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.


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Why I Love Chemo Infusion

I never thought I would say that I was so looking forward to the next chemo JUST TO HELP RID ME OF THE SIDE EFFECTS OF THE LAST ONE. But I am. And it works. As yesterday was chemo infusion #4; or 2b as we call it (cycle 2, infusion b).

Let me back track a bit... 

I know I described last Wednesday as hell day on the typical chemo schedule. But as that week progressed, yes it was better than the first week, but it was still oh so challenging that I really don't even want to go in to detail. I think one of the hardest things for me is trying to decide if what I'm feeling in my low-gut and back are pain or nausea.  Because these feelings are somewhat similar at times and come in waves from one area to the next.  It also comes in severity of feeling -- like I'm going to throw up or have dri-heaves, or it's just painful to the point where I can't stop fidgeting. I'm probably not making sense, but then that is hard for me to do for these 3-5 days post chemo.

Chemo cycle 2b is now over as of yesterday (Monday). So two cycles down (four infusions), and the CT scan is scheduled to happen next week. Hopefully the news from this scan shows that all of these challenging days are going into the "vault" as those days to blast this cancer to smithereens.

All the great anti-nausea and steroid drugs that I got in the infusion yesterday will help see me through these next couple of days. Then I get a whole week off next week. So hopefully (another new favorite word) I'll be feeling up to at least taking a walk or doing something just a little more active. I'm ready and eager for this to happen.

What I am forgetting to mention is that last Thursday we headed out to Doran Beach Campground. I had hoped to be feeling better. The plan was to celebrate Mark's birthday weekend, as we had for the previous two years there, camping with the kids and grand kids, and our friends the Merritts. It is a beautiful, calm, long, shallow beach, most of the time. No huge hike from camp or parking to beach. Nice level sand for kids to play for hours. We are so happy to have re-found it after many years. 

Papa and his two best buds.

But my "good times" were fleeting. (maybe 1 good day for this trip, although "good" is a bit over exaggerated). Anyway, I was able to enjoy Saturday with the family in between a few naps. The walk out  that morning to the beach to see the kids romp in the sand and waves, and hear their voices -- it was worth the struggle of that walk. We enjoyed time sitting in the sun facing the Bay too (it was a beautiful day) watching the kids hide & seek in the reeds and fly kites. Then enjoyed a nice grilled dinner contributed by all and some singing of the Happy Birthday song. I felt like I had accomplished a monumental task.

Tall Ships re-enacting a battle off Doran Beach, Bodega Bay, CA

We have a jogger in the family

Contemplation... "So what really is the meaning of life again?"

We returned home a day early (Sunday) at my request, especially knowing I had chemo Monday.  I was not looking forward to this chemo. All I could think of was "how do I get feeling well enough to accept that "today is the next chemo again already," and I still feel like crap from the last one!!!!!" What Gives???

Sarah was my companion today. I apologized the whole way in as I would not be as entertaining as I was last week for Christine. And I was most definitely not. But then, as my Infusion Nurse, Matt, is pulling each bag for me to confirm my name and DOB on each, I check the drug names and start to remember that everything will be okay in a few minutes when I get those steroids, and then the anti-nausea drugs. Yes, this is why I come back -- to get a day or more in some form of relief before the next one. 

So this realization helped to turn the tide for me,
and get me out of a funk.

We made a stop for more provisions at our favorite dispensary, and then Sarah suggested Cafe Citti takeout on the way through Kenwood. What a grand idea. Especially since my appetite just returned again, after losing nearly 5 more pounds this past week. And dinner was yummy, and I had a normal-sized portion for a change. Many reasons I am thankful.

So the plan this time is to stay on top of pain and nausea better and perhaps Cannabis will be my saving grace again. If it works, and doc has recommended, then....

This takes us back to Relay Sonoma August 2011

THANK YOU for continuing 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! I look forward to your comments.

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