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.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Vertigo, Oy Vey

I've had some vertigo issues over the last 25 years ever since a very serious head concussion when hit by an SUV as I was walking in a crosswalk. Yes, I am lucky to be alive after being tossed through the air for nearly 30 feet. Hmmm, maybe I do have nine lives.

What happens is usually turning to my left side while lying flat on the ground, or in bed. It was much worse for several years after the accident. I would go into a nauseous head spin just from looking straight up at a plane or bird, and have to grab something to steady myself. It's happened less and less over the years, thankfully, and now seems to be more prevalent when my sinuses are bothering me. And that appears to be more frequent since the cardiomyopathy diagnosis. Not sure if fluid buildup adds to this issue, but it seems to. So I went in to see a Ear, Nose, Throat (ENT) specialist in January and he wanted me to have a Sinus CT scan. I've been putting it off because my insurance has been so screwed up until just recently. I feel so bad that insurance still hasn't processed the ENT claim from early January that I wanted that resolved before going back. Insurance assures me the claim will be processed by week's end. (Yeah, sure, I've heard this far too many times this year -- Damn you, Anthem Blue Cross)

So last week I started my first of an 8-week session of yoga classes; Gentle Yoga, to be precise. I really enjoyed the class last Wednesday and the upper body stretching. Then we got down on the floor and all went well until.... yes, until I rolled towards the left to grab the belt used for leg stretches, and my head went into a horrible spin that set me sweating profusely from the head, feeling horribly sea sick and not able to stand, for about 10 minutes or more, as I knew I could not keep my balance. Mark came to rescue me and I got home and crawled into bed for a bit and was pretty much affected until mid-morning the following day. This was the worst episode I'd had for quite some time. It was not fun!

I did email my cardiologist latter just to be sure it wasn't heart related. The sweating was different and it did have Mark and I concerned. Thankfully, he said it was benign positional vertigo. Which is due to a disturbance within the inner ear. The inner ear has fluid-filled tubes called semicircular canals. The canals are very sensitive to movement of the fluid, which occurs as you change position. The fluid movement allows your brain to interpret your body's position and maintain your balance.
Benign positional vertigo develops when a small piece of bone-like calcium breaks free and floats within the tube of the inner ear. This sends the brain confusing messages about your body's position.
It is said that a prior head injury (even a slight bump to the head) or an inner ear infection may make some people more likely to develop the condition. There is a procedure that one can do on their own, or with the aid of a physical therapist, to reposition the calcium. That will be a question for my ENT, as I have read about it before and it seems like a complex exercise for one to do alone and get exactly right. Besides, it sends you back into vertigo, maybe even several times during the exercise. YUCK!!!

Now I was much more incentivized to get the scan and follow up with the ENT. Anyway, I had the scan today; and only had slight head spinning as I layed down on the table for it. This was the first time I've had to tell a doctors office about my ICD in case there was any conflict with it and the scan. 

I will see see my ENT next week and skipped today's yoga class for obvious reasons. Now, hopefully we can get to the bottom of all the sinus trouble and also the vertigo. Then I can get back to doing things that are good for me.

These Snoopy's can be found randomly positioned around Santa Rosa, CA; the home of Snoopy Ice Rink 
and Charles M. Schultz Center.
Dr. Joe Cool ~ Heart Throb

Looking forward to my next Stanford appointment in early April. Not sure if they will do another Echo, but am so hopeful that my heart EF may be improving.

Life is Good...

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

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