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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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Lead Legs

Boy am I tired these days. I was very anemic as of last Thursday, but then was given the week off chemo because of that and all the skin rash/itch side effects I was having, and a weird heal pain that was probably neuropathy. Basically just all those fast growing cells dieing off from chemo -- WOOHOO!

The tired continues. I was able to get out for a wonderful 2+ mile walk on Sunday with Bev. It's always great fun to spend time together and catch up. She made me a lovely Hawaiian-themed pillow case, so I can dream of ocean breazes and swaying palm trees -- it is so lovely. 

Bev and I (and our group of fiber gals - our knitting/spinning buddy gals) have a dear fiber friend who just lost her young daughter to a rare form of cancer at 36 years of young age. I just cannot imagine what this must be like for our friend, the daughters husband and teen and pre-teen children. It is almost too painful to think of her pain and grief. This cancer is so evil and prevalent. When, where does it all stop?

This tired stuff is pretty all consuming. (You are most likely getting my drift as I keep coming back to this -- I'm just dragging today). Luckily I was able to take Gaige for a few hours yesterday. He plays so well now, as long as Lego's are present, that I was able to relax in the recliner. And later, Mark, Sarah, Gaige & I all got out onto our deck for pizza dinner and time to hang out in the hammock. 

A lazy afternoon on our deck.


I am so glad I got a chemo vacation last week. I am just dragging (Oops, I say it again). Can't imagine how I would be feeling if I'd had chemo then. Although I'm sure another blood transfusion would have been scheduled, and one may still be in the near future for me. I had planned a fun day this past Saturday to ride into Berkeley with Sarah and see some of her girlfriends from work, especially Tiffany and her new little one, Rowan. But it was not to be. Again, the fatigue was something I could not overlook. So some nice long naps have been happening each day, and not much more than watering plants, a bit of sewing or knitting. Today is not much better. Boohoo.

Not only was Dr. Anderson very pleased with the look of my left breast last week (which is looking much smaller, has little to no drainage, or pain), but it looks even better yet today, even from just a few days ago. When I look at photos from early this year, when we knew there were issues with the fatty necrosis but cancer had not yet been found, everything looks so much different. I'm amazed at how bad it got even after the first regime of chemo had been going on for weeks. Not until we switched to the Abraxane, a Taxol derivative, and not for a good 4 weeks of that, did improvement begin. I'm so anxious and hopeful for the CT scan on August 3rd. Keep your fingers crossed for me, please.

And BTW, for those wondering about my potassium levels; it returned to 3.8 with last weeks blood work, which is well in the normal range. So I am back on my regular twice a day Furosemide (lasix), and my Cardiologist says we will start supplemental potassium should this happen again.
Now, on to fun stuff I haven't told you about over the last week or so...
A few of my Schimberg cousins happened to be in the area on a road trip on July 15th. My uncle, Ed Schimberg, (mom's half brother) and his wife Mary, moved away many years ago, settled in Arkansas, and had a family. We've seen just a couple of the cousins over the years, and the last time was many years ago when they were just wee ones. Anyway, Ed's now exwife, Mary, and two of her daughters, Elizabeth & Leah, along with Liz's two sweet kids, communicated with me and we were able to put together an impromptu meeting at Fremont Diner in Schellville. I invited all my siblings, as Donna just happened to arrive the night before, but it was too last minute, everyone had conflicts, and it was a work day for some, so I met up with them. It was great to meet Leah for the first time, visit with Mary and the crew, and just put a face to these Facebook friendships I've established over the years. Thanks, guys, for making the effort to connect.
Back - L-R: Leah, Elizabeth, me, Mary. Front: Emory & Analise.
  
Donna & Bruce (sister & BIL from Helena, Mt) and Shar & Eric (niece - Donna & Bru's daughter, and nephew from Bozeman, MT) all arrived late Thursday night on July 14th. We had a big weekend planned and Mark and I were able to squeeze in a dinner here with Donna & Bruce, and sister Christine and her hubby Ken on Friday night. We had a lovely outdoor Summer evening. Later that evening, as the ladies were inside getting desert ready, the phone rang and Eric's voice was soft and hesitant as he told us that they were in the ER. Shar had a crash when they were out mountain biking that day at Annadel Park nearby, and Shar was airlifted to Santa Rosa Memorial. We didn't learn until near midnight, just as she was released, that her injuries included several broken bones to her clavicle, scapula, one rib, and the "nub" of the vertebrae just below her neck. So, so scary; although we were very thankful that it wasn't worse, as it could have easily been. Shar was quite the trooper the rest of the weekend with her ice packs and sling, in lots of pain, but attending our family BBQ at the Jansons, and then the Dallara Family Reunion on Sunday at the Steele's home, including 80 family members. A busy time, and a hard weekend for me, chemo side effects and all, but great fun and times with loved ones. And Bruce hadn't been out since Sarah & Chris' wedding 9 years ago, so it was wonderful to see him out here, and to introduce the grandkids to more family -- although I'm sure they have no idea who all those people were.
 
Fun with the precious grandkids.


Alura & Madeleine cooling off.

Christine's birthday.

Fun family gathering at the Jansons.

Dallara Family Reunion

And on Monday we took off for a few days in Carmel with great friends, Ed & JoAnn. Nice, relaxing, sunshine, ocean, full moon, and sand between our toes. Perfect!
Fun with the Merritts in Carmel

 Now saving up my energy for chemo this Thursday.


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!!!
B E L I E V E

• I AM STRONG • I AM HEALTHY • I AM LOVED •
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