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, March 18, 2016

The Busy Week Ended On a Positive Note ~ Frist Chemo Infusion Complete

As a preview, we had appointments all but Thursday this week:

It is 11:30 pm on the night of my first chemotherapy infusion under the new diagnosis of LMBC (Liver Metastasized Breast Cancer), and everything went smashing well, if that is even possible. At least at this moment in time it seems so. But my eyes are WIDE OPEN, with no hint of sleep. I did get a bit groggy the last couple of miles on the drive home from the infusion, and then fell into a deep sleep for about an hour at 5pm. But what is really the culprit are the steroids they administer during the infusion.

My appointment was at 1:30pm and Sarah was my driver and partner in crime. We said it was as if we were sneaking off for a girls spa day. Well, not quite. But we can dream, can't we. :-) 

My nurse, Tim, was a sweetheart. As he was getting me settled into my chair, an old friend from my first diagnosis in 2011, who has also been a friend and supporter all along since that time via Relay For Life Sonoma and Facebook, and is a St. Joseph Oncology Nurse, Jill Guidry, came by and gave me a hug and we chatted for a moment. That was so wonderful and heartwarming. 

Tim reviewed the drugs he would be infusing today and had me sign off on a release. I got copies of descriptions of the two drugs: Gemcitabin (aka Gemzar - an antimetabolite) & Carboplatin (aka Paraplatin - an alkylating agent) and a long list of possible side effects and how to deal with them.

In addition, the infusion was started off with Dexamethasone (a steroid, used primarily in my case to prevent nausea and vomiting) and Zofran (aka Ondansetron, also used to prevent nausea and vomiting). I also have Ondansetron in pill form as one of my anti-nausea drugs I am to take for two days following infusion.

In order to understand antimetabolites and how they work, it is necessary to briefly discuss the processes that are being targeted by these agents. The term metabolism refers to the many chemical reactions that take place in our bodies. We are constantly breaking down food into usable components and using those components to build our proteins, DNA and other cellular structures. Metabolite is a general term for the organic compounds that are synthesized, recycled, or broken down in cells. Materials that provide us with key metabolites enter our body as food. These compounds can be broken down into simpler structures that can be re-used in our cells. Examples include vitamins and amino acids. Metabolites that are the end products of a process or pathway may be excreted by the body. An example is urea, the end product of protein metabolism, excreted by the body as a component of urine.

Antimetabolites are structurally similar to metabolites, but they cannot be used by the body in a productive manner. In the cell, antimetabolites are mistaken for the metabolites they resemble, and are processed in the cell in a manner analogous to the normal compounds. The presence of the 'decoy' antimetabolites prevents the cells from carrying out vital functions and the cells are unable to grow and survive. Many of the antimetabolites used in the treatment of cancer interfere with the production of the nucleic acids, RNA and DNA.(1) If new DNA cannot be made, cells are unable to divide.


Usage: Carboplatin (Paraplatin®) is an alkylating agent used to treat a variety of cancers. Malignancies for which carboplatin is used include: Ovarian cancer, Germ cell tumors, Head and neck cancer, Small cell and non-small cell lung cancer, Bladder cancer, Relapsed and refractory (resistant to ordinary treatment) acute leukemia, endometrial cancer. Carboplatin is usually administered intravenously.

Mechanism: Carboplatin creates fragmented DNA, prevents DNA synthesis via cross-linking of DNA, and creates mutations in nucleotides.
Considering the three hour infusion time for the pre-drugs, and the two cancer drugs, we were out of there at 4:00 pm, so the expected 3 hour visit, only lasted 2.5 hours. Next week I will only get infused with Gemzar, so my session is expected to last 2 hours. Perhaps it will go faster as well.

During today's infusion, I felt a bit fuzzy headed, but nothing more really. Sarah and I were able to visit quietly, which was absolutely wonderful. She helped to get me scheduled for next week and for the next cycle of infusions in April. So all went very well. Sarah also got to meet our new car and chauffeur me home in it too. We nibbled on Biscotti for a snack during the drive. She stayed for just a moment and then scooted off to pick up her little guy at Nana's house.

We get the pleasure to spend time with both our daughters and their families tomorrow, and have the Barsun's for a sleepover, finally. We had to postpone the last two due to my new diagnosis and not feeling very well, and then the big storm last weekend.

All the necessary supplies; ipad, knitting, water, medication lists, and my sweet Sarah visiting and taking the photo.

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.


  1. You are such an inspiration to us all! Sending prayers, love and hugs (soon I hope)! I am so grateful for you!!!! Hang tough dear sister, love you more than words can say <3

  2. How is it possible to look so beautiful while having chemo? You do it well...

  3. We still need to do lunch sometime when you're in Santa Rosa and feeling better. I wish all the best for you and your family.

  4. We still need to do lunch sometime when you're in Santa Rosa and feeling better. I wish all the best to you and your family

  5. this time around. I feel like I'm falling off a cliff and trying to hang on for dear life with every bit of mail. It's not a pretty sight. Saturday felt greater I was full of energy. Saturday night everything went downhill fast when you get better today Tuesday night it really feels crappy. Thank God for my 24 seven nurse. . I have no desire to read right watch any TV, or even eat or drink, but my nurses are seeing to it . They are my saviours


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