Have you been counted? Go to mbcproject.org and help researchers help those of us living with metastatic breast cancer.
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
We Are All Susan.
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!
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!
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!
Now you all know my scans were good! Something to celebrate! I love road trips, so time to hit the beach!
We were packed and ready to go. Usually I would be so happy and excited to leave for a road trip. I was excited but I felt so bad! I was thirsty, so thirsty! I drank gallons of water that day and I felt so irritable. Even after napping half the day I was so tired. You know me, nothing is going to get in the way of family time! So off we went. We stopped for water 10 minutes down the road. I gulped it down and was still so thirsty. T.J. has type 1 diabetes and always has his supplies with him. He insisted that I let him check my blood glucose. I did and it was so high it wouldn’t register on his meter. He then insisted we find a hospital. He said I don’t care about the beach, I care about you. So we stopped at the next emergency room. My blood glucose was 627. They gave me insulin, fluids and put me on Metformin. Then they sent me on my merry way saying enjoy the beach and follow up with your doctor when you get back. We drove two more hours and I realized I was feeling bad again. We turned around and ended up at our local emergency room. They admitted me and started insulin, fluids and other tests. After two nights there I got the diagnosis, Treatment Induced Diabetes. My pancreas was no longer working and I was lucky to have not ended up in a coma. I was in a state of keto acidosis.
I was seriously confused. My diet is so good. No sugar and everything that is supposed to be good for me. This isn’t about my diet. This was caused by the steroids I was given during chemo. I couldn’t believe the doctor told me the truth. These are the things they don’t want to talk about. I was given a long list of side effects and treatment induced diabetes was not one of them. Still, if I were told about it I would have made the same treatment decisions. I mean what other choice did I have?
I’m home now on insulin. My blood glucose is still all over the place. I will see a specialist soon and get it under control. I still feel really weak and sick to my stomach. This should pass when we get my insulin amounts perfected. I’m so frustrated that we didn’t make it to the beach, but I’m grateful to be able to plan another trip later. I’m also so blessed to have my little T.J. as my at home doctor. 😀 I can’t begin to tell you how special he is!
Here are the biggest side effects of treatment induced diabetes (a.k.a steriod diabetes):
Increased need to urinate
Tiredness and lethargy
I had all of these. The blurred vision was the last symptom I had. The increased thirst was the first symptom I had. I was thirsty for a week before the other symptoms started. If your feeling this way, don’t ignore it.
This is what the pamphlet my doctor gave me says:
Steroid diabetes is listed here as a different type although it is sometimes classed with type 1 and at other times with type 2.
The confusion arises because it is not an autoimmune disease and yet it can sometimes have total beta cell failure.
It comes about from the taking of steroids over a long period of time. Not the steroids used by weight lifters but those often medically prescribed, the corticosteroids or glucocorticoids, such as hydrocortisone, prednisone or dexamethasone.
They are used to suppress inflammation in diseases such as arthritis, cancer, to treat asthma, immune system diseases like Lupus or pemphigus (a rare autoimmune blistering diseases of the skin) down to skin problems like eczema and poison ivy and neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
Another area where steroid induced diabetes is commonly seen is in patients who have had kidney transplants. The amount of steroids necessary to suppress the immune system and lessen the chance of organ rejection can lead to diabetes.
How does the taking of steroids cause diabetes?
Corticosteroids counteract the effect of insulin, which makes your pancreas work harder pumping out more insulin to keep your blood sugar normal. Normal pancreases do this quite happily but if you pancreas works a bit ‘on the edge’ so to speak, it cannot cope with this demand for extra insulin and your blood sugars go up. In other words your pancreas is okay normally but cannot handle the stress of the steroids.
Not all people treated with steroids will get steroid – induced diabetes.
I had 8 months of chemo. That’s a lot of steroids. He said it had slowly shut down my pancreas. My A1C was 10.6. (5.6 is what it should be) that means this had been going on for a while. I was diagnosed at a critical stage. I guess the lesson here is to listen to your body. I thought I was good because my scans were good. That was not the case!
So what now? Rest!! I’m exhausted! My muscles are still so sore from dehydration. That should go away soon. Then it’s learning a new normal. I should be good at that by now! Then, road trip!! T.J. goes to camp Monday. So I’m finding a nice hotel room near camp and we are hanging out by the pool Sunday! You know it’s the memories that will outlive us! As bad as this is, it could always be worse! I’m thankful to be here and I will be back to myself soon!
I love you all! Thanks for always being there for me!! You all make my world brighter!
I have to end with pictures!
That’s Dr. T.J. He gave me his jacket because I was freezing. Check out those chemo curls!
Family selfie while waiting in the ER. These two kept that smile on my face! ❤️
Another hospital gown, I should start a collection!
My mindset lately has been I’m not in chemo so let’s forget this cancer business! I’m feeling so good! I don’t even think about cancer until it’s Zoladex day. We’re still watching a small spot on my left kidney. I have scans at the end of the month. My tumor marker is sitting at 21.5. I’m not worried about my upcoming scans. I will not put that negative vibe into my universe! I feel good. I am good! I’m so grateful to be able to enjoy this summer with my family! So here’s what I’ve been up to!
Spending time with this little blessing! I love being a grandma! You all know there was a time when I didn’t think I’d ever live to be a grandma! I am so in love with this little man! He is the greatest gift!
Tubing in Helen, Georgia with Kori and Emily! I was the babysitter!! So much more fun for me!
Tubing in Cherokee N.C. with my guys!
Dollywood! I walked around all day with only two pain pills! Those of you living with stage IV know what a big deal that is!
As as I write this it’s Saturday night. Sunday is our family adventure day. Who knows what adventure lies ahead for tomorrow! I’m just excited for another day of feeling good and spending time with my guys! Get out and make some memories! They are the only thing that will outlive you!
Please send your prayers to one of the strongest and most inspirational women I know. https://saraelhassani.wordpress.com/ She’s dealing with a lot right now and she is as graceful as ever! All my love to you guys!!! Your love and prayers make my life a thousand times brighter!
I’ve been a real slacker lately when it comes to my blog. My apologies to all of you that follow it. Until recently my life has been pretty mellow. I’ve been struggling with bone pain from the cold and Femara. My daily number of pain pills went from 3 to 6 or 7 a day depending on the weather. That little pill does a number on my joints! Being in constant pain is mentally draining. There are days when I have to stop and remind myself to just be happy that I’m alive and here with my family. That’s all that really matters! I’ve noticed as the weather gets warmer my bone pain gets better. Maybe I should move to the beach!
I had a PET Scan a few months ago. It came back good. Recently I’ve started having pain in my hip and under my left rib. The rib pain is my biggest concern. It’s progressively getting worse. My pain meds only dull the pain, it’s constant. I had a bone scan that showed mets in those areas. My oncologist referred me to a radiologist. He said I was looking at radiation 5 days a week for a couple of weeks. I had an appointment with the radiologist. She looked at my scans and decided to send me for a CT this Wednesday. She said the bone mets are pretty un impressive and that she needs to know what we’re really looking at before she treats me. Scary! I told my Javiee before the bone scan I really can’t tell if the pain is my rib or under my rib. So that’s where I’m at right now. More scans Wednesday and results Friday. I’ve said it before, waiting is the hardest part!
On the bright side..
T.J. has adjusted to life in North Carolina so well! I know I told y’all he was student of the month his first month at his new school. Well he was also chosen to be in the gifted program and he participated in the Science Olympiad this past month. I’m so proud of him!
My oldest Kori and his other half Emily are making me a grandma next month! I’m so excited to meet this grandson of mine! A few years ago I didn’t think I’d live to see a grand baby! I am blessed!
Kristen is turning 21 next month! I’m so thankful to be here for that!
My Javiee is still the most precious man in the world. He’s still making me juices and keeping my diet interesting. Quinoa meatballs were his latest creation and they were yummy! I’m so lucky to have him by my side. I can’t imagine dealing with all of this without him. He’s my rock. He keeps a smile on my face even on the worst days!
I hope you all are good! I love you all! Now I’ll end with some pics!
That’s T.J. He’s not so little anymore!
Thats my snow letter from my Javiee. Yes, he calls me punk! 🙂 It’s a term of endearment!
That’s my Javiee and I on a weekend getaway to Gatlinburg, TN.
I couldn’t leave out the quinoa meatballs! 🙂
My Scans came black clean! I’m still dancing with NED! I can’t even begin to tell you how blessed I feel today! I was seriously worried! I am every time I have scans. Zoladex and Femara seem to be working for me. My tumor markers are down to 20. Now I’m going to forget about all this cancer business and enjoy the holidays with my family. They seem so much more precious these days. I know life is busy, but stop and take time to enjoy it. Memories last forever.
That’s a picture of my tree! Tis the season at my house. Happy Holidays! I love you all!
I know it’s been a month! Pinktober has passed! A fellow blogger was doing a special awareness piece for October and I thought I would join in. All you needed to do was video yourself reading a piece she had written. I started reading it and hit the 2-5 yr statistic for stage IV women. Then I realized I will hit my two year mark soon. I couldn’t finish the video. That realization hit me hard. I never think of myself as a statistic. I never really even think of myself as living with stage IV breast cancer. I try not to think about it. I take my pain meds and enjoy life. The last Friday of every month I have a visit with my oncologist. That’s when I visit Cancerland. After each appointment I treat myself to a new restaurant and forget it until the next month. This past month I feel like I’ve lived in Cancerland! That 2-5 yr statistic has been lingering in my head. I’ve been in a funk! I have new pain in my rib and of course I can’t help but wonder if it’s back. I’m scheduled for new scans on the 17th. Having that to think about doesn’t help! I’ve put off getting my tattoo until after scans. I don’t want anything to interfere with those results! I need some good news to ease my thoughts! Until then, it’s Javiee to the rescue! We have decided to spend our weekend decorating for Christmas! I know it’s early! We did this last year because I was suffering from scanxiety and it helped so much! Here’s to getting out of that October funk!
Aside from crazy thoughts of my impending death, life is good in North Carolina! The leaves have changed to red, yellow and orange. It’s beautiful here! We explore a new place every Sunday (family day!). Here’s a picture from last Sunday.
I love you guys and I hope your all doing well! I’m going to catch up with your blogs this weekend.
I’m serious about the title! Lately, I can’t accomplish anything without my pain meds. My hands are still numb 60% of the time. They are so swollen that I can no longer wear my rings. I didn’t think it was possible, but my body aches have also increased. Forget ninety! I feel like I’m one hundred! I’m honestly not sure what’s worse, the cancer or the treatment. Having said that, I must tell you my tumor marker is now down to 58! Fantastic news! It was over 300 before I started Zoladex and Femara. So for now I’m going to stick to my treatment plan and keep my Vicodin prescription filled.
That’s my Javiee and I. We celebrated our one year anniversary this month. We’ve been together for close to seven years. We didn’t actually get married until last June. I have to share a picture with you from that day because I was bald. Now I have a little hair. Brown hair!
No matter how many pain pills I have to take. I’m still smiling and living life! You never know what’s in store for you tomorrow, so enjoy today!
I Love you guys!
I’ve been on Zoladex and Femara for almost three months now. I’m already a pro when it comes to the Zoladex injection. I ice my stomach to the point of numbness and I don’t feel a thing. I’m finally over the menopausal craziness that came with Zoladex. Now I’m left with the side effects. I’m honestly not sure if the side effects are from Zoladex or Femara. I thought my hot flashes were bad when I was on Tamoxifen. Now they are just ridiculous! One minute I’m fine and the next minute sweat is dripping from my forehead. It’s like a furnace has been lit inside me. I take a shower and 15 minutes later I’m sweating again.
When I was on tamoxifen I would take a pain pill at night to ease my leg cramps. Now I take one the minute I get out of bed. I feel like a ninety year old woman. My back and legs are unbearably stiff. That’s the only way I know to describe it. I’m taking pain meds four times a day just to do my normal activities. On top of that I’m waking up in the middle of the night now with numb hands and feet. Numb to the point of painful!
So that’s the down side of my life with Zoladex and Femara. Here’s the bright side, my tumor markers are dropping! They had climbed to over 300. Last week they were down to 100! I’ll test again next Friday. I guess you just have to take the good with the bad. Whatever works! I have a lot to live for!
This week I’m going to get my tail in gear and do a post on my reconstruction. I just love being able to wear tank tops again! A big thank you to Dr. Swelstad at ReGenesis Plastic Surgery. Love him!
I have to end by saying I’m so proud of my little T.J. He’s now in The National Honor Society. He’ll be starting middle school this year! I want to cry just thinking about it! Last year I didn’t think I’d be here to see him start middle school. It’s a big deal for me!