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, November 26, 2014

How is ICD Data Captured?

Very interesting explanation of an ICD (Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator). Although mine is a St. Jude Model, rather than Medtronic. It shows how the ICD is monitored and tracked by a doctor and the device manufacturer.

But did you know that patients do not have access to this information, except when seeing their cardiologist once a quarter or so. And then the copy of the report is many pages and difficult to decipher by the lay person/patient. And usually any important information has happened weeks or months earlier. Sure would be nice to have this accessible to the patient on an ongoing basis, perhaps through a secure website. Just saying!!!

Life is Good...

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

THANKS for visiting! I look forward to your comments.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Demystifying Ejection Fraction

You hear me talk about EF (Ejection Fraction) frequently. Basically, it is the key factor in my heart failure. This article takes a very simple approach to explain exactly what EF is and how it is measured. 

Based on my echocardiogram of January, my EF is still at 18%, which is considered severe heart failure. And based on my recent cardiologist appointment of a couple of days ago, although I am feeling pretty darn good these days, my ICD still records some series of weeks during each quarter when I am in "heart failure". I believe this means that is when my heart has trouble doing its job, even with the help of all the meds I am on and the ICD that will do pacing if needed (before shocking for heart failure). So while I often feel pretty good these days, it is a reminder that I need to stay vigilant with my low sodium diet, keep active, and stay healthy. Every day is a gift and I cannot forget that it is often very fragile, and we cannot be too careless with it -- even when that means simple, tiny steps that can mean life and death.

I hope you find this article. useful.

With each heartbeat, the heart contracts (or squeezes) and relaxes. Every contraction pushes blood out of the two pumping chambers (ventricles). When when heart relaxes, the ventricles refill with blood. The ejection fraction (EF) refers to the amount, or percentage, of blood that is pumped (or ejected) out of the ventricles with each contraction. This percentage, or EF number, helps your health care provider determine if you have heart failure or other types of heart disease.
Ejection Fraction
A normal heart pumps just over half the heart's volume of blood with each beat – a normal EF is 50 to 75 percent.
Here is a link to the full website:

Life is Good...

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

THANKS for visiting! I look forward to your comments.

Monday, November 10, 2014

YSC Tour de Pink, West Coast

Last month, Mark and I were invited to participate in the 2014 Tour de Pink West Coast (TdP), put on by Young Survivor Coalition (YSC) It was an honor and a privilege to be part of the Cadence Sports staff team working this event.

2014 Tour de Pink West Coast was held October 17 - 18. The ride went from Paso Robles, CA to Point Mugu, CA. The three-day ride took an inspirational journey along the coast and through California's wine country. TdP is a rolling community, inspiring those who ride and work the event, and supporting young women. Riders choose to ride all three days (200 miles) or for one day.

Young Survivor Coalition (YSC) is a global organization dedicated to the critical issues unique to young women who are diagnosed with breast cancer. YSC offers resources, connections and outreach so women feel supported, empowered and hopeful.

YSC was founded in 1998 by three young women who were under the age of 35 when diagnosed. They were discouraged by the lack of resources available and the under-representation of young women in breast cancer research. Today, YSC is the go-to organization for young women facing a breast cancer diagnosis.

Here are some of our photos from the Staff side of the event.

Pizza night the evening we arrive and before all the fun began.

Some of the schwag that went into the goody bags for the riders.

First day ... and they're off.

Getting ready for afternoon check-in of riders.

Boston Strong

Friends & family greet riders in Solvang 

Greeting Dad at the finish line

Final day ends on the beautiful beach of Point Mugu

My new friend, and rider, Debbie, and her friends.

Here are some images from the event organizers.

Sure hope I have the energy to participate again next year. The event was very rewarding, but involved long, tiring days of all staff members. I pulled it off this year, but maybe once was enough. Time will tell.

 Life is Good...

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

THANKS for visiting! I look forward to your comments.