantly Surprised

Yesterday afternoon I had my post-operative appointment with Dr. Elboim. The output from the drain was at a low enough level so that it could be removed, which was a weird feeling. Thankfully he numbed it a bit first. Then it was time to remove the "mega bandage" as the doc calls it. I was so anxious for that, mainly because the tape was very bothersome and then I can fully bathe, AND see the results of surgery.  :-)

So, we (Mark and I) were pleasantly surprised. Mind you there is still some swelling and bruising, making my affected breast a bit larger than it will be when fully recovered and after shrinking expected from radiation, but surprisingly it looks good.

There are two incisions, each about two inches in length. One is just under the arm where the lymph nodes were removed, and one just above my nipple and angled towards the center of my chest. The nipple was not moved after all. The only numbness is in the area where the tumor was removed, and tissue from the lower portion of my breast was moved to fill in the void. It is a dull feeling, not numbness. This is very good since often times there is permanent numbness under the arm and where the surgery takes place, often at the nipple.

Dr. Elboim presented us with the written pathology report and exclaimed how pleased he was with how well chemo worked. He said that the chemo results for me were far better than he expected for my situation.

We talked about the TNBC status (triple negative breast cancer) and he will have samples sent back out to confirm where I stand on this. The first biopsy in January brought back conflicting reports of 5% and then 10% estrogen positive, which may change the TNBC status. This may have a bearing on further treatment after radiation, so we will wait and see the results of this test.

After the surgery. my staging is a T1a. Prior to surgery I could not be staged because we did not know if there was lymph node involvement.

So all in all, I think I can celebrate heartily on my birthday tomorrow, or as my brother calls it, "My life day". Let the Fire Works begin for this holiday weekend. I'm ready for it!  :-)

Wishing you all a safe and sane Independence Day weekend!


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


  1. I am honored to be the first one to say,
    I wish for you and Mark the happiest and most enjoyable holiday that anyone could imagine. You BOTH certainly deserve it!

  2. Happy Birthday, Debbie!! I just finished reading your blog as I have been gone since June 19th with barely any Internet access. Did I say: "WOW?" Boy, another journey you have taken.

    Debbie, you are an amazingly, beautiful, courageous woman and words cannot express the joy in my heart for you and the magnificent news of NO CANCER IN THE LYMPH NODES...NO CANCER ON THE MARGIN LINES.

    I have enjoyed reading about your journey in preparation for your surgery, your surgery and post surgery. Your experiences, your feelings, your thoughts are all emotionally moving.

    I send best wishes for a wonderful birthday and many more years of celebrating life. Have a wonderful 4th of July weekend with your family.

    Hugs, ~Michelle


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