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.


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Results from Office Visit Yesterday

Yesterday was chemo infusion number 7; or the chemo A of the two infusions this and next week for Cycle 4. A dear friend, Steve, was my chaffeur extraordinaire for the excursion. He'll laugh at this as he actually does some chaffeuring for his job. Anyway, we found a better seat in the infusion room this time, where my "guest" can sit right next to my chair, rather than across the walkway. Much nicer for conversing and sharing iPhone pics, etc. Thank you, Steve, it was a pleasure to catch up on so much and spend time with you. Thanks for lunch too!!!

My oncologist, Dr. Anderson, is thinking we may need to change up my treatment plans in the near future. Usually the chemo regime I am on takes about 4 cycles to show good results. We did labs for tumor markers yesterday, and those results will be in this week. But he doesn't think they will tell us much, since they were never high to begin with. Usually you look for a drop in tumor markers from a high abnormal range to something lower showing good results from treatment. Since mine were never very high to begin with, this is not expected. But it is still good to run the numbers for a baseline for the future.

I have a CT Scan with contrast early next week, and he wants to see what this shows next Wednesday at my checkup. So unless CT shows something significant, especially in the liver which is number one priority at this point, he may suggest changing to hormone therapy for a while, then another chemo after the hormone therapy, or vice versa. It is all kind of up in the air right now.

If hormone therapy, we are looking at something that combines a pill and shots. Ibrance is the pill and I will take it for 3 weeks, then will have one week off. Along with the Ibrance pill, I will take Faslodex, which is a shot (see below). This is known as combination treatment, and this is the Pfizer Inc. PR on this treatment from earlier this year. This is me exactly -- my initial BC diagnosis in 2011 was hormone receptor-positive (HR+), meaning the cancer fed off of my estrogen hormones, I now have advanced or metastatic BC, and I just went through 5 years of endocrine therapy, meaning a pill to basically strip nearly all estrogen from my body to prevent a recurrence of cancer. Well we can see that the cancer was resilient and slipped right past the Letrozole I took for five years to prevent it from doing so.
Friday, February 19, 2016 - 4:35pm
“Today's news gives more women with metastatic breast cancer the opportunity to benefit from this first-in-class medicine”
Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new indication expanding the use of IBRANCE® (palbociclib) 125mg capsules, Pfizer’s metastatic breast cancer therapy. Now IBRANCE also is approved for the treatment of hormone receptor-positive (HR+), human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative (HER2-) advanced or metastatic breast cancer in combination with fulvestrant in women with disease progression following endocrine therapy.1
The Faslodex, will be two big shots in both butt cheeks every 2 weeks for 3 times (this is called loading) then 1 shot per month.

This hormone therapy lasts 3 months, and results can be slow. This is why we tried the other chemo first, as it is important to get the liver lesions to disappear or get smaller. We shall see if they did next week when I have the CT scan and get the results back.

If chemo is the next choice, or comes after the hormone therapy described above, the chemo would be Abraxane, which is  given via infusion one time per week, weekly. This will most definitely cause hair loss/baldness. I'm okay with this - been there, done that, can do it again if I must. It may also cause neuropathy - numbness of extremities, along with all the other chemo side effects -- fatigue, nausea, etc., etc. 

And again there might be a clinical trial too, so Dr. Anderson will be consulting with Dr. Milesko of UCSF on all of this. And hopefully the FoundationOne results will be in by then, as it will have been about a month, as this will be very important to give us all a better idea of what is the best plan for me and the cancer cells whirling around my breast and liver.  As a refresher, FoundationOne is a fully informative genomic profile that helps physicians make treatment decisions for patients with cancer by identifying the molecular growth drivers of their cancers and helping oncologists match them with relevant targeted therapeutic options.

Based on conversations with my dear friend, Kate of Paradigm Shift Therapeutics, my cancer expert I can tap into, I asked Dr. Anderson about doing the FoundationOne test via a blood draw or tissue sample, and apparently blood or tissue draws give 99% same results. I guess my tissue samples, even from the liver, had a lot of other debris in there, and not enough compacted cancer cells, or some such thing.

Now this news from Fred Hutch sounds exciting. But then my pea laywoman brain could only grasp a teensy bit of the article. Fred Hutch talks about "Filling in the 'missing biology' of breast cancer". This study demonstrates the important role of proteomics (proteins) in personalized medicine. So much to absorb, so much to feel excited about. Hurry up, scientists and researchers. Keep it up and find all cancer patients a cure soon, or at least a good and easy treatment to help to see us to old ( or older) age.

Drip ...  drip ... D R I P

So today is the day after chemo and as usual, I feel pretty good today. I may even attempt a walk. Wish me luck.

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!!!


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