According to the Moving For Life Non-Profit Website, "numerous recent medical studies conclude that regular aerobic exercise after breast cancer helps alleviate side effects of treatment, prevent recurrence, and renew a sense of self and community. MOVING FOR LIFE focuses on these aspects directly creating a fun and supportive environment in the process.
Winner of 2010 Susan G. Komen Grant, MOVING FOR LIFE was created by three friends, Dr. Annie Rosen (psychologist and breast cancer survivor), Dr. Martha Eddy (exercise physiologist), and Jan Albert (film and television producer), in reaction to watching close friends and family struggle with cancer treatments."
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.
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Sunday, October 27, 2013
Up bright and early for the cardiac catheterization followed by an ICD implant (pacemaker/defibrillator.
If all goes as planned, I'll stay overnight in the hospital so the doctors and nurses have time to make sure everything is operating properly, and then will return home the following day. Recovery is a couple of weeks initially, then a total of six weeks where I can't lift or reach overhead so the ICD and leads have the chance to take hold securely. Then every 6 years or so I'll get a new ICD as the batteries last about this long.
One thing for sure is, even though there is anxiety with any hospital procedure, Mark and I are both so looking forward to saying adios to "my little friend", as Mark calls it, the Zoll LifeVest, which is an external defibrillator vest. Not only is this device a life saver, literally, but it can also be a pain too. So just to no longer need to wear it 24/7, have the controller unit slung over my shoulder, and the vest around my chest, both connected by a long cord, will be quite a relief. Being able to change into a clean vest, or to shower or bath whenever I want, without needing someone nearby "just in case" will be wonderful.
The controller unit worn on a shoulder strap.
Yippee; clicking heals!!!
Thursday, October 3, 2013
The next step is that I am scheduled for both a cardiac catheterization and then the ICD implant at the end of this month. The cardiac catheterization is done first, to absolutely rule out any blockage or other damage that might be repairable. If a blockage is found, a procedure or stent might be performed to correct an abnormality, which might mean no need for the ICD. My cardiologist says that normally there is a 5-10% chance that this happens during the catheterization. But he feels that with our familial heart history, it is more like a 1% chance for me.
In my case the cardiac catheterization will also be used to locate the appropriate vein(s) for the ICD implant. So more than likely, the catheterization will be immediately followed by the ICD implant. A technician from the ICD manufacturer will be there during the surgery to fine tune the ICD to my needs.
I'll stay overnight in the hospital so the doctors and nurses have time to make sure everything is operating properly, and then will return home the following day. Recovery is a couple of weeks initially, then a total of six weeks where I can't lift or reach overhead so the ICD and leads have the chance to take hold securely. Then every 6 years or so I'll get a new ICD as the batteries last about this long.
So then today we saw my oncologist for a routine 6 month check up. Although I'm glad the appointment fell when it did because a week ago this red itchy patch appeared on my right breast near the nipple, and I became anxious to rule out Inflammatory Breast Cancer. My oncologist feels pretty confident that these suspicious looking spots are not cancer, but are probably some sort of skin reaction. I'm to watch them for a week or so, and if it doesn't go away, or gets worse, get back in to see him so we can investigate further. That was good news, FOR SURE!
So no more doctor appointments for awhile. That feels good to know, for sure. We all have our challenges, don't we? I'm so grateful for each new day.
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Here are what the symptoms are:
1. redness of the breast. (The skin may appear pink, reddish purple or bruised.)Other symptoms may include:
2. swelling of the breast
3. a feeling of one's breast being warm
4. peau d'orange (skin that looks like the peel of an orange)
- an ichy feeling, or suspicion of a bug bite.
- burning sensation in the breast
- heaviness of the breast
- increase in breast size
- having a nipple that is inverted
- swollen lymph nodes
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Heaven knows I am learning of new breast cancer diagnosis, or serious recurrences of breast cancer, often times metastasis, nearly weekly. Lets all do whatever we can to see that all women are aware of the breast cancer risks, and that research soon puts a stop to this life-changing, and often deadly, disease.
Thank you Kiana, Donna, and Mark.
But regardless, these bracelets bring me warm loving thoughts from just a few of those who were so giving to me and my family during my treatment. Thank you so very, very much. Your kindness, love, and support were very instrumental in my healing and I can't thank you enough.
ICD Key Points
- An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is a small device that's placed in your chest or abdomen. This device uses electrical pulses or shocks to help control life-threatening arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats).
- An ICD has wires with electrodes that connect to one or more of your heart's chambers. The ICD will continually monitor your heart rhythm. If the device detects an abnormal heart rhythm, it will use low- or high-energy electrical pulses to restore a normal rhythm.
- An ICD isn't the same as a pacemaker. A pacemaker can only give low-energy electrical pulses to correct certain irregular heartbeats. An ICD can give the high-energy electrical pulses needed to correct dangerous arrhythmias in the heart’s lower chambers, the ventricles.
- Your doctor may recommend an ICD if you’re at risk for a ventricular arrhythmia or if he or she sees signs of a ventricular arrhythmia (or heart damage that would make one likely) on test results. He or she also may recommend an ICD if you survive sudden cardiac arrest or are at high risk for the condition.
- Surgery to place an ICD usually takes a few hours. After this minor surgery, you may have mild pain; over-the-counter pain medicines usually can relieve it. Talk to your doctor before taking any pain medicine.
- The most common problem with ICDs is that they can sometimes give electrical pulses that aren't needed. Doctors can reprogram ICDs or prescribe medicines so the electrical pulses occur less often. Other, rare risks are linked to the ICD surgery, such as infection and bleeding.
- The low-energy electrical pulses your ICD gives off aren't painful. You may not notice them, or you may feel a fluttering in your chest.
- The high-energy pulses or shocks your ICD gives only last a fraction of a second and feel like a thumping or painful kick in the chest, depending on their strength. Your doctor may give you medicine to decrease the number of arrhythmias you have. This may reduce the number of high-energy pulses sent to your heart.
- Once you have an ICD, you have to avoid close or prolonged contact with electrical devices or devices that have strong magnetic fields. You also need to avoid medical procedures that can disrupt your ICD. Let all of your doctors, dentists, and medical technicians know that you have an ICD.
- Your doctor may ask you to avoid vigorous exercise and heavy lifting for a short time after your surgery. After you’ve fully recovered from surgery, discuss with your doctor how much and what kinds of physical activity are safe for you.
- Have your ICD checked regularly. Some ICD functions can be checked remotely through a telephone call or computer connection to the Internet. Your doctor may ask you to come to his or her office to check your ICD.
- ICD batteries have to be replaced every 5 to 7 years. The wires of your ICD also may have to be replaced eventually. You doctor can tell you whether you need to replace your ICD or its wires.