Rest and Recovery

I have to update you all because I was in really bad shape in my last post. That was the closest to death I’ve ever been. The chemo therapy elevated my calcium levels so much that it almost killed me.

I came from the hospital and had a home care nurse visit twice a week and a physical therapist visit weekly. My vitals slowly became better and my strength started coming back. I can walk again! I’m not back to where I was. I can walk around inside my house. I can get out of the car and make it inside the grocery store to the wheelchair. Oh, the joy of going to the grocery store again for the first time! I can’t drive and still have to take a lot of breaks. I can’t do steps, but I do see progress!

I made it outside on Halloween and sat around a bonfire with my family! Memories💕. I will include pictures.

I see my oncologist again on the 28th of this month. Until then my plan is to rest and try to recover more.

Thank you all for the love and prayers. They mean so much to me!

Enjoy the holiday season and make lots of wonderful memories!💕

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Hypercalcemia and Leptomeningeal Mets…..An Update

Hypercalcemia is a condition where the body cannot regulate excess calcium levels in the blood. The symptoms include thirst, frequent urination, confusion and other cognition problems, weakness and fatigue, reduced appetite, vomiting and nausea, irregular heartbeat, cardiac arrest, and coma.  The breaking down of bone mets can result in excess blood calcium and a diagnosis of hypercalcemia. This is what happened to me.   Paclitaxil worked well on my brain.  It also worked too well on my bone mets.   My blood work was always checked before chemo.  Once the bone mets started breaking down my calcium levels rose quickly. I felt nothing.  I didn’t even know I had vomited or urinated.  I was just out of my mind.  Watch those calcium levels!

My husband found me in the bed laying in vomit and urine.  I was purple, limp and completely unaware of what was going on.  He called my mama and 911.  I was taken to the hospital in an ambulance and wouldn’t have made it there alive any other way.  I had no cognitive thinking, I honestly thought I had been kidnapped.  When I recovered and looked at my phone. I had sent text messages to friends saying I was kidnapped and to get my son to help me.  I cussed out and fired doctors.  I was mean!  If you know me, you know I’m not that way.  My sister from North Dakota, my cousin, Teressa, and my grandbabies came to visit me in the hospital.  I didn’t even remember that.  I saw their pictures and still don’t remember them being at the hospital.  I was as close to death as I’ve ever been.  Things can change so quickly!  Speaking of changes, this is what’s going on now…..

I have leptomeningeal metastases.  It occurs when breast cancer spreads to the meninges, which are layers of tissue that cover the brain and the spinal cord. Intrathecal chemotherapy is an option.  It’s  delivered directly into the cerebrospinal fluid through an Ommaya reservoir, which is like a port inserted in the head, under the scalp. Sounds a little scary!

There are a lot of new accessories in my house and they are not pretty ones!

I now have a bedside toilet, a raised seat on my bathroom toilet, a rolliator (my fav!) a wheelchair and a bath bench is now in my bathtub.  My legs and my arms are so weak!  It’s hard to walk and hard to pull myself up.  I almost fell into my bathtub when I tried to get off the bathroom toilet alone.  My mama caught me.  The raised toilet seat is a blessing.  My physical therapist found it and brought it to me as a early birthday gift.  That brings me to where I am today.  They talked about home health care and hospice.  I chose to have home health care and physical therapy.  They both come by twice a week.  The nurse checks my vitals, they are looking better.  My physical therapist has me doing exercises.  I think it’s making my legs stronger.  I will see my oncologist in 6 weeks and we will see what’s next.

I’ve lived with metastatic breast cancer for almost 6 years.  I was initially told I would live close to a year. God has been good to me.  I have been blessed with grandbabies and a million new memories.  My prayer has always been to see my son graduate from high school.  He has 2 more years.  This is still my prayer.

Don’t take tomorrow for granted.  Smile, make someone smile, spread some love and spend time with your loved ones.  Those are the things that matter in the end.  You never know what life has waiting for you!  Make the best of it and get out and make some memories!💕💕

I love you all so very much!  Thank you for all your love and prayers!

October is breast cancer awareness month.  Know when you make a donation it’s actually making a difference.  METAvivor uses every dollar raised to fund metastatic breast cancer research.  Know where your money is going and who’s pockets it’s filling.  Give to METAvivor.  Support Metastatic Breast Cancer Research.

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http://www.metavivor.org/take-action/donate/

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!💕💕

New Scans

Copy of RADRPT 07-13-2018-RADRPT 07-13-2018-1

There are two scans there, just click the links.

New scans and another wait and see.  Friday there will be a meeting on my body scans.  Do we add to Xeloda or make a total change?  That is the question.  Tomorrow I will see my radiology oncologist and will either start or make a plan to start radiation on my right arm/shoulder.  I have been in so much pain the past few days.  Even my pain meds don’t help.  I got a stronger pain medication today.  I don’t like it, it makes me nauseous, but it takes the pain away.  That’s where I’m at until tomorrow.  I’ll let you all know when I have a definite plan.

 

Sending love to you all!  Get out and make some memories!💕

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!💕💕💕💕

Rising Tumor Markers

I have lived with metastatic breast cancer for five years. Throughout this time my CA 27.2 marker has been an accurate indication of what’s going on inside my body. It’s steadily been on the rise. This month it jumped another 170 units. My hope is that cancer is dying and not growing while I’m on Xeloda. I have a new brain MRI and a chest and abdomen CT scheduled in two weeks. If the tumor in my brain is bigger my only option seems to be surgery. I’ve decided to have the surgery if necessary. But first, I’m going to the beach for a week and I’m going to see Lynyrd Skynyrd the first weekend in September! I’m going to enjoy summer, make some memories and not stress the outcome of my scans. If I have to deal with it I’ll do it in mid September.

Here are my recent tumor markers. They seem to be rising since I started Xeloda.

CA 27.2

1311.8 units/mL
Date:
Jun 11, 2018

1141.6 units/mL
Date:
May 11, 2018

1084.6 units/mL
Date:
Mar 16, 201

1037.9 units/mL
Date:
Feb 16, 2018

1057.4 units/mL
Date:
Jan 26, 2018

968.0 units/mL
Date:
Jan 04, 2018 n

263.3 units/mL
Date:
Nov 24, 2017

268.7 units/mL
Date:
Oct 26, 2017

216.2 units/mL
Date:
Aug 11, 2017

232.8 units/mL
Date:
Jul 27, 2017

199.3 units/mL
Date:
Jun 28, 2017

160.1 units/mL
Date:
Jun 01, 2017

Despite all this cancer chaos, I’m still alive, so I’m still smiling. My Javiee and I celebrated another anniversary on June 5th. Here’s a picture….We went to The Conundrum escape room in Asheville. If you haven’t been to an escape room, you should definitely go! We didn’t escape but we had a blast! Here’s our picture…..My precious granddaughter, Evie, had her first birthday! You know a picture is coming!

Thank you all for your love and prayers! I’m sending love to each and everyone of you! It’s summer! Get out and make some memories!💕💕

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! 💕

 

 

 

Another Weekend In The Hospital

Let me start by telling you I told my Javiee last week that I was craving mashed potatoes and meatloaf. I never eat that! You’ll understand why I told you this soon. On with my story. I received a call from my cancer center telling me they were now doing special chemo drugs and they wanted to send me my Xeloda instead of it being shipped from out of state. I agreed, it sounded like a good idea. I started my 4th cycle of Xeloda last Sunday. Monday I started feeling weak and it worsened as the week went on. I figured it was my 4th cycle and it would get harder with each cycle. Thursday I received a call from my cancer center saying I had an appointment Friday. I said no, it’s next Friday. She looked and said your right, I don’t know what happened but your also scheduled for this Friday. I decided to keep the appointment and cancel the next one. My mom picked me up and drove me to the cancer center. I was too exhausted to drive. By the time I made it from the car to the door of the cancer center I was out of breath and couldn’t walk. My mom wheeled me up in a wheel chair. They checked my heart rate and sent me straight to the hospital. My room was waiting for me when I got there and my heart rate was over double what it should have been. I went straight to CT. They were looking for a pulmonary embolism or a clot in my lung. There was nothing. When I got back from CT my hospital food tray was waiting for me. It was meatloaf and mashed potatoes. ( I was right where I was meant to be). They stabilized my heart and told me to stop taking Xeloda. I went to my purse and my Xeloda pills were scattered in my purse and the bottle was closed tightly. Not taking those! I’m home now and feeling like I should be. My heart is stable and I will go back on Xeloda, but from the original pharmacy. There was something going on with the pills from the cancer center. We’ll find out more about that this week.

I give God the glory…..

The unexplained appointment ( I was told if I had waited another week I would have had a heart attack)

The pink Xeloda pills in the bottom of my purse and don’t forget…….

The meatloaf and mash potatoes….yes meatloaf and mash potatoes!

God is Good!

Now for some pictures from the weeks before this mess!

At the Circus…making memories 💕💕

T.J’s now playing tennis……

Good food and beautiful faces….

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You never know what tomorrow holds!  Get out and make some memories!  I love you all!!  💕💕

 

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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