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.


Monday, October 24, 2016

Watson AI, Loving Kindness Meditation, Dreams & Cold Caps

I've had a lot on my mind. I find that I typically Blog about once a week, sometimes more often, sometimes less. Today I have a lot on my mind, and I have been saving up some subjects I would like to cover. So here goes...

Artificial Intelligence & Genomics

On October 9th, 60 Minutes aired a piece on Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Watson, a question answering computer system capable of answering questions posed in natural language. And Watson can read and learn from documents, images, scans, you name it. Just click on "60 Minutes" above to go to the video. Or click here to see the segment on Watson for Genomics

What I found so amazing is that Watson can take in the 8,000 medical research papers published daily, something my Oncologist would not have the time to do and still practice medicine, or any other for that matter. 
As the article says,
Each person’s cancer is unique, as is their treatment journey.

However, what is not unique is the devastating impact on those living with the disease and their loved ones, as well as the struggle oncologists face in working to deliver effective patient care. In fact, this is increasingly true given only 25 percent of cancer patients benefit from the first drug they are offered in treatment.
Now, in partnership with Quest Diagnostics, collaborating with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK), UNC Lineberger (as seen on 60 Minutes), and over 20 other leading cancer institutions, we have an opportunity to give every clinician the ability to create a unique, personalized approach for their patients.
The thought that Watson, or some other form of AI could be used to help diagnosis a disease, like cancer, and then suggest a treatment based on all of it's knowledge, with the guidance and oversight of the medical community, I find absolutely amazing and gives me such hope.

Loving Kindness Meditation

I've just completed a six-week program on Loving Kindness Meditation, Sonoma Insight Meditation Sangha (group), and really enjoyed it. And the good news to you, or others in the Sonoma Valley area, is that the group will continue to meet as an open ongoing group beginning today, Monday, October 24, 2016. 

We welcome new members and drop-ins.

Time is 5:15-6:45 pm at the Shambala Center on Napa Street.  This is dana-based (donation-based), and all you need do is show up. But if you have questions, our coordinator, Judi Cohen, is happy to take them at Judi[at] I'm looking forward to making meditation a more consistent part of my life.


I've been dreaming almost nightly of late. I know that we all dream, but I am rarely aware of mine. So I'm wondering if it is because I am now taking 60 mg of Melatonin nightly and slowly upping the dose. Or is it the nightly Cannabis juice? They are both thought to help combat cancer and do not conflict with my cancer treatments, so I am giving them a try. Mind you, I am continuing all my Oncology appointments and treatments, just adding this in with the hopes it may help as well. 

Some of the dreams are so vivid. One night it was about swimming in the ocean where hundreds of octopi were and they were sticking onto swimmers backs - YIKES! Another was about my dear cousin Denise who passed from MBC earlier this year in February, and we were at a party somewhere and she was opening lots of gifts. Talk about polar opposites.

Here are some links on the benefits of Melatonin for cancer.

  • An Overview of Melatonin in Breast Cancer Melatonin: an Inhibitor of Breast Cancer
  • Effect of Melatonin in Epithelial Mesenchymal Transition Markers and Invasive Properties of Breast Cancer Stem Cells of Canine and Human Cell Lines 
  • Circadian Regulation Metabolic Signaling Mechanisms of Human Breast Cancer Growth by the Nocturnal Melatonin Signal and the Consequences of it's Disruption By Light At Night 
  • Susan G. Komen's Description of Melatonin  
  • Role of Melatonin and Cancer Treatment
  • Melatonin Suppresses the Growth of Ovarian Cancer Cell Lines
  • Benefits of Melatonin in Solid Tumors When Used Concurrently With Chemotherapy

    Cold Caps
    Cold caps have been a bit of a controversial topic for me, as in the past I had learned they might combat the good effects of chemo in the head and brain where the caps are placed. But I am reading more news that the risk is so small it really isn't an issue.

    A cold cap is a tightly fitting, strap-on hat filled with gel that’s chilled to between -15 to -40 degrees Fahrenheit. It may help some women keep some or quite a bit of their hair during chemotherapy. Because the caps are so cold, they narrow the blood vessels beneath the skin of the scalp, reducing the amount of chemotherapy medicine that reaches the hair follicles. With less chemotherapy medicine in the follicles, the hair may be less likely to fall out. During each chemotherapy session, the caps are worn for 20 to 50 minutes before, durin, and after chemo. I hear it is pretty uncomfortable, giving you a headache, but then I've never tried it.

    Cold caps were unknown to me in 2011 when I was first diagnosed. I think it was all pretty new technology back then. But I learned about this shortly after. I still don't think I would have chosen it then. And now... well my treatment is pretty much ongoing for the rest of my life so it just doesn't make since for a metster, AND I am already bald. But it is information worth sharing to those following along. 

    I will finish with a couple of snapshots from a very busy weekend filled with family love and fun.

    Riding in the old fire truck with grandson at the Sonoma Fire Dept Open House & Pancake Breakfast.

    With our granddaughter at Davis Farmer Market

    Watching Sonoma High Homecoming parade down Broadway with my sis.
    Peace and Love

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

    Debbie... aka the cancer FIGHTER, AND Cardiomyopathy warrior!!!
    B E L I E V E

    THANKS for visiting!        I look forward to your comment.

    No comments:

    Post a Comment

    Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment. Your comment will be reviewed and approved the next time I visit.