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.


Thursday, May 24, 2018

Latest Echo

I had my annual echo cardiogram on April 25th but hadn't received the results yet. Mainly because my Cardiologist is away this month so my next appointment isn't until early June. Rather than wait all that time, I called and asked if they could mail me the results; and they said sure. Usually the doctors want to see you in person when giving results, but since my EF on the echo has been so very low in the past, I guess they thought I could handle the news no matter what it was.

The report arrived this week. The conclusions at the bottom of the report read:  "This study reveals moderately reduced systolic function (LVEF 35-40%) and stage I diastolic dysfunction in the context of LV enlargement, ICD wire artifact, a very small pericardial effusion, and mild to moderate mitral and trivial tricuspid regurgitation. Compared to results from April 2017, may be slightly worse and the pericardial effusion appears new."

As a refresher, LVEF is left ventricular ejection fraction. 55-70% is considered normal for an adult. Mine was in the teens at one point, and thought to be about 40% a year ago. Although my Cardiologist later said he thought it was lower than 40%. You see, echo's leave a lot of room for interpretation, so they are not quite an exacting measurement. 

But the pericardial effusion had me concerned so I did some Internet research -- BIG MISTAKE. Doctor Internet is not the most reliable resource, and I know this and should have thought better than to ask "him" for help. You see, it talked about pericardial effusion causes, and one was metastasized cancers, one being breast, having moved to the heart!!! YIKES. But on further questioning, mainly with my NP daughter (thanks sweetie), a very small pericardial effusion (excess fluid around or in the lining of the heart) can be quite normal. This fluid is sometimes seen, and often times not. Anything less than "moderate pericardial effusion" is in the normal range. And as I looked back over my echo's for the past two years, the one in 2016 read "small PE", and 2017 showed none. I suppose the next one will be totally different as well. 

So, a sigh of relief, and I decided that waiting for the June appointment to discuss with my Cardiologist was just fine and I would not stress over any of this. And I would not alarm my Oncologist or feel like waiting for the next appointment in August was too long to wait (my first ever 4 month break between appointments since I'm doing so well). 

One day at a time.... Niagara Falls.  😉

Tears averted after only a few drops shed.

On a side note, yet important moment to remember, I attended a dear friends memorial mass a week ago. Sharon Burns is one of those I mention when I talk about our monthly girls cancer luncheons ~ those ladies all fighting, or having fought, or a spouse who lost the bottle. She lost her battle to breast cancer just recently and her family held a lovely memorial in her honor for family and close friends at St. Leo's Catholic Church. Her husband, son, and grandson shared tender memories of Sharon; wife, mother, and Nonnie to all. It was a sweet and heartfelt occasion. We love and miss you Sharon. See you on the other side one day.

Have you noticed? Spring is here! Dear husband is feverishly getting all the grass cut back with the tractor on as much of our 11 acres as he can reach. Then there is the riding mower and weed eater for the yard area. I've actually got out and spent a couple of days, for only a couple of hours each, pulling weeds and such. My energy is gone quite quickly, but it feels good to do something outside and try to tame mother nature at Brookfarm.

Enjoy every day ~ it is a gift to you and your family.


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

~ Peace and Love ~

B  E  L  I  E  V  E


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