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.


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Writings From the Infusion Chair

Writing this on chemo day of 6/1/16, and finishing it off the day after.

Today is Jill's 60th birthday! Jill is one of the wonderful oncology nurses at St Joseph Health Cancer Center. She is one amazing woman attending just about every Relay in the county, supporting all her patients, running umpteen cancer/health walks, runs, even a marathon coming up in Alaska soon. Did I say amazing??? We are also facebook friends and I love following along on her adventures. I was pleased to see they had a big bouquet of balloons at the nurse's station along with a sign on the wall. I had a card and little gift for her too. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JILL!

I saw my oncologist today, as is usual for my chemo day (port draw, office visit, infusion), and got the results from the tumor marker labs and the CT Scan. Mark and Sarah were my cohorts today and Team Debbie. The tumor markers have been normal for the last two tests, so they are not helping much in confirming what is really happening as far as chemo results. The CT Scan shows fewer lesions at 10, rather than original 12 before; so that is positive. And the one that was 2.6 cm last time, is now 2.2 cm; so while not a drastic change, it is all good and going in a positive direction. Of course I had hoped to learn that there were only a few lesions left in the liver, the breast tumor had shrunk significantly (although it looks nothing of the sort), and things were advancing miraculously; and I was resigned to be pleased with anything in between.

The breast is not showing any change; which is kind of a bummer as it is the thing bothering me the most. But yet I know the liver is the important thing to blast away first, so I will breathe and be patient.
AN UPDATE FOLLOWING DAY: As of 6/2/16, when I called to make my transfusion appt for Friday, looks like Mark needs to run me into SR again today for the labs. Poor guy is out trying to mow pastures today in the cool fog of the morning and has a huge list of farm chores he had hoped to check off the list today. Then Friday is my typically my worst day after chemo, but somehow I need to pull my big girl pants on to have him shuttle me in to SR again and go sit in a recliner for 4.5 hours. Sure hope that things go better this Friday in regards to post-chmo issues. Another day in the life.
After much discussion between the four of us (Me, Mark & Sarah) and Dr. Anderson, we are changing up my treatment plan after my chemo vaca week next week. I'll have a weekly infusion of Carboplatin (the dreaded one that sets me back so, but a much lower dose), along with a new drug, Abraxane. The Abraxane will cause me to have a new short cool do for the summer (baldness) :-), and possibly neuropathy. But we are looking to keep things moving in the right direction, since I have probably gotten the most out of the current plan at 4 cycles, and hopefully we will see tumor reduction of the breast with the change to Abraxane. It is hard on the blood too, so although it is a weekly infusion, Dr. Anderson says chances are I'll need a Nupagen shot now and then, which will add delays into the weekly schedule now and again. But the Abraxane should be easier to tolerate, even with the Carboplatin, since it will be a much smaller dose of that one.

A Mastectomy will most likely need to happen at UCSF or Stanford, and involve a plastic surgeon. This external "growth", if it doesn't shrink considerably, and even if it does, will need some very special care for the surgeon(s) to get enough skin to sew it up properly. Apparently if any cancer is in or near the margins, the skin won't heal properly, which would be a real disaster. So I'm guessing some skin grafting may be in order. But that is all another day.

Dr. Anderson spent a lot of time with us, which was wonderful. Then Mark headed out for errands and such, and Sarah and I proceeded into the infusion room.

Chemo went well. Sarah made a trip out to the nearby deli for a sandwich for us to share, and some drinks. This infusion is the shorter of the two and I think we were out of there by 3pm. Still a full day...

Having chemo now ~ my bartender is here too.

My mixologist for chemo. No, not for the drugs, but to dilute my San Pelegrino Orangiatta with bubbly water. :-)
On a similar note, I've been gathering data from all my cousins on my Dad's side of the family, there are a lot, for any cancer history. This will all be collated and presented to the genetic counselor in the next few days so she can evaluate it before my first consult with her later this month. I am surprised to learn of more cousins once removed (cousins children) with cancer as well. Thankfully they are cancer free now.

That's it for now. Over and out...

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.


  1. Keep on kicking butt, auntie Deb! Pulling for you daily, Team Sherrick


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