Beyond Time for An Update.

Beyond Time for An Update.

I have been home a few days now. I’ve spent the last 10 days or so in the hospital. Unknowingly, In the hospital. I honestly thought I had been kidnapped. I know it sounds crazy but it’s not. My Mom and my husband were trying to get me up from my bed at my house. I would vomit every time they tried. I couldn’t speak to them. I couldn’t walk. I was completely unaware. They called an ambulance, if they hadn’t, I wouldn’t be here today. It seems to be the chemo therapy I was on caused Cancer-Related-Hypercalcemia. My calcium levels were so high, I was literally out of my mind. I’ll follow up on this later. Right now I’m just trying to give you an idea of what’s going on.

Though my brain looks better, I’m actually doing worse than I’ve ever been. I now have leptomeningeal metastases which have spread to my meninges and spinal fluid. It can’t get much worse for me. I have two more days of radiation. I don’t know what’s after that. So far I’ve heard there is nothing else to do.

Right now my plan is to rest and get through my last two radiation appointment’s. My doctor has said I can have no visitors until she sees me next week. The least little germ could kill me right now.

I’d love to see you guys, I just can’t. I saw my kiddos the other day, so I have a few pictures. For now that’s really all I know. I have to give this to God right now. I’m serious when I say I can’t even walk alone. My mama and my Javiee have been doing everything for me. Stop and think about that. It’s so hard, but I’m so blessed to have them here right now. I will update you all as soon as I know more. I love you all! Thank you for the love and prayers. Get out and make some memories!💕💕

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Brain MRI Results

TAMMY CARMONA

FINDINGS

BRAIN AND EXTRA-AXIAL SPACES: In the interval, there is significant enlargement in the multifocal areas of enhancement in the medial right temporal lobe since the previous exam of 04/23/2018. There is a dramatic increase when compared back to 01/22/2018. The inferior component of enhancement is without significant change measuring 1.3 x 1.8 cm (transverse by AP), as seen previously. However the superior component measures 1.6 x 2 cm and previously this measured 0.9 x 1.5 cm. In addition there is a more anterior component of enhancement that measures 1.3 x 1.1 cm that previously measured 0.8 x 0.4 cm. Thus, there is significant increasing enhancement in the medial temporal lobe. Surrounding edema in the right temporal lobe extends back little more posteriorly than previously. Perfusion images however do not show significant increased perfusion. Perfusion images suggest that these changes are related to radiation necrosis. However given the significant progression, I am concerned this is progressive neoplasm at this site..

The 2 mm focus of enhancement laterally in the right cerebellum on image 23 of series 10 is unchanged. The small focus of hemorrhage superiorly in the left superior cerebellum is unchanged.

No new areas of enhancement are visualized.

VENTRICLES: Normal in size and configuration.

SELLA/PARASELLAR REGIONS: Partially empty sella is again visualized.

VESSELS: Normal flow related enhancement in the major vessels of the circle of Willis and the major dural venous sinuses.

CALVARIUM AND SKULL BASE: No calvarial abnormalities are identified. PARANASAL SINUSES/MASTOID AIR CELLS: The paranasal sinuses, middle ear cavities and mastoid air cells are well-aerated.

ORBITS: Within normal limits

CRANIOCERVICAL JUNCTION: Within normal limits

OTHER FINDINGS: No other significant findings are seen.

IMPRESSION:

1. Interval significant increase in enhancing multifocal areas in the medial right temporal lobe since the previous exams of 4/23/2018 and 1/22/2018. Although this could still be radiation necrosis, recurrent neoplasm is an increasing concern.. MR cannot definitely differentiate these.

2. Unchanged tiny punctate focus of enhancement in the right cerebellum and small focus of hemorrhage in the left cerebellum.

3. No new areas of abnormality.

I love my radiology oncologist. She’s always honest with me. She’s says this is not good. We are not sure if it’s cancer or necrosis from radiation. There will be a meeting on my case on Monday. Then we will have a new plan. Right now the plan is to add another drug to my Xeloda and rescan in 2 months. If the progression is still as fast as it has been the past two months then brain surgery is my option. This plan may change after the board meeting. They will also consider some clinical trials. It seems to be another wait and see.

For now, I’m going to enjoy summer! I’m still going to the beach for a week and then the 🍒 on top is Lynard Skynard in September!😂. This has already been an eventful summer! I tell myself daily that I am blessed to be here and still be making memories! I have watched as T.J. got his first job, his first checking/ savings account, and finished drivers ed! He will be driving me around next week! I told him one day he will wish he didn’t have to work. I said don’t you want to hang by the pool, kayak and do things like that this summer? He said “Mom, I’m building my resumé”. 😂. How do you say no to that? I’ve also had so much quality time with my precious grand babies! You know I’m including pictures!

Thank you all for your love and support. You all bring sunshine to my life! I may make cancer look easy, but it’s not. When you see my adventures on Instagram or Facebook, know that I’m in bed on pain meds the next day. It’s so worth the memories I’m making! Life is so good! Get out and enjoy it and make some memories!!!!!Sending love to each and everyone of you!💕💕💕💕

Brain MRI Update

I was concerned about this MRI because it was to determine if I would be having brain surgery in May.  One 3mm lesion is gone.  Others have decreased in size.  The one that was most concerning has grown a little.  My board of doctors met and decided we should do scans again in two months to see if it changes.  The hope is that it’s brain necrosis and not a tumor.  I have an appointment with a neurosurgeon next week.  I think it’s good to be prepared for anything.  I feel better knowing I have a plan if something doesn’t go my way.

I’m happy with these results. I’m excited that summer is on the horizon! Time to make some memories!

I have to share a few memories from the past month!

My precious grandson turned 3!  I’m so blessed to be here to  get to know him!

He saw Spider-Man at the circus and asked him to come to his birthday party. 😍. Spider-Man came and was awesome ( Thanks Chris)!!!!

I kept Little Miss Evie for the first time.  This is a big deal, she’s a Mama’s girl!

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Jax and I usually paint rocks.  Last week we made our own teepee.  He loved it.

Next week Miss Evie will have her first birthday party.  Here’s to more memories, get out and make some!💕💕

All my love to you guys!  Thank you for the love and prayers! 💕

 

 

 

New Brain MRI Results

I love my radiation oncologist, Dr. Smathers.   When it comes to living with cancer  the most important things to me are quality of life and honesty.  I don’t want anything sugar coated!  She understands and that’s what she gives me.  I love to see her walk in with a smile.  I didn’t get that last month.  I got it today!  My scans showed nothing new.  It showed the little brain mets were no longer there.  The belief is that Xeloda took care of them.  The tumor in my left frontal lobe has grown 2mm.  Her hope is that Xeloda will reach that tumor and shrink it.  We have a new brain MRI scheduled in two months unless I start having symptoms.  The most common symptoms  would be dizziness, headaches and nausea. That’s the plan as long as I feel good.   If nothing changes on the next scan we will consider adding Methotrexate.   If it continues to grow brain surgery is my other option.   It’s another wait and see.

I give God the glory.  Five tumors gone in a month is amazing.  Thank you all for your love and prayers!  They mean so much to me!💕💕

I’m grateful for another month and for more memories!

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We taught Jax how to play Candy Land.  He won his first game!  I love being a glamma!

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I had another Valentines Day with my sweet Javiee.  This man is my rock!❤️

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T.J. joined ROTC (Air Force).

This has been a month full of memories!  Some deserving a title of their own.  I’ll add them soon!

Until then……Get out and make some memories!💕💕

 

Wednesday…Mammogram Day..Feb 6, 2013

Tuesday, February 6, 2018 I hit my five year mark. Five years living with metastatic breast cancer. Being diagnosed at Stage 4 means I’d unknowingly been living with cancer for a while. This was just the day I first heard “you have cancer”. I’ve been blessed the last five years with so many memories. Tonight, in reflection, I’m going back to my first ever blog post. I actually started the blog for my sister who lives in North Dakota. It grew into so much more. You all have become a huge part of my life and I’m grateful. 💕💕💕

Tammy Carmona

Today’s Wednesday. I love Wednesday, it’s my favorite day of the week. My Javiee is off on Wednesday, so it’s always a special day for us. We go out to breakfast on Wednesday, then we go shopping and get what we need for the week ahead. I know it sounds pretty simple, but it’s our time and we enjoy every second of it. Today’s a little different. Breakfast and then a mammogram (I found a lump in my left breast). I’m thankful my Javiee is with me for my appointment. I wasn’t really worried, I thought it would be nothing. The lady doing my mammogram was so nice, but when she saw the image and said wait right here a minute while the doctor looks at this, he may want to do an ultrasound , I knew there was a problem. Ten minutes later another lady is doing an ultrasound…

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Brain MRI Results

I’m going to keep this simple for you guys.  I have a new tumor in my brain.  It’s in the superior left cerebellar hemisphere. WBR and the cyber knife took the initial tumor away back in 2016.  This tumor is growing right underneath where the initial tumor was located.  Radiation is not an option for this tumor.  My doctors are getting together Friday with other specialists and going over my charts to figure out what my options may be.   Here’s some good news……

Two rounds of Xeloda cleared my liver!  Those liver mets are gone.  It’s been four months since my previous brain MRI.  Our hope is that this tumor in my brain was bigger and xeloda has shrunk it.  There’s no way to know because my previous brain MRI was clear. Our plan, for now, is to keep taking Xeloda and do a new brain MRI next month.  If the tumor is smaller then we will continue with Xeloda and monthly scans.  If the tumor is the same size or bigger next month the only option will be brain surgery.  That’s the plan right now.  This could change after our meeting Friday.  Another wait and see!

I have chosen to not worry about this.  I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing and see what next month brings.  What does worrying help anyway?  Tomorrow I’m going to pick up my sweet little Jaxon and we are going to watch T.J. wrestle.

I love you guys! Get out and make some memories! 💕💕💕

My song for the day….Click here. 😂

Time for an update and a Happy Dance!!

This has been a month full of scans for me.  PET Scan, hip x-rays and a brain MRI.  All of my results were stable with nothing new.

Time for a Happy Dance!!

Stable doesn’t mean cancer free. It doesn’t mean I feel great, or even good. It just means the cancer that has taken up residence in my body hasn’t grown. I have good days and I have bad. I live with a lot of pain. Still, I don’t let that stop me. If I want to do something, I do it. I may pay for it the next day, but it’s always worth it!

I feel so blessed.  I remember hearing I probably had a year to live over four years ago.  Believe me when I say I don’t take a minute for granted.  The past four years have been filled with new adventures, memories, milestones, family, friends and tons of love.  I’m a Glamma x2!! My Javiee is legal!!  I watched T.J. leave for his first day of high school last month!! (I cried!)  These are the things that keep me going.

Here’s something that touched my heart this week……

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This made me think of a very special person in my life.   When your down, feed the good, share a smile, spread some love, get up….get out…and make some memories!!

I love you guys!💕💕

Tracking My Rising Tumor Markers

I’ve lived with metastatic breast cancer for over four years now.  My CA-15-3 has always indicated when something was awry.  It was 22.8 in December 2015.  In June of 2016 it jumped to 169.8. For this reason we started checking my tumor markers monthly.  I’ll share from that point on below:

July 2016                  267.6   This is when we found brain mets.

August 2016            565.0

October 2016          694.0

November 2016     691.5

January 2017          167.0  This was after WBR/Cyber Knife.

February 2017        132.2

March 2017             159.2

April 2017                172.2

May 2017                  183.0

We weren’t concerned with the first rise.  It can happen for many reasons.  After two more months of higher numbers we decided it’s time to do scans.  I had a chest and abdomen CT Wednesday (results next week).  I also have a brain MRI scheduled for the first week in June.  It’s another wait and see!  I have to tell you I Feel Good!!  I go on that.  It may sound strange but I don’t even worry about results anymore.  I just get on with life until result day arrives.  Life has been good to me lately!  Wait until I share what I was blessed with this week (for those that don’t follow me on social media)!!!!!!!  That will be my next post. Until then I’m sending you all love!!!!💕💕

Get out and make some memories!!!!!!

 

My CyberKnife Experience

Just hearing cyberknife and knowing it was for a tumor behind my eye was beyond anything I could imagine.  Then I was told it would take 3-4 hours and I would be awake the entire time.  This was not an appointment I was looking forward to!

I have to tell you it sounds worse than it is.  It actually doesn’t even involve a knife.  It’s a robotic radiosurgery system that delivers beams of high dose radiation to tumors with extreme accuracy.  No cutting and no pain involved.  I was fitted for a mask the week before surgery.  For me, this was the only uncomfortable thing about the surgery.  The mask is screwed into the table and it’s tight.  Here’s a picture of my mask.  I see a Halloween costume in T.J.’s future, it’s scary!

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They gave me an Ativan before the surgery.  I was worried about being awake during this.  If they had said we give you ativan before we start I would have had no worries.  I remember my mask being attached and getting up.  That’s it.  I won’t have a new brain MRI until the end of October.  I’ll update you when I get results.  Waiting is always the hardest.  I just try not to think about it and go on with life.

This is a picture of the Cyberknife System.  The robotic arm moves to hit targeted areas.

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Now for the aftermath.  I vomited for 2 weeks and lost 15 lbs.  I couldn’t eat.  Everything I tried to eat tasted so salty and I would get sick to my stomach instantly.  The medical term for this is Dysgeusia.  I ate chicken nuggets for two weeks.  Now I’m eating fish, rice, cantaloupe, chicken nuggets, cheese on unsalted crackers and cheesecake.  My Javiee is still making me juices and I’m keeping them down.  I do miss his cooking!  Chocolate and red meat are the worst right now.  I never thought I’d see the day that I turn down chocolate!  I still have days when I’m just completely exhausted.  On those days I celebrate going to the grocery store! On the bright side I’m having more good days than bad now!  That’s really something to celebrate!

 

I have to end with a picture of T.J. holding my grandson Jax.  I think this is the first time he held him since the day he was born.  He was completely uninterested in holding him during the slobber and spit up days.  I honestly didn’t think he’d hold him until he was out of diapers.  I was so proud of him!

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Get out and make some memories!

 

 

 

What you should know before an Oophorectomy

One day after completing 15 rounds of whole brain radiation I went in for my Oophorectomy.  It was an out patient surgery.  My surgeon told me the recovery would be easy.  I shouldn’t be in pain and I should feel ok the next day.  Just take it easy and no heavy lifting.

Here’s what he didn’t tell me.  Don’t lay down after surgery.

I went home and went to bed.  I woke up the next morning in horrible pain.  Not abdominal pain, it was shoulder pain.  The gas that had been used to expand my abdomen during surgery had set up in my shoulder.  I should have slept sitting up in a recliner and I would have felt fine the day after surgery.  I wasn’t told that and I took pain meds and cried with shoulder pain for about five days.  It was bad!  If this surgery is in your future remember that and you should have a fast recovery.  I have four tiny scars from the incisions and they healed within two weeks.

Now for what was hiding in each of my ovaries:

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That’s a picture of a tumor that was in my ovary.  There was one in each ovary.  This is the largest one (2.0 cm).  How did a tumor this size not show on my scans?   The good news here is that we had it tested and it’s still er/pr+.  That gives me hope that the new medication I’m on can work on my bones and lung.

I go in for new scans next month to see if Faslodex and Ibrance are working.  I’m a little concerned because my tumor marker keeps getting higher every month.  Then in October I will have a new MRI to see what all the brain radiation has accomplished.  Until then I’m staying positive and living every good day to the fullest.  I’m also sleeping a lot.  I don’t know if it’s still exhaustion from radiation or my new treatment plan but there are days when I just don’t want to get out of bed.

I want to send a big thank you to everyone that has messaged, called and came by to share their love.  I even received  care packages from Australia (I ♥️You Emma!) and from Arizona (I ❤️ You Sally!)  You all make my world brighter!

Get out and make some memories!  💕💕