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.


Sunday, March 13, 2016

Anticipation of the Chemo Train

Late last week things started to fall into place for my treatment plan, which was after my initial visit with my oncologist this past Wednesday.

But a couple of nice distractions happened first -- I was able to fit in my Tai Chi class on Thursday. It was challenging as I've been tired of late, and taking a couple of really good naps a day. Maybe that is why I keep waking at 5am. Or perhaps it is the early bird waking that then causes the need for a nap or two. Either way, I'm rolling with it. Then we got out one evening for a fun time with good friend's Cathie, Gene, Kate & Jon in Sonoma. The girls had a bite to eat and then walked to Sebastiani Theatre to see the movie The Lady in the Van. The boys had their dinner while we were away. Then we all gathered for desert before heading back home. It was so nice to be talking about things other than doctors and cancer, although we did do a tiny bit of that too.

On Friday I talked with Amanda,  the Oncology Nurse Navigator at St. Joseph's Cancer Center (formerly Redwood Regional). My prescriptions are waiting at CVS Sonoma for me -- a couple for anti-nausea, one for sleep and/or anxiety, and one other. I skipped the numbing agent for the port access as I didn't need it back in 2011. 

Amanda put me in touch with UCSF and I called to get registered into their system. Then Sharon, the New Patient Coordinator at UCSF, called to say everything was in order and that they would be calling very soon once Dr. Michelle Melisko has reviewed my file. The expectation is that she will see me in about 7-10 days for a consult/2nd opinion and I'll also get a brain MRI at UCSF as well.

I will see my Cardiologist on Monday to get the official report from the Echo I had on Friday. Although they told me right then and there my Ejection Fraction had remained at 40%. This is great news!

Then the knitty gritty stuff begins...
  • The Power Port will be implanted on Tuesday.
  • Wednesday I will have my first oncology appointment, which is a pre-infusion appointment.
  • Drum roll please, I have my first infusion on Friday.
I need to call and ask about labs, as I am a bit confused since my phone conversation on Friday. And I also need to ask Amanda if the appointment for FoundationOne is in place or do I need to initiate it.

I'm exhausted already just thinking about all of this.

We had plans for the weekend to get together with our two daughters and their families, just for fun, AND to do some family portraits, something we have never really done before. Can you tell where my mind is going with all this now floating around in my thoughts. I'm hopeful to get this in before the hair loss. But because of the huge storm we experienced, and a runny nose in one family, and full blown head cold in the other, we postponed it until next weekend. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and we can get some photos outside. But Sunday evening we did make it out to dinner close by with friends. I hadn't been to Glen Ellen Inn for quite some time, and we both agree we need to frequent there more often. Dinner and laughter; just what the doctor ordered.

That's the latest in the Stage IV breast cancer saga for little old me.

Please continue to keep me in your thoughts and prayers.

Life is Good... Most of the time

Debbie... aka the cancer & cardiomyopathy FIGHTER!!!

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