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.


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Hair Growth Progress

I am documenting my hair growth here and will bring this post forward each time I update it.

As you know, the cancer returned last year with a diagnosis on 3/1/16, and at that time was found in both left breast and liver, all considered Stage IV Liver Metastasized Breast Cancer. So now there is a new Hair Growth Progress report to make since that time. I have updated the old post of June 2011 through September 2012, to now include my 2016-2017 hair loss due to new chemotherapy , the chemo still ongoing over a year later, and my regrowth. It looks like my eyebrows have taken a beating from all this and there isn't much left there. But oh well, just a bump in the road.

Similar photos, only 5 years later...

May 2016 - 3 months into chemo, and hair just thinning a bit

The following photo is shocking for me to see, 
but it is the reality of it all. And the next two show you just how hard chemo can be on the body -- exhaustion, nausea, dry skin, wrinkles, pale from low blood count and many transfusions, etc. 
Taking it all one day at a time.

August 2016 - It is time to take it off. The only reason I waited this long is it gave me a little fluff under a hat. I did not go out in public like this without a hat!
September 2016 - Baldy
November 2016 - It's slowly returning

February 2017 - With my Surgeon, Dr. Charles Elboim, a real sweetheart

The curls will probably disappear in about a year and my usual wave will return

May 2017 - full of curls.

And lots of new freckles from the meds.

And now we go back in time five years to the first diagnosis, rounds of chemotherapy, and hair loss...

9/9/12: It's been nearly 1 year since I finished all treatment now, except for the "five-year pill" and 16 months since my last chemo. I've had three hair cuts so far over the last four months, but each has been just to barely trim off the dead dry ends and shape it a bit. You cant see it here, but I continue to have quite a bit of new growth. There is a nice crop of brand new hair which is all about 3/4" long. The extra curl that came in post-chemo has disappeared and I'm back to the natural wave. But my hair is ultra soft and fine, which I think is still a change from what was once normal. And I think my eye brows are finally back to what was normal pre-cancer treatment. So things continue to improve, I'm feeling good, and look forward to my one year anniversary and getting past my follow-up oncology appt, along with blood work and bone density scan.

5/1/12: First haircut in over a year.
4/8/12: 11 months of growth since last chemo of 5/17/11.

The curls are softening up a bit. My hair seems thinner than before and the tips are brittle. it is probably time to get it trimmed and get rid of the ends from chemo, especially now that there is a bit of length.

This is Easter Sunday. I am holding Gaige (Sarah's 5.5 mo. son), and Alura is with 8 mo. old Nico. Such a joy.

12/17/11: 7 months of growth since last chemo of 5/17/11.

I thought for sure I would have more hair by now. At least it is almost to the point where I can get it trimmed and cleaned up a bit. I mean, it is barely 2" long. But look at that sweet 7 month old Gaige, my grandson. So much to celebrate now!

Grammie and Gaige at our annual holiday celebration.

11/13/11: Nearly 6 months of growth since last chemo of 5/17/11.

Wow! Has it really been two months since I posted an update about my hair growth? Well, I suppose that may be because it grows so slow that there really isn't much to share about it very often. I will say that I definitely have more curl than before. The hair all over my head ranges a whopping 1.5 to 2 inches long. You can see from these recent two pics with my grandbabies, that it is more fluffy and curly on the top and sides now. I definitely need to look in the mirror before going out or it may look all messy -- which is a good problem to have -- one I haven't experienced in about nine months. My head does still get pretty cold with the cool Fall evenings we've been having, so a good knit cap is still a must. But that is fine by me. Below are some close ups.

Gaige, about 9 days young

Nico, about 2.5 months; preparing for Halloween
I definitely expected more grey, so am pleasantly surprised with the amount of color. Yippee for the little things.  :-)

While the hair on my head seems to be in a very slow growth patter, my legs are hairier than ever. I've forgotten about shaving them regularly since I am so out of the habit. Yesterday I looked down at them while wearing a pair of capri pants, and oh man... that hair is growing like a weed. Well the things we "liked" about chemo must quickly slip away, just like the things we did not like about chemo.

On the topic of head hair regrowth, I've studied up a bit and it appears that my hair will return at a much slower rate than normal hair growth. My hair stylist and dear friend, Susan, tells me hair normally grows about 1/2 inch per month. Considering the first month after chemo nothing much happened. And then looking at this picture below on 8/27/11, you can see that this is definitely not the 1-3 inches of hair expected. After talking to some other chemo patients, apparently it is a good 6 to even 18 months before hair comes back in looking good and normal. I have such empathy for the woman in radiation the other day who asked how long my hair had been growing. She was wearing a scarf and seemed to have such hope in waiting for my answer. Her chemo just ended 3 weeks ago so she wasn't quite as excited when I informed her it had been nearly four months since my last chemo. 

Give it time dear one. It all takes time.

But look at this. Pretty impressive in my mind. :-) (Yes, there is another ear there, just hidden)

4 months post chemo.

Hair growth 3.5 months post last chemo treatment.

8/27/11 3.5 months post-chemo

8/17/11 3 months post-chemo
Hair growth 2.5 months post last chemo treatment.

Mark calls this his summer look. I call this my chemo look.
I actually have enough eye lashes and brows to where I feel I have the same color around my eyes as pre-chemo. And look how my head of hair is growing in. I'm surprised there is as much brown in there as there is. Talk about a crazy way to transition from coloring your hair to your natural color. 

I am nearly 2 months past my last chemo infusion, which was on 5/17/11. And there is enough fuzz on my head for me to barely grab it between two fingers. The hair on the back, near the nape of my neck, is a tad longer than on the top. Most of it appears to be grey, but there is a hint of brown sprinkled in too.

All through chemo I had a few eyebrows left near the center of my brow, and enough eyelashes to barely grab them between two fingers. Now that I have new hair growth, those few straggling hairs have disappeared and made room for the bit of fuzz in both places.

I wish I could say that the annoying facial hair was not coming back; but heck, I'll take what I get at this point.

It is about five weeks post my last ACT Chemotherapy infusion and I'm starting to feel just the tiniest bit of fuzz on my head. You can't really see anything, but it appears to be coming back in.


Debbie... aka the cancer warrior ... AND SURVIVOR!!!



  1. I think you look simply adorable!! Of course this is coming from a guy who has been shaving his head everyday for the last decade or so! Really though, it is the light emanating from your soul that blinds us to anything but your inner beauty. I am proud to call you my friend and look forward to many enjoyable times in the future with you and Mark ,starting with the relay on the 6th. Until then

  2. awe! So great to see the progress. Did Mark shave his head? My dad did when my mom went through her chemo! So sorry I will be missing the relay this year. I really would love to be there. Wish there was a live feed of some sort so I can watch the ceremonies love the survivor lap too!
    all my love Lisa E.

  3. Glad I looked at your blog. My hair has always grown pretty fast. I am seven weeks from my last chemo. I have stage 3 triple neg. My second go around after being 21 years free.I am now 66. I feel my hair is growing as fast as it always did. So I feel pretty good about that. The thing is that I wondered about the hairy leg thing. Extra facial hair I do not need. I am hoping the facial thing will slow down. At least after reading your blog I know I am not the only one. Thank you. Keep keeping strong. PS. I had neoadjuvant chemo. 4 Cycles of A/C had to stop treatment of Taxol after six. Blood levels too low. I will have a mastectomey of left breast March 29, 2016. I pray my surgeon can get it all again.


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