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, August 10, 2016

So Thankful For Some Good News!

Today was a good-news kind of day; and I am so thankful for this kind of day. I really needed it about now. 

But first a little tease from the fun update near the end of the Blog...

YIPPEE - I'm paddling - Big Lagoon near Humboldt

 Was it perfect news? Probably not in my mind; but then perfect news would be NED (No Evidence of any Disease), and the cancer is gone forever and ever. But then I guess that is a pie-in-the-sky kind of dream. We can dream, can't we?

But the good news is that the CT Scan with contrast of a week ago shows significant tumor reduction in the left breast, and good reduction in the liver and the lymph nodes; one near the liver, and the one under the right arm. I'll take it. I'm not quite there yet for Hormone Therapy as the liver needs more work; so I will be on a 2 on chemo (once a week for 2 weeks), and one week off. If that is too much, such as neuropathy worsening in the fingers and hands, or issues with blood levels, then we will go to one week on and one week off. But I wanted to try the two weeks on and one week off for now. I really want to zap the liver so that perhaps surgery or one of these treatments where they place something right into the larger tumors to kill the cancer in that exact spot. Time will tell.

But more good news is that I will get to go back and see Dr. Elboim and talk about possibility of mastectomy, or at least see if I am getting closer to that point, and what it will exactly mean or what is possible with my skin and such. All positive information going in the right direction.

From the Office Visit and Port Draw we went on to chemo infusion; the first one Mark has attended so far. Lucky guy that so many of you have offered to transport me from time to time, and I've been able to take a couple of you up on the offer the few times when Sarah was not available. Not to worry, I have the others on a wait list to call when I need. It was a very early appointment for me at 8am, and the entire place was empty. The waiting room chairs all vacant, and even no one in the reception area. When I did get checked in and headed back to the infusion room for the port draw, it was just Oncology Nurse extraordinaire, Jill and me. But things had changed by the time we finished the office visit. 

We were out of there about 1pm and celebrated our good news with the most delicious Caprese Piadine (which they had just brought back on the menu for the Summer) and fried calamari at Rosso Pizzaria. Very fresh and delicious.

Some details from the CT Scan report, so you can see how good the reduction in tumor size is:

Now this part below about lung was a bit disconcerting, but my oncologist said it was not cancer and not to worry about (yep, heard that one before!), but probably some fluid from heart issues -- "had I had a fever or been congested lately?" NOPE! Well, gotta trust, and I'm sure we'll keep a look at it in future. Just part of the whole experience.

Now the fun news to report for those who don't follow Facebook.

Happy Newlyweds - Charlotte Dallara Bartley & Travis Bartley
We just came off of nearly a week of camping and attending a lovely BBQ up in Gasquet, CA (on the Smith River right near the OR border) for my Niece Charlotte's marriage celebration with her new hubby Travis. 

Siblings: Me, Ed & Christine

Family: Charlotte, Travis, Christine, Ken, Kiana, Mark, Me & Ed

We met up with sis and hubby Christine & Ken and niece Kiana to caravan and camp along the way. What fun! 

Great camp breakfast at Big Lagoon near Humboldt

And we finally got our kayaks back in the water for a couple of paddles along the way; something that was about a year or two overdue -- and I think I managed well. The hard part is transporting the boats to and from the truck to the water.

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!!!

THANKS for visiting!        I look forward to your comment.

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