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.


Saturday, October 29, 2016

Good News on CT Scan

My CT Scan was good!

And by "good" I mean that it showed a bit of improvement, and that is what I know so far from a voice message from my Oncologist.

I had this CT Scan with contrast Friday morning (yesterday) and am scheduled to meet with my breast surgeon and oncologist the week of November 7th, so I asked that rather than wait that long, to please call me. My oncologist did call that same evening, but unfortunately I was away from the phone. The voice message said that the scan  "does look a little better, so -- good news." 

I don't know how the breast and liver might be different from before, or if one improved more than the other, or how the intrahepatic bile duct or enlarged lymph node under my right arm looks, or any other real details. But... I take this good news and am very relieved.

And by the way, as a side note, I thought I had two enlarged lymph nodes they were watching. I just pulled a summary report of diagnosis from my online portal, and this is the first time I notice mention of a intrahepatic bile duct. Oh well, nothing I can get alarmed about at this time, but it does make me a bit concerned. I guess I will have to ask about this at the next appointment.

As I was waiting for my scan, sitting in the waiting chairs in the hall at the Sotoyome Street of St. Joseph's Healthcare Office, I got to say good morning to Dr. Elboim as he entered through the side door, a doctor I have known for many years, from my first breast exam for fibrous tissue, and my gallbladder surgery 20+ years ago, and someone I think the world of. That felt good too.

A CT Scan with contrast is a pretty quick and strait forward process. My appointment was for 9am. I fasted from solid foods starting at midnight the night before, and restricted to no fluids 2 hours before the scan. I fill out a questionnaire before the procedure asking if I have a pacemaker/defibrillator, fake/metal body parts, am allergic to the dye, etc. Then, because I have a port, there is no needle stick or anything. I lay down on the table at the scan machine, they put a paper cover over my chest and abdomen (this scan was for chest, abdomen, pelvis area), and I pull my pants down to my thighs. I also removed my heavy cross necklace. 

As the tech was prepping me and my port he says:
So is this a checkup?
I say, yes.
He says, "Are you all done with everything?" (Meaning like treatment). 

I say, with a smile "No, I'm Stage IV. I'll likely never be done. But hopefully we'll find out that everything is working well with my treatment."

Its just a bit more information of the interesting things people say, even medical technicians. I know they see a lot of patients for several times over months or a year, and then rarely again; similarly to my oncology nurses. But then there are those like me that they see continually, off and on, sometimes weekly or more often, most likely for the rest of their lives. They are all very wonderful and special people.

Anyway, back to my story...
My port is then accessed. They do a quick scan, to make sure everything is aligned properly, and for comparison. Then the tech comes back in to administer the contrast. He tells me that I will feel a little warm, which I always do. And I get a weird taste in my mouth immediately, which is typical with any port access. As the scan happens, which takes a minute or so, the techs voice comes over a speaker to tell me to take a deep breath and hold it for a few seconds as the table I am on moves me under the scanning machine. And then we are done and they offer me juice and show me the way out.

At the end, I asked about the whole process, and the fact that two Mets BC friends have mentioned that they drink a yucky concoction a few hours before their scans, and asked why I did not. Apparently, some of the older scan machines need this to happen so they get a better picture. The equipment at this facility is top of the line and so there is no need to drink anything before. And I was also told that some scans for specific intestinal issues might require the patient to drink something before the scan. I also learned from online research that some without ports drink something, rather than have the dye injected. Who new? So another new bit of information for me, and for you. There is always so much more to learn.

I will tell you that these tests do create a bit of anxiety, as you might imagine, but I hope you will never know -- no matter how calm one tries to be, or how much meditation one does, or how positive an attitude one has. As I returned to the car, where Mark was waiting, I just started to cry. Not much, but I cried. I told him I didn't know why, I did feel kind of good about things, but something just came over me. Was it relief, was it worry? The feeling was fleeting, thank goodness.

We went out for a nice breakfast afterwords at Colibri Grill Cafe, a new little breakfast/lunch spot we recently found on Montgomery Drive near Summerfield Road in Santa Rosa. Then some grocery shopping and home.

So to have it over, and hear that the cancer was "a little better" is something I will take, and feel very relieved about. Because, in all reality, I know that one day, or more than once, it will not be good news, or will waver back and forth, as we try out every drug out there, every type of treatment available at whatever present moment in time is available, in the arsenal of treatment(s) for HR+ (Hormone Receptive) Liver Metastasized Breast Cancer. So this was GOOD NEWS.


Get more facts on Metastatic Breast Cancer at

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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