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, June 14, 2016

Aloha & Mahalo Kauai - Chemo Vacation Week

(My apologies for the font size. Something weird is going on with this application and no matter what size I set it to, this is what I get. Hopefully you can zoom in.)

To say this has been one of the best weeks off of chemo is putting it very mildly. We just returned from 8 days, counting the two travel days, from our most favorite Hawaiian island in all the world, Kauai, specifically the Poipu beach area. I can't believe it had been 12 years since we had been to the islands.

It was about a month ago, when I was about 6-8 weeks into one of the most gruesome chemo regimes, that Mark and I sat down over breakfast and had a conversation about getting away "somewhere" over one of the week long breaks from chemo that I had every 3rd week. The thought being that my response to the chemo had been very slow, and we just didn't know what tomorrow would bring. Should we get out in the trailer, or do something different for a change? And our anniversary was coming up mid-June, so why not plan it to celebrate this milestone?

When the Stage IV LMBC diagnosis came on March 1st, oldest daughter said something like, "Mom, if it's real bad, we will rent a house in Hawaii for the family and all go there together". As grim as that may sound to some of you, it was a possible reality and I was appreciative of the offer, and will hop on that train in a heartbeat.

So back to the conversation over breakfast... We quickly settled on Kauai, but just for Mark and I, and the Kiahuna Plantation Beach Bungalows. The whole family will go again soon enough; but for now, the two of us needed this time. A dear friend manages some of the condos there and she found us probably the best one on the entire property, with ocean view, and beautiful lanai with large grassy area and good privacy.    My oncologist gave us the okay on traveling for the time we had chosen. And as luck would have it, a few days before our trip I needed a blood transfusion for chemo caused anemia. And it gave me the energy I needed to feel like a normal person for the entire trip. So I enjoyed Kauai to the fullest. And the plan is for me to start a new chemotherapy cocktail when I return to see if we can get some better results from the liver.     

So here we are on Tuesday, June 14th, sadly on an Alaskan Air flight headed back to Oakland due to arrive 11pm'ish. "Sadly", because of course we would like to still be there, enjoying the ocean breeze, and the smell of plumeria blossoms. But it is time to return to reality, our family, and adorable grandchildren. And then there is the new chemo starting tomorrow. YIKES!     

 Our trip was one of the best ever - ocean, salt air, pool time, some sight seeing and a boat cruise along the Napali coast, two excellent fancy dinners out, the King Kamehameha parade and festival, gorgeous flowers, and some shopping. And let's not forget relaxing on that lanai, people and ocean watching. I couldn't have wished for more. And we have vowed to return soon.     I felt so wonderful, almost forgetting about cancer entirely. We both needed this and forgot how wonderful Kauai is. It had been too long since our last visit. Would be fun to come back and stay a month. I can dream, can't I?

Here are a few highlights:

View from our lanai

Sunset over Kiahuna beach

Fun time in ocean
Fun time in ocean

Surfs up.
Sunset along Napali coast
Beautiful Napali coast
Leis from horses in Kings Parade in Lihue

Double rainbow over Kiahuna

Walk down beach to Waohai for pupus and drinks

Anniversary dinner at Tidepools, Hyatt Resort

Last day, beach time

Last day stroll on beach

Last Mai Tai waiting for flight at Lihue airport

We arrive home around midnight on 6/14/16. Then tomorrow is new chemo regime.

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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