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.


Thursday, September 15, 2016

Chemo #19, Abraxane #11, 1st Week on Xeloda

Today I had a pretty late chemo infusion appointment, preceded by the usual port draw and office visit. But only after we slipped away for three nights Monday - Wednesday camping in our cozy camper at Doran Beach Campground. And I think we lucked out with some of the best Fall beach weather; sunny all day, with a slight breeze. Mind you, I was all bundled up, but then I am cold all the time these days; even in 70 degree weather. And the day we hiked the Bodega Headlands, I was taking off layers and wishing I had short pants and a short-sleeved top on. I even enjoyed some time out at the campfire after dark. Another rare treat.

The scarf and sweatshirt didn't last long. Weather was beautiful.

But I survived and we returned Thursday morning in time to prepare for my appointment later that afternoon.

Thankfully the two Granix injections I received earlier in the week helped to bring up my blood counts ever so slightly, but enough so that I could continue with chemo today.  And I learned that the blood transfusions are to improve red blood cells, and the Granix injection is to improve white blood cells. There is always something new to learn.

I shared with my Oncologist how I had been having some discomfort in my upper left chest/neck area. Upon examination, he said there didn't seem to be an obvious problem, so we will keep an eye on it.

After we talked a bit, and Dr. Anderson examined me and my breast, he said it may be time to mix up the chemo again. Because the breast has become more active (blistering-like areas returning, some drainage and bleeding again, where this had all pretty much disappeared a month ago), it is a sign that perhaps the Abraxane has done the best it can already and it is time to give it a break. He said that once the chemo gets knocked down, it shouldn't be hard to maintain. A week off in August should not have made this kind of difference.

He wants me to continue the Xeloda for one week on and one week off. I started it this past Saturday and will finish up on Friday evening. Then a week off the Xeloda pills. If I tolerate this well, even through the week off when side effects can still show up, then he may up my dose to 3 pills each morning and night (1,500 mg each am and pm). Although I will still get the Abraxane infusion today until we work through this coming week.

Dr. Anderson will do some research on medications. He indicated there may also be another infusion drug to try; and he will look into other options such as immune therapy. Apparently UCSF has a Immune Therapy clinical trial coming up that may be suited well for me, but he needs to make sure I meet the requirements, especially where my heart is concerned. It may require a more current Echo. 

And I will be scheduled for a new CT Scan in a couple of weeks as well. 

So things are switching up again, and I'm okay with that. There always seems to be something new to try. As long as it keeps the cancer at bay and I can tolerate it well, then I'm okay with that.

Peace and Love

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

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

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