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, May 24, 2012

6 month check up and Exemestane

Today I had my left side mammogram as the 6 month followup from end of treatment. I also had the blood drawn for cancer markers to be checked as well. I feel positive that all is okay and should have results back next week.

About a week ago, I began taking the Exemestane. Initially I took the medication at night like I did with the Letrozole, but found I wasn't sleeping well. So I have switched to taking it in the morning. Still experiencing some minor leg bone pain, but so far so good.

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


Thursday, May 17, 2012

One Year Ago

One year ago today..... I had my last chemotherapy treatment at Redwood Regional Cancer Center in Santa Rosa, or at least I sure hope it is the last. You see, once the "c" sneaks into your life, you are always wary that it may visit again. But enough of that kinda talk for now.... La-la-la-la-la (go away thoughts).

Yes, one year has past since that day of my last chemo on May 17, 2011. And while I went through oh so much more after that; such as surgery and then radiation, the chemo was really the hardest part of it all. Looking back now, I realize just how debilitating it all was, and how I put on a strong face during the ordeal. But then that is what we do to fight something -- we muster up our strength and stay strong to fight the fight. And I am so glad to have it all behind me and to struggle to remember some of the details. Thank you for that lapse of memory.  :-)

Today I am happy to say that I feel very well and healthy. I'm a few pounds lighter (about 15) and I guess I have cancer to thank for that. I feel pretty strong and can do most of what I did before cancer, working hard around the farm with Mark, but resting when I need to. These set backs teach us to be easier on ourselves and take "the moments" when we need them. And when I say moments, I especially refer to moments to chase after the two loves of my life, Nico and Gaige. I mean, is there a higher power, a God, a guardian angel, OR WHAT? Cause I know at least one of my daughters decided to start a family well before the word cancer entered our lives. What a way to end "the lost" year of 2011 but with two sweet little boy angels in my life. And what a wonderful Mother's Day I just had with them, and seeing what exemplary mothers my two daughters have become.

So I will muster up the strength to roll around on the floor with two crawling boys; lug their 20+ pound bodies up off the floor, into the stroller, into the high chair; take oodles of iphone pics all the time (over 2500 on my phone right now); post them on Facebook and bore the heck out of everyone; prepare for the chasing when the walking starts, and the falls and bumps and tears; take long 2+ hour walks all around the wonderful Davis walking paths, and my lovely home town of Sonoma; and just enjoy "the moments". Oh dear, this won't be hard at all, it will be all pure joy. Because, who knows what the next day, week, year, will bring to any of us.

For now I gear up for blood work and my semi-annual mammogram on the left breast later this month. But I'm feeling very positive and optimistic to get that behind me, too. Each of these upcoming monumental dates and checkups will be good to get past this year, and I look forward to each and every one of them.

So let's just enjoy these moments!

Here we are one year ago after my last chemo. Looks like I'm feeling pretty good, albeit hairless. Probably just thrilled to be done with that experience.
Just last week at Davis Farmer's Market with the two new loves of my life, Nico & Gaige. I'm a happy and lucky Grammie!
Mother's Day 2012: (L-R) Chris, Gaige, Sarah, Debbie, Alura, Nico, Stephan.


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


Monday, May 14, 2012

Stronger ~ Seattle Children's Hospital

My cousin Donna shared this on her Facebook page this morning. She too is a breast cancer survivor, and it was her comment, "I think this video is especially meaningful if you or someone you love has been touched by surveyors are stronger because of it.", that got me to find the video on You Tube because she wasn't sure how to link it.

So here is the link to Stronger at Seattle Children's Hospital, a lovely music video of the young cancer patient's there, showing some spunk, sweetness, and loads of strength. Be careful, you are sure to shed some tears as I did. And if you have the time, check the video on how it was made and the Thank You from Kelly Clarkston.

As I am coming up on my one year anniversary of that last chemo treatment on May 17th, memories flush over me; memories of that call with the diagnosis, all the confusion and decisions over a treatment plan best for me and "my" cancer, getting started on chemo and how it takes such a tole over your body and your whole life, then learning I would become a grandma for the first time as all treatment would be winding down -- and not from one daughter, but from both within a few months, memories of losing my hair, my nails, my energy, then regaining it all very slowly after surgery and then radiation. And there was all the love and support from family and friends, near and far. It was a long road, but I am much stronger from it, as is my family.

The latest for me is that I have been off the Letrozole for about a month. I still have some leg and hip bone aches and pain on occasion, but am ready to begin the Exemestane, now that I have navigated the cost of it and what is best for me. I'm going from $30 every two months to $160, which is quite a hit in the old pocket book. Especially since both our health premiums just increased substantially. But we will make do. I did shop around, even checking Costco, and this is the best we can do for now. It is far better than the $400 I was originally quoted for the generic. And when you are taking something for five years, cost is a deciding factor, for sure. Hopefully there will be less side effects with this drug.

I will be getting blood work done here in the next week to check my cancer markers and hopefully all will be good there. Again, with the high deductible health plan, I found that I could price shop this as well and find a huge cost savings at a lab, especially for their "cash price" quote. I'm learning.  :-)

I'm healthy and feeling strong and just about back to normal, other than the hip/leg issues. So life is good; AND... what doesn't kill you DOES make you stronger.

I'll close with these from my Mother's Day. Yes... Life is Good!

Chris, Gaige, Sarah, Me, Alura, Nico, Stephan

Sarah, Gaige, Nico, Alura

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


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

First hair cut

Here I am, almost a full year after my last chemotherapy treatment. I just had my first hair cut in over a year. Granted, my dear friend and stylist, Susan,  took very little, if anything off. But I just needed a bit of shaping and to get some of that "chemically treated" hair trimmed. She always makes me look so much better than I am able to do.

Thank you, Susan. Your a doll.


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


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