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, October 6, 2016

Chemo #21, Abraxane #13, 2nd Week of Xeloda

First off, I need to ask for prayers for my brother-in-law, Nat, and my sister, Nancy. Nat has been fighting Colon cancer for over three years, and is now in the hospital with lots of complications. Please lift them up in prayer, or positive healing thoughts, or whatever you are comfortable with. Thanks so very much!

Yesterday was my day at Round Barn for my port/blood draw, visit with NP Mortensen, and Chemo Infusion. Thankfully my blood counts have all improved so I could tolerate another chemo infusion today of the Abraxane. I think that last week off rom chemo helped me to recover nicely along with the 4 days of Granix injections and the blood transfusion of 2 units on 9/25/16. It takes a village; oh yes it does!

My trusty chauffeur, and lovely daughter, Sarah, arrived at 9:00 am to pick me up and drive me into Santa Rosa. I so enjoy her company on these days. 
My labs were all good and most blood counts were just below normal ranges, thankfully. Especially with everything that took place to help them over the last couple of weeks. So we discussed my list of questions, and her concerns as well.

The blister area on the breast is barely non-existent. Which is exciting since it was starting to reappear in August after having been shrunk down to nothing before that. So both NP and Oncologist feel that it is the Xeloda that is working. I get the feeling they may stop the Abraxane soon, or switch to another infusion chemo along with the Xeloda. Time will tell. 

The NP has put in an order for a new CT Scan in the next few weeks, so that will surely give us an idea of how things are going. I'm particularly anxious to hear that the tumors on the liver have continued to shrink. And then I will see my breast surgeon a week after the scan for a consult.

I got the OK for my flu shot and should probably get it today as it will work best now while my blood counts are close to normal, rather than when they are all very low. We also talked about Cannabis juice, and I got the OK for this as well. As I've learned through this cancer journey, some of the "natural" cures out there thought to help kill cancer cells are often not advised during chemo or other cancer treatments. This is because they often boost the immune system and counteract what the chemo is doing, which lessens or cancels out the effect of the chemo. Which is not good. But Cannabis juice does not work this way. 

So at my daughter's and niece's urgings, (Thank you, ladies) I thought, Why not try Cannabis Juice? I'm already using some cannabis edibles and tinctures to help with sleep, nausea, irritability after chemo; and since the NP thought it would be good to try from some research she had done for another patient, Why not. There is no  tried and true scientific research, but there is some personal experience. So if it doesn't hurt me, doesn't cancel out the effectiveness of what my Oncologists are doing for me, and may help me, I say, Let's give it a try!

Matt was my oncology nurse today and I hope all his and his girlfriend's families are safe in Florida, especially with Hurricane Matthew (appropriate name) expected to hit their area in the next day or so. And several other friends' family members living in that area. I told Matt that earthquakes were much easier because you don't get a warning. He wasn't sure he agreed with me, as he hasn't experienced an earthquake yet. And I hope that he never does!

Chemo was pretty uneventful. Other than the Zofran immediately causing blurry vision and a very fuzzy, tired feeling; chemo goes pretty quick since I only get one drug, and the Abraxane has been cut in half, and then half again. I'm really only in the infusion chair for a couple of hours, but with the lab work and oncology visit each week, the whole visit takes 4+ hours. Sarah had to leave to run an errand and returned with a sandwich for us to share for lunch before we left Round Barn.

After chemo, Sarah and I headed back to the Cannabis Dispensary on Todd Road to see about getting Cannabis Juice. I guess there is a way to make your own, but I'm not up for that. So we found Jayden's Juice, something we had seen there before. It is a high ratio CBD:THC tincture so it is non-psychoactive (Ratio of 28 CBD:1 THC). Now I just need to figure out how much the eye-dropper in the bottle holds so I get the right dose. That is one thing I am finding with Cannabis products, dosing is not really exact. It's sort of like, "try half a dose, and slowly work up to what works for you". I hear it tastes kind of yucky too so it is often taken in a glass of juice.

Mind you, I am not advocating taking this instead of traditional Western Medicine and chemo. I would not do that unless all of my other options had failed. But I will always consult my oncologist with any of these optional ideas that I feel comfortable with for their input. And when they say, "Heck yes, give it a try, it doesn't conflict", then that is a green light for me and I may give it a try along with my chemo infusions and chemo pills

So that's it for now. I am taking a Loving Kindness meditation class once a week for 6 sessions and just had my 3rd class. I haven't been very good about practicing, but feel it is helping me. Now to find some time for it and my Ukulele practice, not to mention all the other things I want and like to do when I am feeling good enough. But today is kind of a down day, meaning time at home for R&R and taking care of "stuff". Since we've been on the go a lot lately, Mark and I are both looking forward to it.

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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