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, August 30, 2017

The Eclipse of a Lifetime & a Great Road Trip

The road trip of a lifetime...  17 days, with dear friends, hitting almost all new campgrounds to us; amazing and fun times.

It all started out a little rough, as we had only been home from Kauai for 3 days. That did not allow for much prep time on the trailer and packing food, etc. Then we found a mouse family had gotten into the lower drawers of the trailer so that all had to be removed cleaned and disinfected; all items washed and returned. Yay! 

I had my check up with my oncologist on Tuesday, and all was good. We will do a CT Scan in October., and so I am anticipating that now in about a month. We talked about some of the issues I've had with the Xeloda and he has some ideas how to get around it and stay on this chemo a bit longer, if my body continues to tolerate it and the cancer is still kept at bay. So I headed out to shop for groceries for the trip, over-bought as usual, and returned to load it all up and get everything in order. Mind you, Mark had been working his fingers to the bone these three days to get the truck and trailer all loaded up, the kayaking gear, extract the mice, or so we thought, etc.

Wednesday, August 9th, we head out in our cozy little home on wheels and drive to Sonoma to meet up with the Merritts. First stop was Battle Creek Campground outside of hot Mineral, CA, and just inside of Lassen National Park. We've been there a few times and it is a great one-nighter and stop-over as we are getting going on the road trip. 

Wouldn't you know that I would come down with a cold, stuffed up head the night before leaving. So the next three days I ran a fever of up to 100.5. That may sound pretty low, but for someone on chemo, it was alarming. The fever finally broke by day 3 (spending those days making our way for a night in Lava Beds NP and then on to Lake of the Woods, OR). Thank goodness. But then that first morning at Lake of the Woods, I was stung by a bee on the very back side of my right upper arm. Those that know me, understand that a bee sting to me usually means swelling of the are to the size of a cantaloupe. YEP, that is exactly what happened. Huge bummer. So now I have a snotty nose (but no fever), and a huge swollen and very itchy arm. Thanks to JoAnn for her benadryl tabs for the cold, and benadryl cream for the arm. But honestly, I do enjoy our time at each of these wonderful spots, hiking down into chilly lave tube caves at Lava Beds NP (on very hot days - nice), patio boat out on Lake of the Woods, dinner out, music at the lake, pizza another night, kayaking. So all is not lost.

All that craziness behind us and we stay a total of three nights at Lake of the Woods, near Upper Klamath Rec Area and three more at Diamond Lake, just north of Crater Lake. Both are gorgeous spots, great kayaking lakes, beautiful scenery, and offering different experiences at each. We will be back to these wonderful camping spots.


Relaxing at Lake of the Woods, OR



Sunrise off to the side of Mt Thiesen at Diamond Lake, OR

Standing at edge of our campsite at Diamond Lake, OR

A beautiful paddle, with a bit of residual smoke from local fires, at Lake of the Woods, OR

A happy pie-eater, Sage Hen Cafe in Christmas Valley

So on day 9 we arrive at our destination for the Eclipse, Double Diamond Ranch, and the second home of Elaine Bell and John Merritt, Ed's brother and sister-in-law. Let the party begin. Such fun times with everyone there; 9 RV's several tents, and a house full of family and guests from as far away as New York. Our hosts treated us to beautiful views, wildlife, the most exquisite dinners all four nights, and a day full of fun at the world-class full eclipse including a rodeo hosted by Veronica and Chris at neighboring Post to Post Ranch complete with bull and bronco riding, not to mention lots of meals and fun. WOW! It's really hard to describe the whole adventure, but most importantly the actual eclipse, without another whole blog entry. It was eery, magical, awe-inspiring, and gave me goose bumps. This little slice of paradise is 7 miles down a gravel country road outside of Midvale, ID. There isn't much out there, but farms every now and then. But it was a perfect place to watch a solar eclipse in full totality along with about 100+ old and new friends. Wouldn't have missed it for the world. 



A mini-reunion at the eclipse with 6 SVHS Class of 1971 graduates from CA and MT - such fun.

The trip home was still fun, but a bit less exciting. A long drive to Frontier RV Park in Winnemucca NV got us on our way. Then we spent a bit of time in the cool Cabela's store in Boomtown NV, just outside of Reno. Our next two nights spent in Donner Memorial State Park were very nice, with a lovely kayak trip on the lake, and dinner out to celebrate Ed & Jo's anniversary. 

17 days later and we are home, safe and sound, with some new amazing travel memories in the books. And now I get to spend some time with my sweet three grandchildren, who are now 3 (Madeleine), 5 (Gaige), and 6 (Nico). Nico and Madeleine having had birthdays in Kauai and a few days later. In a couple of months, Gaige will be 6 too. My how they are all growing up too fast.


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, August 14, 2017

The Sad Truth of Some Side Effects

Some of the issues with cancer treatment are those we rarely speak about. Like this one

Talk to your oncologist, as hard as it may be, so they are aware of your specific issues. There may be something they can suggest to help.
 

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.



Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Oncology Checkup & Wonderful Kauai Vacation

Today was my bi-monthly port draw, labs, and checkup. Feeling good so expecting a good report.feeling optimistic at Redwood Regional Cancer 

And as expected - Very good appointment with Dr Ian Anderson this morning. CBC looks good. All my vitals are great. We talked a little bit about the feet issues I've had and it sounds like we can make adjustments with the Xeloda, if needed, since I seem to be doing so well on it, so I can stay on it as long as possible for maintenance. That was refreshing to hear. 

I will have blood work in a month and then a new CT Scan and Oncology checkup mid-October.

But the fun news is the most wonderful vacation we just had at Kiahuna Plantation on Kauai the past two weeks. It was the most wonderful trip with our two daughters and most of their families, including the 3 adorable grand children. We swam at the beach and at the ocean, snorkeled, played on the water slide and the beach, ate out and in, toured Kilauea lighthouse, danced the hula and saw three amazing shows, one being the most spectacular Auli'i Luau at the Sheraton in Poipu, just a few steps from our condo. We had ice cream, shave ice, smoothies, and lots of fish. We saw Monk Seals and Sea Turtles up close and personal; not to mention two Manta Rays, giant frogs (about 10 of them one evening), spiny sea stars, hermit crabs, sea cucumbers geckos and anoles. Oh and amazing smell of flowers, lots of birds, and chickens galore. 

It was the trip of a lifetime with memories for all to cherish for years to come.

Here is a snippet of photos of the trip. Just click the link. Facebook tells me that even if you aren't a Facebook member, you will be able to view this photo album. Enjoy!


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.