LIVESTRONG:

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.

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.

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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Hope I May Finally be on the Mend

Oh dear, this bronchitis has been almost the worst thing I could imagine. Of course cancer treatment was much worse, but at least I had a picture of what to expect at the onset of treatment. But all the unknowns of the bronchitis are wearing thin on me.

So you may recall that I saw my doctor a week ago yesterday (sure feels much longer). I had been sick nearly five days already with low grade fever (never over 100.7) violent and continuous coughing, which seemed focused mainly in the chest. She prescribed a nebulizer and codeine cough syrup to help with sleep. Oh dear, everything got much worse over the weekend and I think I barely slept 2 hrs each night from Friday through Monday morning.

I called back in on Monday and got my regular PCP then and told him what was going on. Apparently the nebulizer can be a stimulant and it was amping me up big time. I had already stopped it Monday morning thinking this was the culprit, but it took a couple more nights before I even felt tired. Not that I could sleep with all the coughing, but when you are wide awake, and coughing, well sleep is impossible.

So I continued with the cough syrup, some other nyquil type products, and even a sleep aid I had from chemo days, Trazodone. But still could not sleep. Now it was the cough -- continues, dry, yet lots of mucous in my sinus now, which is were my colds usually settle, not in my chest. In fact, I had just completed a 5 day sinusitis antibiotic three weeks earlier from the cold of the month previous.

On Thursday, I call in again, and get the doc who I saw on the visit the Friday before. She determines that I have a sinus infection; and while the antibiotics (a bit stronger and more frequent than the last) will not help my bronchitis (bronchitis is 80-90% Viral, not bacterial), it will help the sinus infection. I started that antibiotic Thursday evening and have now had a full days dose in me by now, Saturday morning. I must say that the head and sinus were much less congested yesterday afternoon and I even napped in bed for a short spell then. So my hope was I could sleep better last night.

I did sleep "better" but still sitting up in bed coughing every 1-2 hours or so, all night long. Then by 5am, usually I can get a full 2-3 hours in, for some reason.

So, time will tell. And somehow I have the feeling I'll be calling in again next week if I'm not sleeping at least in 4 hour increments by then. How can someone heal if they aren't sleeping????

Hoping, dreaming..... of   Z   Z   Z   Z   Z      -SLEEP

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


LIVESTRONG
• I AM STRONG • I AM HEALTHY • I AM LOVED •

I LOVE comments. Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Six More Months Behind Me!!!

Another six months behind me as a cancer warrior , as I just got a good report at my 6 month oncology check up. Woo hoo. So I now have 18 months under my belt. This feels good!

Now, if I can just get over the bronchitis, fever, and sleepless nights;  life will be good again.


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


LIVESTRONG
• I AM STRONG • I AM HEALTHY • I AM LOVED •

I LOVE comments. Thanks for visiting!


Monday, April 8, 2013

Bronchitis


If you come down with bronchitis, and I sure hope you don't, a current treatment seems to be prescribing an abuterol (steroid) inhaler along with a codeine cough syrup for night. The inhaler is to help open airways and make breathing easier (apparently my airway was so blocked I needed a breathing treatment before the PCP could hear if it had worked into pneumonia). The cough syrup, well that is self explanatory. And after all the coughing I have been doing for 6 days now, bring it on.

My recommendation is to be very wary of the inhaler. I barely slept at all this weekend from the steroids of the inhaler; like about 2-4 hours per night. And then I didn't even nap at all the following days.

So I called in to the office again today, and my PCP, who was not available when I went in on Friday, said that sometimes the inhalers work well. But many times they do not. With the horrible weekend I had on the inhaler, I had already stopped using it waiting for the call back from the doctor, and he did recommend I not use it.

Tonight is the test. Wish me a good nights sleep, cause I sure need one.

And, oh by the way, I've been drinking tons of tea, water, and soup, got Vicks on board, vaporizer in place, and night time cold drugs as well. 

Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z

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

LIVESTRONG
• I AM STRONG • I AM HEALTHY • I AM LOVED •

I LOVE comments. Thanks for visiting!




Sunday, April 7, 2013

How Long Until Considered Cancer-Free?

This is something that has perplexed me, especially when people say, "So, your all cured now and cancer free?" I know that I will never be cancer free, as we all have cancer cells in our bodies. But at least once my five years of daily aromatase inhibitor regime is finished; I can feel a bit safer. 

But, as everything in life, there are no guarantees. We just need to live one day at a time and each day to its fullest.
How Long Until Considered Cancer-Free?

Question: How long must a woman survive after breast cancer to be considered cancer-free or cured?

Answer: According to the National Cancer Institute, the five-year survival rate for non-metastatic breast cancer (breast cancer that has not spread beyond the breast) is 80%. Newspapers and television usually translate that to, "If you've survived for five years, you're cancer-free."
This is a bit misleading. It's true that during the first five years, the risk of recurrence is highest. But breast cancer can recur even after five years. The important point to know is that the more time passes, the lower the risk of recurrence becomes.
The chance of surviving breast cancer depends on MANY different factors taken together. Lymph node involvement has a strong influence on prognosis. The more lymph nodes involved, the more serious the cancer. Some of the other factors that affect outcome are your general health, the size of the cancer, hormone receptor status, growth rate, tumor grade, and HER2/neu status. Learn more about all of these factors in our section on Understanding Your "Big Picture."
Even with the best information, no one can predict the future. Each of us is unique, and how each woman's body and mind handle breast cancer and treatment is truly a mystery. Many women have beat the odds, while other women "sure to do well" somehow didn't. You just have to do the best you can, with the best team of doctors and nurses that you can assemble, together with your support network. Then focus on the power of your mind, and you can experience the momentum you need to move through treatment and beyond.
The good news is that more and more women are living longer than five years past breast cancer as a result of early detection, more effective breast cancer therapy, and better overall medical care.

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


LIVESTRONG
• I AM STRONG • I AM HEALTHY • I AM LOVED •

I LOVE comments. Thanks for visiting!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Hopefully on the Mend

So I decided I needed to make a visit to my primary care physician, since last night was even worse than the prior night, and I still had a low fever again today for the third day.

It appears I have bronchitis.

The doc gave me a breathing treatment so she could hear my lungs, because I had so much rattling going on. That sure got me coughing initially! Looks like a nebulizer and some night time cough syrup is what the doctor orders.

Now.... here's to feeling better soon.


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


LIVESTRONG
• I AM STRONG • I AM HEALTHY • I AM LOVED •

I LOVE comments. Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Sick of Being Sick

Yes, that's me. I'm very sick of being sick!

I'm on my third cold/flu/sickness since Christmas week, and it's wearing on me and my husband. And believe it or not, I did get a flu shot in the Fall. The thing he is sick of, is my coughing. Quite frankly, I'm pretty sick of all the coughing too. The February cold was probably already coming on, when we went out camping and i got chilled. That one turned into a sinus infection. This is not new to me, although it has been years since I've had one. But this new cold which came on a couple of days ago, seems to be in the chest and head. I can hear wheezing in my chest when I am breathing  at night, head is all stuffed up, and I ran a low grade fever yesterday.

Next Tuesday, I have my six month check up with my oncologist. At that point it will be nearly two years since my last chemo treatment, and a year and a half since completing all breast cancer treatment. A question that I have for Oncologist is about my immune system, and if it is still compromised from the Chemo in 2011. I was feeling so good for so long, but this winter has been very trying.

So for now, I'm drinking lots of fluids, soup, tea with honey, OJ, Kefir, taking some decongestants, and resting a lot. Which feels like the right thing to be doing on this rainy Spring day.  I hope I can knock it down quickly and be on the mend soon.


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

LIVESTRONG
• I AM STRONG • I AM HEALTHY • I AM LOVED •

I LOVE comments. Thanks for visiting!