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, July 29, 2016

Chemo #14, Abraxane #6

I'm moving right along having had chemo infusion #14, Yesterday/Thursday morning, including Abraxane cocktail #6. These are weekly infusions, which have been going on since early March, with just a couple of breaks, and 2 blood transfusions so far for anemia and very low blood counts. Chemo was changed, after little result from first regime, to an Abraxane/Carboplatin cocktail 6 treatments ago.

They say it takes about 6 infusions to see if this treatment plan is working appropriately against the cancer, or not. More infusions, and sometimes the cancer gets smarter than the drug and learns how to work over and around it, tricking the body, drug, immune system, to let the cancer in to do its damage. Cancer is a sneaky and persistent devil. The CT Scan with contrast next week will hopefully show that this newer chemo regime is doing the trick, especially to the many tumors in my liver. While the liver labs show my liver is still functioning in a normal manner, we need to knock the cancer down to keep this so, and perhaps give us other treatment options for the liver, and the hormone therapy we've been discussing all along.

And if the improved look of my left breast tumor(s) say anything, and the positive thoughts in looking at it... from me, my husband, and my oncologist; the CT scan will most likely give us some very good news. One of these days I'll be brave enough to post a series of some of the photos over this last year, to show the transition of how my breast has changed outwardly. From in the beginning with just some slight abnormality, to swollen and red and puffy in December 2015, to wart-like exterior deformities in January, and then an inch square or more of exposed fat, something you have probably not seen before, to very dark outer skin which I thought could have been from radiation, although now I learned it's probably something called "radiation recall". Oh, the things I am learning. And now the area has stopped draining, pain has subsided, and everything has shrunk down considerably. All very positive outward signs. 😊👍

The blood labs and office visit Wednesday show that I am pretty anemic, and my blood counts are very low. Today we were told the labs also showed very low potassium level. So we had to forgo the Lasix IV, which normally happens at the end of my chemo treatment. And I'm communicating with my cardiologist, and when this happened recently he indicated he would put me on a potassium supplement, and over-the-counter magnesium. So I'm guessing that will be the next step until the potassium levels return to normal. The low blood counts have caused ultra fatigue daily all through the week right up until chemo day. Usually I feel pretty good a few days before the next infusion; but that was not to be this time.

I have the next week off of chemo so that will help the blood levels to improve, As they typically do when I get a break.

So, I'm hoping the rashly itchy eyes, face arms, hands and feet don't return, and the neuropathy remains the same or goes away (tingling of toes and fingers, that often progresses to numbness.) The cuticles around my finger nails are starting to feel tough and I'm wondering if it is the start of them going, like the hair. My hair is at the point where I'm hanging on to what little is left for now, as I like the way it looks under a hat. We shall see when I'm ready for Mark to pull out the clippers. Wish me luck on that front.

And the HOPEFUL NEWS is that some Metsters (those of us with Stage IV Metastesized cancer) are often living 5 years after diagnosis, and some as long as 10 years. That is such a huge leap from 3+ years, and gives me so much hope.

I rested in the afternoon yesterday, and then we were constantly impressed that evening as we watched, and listened to, all of the wonderful speakers at the 2016 Democratic National Convention. We are witnessing history in the making, and it pleases me greatly.

So let me leave you here with this sweet story about Soul singer, Sharon Jones. Be sure to listen to her song, "I'm Still Here". And if you get the chance to watch her documentary, click the previous link and scroll down to watch the trailer. And here is one more great link on the story.

Peace and love to all.

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

Die cancer, DIE. You are messing with the wrong woman!!

Debbie... aka the cancer FIGHTER, AND Cardiomyopathy warrior!!!

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