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, July 20, 2016

New Chemo Side Effects

The symptoms from chemotherapy seem to be carrying over farther each week, to where they last right up until the night before the next chemo. They are not unbearable, but not easy either, so I power through and go about doing what I can each day and try to get out and about and do things that make me happy and keep me distracted.

New symptoms that I'm experiencing have to do with skin issues, and it's making me irritable and annoyed. The backs of my hands and arms are very itchy. If I even touch them, I start getting small welts that itch even more. I'm constantly applying soothing lotions and Cortizone creams. I did mention this to Dr. Keiser last week, who was the oncologist I saw a week ago. He explained that this could happen, or I might find bruising that I could not explain.

This week I'm finding that all around my eyes have also been very irritable and itchy. They look red,  as though I have blush on, but do not. And this evening my cheeks also feel pebbly, like a subtle, almost invisible, rash is forming.

For about a week now my left heal feels as though it is dry and cracked. It is very  tender and hard to put weight on, but yet is just slightly pink and not really cracked at all. There is no wound that I can find, but it feels as such. I don't think this is neuropathy, but again need to check in with my oncologist on all of these.

Then here are the nose bleeds. I tend to get nose bleeds in dry weather, such as very hot summer days in the mountains, or winter weather when we spend time in snowy locations. I've had these issues since a child and have had the areas in my nostrils cauterized a few times, but not for many years. I've been having some mild nose bleeds for the last week. But this morning, even though we were in the moist coast air of Carmel, I had a doozy of a major nose bleed from the moment I stepped out of bed, for a good half hour or more. So yet another thing to discuss at tomorrow's office visit before chemo.

I'm not sure what's going on, but I can only assume all of this is connected to chemotherapy.

In addition, the fuzzy head, fuzzy brain, fuzzy vision also seems to be lasting longer and nearly until the next chemo infusion. So some R&R seems to be in order. It is just getting too hard to power through this feeling.

And there is the concern for my heart as well. When I had blood drawn last week before chemo, my potassium level was too low to give me the IV Lasix that they do with infusion now. After consulting with my cardiologist, and notifying him my Potassium was at 3.0, he directed me to stop my daily morning and night Lasix tablet dose of 40 mg each day for now. Apparently a low potassium level can be quite dangerous to heart function. So I'm a little concerned that I might have some fluid retention around the heart and lungs without the regular lasix, and I'm trying to be careful and cautious and keep tabs on my body signals. Tomorrow we'll do new blood work to see how the potassium levels are, before going back to the old routine or changing anything up. I'm a bit anxious about all this, but will have a better take on it tomorrow.

I know I've been hinting at total loss of hair for a few weeks now. Well, while in Carmel it got to the point where I needed to wear a hat 24/7, or got chilled very easy. Then there is the fact that there is very little hair left and I'm feeling the need for a hat constantly as well, just for appearances sake. Mark and I have decided I will get through tomorrow's office visit and chemotherapy, and then it is time. It has disappeared much slower this time around, but it is time, all things considered. I sure hope I don't scare the grandchildren too much. I've been trying to warn them of this event, so hopefully they will adjust to it. I know it seems silly to worry about them, but I do. They are the world to me.

The good news is that we returned from Carmel to a voice message on our answering machine asking me to call in and make the appointment for the follow up CT Scan. Hopefully the news from the scan will be that the cancer has retreated significantly, especially in the liver; and then maybe I will be switched to hormone therapy which hopefully is less frequent or has less in the way of side effects. 

After all, I have people to see, places to be, and loads of things to do. 

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.

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