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.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Such an Amazing Story

This young boys is very special. I'd like to share his story with you. It touched me and I believe it will touch you too. Sad, yet uplifting. Brave and strong. Click below to watch his story.

Zach's Story

He has given his family, and this world a wonderful gift.

Rest in peace sweet Zach.

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


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Friday, May 17, 2013

Anniversaries are Important!

Today marks two years since my last chemo treatment. WOO HOO!

Keep those years a comin...

And on a sad note, my dear friend's husband passed Wednesday morning. Thank you to those who sent prayers and comfort. Peace came quickly and he is now out of pain. Thinking of you dear B and sending hugs and strength during this sad time.

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


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Tuesday, May 14, 2013


And well, it is. Or so it is finally feeling so, after most of the day on the couch, zero energy, and lots of cat naps. Hopefully I am on the mend and the worst is behind me.

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



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Just a broken record

Yep, that's me. Sounding just like a broken record, repeating over and over again....


Oops, I guess I meant to say "shouting over and over again". Yes, yet again I have a bug -- low fever ranging for last 3 days that zaps all your energy, and a nagging cough that just won't quit. And just this morning sneezing and a runny nose. My ribs are sore, AGAIN!!!

Yes you've read all about it here before, and in a few other posts since the end of December, but I think I did not mention the horrible flu bug we both got right after the bronchitis/sinus infection that lasted most of April. Just when I thought I was on the mend from the chest/head cold, but really felt like it wasn't completely resolved, then a week of the flu. It wasn't pretty.

But  this time I can blame it on Mark. I don't really blame him, mind you, he is the one who rarely gets sick. But he did get this one before me for a change. I thought that because of everything that had been going on of late, my immune system was surely buffered up enough to escape his cold. NOT!

If we're counting, this is like number 5 since very end of December. That is just too much.

So yesterday was spent with absolute minimal energy on the farm. The rest of the day involved three naps, and catching up on all the back episodes of Mr. Selfridge and Call the Midwife. I did have a bit of brain power for a few rows of knitting too. But I'm feeling another nap coming on already this morning.

So stay away from me, if you can. And I am staying clear of everyone too. Although I do need to get presentable and make a trip out to reload my arsenal of wellness and decongestant tricks; especially the one for overnight.

For those who may be wondering, I recently asked both my oncologist and PCP if perhaps my immune system was still down from chemo and maybe there was something else I should be doing to boost it. They both pushed that thought aside with the comment that there is so much of this, especially bronchitis, going around right now and that I just needed to give it some time. 

Here's to tomorrow ~ and the hope of having whooped this thing and feeling like a new woman.

And in closing, please continue to send prayers of strength and comfort to my dear friend and her husband at this time (and their entire family), that Hospice is keeping him comfortable and his transition to the other world comes quickly and peacefully.

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



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Saturday, May 11, 2013

Honoring the Amazing Women in my Life...

... Who have all helped to make me who I am.

My Mother, Gloria Homen, the child of Azorean immigrants, who endured a very rough childhood, and still had the strength and calm to lovingly raise 8 wonderful children. She always wanted a large family, maybe because of her fractured childhood, and being separated from her parents and brothers at a young age, and being raised by strangers. I think that when she found my Dad and the Dallara family, it was the best thing that ever happened to her; aside from being reunited to her mother as a teenager.
Gloria at about 65 years young

My Maternal Grandmother, Aurora Peters/Gramma, herself another child of Azorean immigrants. Growing up in her era certainly was very hard. I don't know all the details of her years with my Grandfather and why she did not (or could not) raise my mother and her brothers several years, but I do know that they had many struggles as a young couple, starting a dairy, and losing all their cows to tuberculosis, among other tragedies that surely added to the fractured marriage in a time when divorce was very much frowned upon.

A great shot of 4 generations. L-R: Aurora, Donna, Gloria, Great Grandma (Aurora's mother)

My Paternal Grandmother, Marie Cresci/Noni, an immigrant of Bedonia, a small Italian village in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy (Parma). I can't imagine what the boat ride over here must have been like for her and her new husband at 18 years of age, or what it must have been like traveling all the way across the country to settle with other family members in Marin, and then try to assimilate into this new world where no one spoke her language. She did not even write her own language of Italian since the girls in her village were groomed for marriage and raising a family, so school was a luxury they couldn't afford. Then to raise 7 children of her own in San Rafael (my father being the youngest), never having any communication with the family left back in Bedonia.
Noni, exactly how I remember her; standing with her youngest daughter, Florence.

My Mother-in-Law, Kitty (Eleanor) Emery, a victim of polio at the age of 16, who was so mightily independent her entire life and would never even utter the word disabled or disability. She was paralyzed from the waist down; and although after several surgeries and much therapy was able to maneuver around on crutches as a young woman, then later with the aid of her wheelchair, still worked full time and drove a car, both into her 70's. At the age of nearly 43, as a single woman, she gave life to the most amazing man in my life, Mark, her only child, she loved more than life itself.
Our family, with Kitty on her 75th birthday.

Mark's Grandmother, Dasie Wilson, who stood in as his mother figure while his mom was away at work. When I hear the stories of how she moved the whole family from Tucson back to Glen Ellen, and many more, I am in awe and amazement, and her strength and courage.

And to all the mothers behind Gloria, Aurora, Marie, and Dasie.

To my sisters, Donna, Nancy, and Tina (Christine). You are such a source of great pride and inspiration to me; each one so different from the others, all beautiful, with beautiful families of your own, and daily challenges that we all face. Yet always smiling, and positive, and there to support each of us when the time comes. And I can't go without mentioning our sweet sister-in-law Marie; who is such a joy and integral part of our family.

Me and my 3 sisters having fun. L-R: Me, Donna, Tina, Nancy.

And probably most importantly, my daughters, Alura and Sarah ~ You are just now understanding a mothers love, and you are two of the most magnificent mothers I know. Nicolas and Gaige are the bright lights of my life, and I treasure every moment with them. You will learn as they grow, that your love for them will become deeper and stronger and those motherly concerns and worries will never cease, even when they have families of their own. I treasure my time with you and thank you for it, as I know the life of the mother of a toddler, especially in today's frantically hectic world, is a very complex one, and can be very confusing as well. Please know that you have my award for Mother of the Year!

New moms, Alura and Sarah (with Nico and Gaige).

And I cannot forget to mention the mothers to my two son-in-laws, Rita and Bobbi. You have raised two amazing young men, who are now the fathers to our adorable little grandsons. Thank you for bringing them into this world, sharing them with my daughters, and with Mark and I.

Happy Mother's Day to the amazing women in my life.  
You have all had a part in building my character and successes; and I thank you, each and every one.

And in closing, please help me by sending prayers of strength and comfort to my dear friend and her husband at this time, that Hospice is keeping him comfortable and his transition to the other world comes quickly and peacefully.

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



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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Spring Has Sprung & Asking for Hugs for a Dear Friend

Although it is overcast and looking like rain here this morning, we had quite the heat spell through most of April -- feeling like Summer, rather than Spring. The roses are bursting out all over and I can hardly keep them dead headed. But they are so enjoyable just there on the bush.

After a bit of a setback, I seem to be on the mend. No sooner was I feeling just barely able to handle our shearing day on April 16th of 40+ alpacas, but a couple of days later Mark and I came down with a horrible flu virus that pretty much knocked us back down for a full week. I was glad to lose a few pounds..... but.....

Just wish this horrible sounding cough would resolve itself now. Guess that will take some time.

So we seem to be back to our old selves (knock on wood), and I am back to my two days a week with the grandsons after missing seeing my Nico for nearly a month. No better de-stresser than my grandbabies, who are getting oh so big.

I am so glad I finally did start feeling better right before our first annual sister's weekend retreat to Dillon Beach. It was the first for all four sisters, and hopefully will be an annual event.

Donna was out for a full week too so she got to meet the adorable grandsons, we visited Mom's friend (and my god mother) Lorraine, ran errands, planned and hosted a big family BBQ, and tried to get some walking and relaxing in as well. But I think I exhausted her. Although it was a much more enjoyable visit than the two she made out in 2011 when I was going through chemo and surgery. Thank goodness that is all behind me.

So now it is time to get into a Spring/Summer routine around the farm, skirt fiber for the mill, finally get out into my long forgotten garden, decide how to eradicate a bunch of nasty ivy, maybe plant some tomatoes, or not.

But before closing, I need to ask you all to send healing thoughts to a dear friend who's husband has been fighting pancreatic cancer for about 9 months after having surgery back then. He was somewhat stable over the Summer and Fall, but now my heart aches to the core to say that Hospice has been called in since the chemo is not working, and he probably does not have long before he will be out of pain and in peace. They both can surely use our collective surround of gentle hugs at this time. Be strong, sweet friend. We are all here for you in this time of sorrow.

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



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