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.


Friday, January 2, 2015

Cardiologist Appointment - CHECK!

Well our phone land lines have been down for a couple of days since that wind storm. Finally today we are back online with a temporary fix, so I could get back to this post I had started back then. It is much easier for me to do this kind of keyboarding from my desktop computer rather than the iPad or phone. So finally, here goes ~

A couple of days before New Years, we made our quarterly jaunt to Stanford Hospital & Clinics for a follow up appointment with Dr. Michael Fowler, my cardiologist. I'm usually less than excited about a 1pm appointment, because that can mean, as he is often running late (a good thing because he devotes as much time to each patient as they need -- me included), we will get into commute traffic through SF coming home and it will take twice as long as the ride down. Which it did! 1.5 hours to get there, 3 hours to get home. 

Happy couple on the way down, with a beautiful sky that opened up 
o gorgeous sunshine for the remainder of the day.

And the drive home was not especially fun with a broken out window just behind me in the passenger door of our pretty new truck. Thank you thugs at Stanford Mall when we stopped for a quick bite before my appointment. As we returned to the truck from that quick bite, I walked to my side and saw glass on the ground and running board, never thinking it was from our vehicle. As I looked up, I noticed the window was gone. 


At first it looked like nothing was disturbed or missing. Everything there was just as we left it 20-30 minutes earlier, we thought. It wasn't until later Mark remembered bringing his iPad mini, so went back out from the waiting room to double check. Nada! Lucky for us we had just installed the app to "Find & erase" a device remotely, just in case someone got past his passcode protection.  So as we sat in the waiting room, we took care of all this business.  Thankfully the truck wasn't harmed in any other way and we are so thankful it wasn't worse. It was definitely a bit of an inconvenience as I then needed to catch a cab to my appointment while Mark dealt with filing reports with the mall security company and then the police. And then there was the trip back and forth to the truck to check on it's contents while we waited for our turn with the cardiologist. 

And I need to add that while Chipotle seems to be a smart fast-food stop, when considering other options, I have changed my mind totally. We've been there a few times in the last couple of years, and I liked how you could order something more healthy, like the salad bowl, and see all the calorie contents overhead as you make those choices. But why oh why don't these companies consider other health issues, LIKE SODIUM. Fat is not the only evil. I believe that the lower fat choices are all being sabotaged with either salt or sugar. And sodium is my biggest evil of all. I fight with it every time I shop. There are some good choices out there, but they are few and far between. Just saying, Chipotle, clean up your act. A serving of tomato salsa alone, without any chicken or beans/rice, tortilla, etc., is 470 mg of sodium. A woman cannot live on salsa alone. Just saying. Check it out here on this link and see what I mean. I digress -- sorry for the rant.

But on to the news of my appointment with Dr. Fowler...

It was a very good appointment, considering. Vitals all good, weight good, body not retaining water. So the myriad of medications I continue to take are doing their job. Because, as the doc reminded us, just because I'm feeling good does not mean my heart is better. He does that each time, and each time it kind of gives Mark and I a reality check -- BIG TIME! The fact I had four or so echocardiograms within a six month period, and all showed a very low Ejection Fraction ranging from 12-18%, he says it is unlikely that my heart will improve greatly. Apparently I have about 8-9 years before I would then be bordering on being too old for a transplant. But he also confirmed that the echo is not everything, and the way I feel says so very much. So for now, we continue as is, and live each day to the fullest. I'll see him again late July and we will finally do another echo to see exactly what the old ticker is up to then. Who knows, miracles do happen, and maybe I will surprise them all. I can only think that way now, as it does no good to get down and feel sorry for myself. Especially when I know that others have far more difficult issues they are struggling with.

So we jumped in our truck (without a back side window) and headed our merry way up the Hwy and across the Golden Gate Bridge. At  40 degrees outside, it was a good thing we had a beach towel which Mark fixed over the window held tightly by the door jam. Thank you seat heater. Luckily there was no other damage to our truck. 

A stop Mary's Pizza for some yummy takeout pizza helped to lift our spirits. We will drive up to Sacramento in a couple of days to get the window replaced, and all will be good again here at Brookfarm.

If you are a praying person, please continue to keep me in your thoughts and prayers for continued health throughout the New Year and years to come.

Someone deposited an adorable moose in our midst ~ Maddie.

Life is Good...

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

THANKS for visiting! I look forward to your comments.

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