LIVESTRONG:

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.

WARNING:
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.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

I Feel Like a Hairless Dog

I Feel Like a Hairless Dog... La, la, la (hummed to the tune of Joe Cocker's, I Feel Like a Motherless Child.)

You know, one of those dogs that has hair, but there is so little of it that the skin is clearly visible and there are just a few long hairs here and there. Yep, mine is getting there. This mornings shower left another large handful over the drain, and yet more as I towel dried it. And when wet, it appears I have next to none. But there is just enough to fluff up and keep me going a bit longer. I did find a beautiful silk scarf from one of my favorite fabric designers, Jane Sassaman, in Village Sewing Center today when I went in for some Velcro. So I'm getting prepared for the inevitable.

I've had another busy week and am realizing I need to learn how to slow down, especially since I've had few "really good" days this week. But no real bad days. Just exhaustion, metallic taste in my mouth, and that fuzzy head/brain feeling where you feel like you are "on something", but I just can't relate to anything from my past that it is similar too. It usually means I need to take a good nap. And maybe the telltale sign was that I couldn't get to sleep until nearly 4:30am the night of chemo -- dang those steroids I get during infusion. So either that sleep deprivation accumulated throughout this week, or maybe I'm working my way up to another blood transfusion sometime soon. Although it's only been 2 weeks since the last one, where it was almost four weeks between the first two. Time will tell.

The exciting news is that I am sure the chemo is working, or doing something. The breast deformity is shrinking and shriveling up a bit. One 1" square area, that has been very white and fatty, yet has a good blood supply to it, seems to be partially dried up and flaking away. This makes me very excited and hopeful. I'm hopeful that if even this one small area of tumor is reducing in size, then probably the lesions on the liver are also shrinking and being effected by this latest chemotherapy. One needs hope and positivity to all these challenging steps, right?

As I mentioned above, I've been on the go. I've had positive fun things to do almost each and every day, and I've taken advantage of them all. My family and friends are keeping me busy and distracted, and even if I do get tired, or don't feel really great, I am able to continue to have some fun, thankfully.

Friday I had the pleasure to spend some time with Grandson Gaige.


Baskin Robbins with Gaige.
Saturday was an impromptu lunch with Marian and Leslie at Breakaway Cafe. It is so good to see my childhood friend from elementary school, who we've kept contact with each other all these years, with a few hiatus years in there along the way. And her cousin, another breast cancer survivor, who I connected with a few years back; and we have been following each other via Facebook and her cousin along the way. They both have members of their family with new cancer diagnosis, and it is so hard to hear about and watch. One having been taken very quickly from pancreatic cancer and another with breast cancer. Why is cancer so prevalent these days? It just seems like it rears it's ugly head over and over again. I swear I am not focusing on the disease, but it is so hard to get away from it all. It is a part of all of our lives these days, I fear. I guess we just need to buck up, be strong, and help to support each other through the thick and thin of it all. Love is the answer; today, tomorrow, and always.

Girlfriends from elementary school. And we are all still friends, with the exception of one who now soars with the angels. This was my 16th birthday at Johnson Beach on the Russian River, with sister Donna as our chauffeur and chaperone. Great friends, fun times, wonderful memories then and now.
Did you know I am a huge Outlander fan? And now it is Droughtlander; meaning we have to wait a year or so for Season 3 to be released. I've read all of Diana Gabaldon's books, and a group of my fiber friends are huge fans as well. We've been getting together at the beginning and end of each TV Season to share an Outlander-themed potluck, and watch one of the current episodes. Our host, Maureen, usually has a series of Outlander trivia questions for us, and we talk knitting and spinning projects and everything Jamie and Claire. It's great fun. So on Sunday we spent most of the day at Maureen's home doing just that and watching the last episode of Season II, Dragonfly in Amber. And it was a wonderful episode with great friends, even though I was dragging and the fuzzy head prevailed. 

My apple galette for our Outlander gathering.

On Monday I had lunch out again with my "cancer sisters", as I call them. The group I get together with once a month who have all been affected by cancer. We enjoyed a fun meal of several different curry dishes at Dehli Bely in Sonoma. Yum. It was fun to see them all and help to support each other. One is about to begin a whole new chemo regime for Stage IV breast cancer, which she has been fighting for a few years now; a recurrence from five years earlier. She had a Power Port inserted for the first time last week, and it was very painful for her. And then today I learned that they were not able to access the port for her first chemotherapy. I think there was some issue with the new port not working properly, or something. She was so frustrated, as I would be too. She doesn't need this on top of all that she is going through trying to make decisions about which chemo, etc. She and I are on a similar path of treatment and such at the moment. Her metastases is in a different part of her body, other than her breast, but we face the same types of decisions and indecision, confusion, challenges, what-if; all so similar on this path we have been forced to travel. I'm glad we have each other to talk to, vent, console, etc. Thankfully Bev drove us all, as I returned home for a nice long nap, yet again, as it has been my routine nearly every day this week.

I finally got into Cancer Support Sonoma yesterday for an appointment for Energy Work. I must say that they could use some improvement in the accessibility of their office when one needs to schedule or cancel an appointment. I was supposed to meet with their nutritionist on Friday, but had to cancel due to other commitments. Trying to notify them with advance notice was impossible. I left two phone messages and an email with no reply until this week, which was after the scheduled appointment. But when I went in for the energy work, I was given a cell number so that I should have better luck making contact next time. The energy work was interesting. Basically the therapist had me lay on a massage table and placed her hands on different areas of my body. It was very relaxing, and I dozed off during the hour appointment, where lovely soothing music played in the background. I felt very good afterwards and returned home to nap yet again. I'm looking forward to rescheduling the nutrition appointment soon and maybe take advantage of some of the other therapies, especially the support group every other Monday.

You may recall that I mentioned in my last post that the results were in from my genetic testing, and today I had the appointment to get the results. The good news is that of the seven genes tested, they found no gene mutations known to cause breast cancer. No BRCA 1/2, or the other five genes tested. There is an additional gene panel that I may have them do as well, but it is unlikely that my breast cancer is caused from a genetic mutation or variant. It is still considered familial since there are 3 other cousins on my Father's side with breast cancer. The counselor said that what this means is there are usually similarities in families, lifestyle kind of things, that could still have a bearing on this. But I will go into more detail on this in my next post.

At the moment, Mark and I just returned from a lovely dinner at our neighbor's house, just a short walk down the road. They are wonderful friends and neighbors; loving, generous friends that we are so happy to have as our neighbors. It was a delightful evening talking families, Kauai, and all sorts of things, with great laughter. Thank you, Debbie & Joe!

I am tired now, and tomorrow I have chemo very early in the morning. So I will sign off at the moment and hit the sack. And I am working on saving up enough energy for a fun family weekend. My sister and hubby, Donna & Bruce, and my niece and hubby, Shar & Eric, will be here from Montana. Our Dallara family reunion is on Sunday with lots of cousins and extended family, and they have not been able to attend one of these annual reunions for many years. So of course we will have a smaller reunion of my siblings and our children and grandchildren on Sunday at Ken & Christine's. Wish me luck in having the stamina to enjoy all the fun. And if I poop out, I'll just find a comfy chair to hunker down into and take another little nap.


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!!!

BELIEVE

• I AM STRONG • I AM HEALTHY • I AM LOVED •
THANKS for visiting! I look forward to your comments.



2 comments:

  1. Keep strong, rest and recoup. Thoughts are with you may dear.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks sweetie. It was great to spend time with you and our OL gals.
      Debbie

      Delete

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