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.


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!!!



I LOVE comments. Thanks for visiting!


  1. Awesome blog, Deb. Each and every person you mentioned is equally blessed to have had you in their lives. Prayers for your friends... How sad

  2. I am blessed to have you as my sister, Deb. Love you so very much.

  3. Thank you so much sweet sisters. Love you tons!!!! Hope you are having the best mother's day ever.


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