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/

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On The Heels Of Pinktober….#iamsusan

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On the heels of Pinktober I ask all of my friends living with Metastatic Breast Cancer to support my friend, Kelli Parker (find her on Facebook), in her efforts to raise awareness to the fact that of the billions of dollars raised in the name of ” the cure” less than 7% of non-administrative funds went to metastatic research last year.  Susan G Komen died of Metastatic Breast Cancer. Her sister pledged to find “the cure”. You represent her efforts when you “run for the cure”. Yet only 7% went to metastatic research.  We ask Susan G. Komen to stand by their word. We deserve more.

Raise your voice and bring awareness to metastatic breast cancer.  Share your picture with #iamsusan. It’s time that the Susan G. Komen organization remember their slogan “For The Cure”.

I am Tammy Carmona and #iamsusan

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We Are All Susan.

It Is What It Is!

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We had this sign made for our house recently.  It is what it is.  This seems to be our family motto.  We don’t look at it in a negative way.  To us it means exactly what it says….it is what it is!  I live with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer and all the side effects from treatment.   Now, I also live with treatment induced diabetes.  The key word here is live.  As long as I’m living, there is nothing I can’t handle.  There is nothing that will break me or take away my smile.  I go with the flow and keep on keeping on.  Because it is what it is, there’s no changing the hand I’ve been dealt.

I’ve spent the last few weeks finding my new normal.  I’m feeling good again!  My diabetes is now under control.  I’m taking Levemir, a long acting insulin, every morning.  I’m also taking 8 units of Humalog for every 10 carbs I eat during the day.  My diet is still very strict.  The only day I really use the Humalog is on Sunday, my cheat day.  I really use it on Sunday!  There’s no denying how much I love my cheat day!

T.J will turn 13 the first week in October!  I am absolutely extatic!  I don’t take these milestones for granted!  Speaking of T.J., I have to tell you all that he went to Camp Kesem this summer.  It was such a great experience for him.  Camp Kesem is a summer camp for children that have a parent with cancer.  It’s funded by donations and no child has to pay to go.  It’s a week long camp.  It was so good for T.J. to spend time and bond with children that have to deal with some of the same things he does.  He will go back for a reunion in November and return to camp next summer.  If you need a tax write off or just want to help a child dealing with a parents cancer, donate to Camp Kesem North Carolina.  They are doing wonderful things for children!  Of course I have to show pictures!

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That’s my mom and I the day we picked T.J. up from camp.  The next one is T.J.  He’s bigger than me now!

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I can’t end without including my sweet Javiee.  I can do anything with this man by my side.  He is my rock!

I love you guys!

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I have always loved October.  My little T.J. was born in October.  I was born in October!  I love carving pumpkins and doing all the Halloween decorating with my little guy.  Now here’s a new day to add to my list of days to remember in October.  The entire month of October is painted pink for breast cancer awareness and one day is dedicated to the disease that will one day end my life.  Yes, one day!  I figure I should be grateful and recognize today.  So here’s to National Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day.  May I be one of the lucky ones that lives with this disease for many, many years!