LIVESTRONG:

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.

WARNING:
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.

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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Grieving, Sadness, & Moving On... Oh & Mastectomy

Today is a very sad day, in my mind, for our country. I don't normally get into anything here other than medical things, and happy family times, but today I cannot help myself.

I know that only half of our fine Nation agree with me, and that is okay. There is half that do; and actually more than half of the popular vote do. But I am having a hard time shaking the devastation, disappointment, and sadness over last night's election. The thought of 4 years under a DT Presidency is hard to swallow and comprehend. So much so for me that the fact that I set up an appointment yesterday to have a mastectomy next week hardly even matters. It seems so inconsequential in comparison. How could our country have elected such an inexperienced individual, one who disrespects so many... women, minorities, LGBT, those of differing cultures and religious beliefs, his own vendors, students he scammed, and so much more. The fact that he is expected to be held trial for sexual assault and worse next month is just mind boggling. 

Hillary may not have been someone you would invite over for dinner, or go on a girls retreat with, but she is oh so experienced. To think that she may have been shot down just because she is a woman, is so disheartening. Are we still so far from accepting others as equal? 

Last night was hard to watch. But I did... to the bitter end. There were a few tears. His acceptance speech was "just OK". I mean, he was cordial and inclusive. He said the right things, but there seemed to be little feeling behind those words. And it was not compelling. Not to me, anyway. Hillary's speech, on the other hand... Let's just say it was positive, emotional, inclusive, and encouraging.

So today I grieve, I've cried a bunch. The emotions have just been overwhelming and I can't explain why. Other than that disappointment and sadness I mentioned above. Tomorrow will be a better day, and the next even better. We will pull ourselves up and make the best of it all. And try to get through the next 4 years of DT, Pence, Melania & Kellyanne. Heaven help me.

And before you jump in and argue, please don't! This is me grieving. It is sadness. It takes time and I know this. I am working through it. And if you don't understand just how devastating this has been for me, my family, and millions of others, then please try to see outside the box and understand. But no debate, no argument. Feel free to console. That is all I ask.

So back to me...

I've been feeling very good, better energy, almost feeling a bit normal. It has been two weeks since my last chemo infusion and I seem to be rebounding a bit. I am still taking the Capecetabine (Xeloda) chemo pill (3 pills each am and pm for one week on, then one week off). This is my week on. It has some side effects, but I seem to be tolerating them pretty well. I actually walked 2.5 miles earlier this week with Sarah. While I felt really exhausted an hour after, it felt good and I hope to get out more often now. It had been a good month or more and I miss this activity level. 

I had a CT Scan of chest/abdomen/pelvis about 10 days ago, and while I knew the news was "a bit better", I did not know the details. Yesterday I saw my breast surgeon, Dr. Elboim, and while we discussed other things as well, I got to see a copy of the report. I will discuss it further with my oncologist this Friday. 
But for now I know:
  • Small grouped nodular opacities in right lower lung lobe have decreased in size (which have always been considered as benign). Findings likely infectious/inflammatory.
  • Continued decreased size of liver metastases, consistent with favorable treatment response. The largest lesion of 1.6 cm was previously 2.1 cm. And another that was 11 mm is now down to 8 mm.
  • Decreased left breast soft tissue thickening and decreased right axillary lymph down to 6 mm from 8 mm.
So all good news! 

But the big news is ~ left breast mastectomy:
Yes, this is something that has been on the table for over a year. But because of the fatty necrosis, the large blistering and draining, then the reduced immune system from weekly chemotherapy infusions, it has been on hold. At our last consult about 2 months ago, there was fear that the lesions or breast tissue thickening had invaded the chest wall or nearby muscle. This with all the skin breakdown was going to make it hard, if not impossible, for the surgeon to successfully perform the surgery. So the idea was to continue chemotherapy and hope that all those issues would reduce or resolve with successful treatment. It finally did. And if I don't jump on this now, it all could come back later when this round of drugs fails to work, as it presumably may in a few months or so, as is the case with drugs to fight Stage IV breast cancer metastasized to the liver. And then we try a new drug, provided there are still more in the arsenal.

So next Wednesday it is. One over-nighter in the hospital; return home with a drain for a bit, and then recovery and recuperation. I know I am minimizing the surgery and recovery, but no need to get worked up over it until I am there.

I'm ready! It is time to move ahead with this. I'll be back to my old self before the holidays and that will be a good thing.

But before I close, I need to share that we had a lovely time in our trailer last week up to a bit North of Ft Bragg for a few nights with friends at our favorite winery. And then a few more nights coming down the coast. We started out in a huge rain storm, but it gave way to some glorious sunshine and almost warm weather. 

And then a fun day at the Sonoma Plaza to celebrate our grandsons 5th birthday. So you see, the sun is already coming out; and it is a much better day now, already, just remembering these great times. 

A beautiful sunset at the winery.

Great friends on Dad's bench.

Feeling good walking the beach!

The 3 Musketeers.


And before that some fun family time at Sonoma Fire Open House and Pancake Breakfast.

Touring the plaza with Batman in the back of a firetruck.
 

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

• I AM STRONG • I AM HEALTHY • I AM LOVED •
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