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!💕💕

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!

CA5FF73D-CA8C-4881-8A35-E6123621E17D

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! 💕

 

 

 

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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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……

IMG_0571

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!💕💕

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!

image

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!

cyberknife3

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:

image

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!  💕💕

 

A Dollar for Tammy…My First Guest Post From The Ladies At Tea Time Emporium

We all share a common bond…..our admiration, support, affection and love for Tammy Carmona. Tammy’s personality and relentless positive spirit is infectious. You meet Tammy once and she becomes a part of your heart. Like so many of you, she has been a great inspiration to me and unbeknownst to her, has been my personal support in times of need. As her friends, we can now return the gift of support as Tammy fights her way through “cancerland” (as Tammy refers to it). The past 2 months have been a physical, emotional and financial burden for Tammy and her family.

We are holding a Fun(d) Raiser for “Tammy Carmona & Family” on Sunday, 7/24 at Frog Level Brewery in Waynesville, NC from 2 to 5 pm. For many of you, distance and personal restraints will prevent you from attending, yet would like to support Tammy. Mindful of everyone’s personal circumstances, we are embarking on “A Dollar for Tammy” campaign. In unity there is strength and many single dollar donations are powerful! Your single dollar donation will make our “A Dollar for Tammy” a huge success. Who knows, this strategy could become the saving grace for another woman in Tammy’s position.

Please see the attached flyer for info on making donations at the bottom of the page. Donations can be made at any TD Bank nationwide, by mailing to Tea Time Emporium 746 S. Haywood Street, Waynesville, NC 28786 or online by googling “You Care Tammy Carmona”. Please note that “You Care” site will automatically add a $1 additional donation to your donation. You can opt OUT of the additional dollar donation to “You Care” by clicking on the underlined link and changing that amount to zero dollar.

We invite you to support “Tammy Carmona & Her Family” and return the support that Tammy had provided to so many of us.

Click here to donate via You Caring

With heartfelt thanks and appreciation,

The “Fun(d) Raiser for Tammy Carmona & Family ” Committee

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Now a note from me!

I’ve never been one to complain or even talk about the financial hardships that come with a cancer diagnoses.  I’ve always been a giver and asking for help isn’t something I do.  I’ve spent the last year working with a beautiful soul, Nancy Powell, at Tea Time Emporium in Waynesville, NC.  One of the life lessons she has given me is that receiving is as good as giving.  She told me to not take the joy of giving away from the giver.  For me, this was a new way of looking at things.  I am humbled and so full of gratitude for the love that has been shown to myself and my family over the past two months.  There are no words that can begin to tell you all how much you mean to us and how much better our life is because you all are in it!  We thank you and we love you!💕💕