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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Thursday, November 24, 2016

So much to be thankful for...

Today is Thanksgiving morning, and I'm thinking of all that I have to be thankful for; and there is SO MUCH!  💟

On Tuesday I had two doctor appointments. One with the cardiologist at 10:30am, and one with my breast surgeon at 4pm; both in Santa Rosa. The conundrum was what to do in between. Would I be up for all day out, shopping for Thanksgiving pie making and homemade cranberry sauce? We left it open.

My visit with Dr. Dhar, my cardiologist, went very well. So much so, he cut me loose for 3 whole months. He had been seeing me every 6 weeks since chemo can be so hard on the heart. And looking back over the trends from my ICD history in his office that morning, it certainly showed a downward turn from March to June, when the chemo infusions were taking such a toll on me. Thankfully, the Xeloda pill I'm now on is much more tolerable, and seems to be doing the trick. And Dr. Dhar says I'm doing very well now. YIPPEE!

We left there and headed to lunch at one of our new favorite places in Santa Rosa, Collibri Cafe. Then on to Safeway for some shopping. As much as it was totally against my grain, we purchased a large pumpkin pie just in case we didn't get to making one. Which was a good idea since my surgeon later told me that rolling at pie dough was out for me for another week or so. 

We decided to head home for a bit of a rest and to put the groceries away. Then back to Santa Rosa for the followup with my breast surgeon, Dr. Elboim.  When he entered the room, he became very serious, sat down, and proceeded to say just how remarkable it is that the pathology on all my removed breast tissue showed no evidence of any remaining cancer cells ANYWHERE. He even went back to consult with the pathologist and review all my previous biopsies and scans, because he had never seen this happen before. I am truly blessed and thankful. I knew it was pretty amazing, but didn't realize just how awesome it was until he impressed this upon us. GREAT NEWS!! I love it, and will take it over and over again -- the great news. He said the Xeloda is working so keep it up as long as I can.

Dr. Elboim then removed all the bandaging and the On-Q pain pump and tube into my surgery site, which was painless. He said the entire incision looked good, was healthy, and appeared to be healing well. He did not remove the drain though, as that needs a few more days. His concern is that he had so little healthy skin to work with, since the radiation in 2011 and the recent fatty necrosis, and pressure of any fluid buildup could cause skin damage or stitches to pop. So I will wait until Friday where we will secretly meet at the back door, since his office is actually closed. It is so sweet of him to do this for me.

The Big Reveal:
I keep calling it that, but also playing it down saying I am ready, and glad it is behind me now. During the office visit, Mark and I saw my new warrior scar. A large crescent shape incision made to be able to pull skin from the surrounding area so there was enough to do the surgery successfully. I'm glad I did not need a skin graft from another part of my body, or tissue to be rotated from there to here, kind of procedure. And I could see some of the stitches right up to my ICD when the bandages slipped some the last few days. But I'm okay with it. It is what it is, and the cancer is removed from my breast area. This is all very good.

Then out for a celebratory dinner at Sea Thai! Two meals out in one day ~ unheard of!

So all was good until I got cleaned up and dressed for an outing the next day. I put on this cheery red top for the holidays and then looked into the mirror. Tears.... the look of one side very flat, almost concave, and the other plump (saggy from old age and genetics) breast, just hit me. WOW! This IS real and the new me. So I found a baggy loose top to put over the red one, put a smile on my face, and road away with Mark to visit a dear friend who is failing fast after fighting cancer for over three years. The visit was very nice, but very sad. He is in a lot of pain, and sleeps alot. We hope and pray he can go home soon to be in his own comfy space with his dear wife and sweet pooch. We will miss them for Thanksgiving.

Once my incision is healed up enough, I will make an appointment at one of those places that makes the special bras with prosthetic, so I have that option when I want it. And I will get on with my life, and smile through it all.

I am so very Thankful for...
The health that I have at this moment in time. For my wonderful husband who is so good at "Driving Miss Debbie" to all her doctor appointments, infusions, and so much more; and who loves me unconditionally and is my best friend. For our amazing daughters, who bring me much joy and happiness, are married to two wonderful men, and have blessed us with the three most adorable, smart, and funny grandchildren. For my seven siblings and two parents who have blessed me with a wonderful childhood, and continue to bring me much joy to this day (such a goofball bunch we 7 remaining ones are when we get together), and are so supportive and loving, yet all have their own challenges in life, as we all seem to. For all my cousins, and there are a bunch as my Mother has two brothers, and my Dad has 6 siblings. For my dear friends from way back when to right now, loads of great girlfriends and fiber friends, friends from high school, camping friends, farmer market friends, and so many more. And my Facebook friends, and Blog followers.

I am so very Thankful and Blessed 

for all that I have. 

There is nothing more to say

but THANK YOU!


And post a few pics of some of the things I am thankful for...
My wonderful husband, daughters, and grands ~ 

Before grandkids




Beautiful daughterts

 

Amazing hubby

 

 





Mark, Mom and the girls.
A fun night Beach Blanket Babylon with Mom.



My fabulous siblings, et al, throughout the years.

With my Noni, Uncle Lou & Aunt Helen, Mom Dad, and the "little kids" as we called the youngest 4.
Tina's college graduation with all but Donna


All 8 of us at Christine's wedding.

Dallara Family Reunion with siblings and families


Moms, sisters, daughters, powerful women!

Sarah's UofO grad with Alura, Mom, Donna & Christine
My Bobo Seestas

Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, family...
Annual family reunion

Cousin Jen at her Idaho cabin
Cousins Terry & Bob


BFFs all the way back to grammar school ~
The girls at a recent gathering; where are you in these Jer?


Many moons ago.
  

















More girlfriends, cancer buddies, fiber besties ~






Me and my sweetie.... so much Thanks...


Long ago memories.




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 •
THANKS for visiting!        I look forward to your comment.

1 comment:

  1. After my bilateral mastectomy, one of the tissue expanders had to be removed due to infection. That side was concave, and the other side had this tiny little lump. Then when the tissue expander was put back in and inflated, it leaked and collapsed. I sure know what you mean about the unhappiness of looking in the mirror.
    Boy do I have a collection of scarves. That was the only way I would go out in public for those 8 months.
    Glad to see you're healing well, and the news of no cancer cells is absolutely amazing.

    ReplyDelete

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