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 21, 2016

Chemo Update

My chemotherapy infusion routine...

This is it... a warm blankie, my ipad, some water, a book or knitting, and my trusty partner Sarah sitting across the aisle watching after my every need and getting me to smile for the camera. This one lasted almost 4 hours, which is typical. Typical because we start with accessing my port and a blood draw to check that all my levels are okay for this treatment. Then an office visit with the oncologist, and finally the actual infusion.

Last Wednesday's Chemo

Wednesday's treatment went well. But I could not believe how full the infusion room was. Every chair was filled with a patient, even one of the private rooms next to where we were. They said that Tuesday was even busier -- how could that be? By the time we left, around 3pm, the chairs were maybe 1/2 to 3/4 full. It is sad to see that there are so many there for treatment. And now it is Monday already, and the energy level still pretty low and the joint pain they mentioned is kicking in. Been taking 2 good 2 hr naps the last few days. Needless to say, Fathers Day was pretty mild in comparison to previous years. Mark watched sports most of the afternoon, then Sarah and Gaige brought up dinner and we had a nice visit, which allowed me to catch some nice long naps. I'm curious what the labs report on Wednesday. The few days after chemo, I did have a bit of a queasy stomach, and some intestinal issues, all which seem to be under control now, so not too bad. Or not as bad as a normal week following chemo, until this change. 

Yesterday morning, Monday, was Shearing Day for Brookfarm Alpacas. Followed up by a 2pm appointment with Breast Cancer Genetic Counselor, Kathleen Mott. She is at the Sotoyme Street location of St Joseph's Medical Group, and the place I frequent about 40% of the time for my medical treatments. It was a bit of a rush, since our shearer called last week and ask to delay our appointment by 2 hours. But it all worked out. After the 2 hour consult, where RN Mott explained every detail to us and we asked questions, I went down to the lab and had the blood draw for this genetic test. Thankfully I qualify for this test because of my history, and family history -- namely two first cousins with breast cancer, specifically one diagnosed in her late 40's. 

And the good news for those considering genetic testing, but fearful of the cost, it is no longer in the outrageous out of pocket range of $4,000.  Better yet, it is around $400-500. And my insurance should pick it up 100%!

If a genetic mutation for breast cancer is found, then it will be recommended that our daughters get tested, as well as my sisters. And perhaps we'll be able to target my treatment more directly with any new knowledge we gain. But data shows that many of these genetic tests are inconclusive, meaning that either no variant is found, or one may be found that there is insufficient data on yet to be of any help. But we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. We should have results within a month.

We have requested the genetic test for the third column from left, which includes the BRCA 1&2 as well as other genes more recently identified as gene variants causing breast cancer.

Today I see my cardiologist for the 6-week check up, which they are doing more frequently due to cancer treatment. Then we start chemo infusion again on Wednesday. So I'm taking it easy this evening.

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment. Your comment will be reviewed and approved the next time I visit.