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, October 19, 2016

A Reprieve from Chemo

Today, October 19th, would have been my day for Abraxane chemo infusion. Mark and drove in to Santa Rosa fully expecting it, although I was feeling very tired since the previous afternoon, and was curious what my blood counts would be. The office was packed, but there were a few available chairs in the infusion room for my port access and blood draw. The blood work all came back fine, or at least good enough. Tumor markers are still in normal range, as they have always been for me so far, thankfully. Liver is still functioning in the normal range.

Dr. Anderson, my oncologist, feels that four months on the Abraxane infusion has been plenty long enough for it to have done what it should or could do for the cancer. He feels strongly that it is now time to give the Xeloda tablets (Capecitabine) a chance to do it's job on the cancer. So he gave me the option to skip infusion today. I looked at him, back at Mark, then at Dr. Anderson. I didn't know how to respond. 

He gave me the option to skip the Abraxane infusion a couple of months back and I opted to go ahead with the chemo. That was when the breast was flaring up again and it scared the heck out of me. But now, the breast looks good. The thought of not having a weekly appointment and infusion was so freeing to even consider, but felt like I was playing hooky. And to think, my hair may start to grow back and provide some winter warmth for me. It is all so hard to even fathom. But I think I could get used to it. We do know that this could only be temporary until we need to find something new to fight these cunning cancer cells trying to take over my body. It is the fight of Metastases, Stage IV Liver Metastasized Breast Cancer. My life's struggle.

Dr. Anderson has increased my bi-weekly Xeloda pills to 3 each (1,500 mg) morning and night. (I take it for one week on, then one week off, then repeat. And I just finished my 3rd week on it.) I was doing 2 in the morning and 3 at night, as a step up to work towards this new dose. I am having some side effects from this medication, morning diarrhea, dry skin, but nothing I can't manage. There are many other side effects, but so far so good for me on this drug.

So before we could leave the cancer center, I went back into the infusion room to have the port access removed. Didn't need that anymore today

I went into scheduling to cancel next week's appointment and set up a return visit mid-November. By then, the results from my CT Scan with contrast will be back and we can see how the recent drugs have been affecting the cancer in the breast, the liver, and the two lymph nodes. Hopefully it will all be good news and I can continue with the Xeloda pills for the time being.

By the time I returned to Mark in the waiting room, and as we walked out to the car feeling like we had been freed from something unexpected, he said, "I have an idea". His idea was to drive out to Bodega for a late lunch at Fishetarian and a walk on the beach or Bodega Head. Now this is my way of playing hooky for sure!

So off we went, to enjoy a lovely fish lunch and walk on Bodega Head.

A beautiful walk along Bodega Head.

On the drive home, I caught a little cat nap. The day ended on a perfect note with my sweetheart.

I wanted to share a very interesting article I just came across on breast cancer and the difference of the microbiome of the breast in patients with and without cancer, There’s a breast microbiome, and it’s different in women with breast cancer. Just click on the colored link above. I think you will find it most interesting both for those like me fighting this disease and their loved ones, and for those without cancer. Especially with all the information surfacing on the benefits of keeping the good bacteria in our guts healthy and thriving.

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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