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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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!💕💕

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!💕💕

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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An Update

I’ve  had so much going on lately!  I feel like I just can’t keep up.  I didn’t even mail Christmas cards this year!

I finish my second cycle of Xeloda tomorrow.  I can’t really complain with the side effects, I’ve dealt with worse.  I’m exhausted and my feet and legs hurt.  It’s like walking on pins and needles.  I’m handling it and praying it works.  After my first cycle of Xeloda (14 days) my tumor markers jumped from 263 to 968.  They’ve never been so high.  I have new blood work next Friday and I’m hoping to see a drop.

I had a tumor removed from my neck two days after Christmas.  My doctor was concerned that it was lymphoma.  It turned out to be breast cancer.  That was good news.  Now I have two new tumors in my neck and one on my jawbone.  The one on my jaw bone has caused numb chin syndrome.  It’s just like it sounds.  My chin and botttom lip are numb.

Last week I woke up vomiting.  It turned to blood and I ended up staying in the hospital for a few days.  They sent me home saying it was diabetes.  The truth was the vomiting is what made my blood glucose rise.  They sent me home and then called and said I wasn’t supposed to be released because my oncologist had ordered scans.  I told them to just schedule me for the scans and I would come in for them. I’m home now and resting.  I have three different scans scheduled for next Monday.  I will get the results of the brain scan on Wednesday and the throat and body MRI results will be Friday.  Until then it’s another wait and see.

I want to thank you all for the love and prayers sent my way.  You all make my life a little brighter!  💕💕

Get out and make some memories!

Everlynn Skye….Our Newest Addition!

I remember saying years ago that I wanted to live to be a Glamma.  Well, God is good! This week I became a Glamma for the second time.  I can’t even begin to tell you how blessed I feel.  She is perfect!  Here come pictures…

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This is me holding her for the first time.

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This is her big brother (my precious little Jaxon) giving her kisses.

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This is Mom and Dad before delivery.

I’m so proud of these two!  They have a beautiful little family and Kori couldn’t have picked a better mommy for my grand babies.

Kori,  Take care of them, love them and do whatever it takes to keep your family together.💕

You know life isn’t always easy.  We all have our issues, our good times and our bad times.  In the end all that really matters is family.

I love you guys!  Thanks for sharing my joy with me!!

Get out and make some memories!!💕💕

 

Thank You Healthline!

meta-breastcancer

Today I was notified that my blog was chosen as one of Healthline’s Best Metastatic Breast Cancer Blogs of 2017.  Thank you to Healthline for recognizing my blog and The Metastatic Breast Cancer Community.

Find other metastatic breast cancer blogs here:  http://www.healthline.com/health/breast-cancer/metastatic-breast-cancer-blogs

 

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!

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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.

cyber-knife

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!