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!💕

Advertisements

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.

0F7517E2-1E2C-4F97-A34A-526D086D7B61

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!💕💕

Paclitaxel (Taxol). Back where I started.

I’m back in the chemo chair. I’m revisiting Taxol, the first chemo regimen I ever did. It worked the first time so I’m hoping since it’s been 5 years it will work again. I’m doing three rounds at once every three weeks instead of one round every week for three weeks. I was told the side effects would be harder but liked the idea of only going once every three weeks. I’ve had and I’ve recovered from round one. I actually like doing three rounds at once. I was exhausted for eight days. I even fell when I stood up to get out of bed because my legs didn’t hold me. It left me with a nasty rash that cleared in a few days. My port has been removed because it had cracked. We went into a vein in my arm which was a mistake. It burnt my arm and my fingers. I’m having a new port surgery before my next round. I had a little nausea and the skin is peeling off every one of my fingers, top and bottom. It’s not painful, just ugly. I can deal with these side effects. I’m just praying it works! Here are some pictures of what round one left me with……

I should be having my next treatment this Tuesday. I’m putting it off for a week because my aunt and uncle gifted me with Lynyrd Skynyrd tickets for next weekend! I grew up with that band! Not missing that!

54fc0833-44dd-4d3b-8633-06ac4a54f1bd

Thank you Aunt Cindy and Uncle John! You couldn’t have ever given me a better gift!❤️

Last week my sweet mama drove me almost six hours to see Kris. We talked and had an 8 hour food fest. She’s doing so good! It made my heart so happy to see her! We had pictures made. They will be here soon and I’ll share them then! I love you mama! Thanks for always being there!

Here’s the cherry on top! T.J. started 10th grade! He was in 4th grade when I was diagnosed. I cried like a baby once he left for school. I’m so blessed!

img_3180.jpg

I love you all! Thank you for the love and prayers! Thank you for sharing my life with me!❤️. Now get out and make some memories!💕💕💕

Sharing My Family Vacation!!!!!!!! …………………………………………………………………………………… We just spent a week in North Myrtle Beach as a family. It was the best trip ever! 
 I was worried if we would even make it there. My arm was in severe pain and I was doing radiation treatments until the morning we left. I was in radiation at 8 am and we were on the road soon after. Thank you mama for driving! My oncologist prescribed me steroids and morphine to keep the pain flare ups away, it worked! Thank you Dr. Smathers! You know I adore you! The afternoon before we left I was going to let T.J. drive me around town ( He got his learners permit!!). My car wouldn’t start. I was devastated because it was after hours and no shop was open. A few years ago we went on a Little Pink Houses of Hope beach trip. I ended up in the hospital with brain mets. We planned a trip to the beach at Bear Island the next year and I ended up in the hospital with treatment induced diabetes. Was it going to be my car this time? I asked God “Why can my family not have a beach trip without something happening.” My Javiee happened to be at Auto Zone when I called to tell him the car wouldn’t start. He met a mechanic that said he would come to my house and look at it. He came out and put a new starter on my car and didn’t even try to overcharge us! Change of perspective……”Thank you God for letting this happen before we left on our trip and for putting that mechanic there”. I knew this trip was blessed! Here are some pictures……
.

.

E7A33656-EF3B-4C96-9CD8-EB7B87AAC954

That’s my Javiee and I with our grand babies. Then my son, Kori, his wife, Emily, and our grand babies. Then my sweet mom and I. The next one is my oldest son, his wife, me, my mom and my youngest son.

 

A478F027-90F3-4418-88B0-8A5E07291B61

My grandbabies at the beach. My mom and I with T.J. at one of his favorite places. That’s me. Then my daughter in law, Emily, my mom and me again.

2ABA7713-C18D-4FB0-AFAF-56272139A3A2

That’s my mom and I, My Javiee and I, My youngest, T.J and I, My oldest, Kori, and I. Then Kori and I with my grandbabies.

FB07C6BF-3676-4808-A594-873CACD39929

My grandbabies! I love being a glamma! That’s Jax and I at the pool. Then my favorite! This little lady has sas!

2B18E4A0-412F-408C-9D4F-D4A06C764748

My mom and granddaughter. My daughter in law, Emily. My oldest and youngest boys. My grandbabies at the beach. My mom and I in a shark head. My guys going on a helicopter ride

6C799E2B-CEB7-4C8D-A5D4-E7AD2CAAE138

That’s my Javiee and I on date night in a helicopter. I love this man!

3C216DE6-935E-485D-8732-510AE43F76ED

For our last laugh we stopped at Dicks. The food was horrible but it was so much fun to laugh at each other.

I love you all💕 Thank you for your love and support!   Summers almost over!  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!💕💕💕💕

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…

View original post 219 more words

Hello April!

I’m happy to say hello to a new month!  March was probably the craziest, busiest, most stressful and most rewarding month I’ve ever had!

I flew to Vegas and filmed a television show (and signed a confidentuality agreement). So there are no details about the show that I can share with you. Sorry!  I would love to because I think it’s going to be amazing! You guys will just have to wait.  It was a fantastatic experience and I met the most wonderful people while doing this project.  My Javiee bought me a new wig for the filming and there was a professional makeup artist there so I felt beautiful…..here’s a picture!

image

I have to include a picture with my Vegas partner in crime, Marilyn.  Ok, so no real crimes were committed, but we had a fabulous time together!  Thank you Marilyn for taking this journey with me!

image

Two days before I left for Vegas my husband was on a plane to Mexico.  This was the stressful part of my month.  I share my family and my life with cancer with you all.  There are somethings that I haven’t shared with many people.  One of these things is that my sweet Javiee was illegal.  I mean walked across the desert for 6 days illegal.  He told me before we even started dating.  Honestly, I didn’t care.  I knew it wouldn’t be easy.  I also knew it would be worth it.  It’s been eleven years and I wouldn’t trade a minute of our time together for the biggest house or the fanciest car on the block. He has loved me during the good times and held me up during the bad.  He has worked so hard to help T.J. become the confident young man that he is now.  He is a grandpa to Jax and will always be there for Kori and Kristen.  We are all blessed to have him in our lives.

Sending him to Mexico for his immigration appointment was so stressful.  If denied he was facing a ten year bar from returning. Talk about nerve wracking!  He was approved and is home now ( the process took four years). He’s legal, has a social security number and a drivers license.  Talk about life changing.  Freedom (don’t take yours for granted)!  I have watched my Javiee be taken advantage of SO many times because he was illegal.  That won’t happen anymore.  Now is his time to get what he deserves and I’m so happy for him! And us!

image

Here’s the sad part.  If I wasn’t diagnosed with cancer he would have never been approved.  He was approved because of a hardship waiver.  I know most people think you can apply and go through a process and become legal if your married to a citizen.  It doesn’t work that way if your here from Mexico illegally.  Now if your a citizen and want a Russian bride you can just go apply for a K-1 Visa and that’s that.  Ridiculous if you ask me.

image

Here’s one of the first pictures that Javiee, T.J and I had taken together.  Javiee has always been there for us and I can’t imagine life without him.  We are so blessed to have him home!💕💕

The month ended with a baby shower, a week with our precious little Jaxon, a new car (new to us) and an all day wrestling tournament with T.J.

A few pictures from the baby shower.  Kori and Emily will be having a little girl soon!

imagePictures from our week with Jax.  He is the sweetest. I love spending time with him and I love hearing him say glamma!

imageHere’s a picture from the wrestling tournament.  It was T.J.’s first time wrestling Greco Roman and freestyle.  He came home happy with two third place medals.

I have to thank two beautiful souls before I end this post Linda and Windy.  Remember I told you my doctor wanted me to stop driving our 5 speed because it was aggravating the pain in my hip and spine.  We had planned on buying a new car when Javiee came back from Mexico and went back to work.  The immigration process took what money we had saved so we decided to wait until we could save money for a decent used car.  Having a car payment is not a good thing when you have cancer because you never know what medicines or treatments won’t be covered by your insurance the next month.  I lost the last new car we had because I had to pay for my first surgery and was out of work.  I thought it was better to just keep driving the 5 speed for a while.  Well, thanks to Linda and Windy I’m no longer driving that 5 speed.  They gave us a car this week.  How do you say thank you to such a kind gesture?  They are special ladies and we are so thankful to them.  We love you Linda and Windy!  I wish I had a picture of them to share!

What a month, right?  Six months ago I was doing WBR and a new chemo.  I was so sick.  It was the first time I had ever felt like it may be the end of my life here.  I remember a consult with my doctor about changing my meds.  My mom was there and she knew how sick I was.  She asked me if I really wanted to start a new medication and add more to what I was already dealing with.  I would do anything for more time/memories with my family.  I did start the new treatment regimen and I’m so glad I did.  One new medicine can change so much.  Look at the month I’ve had!  I would have missed this!  Donating to research is so important to those of us living with Metastatic Breast Cancer.  Please support Metavivor.  100% of your donation will go to research.

I Love you guys!  Thank you for sharing my life with me.  I know there will be the random person that comes across my blog with opinions about immigration and such.  It’s fine, your comments are welcome.  One thing that cancer has changed in me is that I don’t mind criticism.  I don’t need approval.  Think about your life.  Wouldn’t it be nice to be free, not to worry about what everyone else thinks.  Life is short do what makes you happy and make those memories!!!  Sending love to you all!

Please Help Those Of Us Living With Metastatic Cancer

If all of my followers will take a moment and read and sign this petition we will have enough signatures!  Please take a moment of your time and sign!  Races won’t save our lives but research will!  Click the link below to show your support!  Thank you in advance!  You all make my heart smile!  All my love…

Please read and sign!  (this is the link)

WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO:

Add metastasis research as a specific goal of the Cancer Moonshot

90% of all cancer deaths in the United States are caused by metastasis–the spread of cancer through the body. But the current Cancer Moonshot goals don’t include research into the causes of and treatment of metastasis. Metastatic research has been chronically underfunded, resulting in a continuing lack of understanding of metastasis and how to stop it. Although many of the moonshot goals may help metastatic patients, understanding the metastatic process is vital to saving lives and turning terminal cancers into chronic diseases. Making metastasis research a specific goal of the Moonshot will bring important attention and resources to bear on solving the mysteries of metastasis and providing better treatments for metastatic patients.