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, September 16, 2011

One Rad To Go

Yep, that's correct. One radiation treatment left on Monday. It is still so vivid in my mind that phone call that came in the early morning hours of January 10, 2011, and still feels like yesterday. Until.... I realize that I have been through months of treatment, chemotherapy, surgery and the perplexity of deciding what was best for me, weeks of radiation. And we aren't over yet, but we have traveled oh so very far already. It feels good right now.

And the skin breakdown is healing very well right now. The underarm is no longer red and fiery. The only issue seems to be under my breast in the area where the boost is still hitting. But it is a small area and I hope that only one more treatment won't cause further breakdown.

I talked to my Radiation Oncologist about what it is that causes the breakdown. And apparently the easier you tan, the better off you are, which is what I thought would happen. But, you also need to tan well, and be rail thin, or close to it. Because you see, the larger your breasts are, or bigger you are, the more radiation is required to treat the entire area in question. So the woman I met the other day who thinks because she is fair skinned she will do well with radiation, isn't correct. Although she was pretty thin, so she has that part going for her. 

Yesterday I delivered five plates of cookies to each of the different departments at Redwood Regional Cancer Center; one for the front desk and scheduling, one for the Oncology doctor and nurses area, one for the Radiation treatment team, one for the Radiation Oncologist doc and nurses, and lastly one to the infusion room for the Oncology nurses and team. I attached a Thank You card to each, which also included the photo of Mark and I with Nico. The Infusion team knew I was to become a grandma but hadn't seen me since May, so I wanted to brag a bit to them. Mark and I made two batches. He made his favorite of oatmeal cranberry, and I made the Kayak cookies, which are so yummy and have oatmeal, coconut, choc chips, and nuts. The Rad Techs (is that what they are called???) were very thankful today. But it is I who is very thankful for them. My card read, "Thank you for all the tender loving care this year."

And once treatment and the Radiation Oncologist followup was complete yesterday, I headed to Davis to be with Alura and Nico. I was so very tired, but we had a great visit. I helped her with some decisions on their birth announcement, and we made a trip to downtown Davis to have her borrowed breast pump serviced, get a gelato, and just browse around town for a bit. We returned to her home and I fixed dinner, and joined them and Stephan for dinner, before heading home. It was a lovely visit and I am so very proud of her and the mother that she is becoming. Even when little Nico was screaming around 7pm, which apparently is what he tends to do about then, she was so patient and gentle with him; trying to figure out what he needed and soothe him as best she could. This sure makes a mom very proud.

So now I am off for a weekend with girlfriends. My sweetheart of a husband once again is holding down "the fort" of Brookfarm for us so I can galavant around for 2 days and nights. He is loving me through it, FOR SURE!


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



  1. Debra,
    You truly live from your heart.I now understand and appreciate the connection that you and Mark share.I once had a chance in my life to experience and possibly create what the two of you have. I choose for reasons that do not make sense to me now to follow another direction. Until now, with the gift you offered me and I chose to take, I never quite realized the impact of that decision. True love is a decision. It is not infatuation or love at first sight. It is a conscious decision to love another for reasons that are more related to awareness and dedication than a belief in a gratuitous preordained structure of how it must be. I acknowledge both of you for your commitment and dedication to each other and your purpose in life as a couple and also as individuals. I have no regrets about the life I have chosen through the decisions I have made. I do though envy your relationship. I trust that one day I will once again experience the joy and resolve that you experience on a daily basis.Thank you both for being my mentors. <3 U

  2. Mark,
    Next time you volunteer for a" holding down the fort" assignment give me a call. I am pretty sure we can find some trouble to avoid! Couple cold ones and some live music and before you know it we will be chasing alpacas around the field reliving our not so glorious football days at SVHS! On a serious note, cancer takes a team approach in order to succeed. I acknowledge you for your unselfish commitment and steadfast resolve as both you and Debra have by your example shown us all the way to shine even when it is the darkest of hours. Now lets go tackle some alpacas!!!


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