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.


Monday, November 4, 2013

It Works!

The ICD (Defibrillator), that is!

The ICD implant is probably the best thing I could ask for right now. Never thought, or hoped I would be saying that but.....

I've worried about colds with this new heart condition. Especially how hard it was to stay well last winter -- Now looking back, I'm sure they are all ll intertwined, weak heart/hard to fight colds. But, I did not expect to get sick from the hospital. And maybe it was not the hospital. But I remember the cleaning person coming out of my hospital room bathroom one time and had a big wet sneeze. I thought then, uh oh, she better not be sick. Then....

I felt it coming on Thursday evening, a bit of throat stuff Friday, some sniffles on Saturday. But I thought I could nip it in the bud with fluids, and lots of home remedies. At least I was able to go to Train Town for my grandsons 2nd birthday. Wouldn't miss that for the world. 

Then, Yesterday was not a good day here. I slept like crap Saturday night, was up in the recliner several times, just didn't feel well in bed and was wide awake! I took some diuretics in the morning as I was starting to get a rattley cough and emailed my cardiologist with what was going on. He is really good about email and I knew I'd hear back quickly. And if not, I'd call in. My temp was only 99, but Blood pressure was up from "my new low norm" since all these meds, but still "ok" . Then around 10am my pulse got to 140 and above, I thought I felt some kind of treatment from the ICD; gentle, but something for sure. So I just rested and tried not to worry, and hung out in the recliner all day, drinking fluids, etc. 

My Dr. called soon after and checked in. I have this new modem device that goes with the ICD. It transmits information to my cardiologist on a regular schedule, and I can send data whenever I need to. And he asked that I do that and use the Merlin@home to transmit data to him and to watch my temp. With the ICD so new, we need to be very careful about infection. I was taking my temp again to double check when he called back and it was 100.4. He said that, yes, in fact I had been treated, and sent a copy of the report he received later in the day. He said to continue what I was doing, but be cautious with diuretics. He immediately got me on antibiotics 3X day. The pulse stayed high all day till about 8pm, and I felt horrible during that whole time. I could hardly even enjoy the wonderful chicken soup that Mark made for me. Then when the pulse dropped to 100, I finally started feeling better. 

The Hallmark Channel is great in these situations. I watched Thanksgiving and Holiday "love" type stories all afternoon. 

I got to bed early and slept very well last night!!! :-) So today is a much, much better day, all vitals in much more normal ranges.

That pulse in the 140 range for several hours was very scary. I wonder if just the cold/virus (whatever it is) was the cause of that spike. 

This is a copy of the Merlin "Alert" my cardiologist received. (see below). There was additional detail available through a URL, but it appears to be password protected for only his eyes. I really wonder what it says. He mentioned we may need to do more EP studies in future if this continues. I don't think they had identified any VTach on me previously.

Transmission Date: 11-03-2013
Alert(s): VT/VF Episode Occurred; Successful ATP Therapy Delivered (ATP - Anti-tachycardia Pacing)

This is a pretty amazing little tool to have - both the ICD and the Merlin modem.

So, YEAH for my St. Jude ICD!! dancehearts Keep up the good work, pal.

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


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