Treatment Induced Diabetes-The price I pay for my dances with Ned.

Treatment Induced Diabetes-The price I pay for my dances with Ned.

Now you all know my scans were good! Something to celebrate! I love road trips, so time to hit the beach!

We were packed and ready to go.  Usually I would be so happy and excited to leave for a road trip.  I was excited but I felt so bad!  I was thirsty, so thirsty!  I drank gallons of water that day and I felt so irritable.  Even after napping half the day I was so tired.  You know me, nothing is going to get in the way of family time!  So off we went.  We stopped for water 10 minutes down the road.  I gulped it down and was still so thirsty.  T.J. has type 1 diabetes and always has his supplies with him.  He insisted that I let him check my blood glucose.  I did and it was so high it wouldn’t register on his meter.  He then insisted we find a hospital.  He said I don’t care about the beach, I care about you.  So we stopped at the next emergency room.  My blood glucose was 627.  They gave me insulin, fluids and put me on Metformin.  Then they sent me on my merry way saying enjoy the beach and follow up with your doctor when you get back.  We drove two more hours and I realized I was feeling bad again.  We turned around and ended up at our local emergency room. They admitted me and started insulin, fluids and other tests.  After two nights there I got the diagnosis, Treatment Induced Diabetes.  My pancreas was no longer working and I was lucky to have not ended up in a coma.  I was in a state of keto acidosis.

I was seriously confused.  My diet is so good. No sugar and everything that is supposed to be good for me. This isn’t about my diet.  This was caused by the steroids I was given during chemo.  I couldn’t believe the doctor told me the truth.  These are the things they don’t want to talk about.  I was given a long list of side effects and treatment induced diabetes was not one of them.  Still, if I were told about it I would have made the same treatment decisions. I mean what other choice did I have?

I’m home now on insulin.  My blood glucose is still all over the place.  I will see a specialist soon and get it under control.  I still feel really weak and sick to my stomach.  This should pass when we get my insulin amounts perfected.  I’m so frustrated that we didn’t make it to the beach, but I’m grateful to be able to plan another trip later.  I’m also so blessed to have my little T.J. as my at home doctor. 😀 I can’t begin to tell you how special he is!

Here are the biggest side effects of treatment induced diabetes (a.k.a steriod diabetes):

Dry mouth
Blurred vision
Increased thirst
Increased need to urinate
Tiredness and lethargy

I had all of these.  The blurred vision was the last symptom I had.  The increased thirst was the first symptom I had. I was thirsty for a week before the other symptoms started.  If your feeling this way, don’t ignore it.

This is what the pamphlet my doctor gave me says:

Steroid Diabetes
Steroid diabetes is listed here as a different type although it is sometimes classed with type 1 and at other times with type 2.

The confusion arises because it is not an autoimmune disease and yet it can sometimes have total beta cell failure.

It comes about from the taking of steroids over a long period of time. Not the steroids used by weight lifters but those often medically prescribed, the corticosteroids or glucocorticoids, such as hydrocortisone, prednisone or dexamethasone.

They are used to suppress inflammation in diseases such as arthritis, cancer, to treat asthma, immune system diseases like Lupus or pemphigus (a rare autoimmune blistering diseases of the skin) down to skin problems like eczema and poison ivy and neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis.

Another area where steroid induced diabetes is commonly seen is in patients who have had kidney transplants. The amount of steroids necessary to suppress the immune system and lessen the chance of organ rejection can lead to diabetes.

How does the taking of steroids cause diabetes?
Corticosteroids counteract the effect of insulin, which makes your pancreas work harder pumping out more insulin to keep your blood sugar normal. Normal pancreases do this quite happily but if you pancreas works a bit ‘on the edge’ so to speak, it cannot cope with this demand for extra insulin and your blood sugars go up. In other words your pancreas is okay normally but cannot handle the stress of the steroids.

Not all people treated with steroids will get steroid – induced diabetes.

I had 8 months of chemo.  That’s a lot of steroids.  He said it had slowly shut down my pancreas. My A1C was 10.6. (5.6 is what it should be) that means this had been going on for a while.  I was diagnosed at a critical stage.  I guess the lesson here is to listen to your body.  I thought I was good because my scans were good.  That was not the case!

So what now? Rest!! I’m exhausted! My muscles are still so sore from dehydration.  That should go away soon.  Then it’s learning a new normal. I should be good at that by now!  Then, road trip!! T.J. goes to camp Monday.  So I’m finding a nice hotel room near camp and we are hanging out by the pool Sunday!  You know it’s the memories that will outlive us!  As bad as this is, it could always be worse!  I’m thankful to be here and I will be back to myself soon!

I love you all! Thanks for always being there for me!! You all make my world brighter!

I have to end with pictures!

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That’s Dr. T.J.  He gave me his jacket because I was freezing. Check out those chemo curls!

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Family selfie while waiting in the ER. These two kept that smile on my face! ❤️

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Another hospital gown, I should start a collection!

Just busy living!

Just busy living!

My mindset lately has been I’m not in chemo so let’s forget this cancer business!  I’m feeling so good!  I don’t even think about cancer until it’s Zoladex day.  We’re still watching a small spot on my left kidney.  I have scans at the end of the month.  My tumor marker is sitting at 21.5.  I’m not worried about my upcoming scans.  I will not put that negative vibe into my universe!  I feel good.  I am good!  I’m so grateful to be able to enjoy this summer with my family! So here’s what I’ve been up to!

Spending time with this little blessing!  I love being a grandma! You all know there was a time when I didn’t think I’d ever live to be a grandma!  I am so in love with this little man!  He is the greatest gift!

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Tubing in Helen, Georgia with Kori and Emily!  I was the babysitter!! So much more fun for me!

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Tubing in Cherokee N.C. with my guys!

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Dollywood!  I walked around all day with only two pain pills!  Those of you living with stage IV know what a big deal that is!

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As as I write this it’s Saturday night.  Sunday is our family adventure day.  Who knows what adventure lies ahead for tomorrow!  I’m just excited for another day of feeling good and spending time with my guys!  Get out and make some memories!  They are the only thing that will outlive you!

Please send your prayers to one of the strongest and most inspirational women I know. https://saraelhassani.wordpress.com/   She’s dealing with a lot right now and she is as graceful as ever!  All my love to you guys!!! Your love and prayers make my life a thousand times brighter!

Time to catch you guys up!

I’ve been a real slacker lately when it comes to my blog.  My apologies to all of you that follow it.  Until recently my life has been pretty mellow.  I’ve been struggling with bone pain from the cold and Femara.  My daily number of pain pills went from 3 to 6 or 7 a day depending on the weather.  That little pill does a number on my joints!  Being in constant pain is mentally draining.  There are days when I have to stop and remind myself to just be happy that I’m alive and here with my family.  That’s all that really matters!  I’ve noticed as the weather gets warmer my bone pain gets better.  Maybe I should move to the beach!

I had a PET Scan a few months ago.  It came back good.  Recently I’ve started having pain in my hip and under my left rib.  The rib pain is my biggest concern.  It’s progressively getting worse. My pain meds only dull the pain, it’s constant. I had a bone scan that showed mets in those areas.  My oncologist referred me to a radiologist.  He said I was looking at radiation 5 days a week for a couple of weeks.  I had an appointment with the radiologist.  She looked at my scans and decided to send me for a CT this Wednesday.  She said the bone mets are pretty un impressive and that she needs to know what we’re really looking at before she treats me.  Scary!  I told my Javiee before the bone scan I really can’t tell if the pain is my rib or under my rib.  So that’s where I’m at right now.  More scans Wednesday and results Friday.  I’ve said it before, waiting is the hardest part!

On the bright side..

T.J. has adjusted to life in North Carolina so well!  I know I told y’all he was student of the month his first month at his new school.  Well he was also chosen to be in the gifted program and he participated in the Science Olympiad this past month.  I’m so proud of him!

My oldest Kori and his other half Emily are making me a grandma next month!  I’m so excited to meet this grandson of mine!  A few years ago I didn’t think I’d live to see a grand baby!  I am blessed!

Kristen is turning 21 next month!  I’m so thankful to be here for that!

My Javiee is still the most precious man in the world.  He’s still making me juices and keeping my diet interesting.  Quinoa meatballs were his latest creation and they were yummy!  I’m so lucky to have him by my side.  I can’t imagine dealing with all of this without him.  He’s my rock.  He keeps a smile on my face even on the worst days!

I hope you all are good!  I love you all!  Now I’ll end with some pics!

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Thats me!

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That’s T.J. He’s not so little anymore!

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Thats my snow letter from my Javiee.  Yes, he calls me punk! :) It’s a term of endearment!

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That’s my Javiee and I on a weekend getaway to Gatlinburg, TN.

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I couldn’t leave out the quinoa meatballs! :)

In Memory of another Stage 4 Sister

It’s so hard to hear you have breast cancer and even harder to hear it’s stage four.  I will never forget the day I heard those words.  My life changed instantly.  I immediately turned to the internet and googled everything about stage four breast cancer.  I was preparing to die.  Then I met Terri at http://www.gracefulwomanwarrior.com.  She had been living with stage four breast cancer since 2011.  She inspired me to not just fight, but to keep living.  She helped me through the early days of my diagnosis.  This week her time here ended.  I am so blessed to have known her and so saddened by the loss her family feels now.  Living with stage four cancer is mentally and physically hard.  Watching as my stage four friends pass is even harder.

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In memory of my dear friend Terri at gracefulwomanwarrior.com

Happy Early Holidays!

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My Scans came black clean!  I’m still dancing with NED!  I can’t even begin to tell you how blessed I feel today!  I was seriously worried!  I am every time I have scans.  Zoladex and Femara seem to be working for me.  My tumor markers are down to 20.  Now I’m going to forget about all this cancer business and enjoy the holidays with my family.  They seem so much more precious these days.  I know life is busy, but stop and take time to enjoy it.  Memories last forever.

That’s a picture of my tree!  Tis the season at my house.  Happy Holidays!  I love you all!

Just a little update!

I know it’s been a month! Pinktober has passed! A fellow blogger was doing a special awareness piece for October and I thought I would join in. All you needed to do was video yourself reading a piece she had written. I started reading it and hit the 2-5 yr statistic for stage IV women. Then I realized I will hit my two year mark soon. I couldn’t finish the video. That realization hit me hard. I never think of myself as a statistic. I never really even think of myself as living with stage IV breast cancer. I try not to think about it. I take my pain meds and enjoy life. The last Friday of every month I have a visit with my oncologist. That’s when I visit Cancerland. After each appointment I treat myself to a new restaurant and forget it until the next month. This past month I feel like I’ve lived in Cancerland! That 2-5 yr statistic has been lingering in my head. I’ve been in a funk! I have new pain in my rib and of course I can’t help but wonder if it’s back. I’m scheduled for new scans on the 17th. Having that to think about doesn’t help! I’ve put off getting my tattoo until after scans. I don’t want anything to interfere with those results! I need some good news to ease my thoughts! Until then, it’s Javiee to the rescue! We have decided to spend our weekend decorating for Christmas! I know it’s early! We did this last year because I was suffering from scanxiety and it helped so much! Here’s to getting out of that October funk!

Aside from crazy thoughts of my impending death, life is good in North Carolina! The leaves have changed to red, yellow and orange. It’s beautiful here! We explore a new place every Sunday (family day!). Here’s a picture from last Sunday.
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I love you guys and I hope your all doing well! I’m going to catch up with your blogs this weekend.

Life is Good!

We are settled in and happy in North Carolina. Things have fallen into place and I am feeling so good! My Javiee found a job that he loves and T.J. has adjusted well in his new school. He has Aspergers so transition can be hard for him. Not only did he make it through his first month of school, he is student of the month!! I am so proud of him and so happy to still be here for him! I don’t take these moments for granted!! Time for a picture!!
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That’s me (proud mommy!) and my little T.J.(he’s not that little anymore!).

It’s so good to be close to family and have all my kiddos together!! Time for another picture!
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That’s my crew! I am so blessed!

As far as breast cancer goes, I’m feeling really good! I still take pain meds for my joint pain and I still can’t feel my fingers. That’s really all I’m dealing with right now so I’m not complaining! I go back to my oncologist this Friday. I’ll find out then if my tumor marker is still down. I will have new scans done next month. No matter how I feel scans still scare me!

My birthday is October 17th. I’m getting my tattoo then. I will do a reconstruction update when that’s finished. I have my design and I’m so excited to get it! Dr. Swelstad I haven’t forgotten about you! I will share my pictures soon! :)

I have to end with an updated picture of my Javiee and I. I feel so lucky to have him in my life! I couldn’t imagine having gone through this past year without him! He’s my treasure!
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Thank you all for your support. I know I’ve said it before, but you all mean the world to me!

One more picture!!
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I’m going to be a grandma!! I honestly didn’t think I would live to see a grand baby! Life is good! :)

Hello North Carolina!

We made it! We took old Route 66 slowly and enjoyed our trip across country! We are settled and happily living in Waynesville, North Carolina. We had planned on living in Asheville, but we found the cutest place right off Main Street in Waynesville. It’s close to T.J.’s new school and he can walk right around the corner to the ice cream shop! That’s a big deal for him! My Javiee found a job at a fantastic restaurant right around the corner from our house. It seems like everything has just fallen into place for us. It’s all been so easy. I feel like it was meant to be. I’m at peace with our decision to move. It’s so good to be closer to family!

I’ve been busy! It’s hard to move across country and deal with insurance and finding new doctors. I saw my new oncologist this week and I loved him. He’s Dr. Austin at Cancer Care WNC in Asheville. I googled him before my first visit and was scared to death! He looked like my 22 yr old son! I was relieved when I finally met him. He’s older than he looked in the picture I saw! I’ll have to ask him if I can share the picture I got from google! :)

My test results from this week aren’t in yet so I don’t know what my tumor marker is now. I know I feel good! I still take pain meds for my body aches and I still can’t feel my fingers. It’s hard to write or even type. I figure that’s something I’m going to be dealing with forever. I’ve learned to take that in stride, what else can I do?

Thank you all for the well wishes! I feel blessed that your all part of my life and this road I travel!

Now I have to tell you T.J. started middle school!! I cried like a baby! There was a time when I thought I wouldn’t live to see him go to middle school. It was a big deal for me! Here’s a picture from his first day!
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Here’s one from our road trip. It was the old Conoco Station from the movie Cars. (One of T.J.’s fav stops on our trip) I love road trips!
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See that blonde hair? It didn’t come back that way! I did it to put a little kick back in my step! I mean really! I’m dealing with enough, couldn’t my hair have come back blonde?!