LIVESTRONG:

And in June 2013 we are back in the revolving door of doctors, this time for my heart. So the focus has shifted, 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 strength to others & will help to strip away the fears we each experience.


LIVESTRONG: I am strong. I am loved. I am healthy. WE WILL WIN!

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.

WARNING:
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.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Another Blessing in Our Lives

I've been a bit distracted this weekend and haven't gotten around to posting as I had wished. But I have a very wonderful excuse.

Gaige Maxwell Emery


Sarah, with Auntie Alura holding Gaige

Daddy and Me

This is our newest grandson, Gaige Maxwell Emery. He just arrived in the wee hours of the morning of October 30th, 2011, weighing in at 6 lbs and 10 oz, at a length of 19 inches.

Mark and I are very blessed and soaking it all up.

Hugs,

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

LIVESTRONG
I AM STRONG. I AM LOVED. I AM HEALTHY. WE WILL WIN!

Friday, October 28, 2011

31 Days: Letrozole ~ Reduces Risk of Breast Cancer Recurrence

Today is Day 28 of my 31 days of breast cancer awareness.


YEAH!! THANK YOU, Rob, for sharing this information with me. This is just what I needed to hear and am happy to share with other BC peeps.  :-)

The breast cancer drug letrozole reduces the chances that a woman’s cancer will return and improves her odds of survival to a greater degree than tamoxifen, a widely used estrogen blocker, according to a new analysis.

Read the entire NY Times article here!

Hugs,

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

LIVESTRONG
I AM STRONG. I AM LOVED. I AM HEALTHY. WE WILL WIN!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

31 Days ~ Beyond The Shock

Today is Day 27 of my 31 days of breast cancer awareness. 

 

Inspiring Hope ~ Beyond the Shock of Breast Cancer

Beyond the Shock is a a website where you can learn about breast cancer, ask questions and get answers, hear real stories from people.

  • Watch up to seven video chapters that explain the types and stages, diagnosis, and treatment of breast cancer.
  • Browse for answers from medical experts, survivors and patients or ask a question of your own.
  • View real video stories from people that have been diagnosed, received treatment, and survived breast cancer.
The introduction is a really cool video explaining how each of our lives is a story. It talks about how we journey along a road of experiences and emotions, passing significant milestones along the way. And then sometimes suddenly, the road beneath our feet takes a sharp turn, breaking from what was once certain. And as some of us have learned, breast cancer causes this break. Perspective ruthlessly shifts; we and our loved ones see the road differently than before.

The first educational video is a very comprehensive, yet a short one on the anatomy of the breast. Even I learned something here.

I encourage you to visit this site. It is colorful and very well designed. I think you will find it entertaining and educational; and yes, we all will learn something from it.

Hugs,

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

LIVESTRONG
I AM STRONG. I AM LOVED. I AM HEALTHY. WE WILL WIN!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

31 Days: Fight Cancer Together

Did you know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month? 
31 Days of Breast Cancer Awareness... Today is Day 25.

You know, just because I have finished the chemotherapy, surgery and radiation, does not mean that breast cancer goes away forever and I am free to not think about it ever again. Often times people will come up to me with a huge smile and say how happy they are that I am through with treatment. Well, I'm not really through, although I sure wish it was all that easy. The Aromatase Inhibitor  pill, Letrozole (generic for Femara) is expected to be necessary for the next five years. And while I hope it is an easy ride with few if any side effects, it is still that reminder of what I have been through. But on the positive side, it is a wonderful reminder of what is ahead of me -- lots more time with two wonderful grandsons; one just having arrived two months ago, and another to arrive late October (the first grandchildren for Mark and I), an amazing husband and two of the most wonderful and supportive daughters and their hubbies, a wonderfully large and loving family of siblings, cousins, nieces, nephews and in-laws, AND a huge support group of friends near and far, to name a few. They have all been here all along this ordeal to help support me and help me to fight cancer.

And then there are all the doctors, nurses, support staff, and other patients I've met along the way who are positive and caring and always wearing a smile and asking how I am. I mean, that has got to get old for the clinicians who are dealing with disease every work day, over and over again. But they never seem to waiver from their positive attitudes.

So the only way I think we can bust down the walls of cancer is to fight it together. AND FIRST AND FOREMOST, is by early detection by breast self-exam and annual mammograms. Next on my priority list would be to find a cure.

But a very important step is by supporting each other and also by supporting many of the wonderful organizations out there doing so much for research and providing resources. By attending Relay for Life events, and other such events that not only raise funds, but also provide a supportive environment for survivors and their families, or families of those who have lost the battle.

So join me in checking out and hopefully supporting one of these  wonderful organizations during this month of October, Breast Cancer Awareness month ~ Savethetatas.org and Savethetatas.com.
 
And did I mention, I've been invited to be a guest blogger at www.savethetatas.org, a special group which commits 5% of every sale to the Save the ta-tas® Foundation. This includes any product sold on savethetatas.com, at any of their authorized retailers and all of their licensed goods. This special group calculates their donations by the actual sale price, not the profits made. From 2004 – 2010 this translated to roughly 50% of their profits. Click here to learn more about the group.

And as a guest blogger, I'm offering a free Save The Ta-Tas item to one lucky person who subscribes to my blog, and comments on this blog post. Please see contest guidelines below. This is one of my favorite items and you could own this too:  Stargazer V-Neck.

TO ENTER THIS CONTEST

1. Become a follower of my blog (on the right side of the page).
2. Leave a comment on this blog entry telling me how we might all fight cancer together, and include your shirt size and an email address where you can be contacted. (ONLY ONE COMMENT PER PERSON)

This contest ends in one week and the lucky winner will be notified by email soon thereafter.

GOOD LUCK! Save The Ta-Tas

Hugs,

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

LIVESTRONG
I AM STRONG. I AM LOVED. I AM HEALTHY. WE WILL WIN!

Monday, October 24, 2011

31 Days: Is it the Letrozole ?

This is Day 24 of my 31 days of breast cancer awareness. 

 

I am on day 3 of Letrozole and am wondering if all the fatigue is from the drug, or am I catching something.

This morning I slept in until 10:00 AM. I have been sleeping longer since radiation began and finished, but never this late. And now it is only 9 pm and I've been yawning and very tired for the last couple of hours. I guess the next few days will be tell tale.

Be sure to check back tomorrow. I have been asked to be a guest blogger for Save The Ta-Tas. And you can win one of their Tees. Just check out tomorrows post and follow the instructions there.

Hugs,

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

LIVESTRONG
I AM STRONG. I AM LOVED. I AM HEALTHY. WE WILL WIN!

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!

Hugs,

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

LIVESTRONG
I AM STRONG. I AM LOVED. I AM HEALTHY. WE WILL WIN!

Friday, October 21, 2011

31 Days ~ Cal Fire Wears Pink

This is Day 21 of my 31 days of breast cancer awareness. It is also my sister, Donna's, birthday. Happy Birthday, sis! Thanks for all the support you have given me over the last 11 months. I love you!!! 

 

There is something about a man in uniform; and a firefighter tops the cake, in my mind. Of course that may be because I've been married to one for 38 years now. Buyt a man in uniform and in pink... Now that says volumes!

 

CAL FIRE Cares Enough to Wear Pink

 

Firefighters wear pink shirts to show support for cancer research


Sacramento - Californians across the state may notice something a little different when they see CAL FIRE firefighters this week. That’s because firefighters, dispatchers and other employees of the state’s fire department will be showing their support for the battle against breast cancer by wearing pink T-shirts on duty. Like fire departments across the country, CAL FIRE is participating in the 2010 national “Cares Enough to Wear Pink" campaign taking place October 25 - 27, 2010.

Over 900 Fire departments and emergency response agencies across the United States are participating in the “Cares Enough to Wear Pink" campaign, which raises money and attention to cancer. The campaign is part of October’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, when wearing pink signifies support for breast cancer research. 

“There is a proven correlation between cancer and our chosen profession, but cancer, in its many forms, also affects millions of people worldwide and I hope we can help raise funds to find a cure and send a strong message of hope to those suffering from this disease,” said Chief Del Walters, director of CAL FIRE. “CAL FIRE is one of the largest fire departments in the nation and I believe the over 8,000 men and women of our department have an opportunity to make a significant contribution to this worthwhile effort by voluntarily joining me in "caring enough to wear pink" during this campaign,” said Walters.

100 percent of the proceeds from the T-shirt sales generated by CAL FIRE’s employee's voluntary participation are being donated to cancer related non-profit organizations.






For more information contact Department Information Officer Daniel Berlant, 916-651-FIRE (3473)

Hugs,

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

LIVESTRONG
I AM STRONG. I AM LOVED. I AM HEALTHY. WE WILL WIN!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

31 Days: Reese Witherspoon on Breast Cancer Awareness

Today is day 20 in my 31 days of Breast Cancer Awareness for the month of October.


"Every three minutes a woman is diagnosed, and that's just unacceptable." 

This is how Reese Witherspoon speaks about breast cancer, a disease that more than 200,000 women in the U.S. were diagnosed with in 2007 alone. On Oct. 16, Witherspoon joined more than 3,000 men and women at the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer in New York City, raising more than $8.4 million for breast cancer research and care -- just one of many events held throughout October, also known as Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Learn more about breast cancer and the stories of eight other brave and courageous women here ~ Reese Witherspoon speaks out about breast cancer

Hugs,

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

LIVESTRONG
I AM STRONG. I AM LOVED. I AM HEALTHY. WE WILL WIN!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

31 Days: Busting Breast Cancer Myths

31 Days of Breast Cancer Awareness during the month of October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month. ... Day 19.

Guliana Rancic goes to LA to bust some of the breast cancer myths.

Hugs,

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

LIVESTRONG
I AM STRONG. I AM LOVED. I AM HEALTHY. WE WILL WIN!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

31 Days: California Cancer Research Act (CCRA)

31 Days of Breast Cancer Awareness during the month of October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
 ... Today is Day 18.

The following is a message from Tim Gibbs, American Cancer Society Grassroots Coalition Director

Dear Friends,

Volunteers recruited nearly 4,000 new supporters for the California Cancer Research Act (CCRA) during Saturday’s Day of Action.  We'll need them all to fight Big Tobacco. 

They spent the week telling voters how the CCRA will Protect California’s Kids. Big Tobacco loves our kids too, but for a very different reason: child smokers become very profitable lifetime smokers. 

That's why Big Tobacco responded to the Day of Action by dumping another $700,000 into its campaign war chest to kill the CCRA.  


California faces a massive battle to pass the CCRA on June 5, 2012. California wins when we match Big Tobacco’s millions with thousands of volunteers that money just can't buy. Please spread the word today.

Thank you for your continued support,
Hugs,

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

LIVESTRONG
I AM STRONG. I AM LOVED. I AM HEALTHY. WE WILL WIN!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

31 Days: I'm Gonna Love You Through It

For Day 15 of my 31 days of posting to bring awareness to breast cancer, I'm reposting an entry from September.

No explanation is necessary. The lyrics of this song by Martina McBride, and the music video, say it all. Thank You, Debbi, for sharing this with me.


 


I'm gonna love you through it!

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

LIVESTRONG
I AM STRONG. I AM LOVED. I AM HEALTHY. WE WILL WIN!

Friday, October 14, 2011

31 Days: Oasis of Healing

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And I'm posting on each of the 31 days as my way of doing something to bring awareness. Today is Day 14 and I am featuring the Think Pink special section on breast cancer awareness featured recently in the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. This next article talks about...

Integrative Program Offers an Oasis of Healing

Support center providing restorative therapies poised to expand at new site
By JANET PARMER
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

As a wife, mother, and attorney, Tiffanie De Liberty of Santa Rosa had a full life. But she was forced to carve out time for intensive treatment when she was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago. The Integrative Health and Healing Services program in Santa Rosa is a cherished oasis for De Liberty during recovery, and the program is poised to significantly expand later this month when it moves from donated space at the Integrative Medical Clinic on Concourse Boulevard to the second floor of the former

The cancer support program, sponsored by Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation, offers women massage, acupuncture, nutritional counseling, jin shin jyutsu (an acupressure treatment), and an expressive arts program known as Crossroads. IHHS is open to any woman regardless of her ability to pay. The program accepts donations from those who can afford it, and is free for those who meet its low-income criteria. Volunteer practitioners come on Saturdays to give individual treatments, and on a typical day 25 to 30 women participate in sessions. The new facility will allow IHHS to gradually add to its services; program coordinator Pam Koppel said the program will eventually be open several days a week.

Please click on the link above to read the complete article and learn more about this wonderful program.

Hugs,

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

LIVESTRONG
I AM STRONG. I AM LOVED. I AM HEALTHY. WE WILL WIN!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

31 Days: Telling the Whole Story

Did you know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month? 
31 Days of Breast Cancer Awareness... Today is Day 13
And Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day.

I find some of my blog content out there in the world, like on Facebook, especially this month when I am posting about awareness on each of these 31 days of October. But it can be challenging to write a well written post each and every day. Today, I must thank The Army of Women for making me aware that today is Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day.

As I read Dr. Susan Love's well written, and thought provoking post on Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness, there was no way I could summarize it and still get her message across. Please read below the entire article, and think about these 150,000 women living with breast cancer mets in this current world of pink haze, living in pain and fear in 3 month bouts from scan to scan, hoping to hold out long enough for a cure... or that family vacation... or milestone in their lives. Why not reach out to just one, if you can. And then go further to learn more about Metastatic Breast Cancer yourself.

Dr. Susan Love runs the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation, which works to eradicate breast cancer and improve the quality of women's health through innovative research, education, and advocacy.
 
And her phone book size Dr. Susan Love's Breast Book has been my bible from the moment I was diagnosed. It was suggest by a friend with BC before me and has helped me to navigate each step of my treatment when I was ready to read on to the next section as it approached for me. It is an excellent resource explaining in depth for all to understand each type of procedure or surgery, each stage and type of breast cancer. A must read for anyone with BC in their lives, either their own or a loved one.


Metastatic Breast Cancer ~ Telling The Whole Story
By now you have noticed that it is October, and that a pink haze has settled on the land. The message of “early detection saves lives” has been broadcast on every form of media available. But there is a part of the breast cancer story that is less “feel good” and less frequently mentioned– woman living with metastatic breast cancer.

Have we gotten better at detecting breast cancer? Yes. Have we gotten better at treating this disease? Yes. But we haven’t gotten good enough. Despite doing everything that we now can, about 25 percent of the women who are diagnosed with and treated for early-stage breast cancer will later learn that they have metastatic disease. An additional 4 to 6 percent of all breast cancer cases will be in women whose initial diagnosis is stage IV, metastatic disease.

Right now, about 150,000 people in this country are living with metastatic breast cancer. At this stage, the cancer can be treated–and women can live for many years with stage IV disease– but it is not considered curable. These women connect on websites like BCMets.org, AdvancedBC.org and BrainMetsBC.org to find support, get the latest research information, and to share their hopes and fears as they try to embrace what many refer to as “the new normal”–living with metastatic disease.

These women, as Roni Caryn Rabin wrote in the New York Times, “…are not [leading] pink-ribbon lives: They live from scan to scan, in three-month gulps, grappling with pain, fatigue, depression, crippling medical costs and debilitating side effects of treatment, hoping the current therapy will keep the disease at bay until the next breakthrough drug comes along, or at least until the family trip to Disney World.” Some will live for years; others won’t be so lucky. Elizabeth Edwards comes to mind.

October 13 is Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day, and I can’t tell you how important it is that there is at least one day in October that is dedicated to acknowledging that not everyone is cured and not every cancer is found early. We need to stop congratulating ourselves on our progress and start focusing on figuring out why these women have not benefited from all the money we have raised. Reach out today to someone you know that represents the other side of breast cancer, the one that is not so pink. We will not have accomplished this goal as long as one woman dies of this disease!

You can learn more about metastatic breast cancer as well as find a list of resources and programs for women with advanced disease here at www.dslrf.org.

Follow Susan M. Love on Twitter: www.twitter.com/DrSusanLove

Living with Metastatic Breast Cancer? We need you! Learn about this new study here:
http://blog.armyofwomen.org/2011/10/living-with-metastatic-we-need-your-help/
Hugs,

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

LIVESTRONG
I AM STRONG. I AM LOVED. I AM HEALTHY. WE WILL WIN!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

31 Days: Local Market Supports BCA Month

31 Days of Breast Cancer Awareness... Day 12

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As a part of this awareness, I am bringing awareness with each and every post of the 31 days of October.

Our local market, Glen Ellen Village and Sonoma Market, is supporting breast cancer awareness. Go into the store and buy a Pink Ribbon Icon. All proceeds go to City of Hope (a research, treatment and educational institution dedicated to the prevention, treatment and cure of cancer and other life-threatening diseases). For more information, please visit their website at:


Hugs,

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

LIVESTRONG
I AM STRONG. I AM LOVED. I AM HEALTHY. WE WILL WIN!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

31 Days: Not More Pink Stuff


31 Days of Breast Cancer Awareness... Day 11.

Oh Puhleeze.... Not more pink stuff. Well, okay.... maybe a pink guitar is okay.


Raffle to Benefit Sutter Pacific Women’s Health Center in Santa Rosa, CA

In Honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Sutter Health and Tex Wasabi are raffling off a pink acoustic guitar signed by George Strait, donated by Wrangler. Tickets may be purchased in person at Tex Wasabi's by credit/debit cards only and are $20 each or 6 for $100. Raffle tickets are available at Tex Wasabi’s, downtown Santa Rosa (Su-Th 11am-10pm, F-Sa 11am -1am).

The drawing will be held on November 1 at Tex Wasabi's. Winner need not be present to win.

All proceeds benefit the Sutter Pacific Women's Health Center, a not for profit 501c3 organization, and are tax deductable as allowed by law (ID 94-2948131). 
And there is also a "Drink Special": Pink Sweet Tart – a portion of the proceeds will benefit the cause! Raffle Drawing is Tuesday, November 1st at Tex Wasabi’s, 515 4th Street, Santa Rosa, 5-7pm.

Click here for details

Hugs,

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

LIVESTRONG
I AM STRONG. I AM LOVED. I AM HEALTHY. WE WILL WIN!

Monday, October 10, 2011

31 Days: Early Screening...

Starting breast cancer screening as early as age 25 may help women who carry a genetic mutation linked to a higher risk of cancer live longer, suggests a new study.

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Thu Oct 6, 2011 -
Early Breast Cancer Screening May Help Some. Researchers looked at which breast cancer screenings -- mammogram or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) -- were effective in women who carry gene mutations BRCA1 and BRCA2, known to increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer. They looked at women aged 25, 30, 35 and 40 years.

Hugs,

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

LIVESTRONG
I AM STRONG. I AM LOVED. I AM HEALTHY. WE WILL WIN!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

31 Days: Young Survival

Did you know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month? 
31 Days of Breast Cancer Awareness... Today is Day 9.

Did you know, breast cancer can be inherited from both your Mother and Father's side of the family? Learn more about breast cancer hereditary here: http://www.youngsurvival.org/31days

Often times women will only ask their mothers about family cancer history. But we need to check in with the fathers side of the family too. Check out this article from Young Survival for more information.

Hugs,

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

LIVESTRONG
I AM STRONG. I AM LOVED. I AM HEALTHY. WE WILL WIN!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

31 Days: Then What ~ After Cancer Treatment

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And I'm posting on each of the 31 days as my way of doing something to bring awareness.

Today is Day 8
This weekend I am focusing on the Think Pink special section on breast cancer awareness in last Sunday's edition of the Press Democrat. As you probably know I' was not a huge fan of pink until recently. But I'm following the crowd for the moment -- So, Think Pink it is. 

In this article I was surprised to learn about a wonderful resource I plan to look into:
After cancer treatment, then what? 
‘Survivorship’ program focuses on maintaining patients’ optimum health.
One of the biggest challenges of surviving breast cancer is not the physical recovery, but recovery from the experience of having cancer. (Amen to that statement) It can last years after everything has healed in the body. An emerging area in the health-care field is “cancer survivorship,” a treatment approach focusing on a patient’s overall healing and not solely on getting rid of the cancer. Dr. Amy Shaw explains, “A survivorship program partners with a patient’s primarycare doctor and is the bridge between the cancer world and the rest of your life.” Shaw, formerly medical director of Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation’s Women’s Health Center, joined Redwood Regional Medical Group in Santa Rosa in June and has created its new Cancer Survivorship Program. The goals of the Cancer Survivorship Program are two: staying well during treatment and strategizing what to do to achieve optimum health afterward. Shaw is helping coordinate care for people who have finished treatment and is doing ongoing evaluation for treatment side effects, including late-onset problems such as heart disease or skin disorders that may surface several years after surgery, radiation or chemotherapy.
I'll be calling Redwood Regional Medical Center on Monday to look into this program for sure.
Have a great weekend!

Hugs,

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

LIVESTRONG
I AM STRONG. I AM LOVED. I AM HEALTHY. WE WILL WIN!

Friday, October 7, 2011

31Days: Chemo Before or After Surgery?

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And I'm posting on each of the 31 days as my way of doing something to bring awareness. Today is Day 17

Thank you to Komen.org for this informative piece:


Giving chemotherapy before breast-conserving surgery is as effective against breast cancer recurrence as giving chemotherapy after breast-conserving surgery. These results were presented at the 2011 Breast Cancer Symposium.

Breast-conserving surgery (also referred to as lumpectomy) involves removal of the breast cancer and some surrounding normal tissue. For some women, giving chemotherapy prior to surgery can shrink the cancer and make it easier to remove. There’s been some uncertainty, however, about whether chemotherapy followed by breast-conserving surgery is as effective against local-regional recurrence (cancer recurrence in or near the breast) as breast-conserving surgery followed by chemotherapy.    

To evaluate whether risk of breast cancer recurrence varies by timing of chemotherapy, researchers collected information about roughly 3,000 women who underwent breast-conserving surgery and radiation therapy between 1987 and 2005. Roughly three-quarters of the patients underwent surgery first and the remaining patients underwent chemotherapy first. Women who received chemotherapy first tended to have cancers with worse prognostic features.   

Factors that were linked with an increased risk of breast cancer recurrence were young age (less than 50 years), clinical stage III cancer, grade 3 cancer, cancer that was estrogen receptor-negative, and close or positive surgical margins (cancer at or near the edge of the tissue that was surgically removed).

After accounting for tumor characteristics, risk of breast cancer recurrence was similar among women who underwent surgery first and women who underwent chemotherapy first. These results suggest that tumor characteristics—rather than the timing of chemotherapy—influence risk of breast cancer recurrence.     
Hugs,

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

LIVESTRONG
I AM STRONG. I AM LOVED. I AM HEALTHY. WE WILL WIN!

31 Days: Think Pink

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. And I'm posting on each of the 31 days as my way of doing something to bring awareness.

Today is Day 7

Think Pink, the special section in the Sunday edition of the Press Democrat, focused entirely on breast cancer awareness. Now, most of you know I'm not a huge pink fan, I mean I rarely wore the color until this year, but sometimes you just have to cave and ride the train. I mean, millions are doing it -- Right? So, Think Pink it is. 

Check out this link to view a digital copy of this Think Pink edition. It is well written and I've even learned about some new resources I was not aware of. There is an article about a Healdsburg woman, following her mother's footsteps (both are breast cancer survivors) of treatment into a healthier lifestyle of diet, yoga and meditation. She mentions and organization she is now involved in, “SCRAPPI — Sonoma County Risk Assessment Program Part I — offers genetic-risk assessment so that these factors can be taken into consideration by doctors,” she explains. “When women go to certain medical facilities — Redwood Medical Center, for example, and Healdsburg Hospital — for a routine mammogram, they can, if the elect to do so, learn about their genetic risk for the disease.” There is a nice mention in this article of Dr. Charles Elboim, who is my surgeon as well and quite well known in our community and the cancer community at large.

Another piece talks about how mammograms are using less radiation, giving sharper results, and doing a lot for early detection. (Just scroll down to the bottom of the page on the previous link to access this article)

I will focus on the Think Pink section in my posts over the weekend.

Hugs,

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

LIVESTRONG
I AM STRONG. I AM LOVED. I AM HEALTHY. WE WILL WIN!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

31 Days: Sharing "Stuff"

October ~ 31 Days of Breast Cancer Awareness: Day 6

While this may not really be an "awareness" post, it is about breast cancer, but is not something I am thrilled to have the opportunity to do or share with you. You see, I have a friend who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Not really a close friend, but I am afraid this cancer thing is bringing us closer. And I'm not sure I really like how that feels.

Judy is a high school classmate of mine. We had our 40th reunion at the end of August and it was there that I learned she had recently been diagnosed, already had a surgery, and was about to embark on the roller-coaster ride of chemotherapy just a few weeks later. She has begun her journey, and I am now about to gift to her the two wigs gifted to me by Joan, another friend diagnosed about one year ahead of me. I also have some lovely scarves and head coverings I will pass on. So while it feels good to be able to share with a friend, it does not feel good that yet another lovely woman has been given those words, by her doctor, "You have breast cancer". Another dear soul who will go into battle fighting, frightened, hopeful, and with the love and family and friends by her side.

Fight on, dear Judy, like so many more before you. Be strong, courageous, but allow yourself to cry from time to time. I wish I was closer to help support you. Just know that you have a team in Glen Ellen cheering you on during your journey. We will be with you in thought and prayer ,and here to talk or communicate to help ease your fears.

You too are a survivor already, another warrior.

Hugs,

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

LIVESTRONG
I AM STRONG. I AM LOVED. I AM HEALTHY. WE WILL WIN!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

31 Days: Breast Cancer 101

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and I'm concentrating on this subject each of the 31 days in the month of October ~

31 Days of Breast Cancer Awareness... Today is Day 5.

Today I'd like to focus on a wonderful post on the Army of Women's website  Breast Cancer 101 - with Dr. Susan Love

Watch now!

Dr. Susan Love, President of the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation, recently hosted a "Breast Cancer 101" webinar. Army of Women has posted the webinar online and has also included the Power Point slides that Dr. Love used during the presentation. I found such a wealth of information here for me, even with all my new knowledge about breast cancer. And for everyone, the webinar is a great opportunity to learn about the latest in breast cancer detection and treatment, as well as some of the most innovative prevention research in the field.

Dr. Love is joined by Dr. Steve Shak, Chief Medical Officer for Genomic Health who discusses Oncotype DX, as well as other cutting edge diagnostic options for women.

PASS IT ON... until every woman knows ~




Hugs,

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

LIVESTRONG
I AM STRONG. I AM LOVED. I AM HEALTHY. WE WILL WIN!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

31 Days: Cheerful Pillowcases

Did you know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month? 
31 Days of Breast Cancer Awareness... Today is Day 4.

At my last radiation appointment on September 19th, the NP encouraged me to choose from a selection of brightly colored, beautifully constructed, pillowcases. She explained that they were donated for cancer patients. I had seen hats on the counter free for the taking, but these were the first pillowcases. I eagerly chose a beautiful green one with an orange border -- beautiful Fall colors. Then a couple of days later I was back to Redwood Regional Medical Center for an oncology appointment and chatted with Sharna as she thanked me for the cookies I had brought in a few days earlier and I asked if she saw the picture of my grandchild I included in my Thank You card. She had just received two big bags full of pillowcases, and suggested I take another, which I didn't feel comfortable doing at the time. But they were all so colorful and beautiful. It was then that I picked up one of the brochures and researched more about this organization ConKerr cancer, a case for smiles.

ConKerr cancer was started in 2002 when Cindy Kerr began making colorful pillowcases for her son Ryan who was in the hospital for long periods of time. The pillowcases brightened up his hospital room and put a smile on his face. They became so loved by Ryan that Cindy and friends began making them for other sick children. Since then, the organization has grown rapidly and are now made in the tens of thousands by thousands of volunteers across North America and around the world.

You too can participate by making a pillowcase, donating fabric or other sewing materials, or making a donation. Visit ConKerr cancer to see how you might help.


Hugs,

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

LIVESTRONG
I AM STRONG. I AM LOVED. I AM HEALTHY. WE WILL WIN!

Monday, October 3, 2011

31 Days: NFL in the Pink

Did you know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month? 
31 Days of Breast Cancer Awareness... Today is Day 3.

Yesterday I returned home in the evening, totally exhausted, after a lovely baby shower for my daughter; which was hosted by her mother- and sister-in-law and good family friend, Paula. Mark had a lovely pasta dinner in the works and the TV tuned into a football game. He asked me if I knew that the NFL was taking part in Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I did not, but then as I saw the pink ribbons on helmets, pink glove and shoes, I began to wonder. Now.... if each player would donate a portion of their NFL pay to fight and research breast cancer wouldn't that be cool. And if they are just wearing pink to bring attention, why can't they do more? Especially since they have probably plunked down a bunch of money for all this "pink promotion". 



Sometimes I have to catch myself from being too cynical. And it seems they are doing more than just wearing pink. You can bid on exclusive NFL pink products. Now I may not be doing any of the bidding, considering what some of the bids have already gotten to. But it looks like there will be a nice donation going to the American Cancer Society once this campaign has finished. So bid often, and bid a lot! Don't be shy -- lets find a cure to this horrible illness that has affected more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the US today; the most common form of cancer among women in the US.

Hugs,

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

LIVESTRONG
I AM STRONG. I AM LOVED. I AM HEALTHY. WE WILL WIN!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

31 Days: The Scar Project

Did you know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month? 
31 Days of Breast Cancer Awareness... Today is Day 2.
The Scar Project: Breast cancer is not a pink ribbon! 
I warn you,  The Scar Project, and the website,  is not for the feint of heart. But.... it is an amazing testament to strength, courage, and inner beauty that transcends society's standards of outer beauty.
Yes!!! This is what breast cancer is -- NOT PINK; NOT PINK RIBBONS. Quit it with all the pink ribbon stuff. FIND A DAMN CURE!
While I was spared mastectomy(ies), it is still hard to see all the pink and wonder where all the money goes and why we have not gotten closer to a cure or finding the cause of this horrific illness that affects so many women, and men. I commend The Scar Project, for telling this story the way they have. 
Here's to all the cancer survivors out there, especially to the breast cancer survivors on this October 2nd, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Hugs, (Yes, I still offer hugs even when posting an angry rant).

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

LIVESTRONG
I AM STRONG. I AM LOVED. I AM HEALTHY. WE WILL WIN!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

31 Days: Four Awesome Survivors

31 Days of Breast Cancer Awareness... Did you know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month?

Sonoma holds a farmer's market at the town plaza, right square dab in the heart of our little down town, every Tuesday evening from Spring through Fall. Mark and I meet up there most weeks with a group of great friends, the majority of which have been home winemaking with us for years, under the tutelage of master home winemaker Gino Sperring. We each arrive with a bottle of wine and tasty nibble to share with our group, and talk, laugh, eat, drink, shop for the top produce and other food products of the area, and just relax and enjoy good friends. And I was able to meet up most weeks this year, even through chemotherapy and such.

Sad as it may seem, there are now four of us from this group who belong to the club of cancer survivorship, and we all celebrated some milestones at a recent gathering. In 2011, Jo celebrates 10 years as a cancer survivor, Steve celebrates one year; and this very night Mike celebrates 5 years and I am celebrating the end to radiation and most major treatment for this year.... and anxiously await January when I will celebrate one year as a survivor.

What better way to celebrate than with a group of such wonderful friends. A toast to the four of us and many more years of farmer market gathering at the Sonoma Plaza!

Here's to all the cancer survivors out there, especially to the breast cancer survivors on this October 1st, Breast Cancer Awareness Day and Month.

We are all ... SURVIVORs!!!
LIVESTRONG
WE ARE STRONG. WE ARE LOVED. WE ARE HEALTHY. WE WILL WIN!

L-R: Mike, Jo, Steve, Debbie

Hugs,

Debbie