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.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

31 Days: Femara/Letrozole & The Cancer Journey, A Day of Healing

This is Day 23 of my 31 days of breast cancer awareness. 

And yes, I missed yesterday and one other day so far this month. It can be a challenge to have something to post each and every day of 31 straight days. But I feel good about where I am on this challenge I set for myself.


So today I am focusing back on me. Partly because my radiation ended late September and I've been feeling really good since a week or so after that. But mostly because I have some new stuff going on about me to share with you.

Back on September 26th, in my post First Party of the Year, I talked about some fears with the upcoming 5-year prescription for Femara, a hormone therapy/chemo since some of my cancer is estrogen positive. There were lots of scary side effects about this drug, as well as the Tamoxifen that is the other option. Of course, I'm trying not to concentrate on the negative, instead on the positive fact that I am not Triple Negative after all. Whew! Dr. Anderson also helped to quell my fears when I met with him last and scheduled a bone density plan to help with that worry. So I had the bone density scan, results are back, and my bones are good and strong. So the worry of the bone fractures that can happen with Femara is behind me now. That feels very good. Next week I will meet with my Oncologist, Dr. Anderson to review the results and get a follow up with him.

Meanwhile, it was time to get the Femara prescription filled. My hope was to get this on a three month mail prescription plan. I mean, five years of going to the pharmacy every month, come on. But Express Scripts did not list a generic for Femara, my copay would have been nearly $50, and then I would still owe the balance to nearly $500 total, PER MONTH!!! So I immediately drove down to my friendly Rite Aid and checked for a generic version of Femara. And of course, now I remember, it is called Letrozole. So prescription in hand, I returned home and scanned the side effects. One of the not so frightening ones is drowsiness, so I've decided this will be a night time med and I started it that very night. I have taken it for two nights so far, and so far so good. Other than some achey hips the first morning (arthritis-like symptoms can occur), I survived.  :-) And may be sore hips are from my weekly Hula classes. Yes, I'm getting out and doing some fun stuff finally, and one of those is Hula for Fun with Betty Ann at Hula Mai. And I'm loving it.

And now I will call back to see if Letrozole is on my Formularly with mail prescription and get a new written script next time I see my oncologist. 

While on the phone scheduling the followup with Dr. Anderson, I also scheduled my annual bi-lateral mammogram for mid-November and then a followup to the mammo with my Surgeon, Dr. Elboim. Both of those are a bit queasy to think about. I mean, the wonder will always probably be there of, "Has the cancer returned?", "Will the Mammogram be clear?". But we must put one foot in front of the other, take it day by day, and move on. So that is what I will do.

Dr. Elboim's Breast Care Coordinator is also going to look into me being seen by Dr. Amy Shaw, who is now in the Redwood Regional Medical Group, and specializes in cancer/breast cancer survivorship. I'm excited by the prospect to meet with her and see how I might best be living my life to continue to be cancer free. And hopefully I can take part in this wonderful program she will be speaking out soon: The Cancer Journey, a Day of Healing.

On a final note this lovely Fall morning, please keep my brother Eddie in your thoughts and prayers. He recently was struck with an acute diagnosis of Congestive Heart Failure and Cardiomyopathy, and the young age of 48. After about 2 weeks in the hospital, he may be discharged soon. He has a very long road to go, and lifelong meds are probably a must for his heart and lungs to work as optimly as possibly. Even more sever procedures are still on the table, should that be the case. So my 6 siblings and I have gone into high gear to visit him at California Pacific Medical Center, support him as best we can, and make a plan for his discharge for him to stay in the North Bay rather than return to Crescent City. We are trying to make it possible for his daughter, Charlotte, to make a visit. I know that would really brighten his spirits and give him a more positive outlook. 

Get well sweet brother. We are all pulling for you!


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


1 comment:

  1. Prayers going up for your brother Debbie.
    I'm sure it will be nice if his daughter can visit.
    Glad things are good with the Femara and hoping all is well with your mammogram


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