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 16, 2016

Pre-Chemo Oncology Appointment

What do you call those times when you start a new program, break out into a new plan or regime? Well this is that week. Appointment upon appointment upon call upon.... My brain is about to explode with information. But we are taking time to throw some fun diversions in there too. AND, Mark got are tax information off to the accountant. So all is good for the moment.

I have a new acronym to use:  LMBC - liver metastasized breast cancer. That is me!

The pre-chemo oncology appointment was on Wednesday. All went well in our meeting at the St. Joseph Fountaingrove Cancer Center with Dr. Ian Anderson. Our drive through Bennett Valley for the third day this week was just so beautiful again. After a week of 10" of rain, we've been having beautifully sunny days, even up into the low 70's, and everything is a magical green. 

Mark was much more at ease in their office, thank goodness; and he was amused at the age of some of the magazines in the waiting room. It's as if people bring in there very old Simple Life, Martha Stewart and Oprah magazines and leave them there. But I did notice him taking pics of recipes and ideas for future.

I started out with a blood draw -- YIKES -- five vials! But apparently one of theme was used to flush the IV. They were running way behind and after 1.25 hours, we were taken back to see Dr. Anderson. This is the new norm of our lives, so we just roll with it.

Dr. Anderson reviewed the meds I will be taking after chemo to help with nausea. There is one I take for sure for two days following chemo (Ondansetron), then two others I have, just in case I need something after those two days (Prochlorperazine & Lorazepam.

My chemo regime will start out with a cocktail of two drugs together (Gemcitabin & Carboplatin) Then later on they may also use Dexamethasone and/or Taxol. I will have one infusion each week for two weeks in a row and the third week there is no infusion. After two cycles (6 weeks)they will do a new Pet Scan and labs for tumor markers to see how all this is working. Chemo will most likely cause nausea, but I have all sorts of options here to help with that (see above).  And problems with platelets is pretty common. So before the next infusion, the labs will check for that and I may need a Neulasta shot. Neulasta will help to correct the dip in my blood count, but might cause bone pain. And this is where some claritin might help. One thing leads to another in this game of chemo infusion.

Dr. Anderson reported some new information gleaned with his conversation with Dr. Melisko of UCSF. Apparently I may still qualify for a clinical trial, if there are any for my specific cancer, since my heart EF is at 40%. That is wonderful news to hear. And Dr. Melisko feels that our plan of attack so far is very appropriate for me to start with. She will be reviewing all my information and scans and we'll talk more on the 29th. And I may be meeting with one of the UCSF Fellowes first and then Dr. Melisko. My job now is to go over all the links UCSF sent to me and come up with a comprehensive list of questions for that appointment.
We ended off Wednesday's trip into Santa Rosa with a lovely meal at Rosso Pizzeria, one of our favorite places.

Then we took Thursday off cancer, if that is possible. And we took our "new to us" Honda CRV for a drive to the coast on what turned out to be a beautiful gorgeous sunny day.

SRJC drive-by & lunch at Rosso Pizzeria

St. Paddy's Day fun at Doran Beach State Park on a gorgeous day

For now, I just must tolerate the chemo infusion tomorrow to knock the cancer down in its tracks. And thankfully, for now my liver is functioning normally according to blood work. 

Please continue to keep me in your thoughts and prayers.

Life is Good... SOMETIMES

Debbie... aka the cancer FIGHTER, no longer a SURVIVOR, 
AND a Cardiomyopathy warrior!!!

THANKS for visiting! Comments are good. I look forward to your comments.

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