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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Sunday, March 19, 2017

Still Plugging Along

I'm still at it, and feeling very good. The chemo pill (one week on & one week off) is not too difficult to manage, after some morning intestinal issues. But all workable with some planning. Other than that, I'm not feeling any fatigue or nausea or discomfort. The hair is returning wildly and started to get curly a few weeks back. I don't even try to manage it as it is crazy. Finger nails are improving, and I never lost them last time, like it looked would happen and like 5 years ago. They are very brittle and dry, but again, it is all manageable.

Busy as a bee, is the way dear hubby would probably describe me. Between trying to keep up with weekly Tai Chi classes, time with all my girlfriends, knitting a fun cabled piece, walking when I can, more camp trips (a most recent one to Doran Beach Campground at Bodega, CA), time with daughters and their grandchildren, planning fun things to do in the near future, and preparing for an upcoming ukulele class, I am busy as a bee. And I'm sure I have forgotten a few things. Here are some pics from recent happenings...


Fun sleepover with the daughters and grandchildren
 
Five little kittens created by Sarah and I for grandson's teacher and classroom.


Mary's pizza, photo bombed by a strange woman. :-)

Spinning on the deck with girlfriends
 
Camping and knitting on a beautiful March day at Doran Beach CG

Walking the beach with my sweetie.

A Matter of Choice - Mastectomies Without Reconstruction, is a beautiful article and video about courageous women choosing not to have reconstruction after mastectomies. As you know, I did not have reconstruction. From a couple of years ago when a mastectomy was discussed for just the infection (no cancer was found, mistakenly, back then) and I chose not to have reconstruction; then to this past November when the surgery actually took place and reconstruction was not viable, it has always been my choice. I've never been one for extra stuff to look better, such as excessive makeup, fancy hair do's or hair coloring into older age, wigs when bald from chemo, etc. So to go for the mastectomy was just not "me". But I know it is a choice others make, and I'm fine with that. Whatever makes one person feel better, is their choice. So when I saw this article and video, it struck me very personally. It also helped me to realize that the knitted knocker prosthetic, which keeps slipping into the wrong position, is not all that important or necessary for me. It is just OK to be me. So maybe I'll wear it from time to time, but I think I probably won't most of the time. 
That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.  😊



Filling my life with love, laughter, family & friends!
~ Peace and Love ~






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.

You can also find me on Facebook, Ravelry, and just occasionally on Instagram and Twitter. Just click the word above to go there.


Monday, March 6, 2017

Another Anniversary

Another year, another anniversary. YES!

I have made it this far, much to my surprise from how I felt last Spring. It was on February 26th that I received the dreaded news, and the official diagnosis date was on March 1, 2016, when I met with my surgeon and oncologist. Shortly thereafter I started chemotherapy, and it was a doozy that time. I was so violently sick for quite some time, then the fatigue, continued indigestion, nausea, hair loss, you name it.

It wasn't until near December 2016 that I finally seemed to be somewhat stable, the cancer tumors in the liver slowly shrinking with each quarterly CT Scan, the breast removed the month before, and transition to a chemo pill, instead of infusion. The transition to the pill gave me fewer side effects, and a more leisurely life not overshadowed by weekly day-long infusion treatments, and all the ups and downs from those treatments.

So one year letter I am feeling better, almost normal. My hair is returning, I am more active, and trying to enjoy life as best I can, much like everyone else.


Filling my life with love, laughter, family & friends!

~ Peace and Love ~






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.

You can also find me on Facebook, Ravelry, and just occasionally on Instagram and Twitter. Just click the word above to go there.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Just Plugging Along...

I haven't been writing a lot of late. It seems when I am feeling well, I write less. But I should do the opposite, don't you think? 

The greens I planted in my galvanized tubs a bit ago are coming along nicely now. I was out there snacking on them the other morning. Thankfully we are getting some sunshine, which they were in dire need of; as was I and the rest of California.

 

Did I share that we have received 19 inches of rain for just the month of February. And another 26.5" for January. For the rain season, which is calculated from October 1st each year, we have received 67.5" rain so far. That is monumental, for us and all of California. We can now say that we are officially out of a drought situation.

Another lunch with our BFF's. We missed you this time JoAnn. These great girlfriends have been in my life since grammar school. I love them all dearly and look forward to our fun times together. We hope to do a camping trip this summer. Yay!
 
Yesterday I saw both Dr. Elboim, my breast surgeon, and Dr. Dhar, my cardiologist, for routine checkups. Dr. Elboim (pictured below) is such a dear sweet man. I truly love him. He always starts our appointment with a hug. I'm not sure if I am special, or this happens with everyone, but it is a very wonderful way to begin. My mastectomy is healing up very nicely. I had no issues whatsoever and really didn't even need to do much in the way of exercises. I am doing Tai Chi now so that is good. But, probably because no lymph nodes were removed, and I did not have reconstruction, things went as well as could be expected. The scar is very smooth as well. So I am happy.

Dr. Elboim mentioned he had found my Blog! Wow, I was impressed. We also talked about Knitted Knockers (see below), and I'd like to see about getting some brochures for his office. As I was dressing after the visit I thought, "Darn, I should have got a selfie with us since he knows about my Blog". But then one of the nurses of another Dr. in the office, Tracy, who I have seen often and is also just the sweetest, saw me leaving and we chatted and teased a bit. About then, Dr. Elboim walked by and I asked him for a selfie. Instead, Tracy took several photos of us. This one below I like the best. But he was so sweet. As we finished this hug and photo, I kissed him on the cheek. As I did so, he grabbed me in a big hug and spun me around and walked me out the door. It was hilarious and sweet. It was as if we were dancing. Such a genuine, kind man. Love you, Dr. Charles Elboim.

And he is the best breast specialist and surgeon around!


Dr. Dhar also gave me a good report. Even though I have been feeling a bit congested of late, and have put on a few pounds since the holidays... GRRRRRRR... he says that I am doing good, and that the report from my ICD was inconsequential (my words, not his). Basically there was nothing in that report over the last three months for any concern. Feeling good and won't let anything stand in my way!

I'm excited to report that my Knitted Knockers arrived yesterday. Thank you Eva Fisher! I had heard about them last year before I really needed them. Then saw on Facebook that friend Eva was stuffing them the night of Stitches West, and fiber convention I recently attended. Eva offered to pick up and ship a pair to me since I missed their booth at the event. And, voila!, they arrived yesterday. Here I am wearing one for my removed left breast. It's not the best photo, but it will be nice to have this option when I want to look a bit more normal. Most often I don't really care, and having being going left-breastless over three months now. But this is a great option. They are very soft, light, breath well, and you can adjust stuffing to get an exact fit. Then just pop it into your bra, or tank with bra-shelf (as I do most often), and you're all set to go. Unlike the prosthetics, which are heavy, make you sweat, and are expensive. It's a win-win solution.


The damage done at Stitches West. Such fun with great friends.
 

And I can't wait to dig into some of these yarns. I did finished hats for the three grandchildren for Christmas this year. Granddaughter is modeling her hat below, along with her mittens, which were knit a month ago, along with a pair for her brother and cousin. The cousin's mittens are in progress below. It's such fun making things for the grand kids. Projects are small and don't require much shaping or sizing. Most often they love them all. Although I still have a vest I have been trying to convince the grandsons to wear. Maybe dear granddaughter will inherit it and love it.



So my next steps are for bloodword/labs today, Friday, a repeat Echo mid-April because it has been a year already since the last one, and more labs with a follow up with my oncologist in April as well. But for now... all is well. 


Filling my life with love, laughter, family & friends!


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.

You can also find me on Facebook, Ravelry , and just occasional on Instagram and Twitter