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, September 17, 2013

Looking Toward's the Bright Side

I guess there is always the bright side to something that, at face value, may not seem so positive. And I guess I am again finding the good in knowing that I have Cardiomyopathy and Congestive Heart Failure.

For one thing, I am down about 25 pounds from being diagnosed in mid-June. Yes, I have been carefully watching what I eat, but mostly so that I get very little sodium. You see, this disease causes my body to retain salt, which just compounds my symptoms. Considering salt is so prevalent in all foods these days, because we all use so many pre-packaged items in our daily "cooking", I am acting like I am allergic to salt and reading every label, and cooking most everything fresh. So this has helped a lot. 

But initially, my symptoms were so bad that I was uncomfortably bloated and had horrible indigestion. Eating only the smallest of portions was possible. I am feeling much better now, but am still avoiding the salt, and eating very few carbs. I am finding I eat smaller meals and snack more. I've even set my iPhone timer for every 3 hours pretty frequently, to remind me it is time for a meal or snack. Of course, avoiding all wine, and stopping coffee with all the milk I would consume in 1-2 cups each morning, has obviously helped as well. I am hopeful that the weight loss will continue as the less my heart is carrying around, the better for me.

I've always been a pretty healthy eater. My kids and husband will recall the meals I would fix when they were growing up; no chocolate cake for birthdays, only carob; belonging to a Westbrae co-op of foods; raising dairy goats, along with a large vegetable garden and laying hens; avoiding white flour and sugar as much as possible; making some of the oddest nut and grain loafs for dinner that weren't very popular; and on and on. Actually, my mother was way ahead of her time in this area. She had a friend from Marin (where we moved from) who was into vitamins, and so was mom. Mom frequently made her own bread, and we had a dairy cow with fresh milk and butter daily. Mom would serve us fresh tangy yogurt with wheat germ sprinkled over, and local honey drizzled on top. I still crave that today. 

I've always enjoyed canning, making jam, and the such; but have gotten away from it over the years with the hectic lifestyle we all seem to live. Well, I now have my second batch of homemade yogurt in the fridge and it tastes mighty nice. Then there is the Keifer I just started making a few days ago from the grains gifted to me from a dear friend. I'm working on perfecting its flavor as I like it a bit tangier than the 24 hour method, and may even be blending some fruit into it to make it a bit more pleasing to the pallet. This same friend also gifted me a SCOBY so I can start making Kombucha too. I sat in on a Kombucha Kamp presentation last week at the the Heirloom Expo so am all jazzed to get this going too. The SCOBY is resting in its hotel until my beverage dispenser jar arrives any day now.

All of this, along with the Renew Life Ultimate Flora 80 billion culture probiotics I'm taking, and I think we have the "good bacteria" department covered in this household.

So even though I am now scheduled to consult with a new cardiologist in November for cardiac catheterization and ICD implant (Implantable Cardioverer Defibrillator), I am keeping it all positive and reminding myself that getting rid of this external defibrillator vest will be liberating; and that miraculous healing, as much as I would love it, is probably not in the cards for me.

Debbie... aka the cancer SURVIVOR, AND now the Cardiomyopathy warrior!!!



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