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, May 13, 2016

Number Six Behind Me!

Chemo number six complete as of Wednesday. That makes 3 full cycles behind me. YIPPEE! WAHOO!!

Sarah and I had a nice day and were home mid-afternoon. This is the one drug infusion, the easier of the two for me to manage, and it goes quicker for the actual infusion too.

But they always start with a blood draw to be sure everything is aligned for this infusion. Blood counts were good, even the anemia is up in the more normal range than it has been. This blood draw they took 4 full vials. Luckily I had hydrated well, like they recommended, and there was no issues. Due to the FoundationOne draw mentioned in one of my previous posts, it had to be taken via a vein, so we bypassed the Port draw this time.

My office visit with Dr. Anderson went well. The reason the tissue sample was not good for  FoundationOne was that that there was not enough cancer cells in the tissue for an accurate test. So there is this brand new blood test they can do instead, which is still under testing stages, but Dr. Anderson's lab had just gotten in the test kits a day or so before. He explained that because they work with FoundationOne so much, they approved this use for me. That was good to hear. It will take about a month to get the results. In addition, I need to make an appointment with the genetic counselor at Round Barn, Kate Mott, for a separate genetic test we can do on the breast cancer. Apparently there are up to 40 genes they are now testing on breast cancer, rather than just the BRCA 1+2 and the Oncotype DX that was happening back in 2011, which I did not qualify for since the type of breast cancer did not have those types of symptoms, if I'm explaining it correctly. Anyway, more information is better, in my mind. So I am currently canvasing all of my cousins to learn if there are any other cancers I'm not aware of, as there is few in my family - THANKFULLY. And to learn more details, as to specific diagnostics, and at what age. Everyone is being very helpful, as you can imagine.

Then on to the day's infusion, #6, second one of Cycle 3. This should mean I'm halfway there, but I'm sure it will all be determined by the CT Scan with contrast scheduled for May 31, and the Tumor Marker labs (CEA, and CA 15-3) that will be done on May 25th. I will have CT results at my infusion of June 1st.

Infusion went fine, it usually does. Sarah and I had a nice visit and she popped out to get my scheduling for the next cycle of infusions and a sandwich for us to share from the nearby deli. The place (infusion room) is always pretty full mid-morning. And the waiting room is the same. Which is always sad to see. There are those that look so weak and frail, bald patients, you get it. I guess it is just what it is. I am thankful I have someone with me each time to visit with and just make the day go so much better. A dear friend is taking me next time so that will be different, and very nice. I'm looking forward to it. Anyway, Karen was my oncology nurse today and she was very pleasant, as they all are here. Very cheery and visiting with each other, and patients too. They have nice warm blankies for us if need be, hats, snacks, juice. It is full service, I tell ya! The gentleman to my left is someone we saw last time as well and chatted with a bit. He is the one who has infusions twice a week and radiation daily. He suggested we should be able to get spa treatments while there too... you know a neck massage, pedi or mani. Sounds like a good idea to me, but the smell would ruin it for sure.

I tend to keep pretty private with others in the infusion room. I don't feel it is appropriate to compare each other's diagnosis or treatment. But every now and again things just come out. He talked about needing to stay away from someone who was just too active for him at this time, it sounded like maybe his small son. That was so sad to hear, but I can totally understand. I can't imagine having a small toddler/pre-schooler in my house 24/7 while going through all this. I know many do, and I know there is no way around it, but it would be hard on both individuals, not to mention the spouse trying to manage it all. Just saying... we have things to be empathetic about and thankful for in every encounter we have each day. There but for the grace of God go I ... In a moment things can change and that could be us. And then there was the person behind me sleeping like a log, snoring, and sounding like my dear husband. :-)  But as we left, I noticed it was not a "guy" as I suspected, but a woman. I was happy she was getting a good nap. I know I always get very sleepy during infusion and usually take a bit of a cat nap too.

From there, Sarah and I had the time and energy to stop at Oliver's in Rincon Valley. And there was this adorable gift store right next store that we ventured into first and looked around. But Oliver's reminds me of the Nugget stores in Davis area. It has everything you could dream of. A deli and fresh and prepared food section to die for. Cheeses galore, yummy breads, everything. Lots of Organics, vitamins. Anyway, we each purchased some goodies and headed home via Highway 12. Did I say that Wednesday was a beautiful sunny day by now after the overcast and haze of the morning broke? It was! Then it was time for Sarah to head home to her boys and take care of her family.

All in all a good day and I was feeling the usual fuzzy/foggy headedness I get immediately after chemo infusion, but nothing to complain about since I had my driver and lovely daughter at my side.

Thursday came along and it was better than usual for the day after chemo. I do usually feel pretty good on this day, which I attribute to the steroids given during infusion, but this day seemed better than usual. I actually got out and moved the alpacas into new pastures, while Mark was working on moving two new galvanized tubs into place for my "easily accessible raised bed expansion" just outside the living room deck area. Then our dear friends Ed & JoAnn came up for a visit with granddaughter Scarlett. Scarlett loved the alpacas and Tessa and we had very nice visit. 

Ed, JoAnn & Scarlet meet the alpacas
My new, easy to access, vegetable beds (mostly tomatoes)

And by  then,  I was pretty tuckered out and that foggy/fuzzy head feeling had returned so I took a little nap while Mark finished up his project for me, such a sweetheart. Tomorrow I get to plant. :-)

THANK YOU for continuing to keep me
in your thoughts & prayers.

Die cancer, DIE. You are messing with the wrong woman!!
Life is Good... Most of the time.
Debbie... aka the cancer FIGHTER, AND Cardiomyopathy warrior!!!


THANKS for visiting! I look forward to your comments.

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