Thursday, February 3, 2011
Last month, Mom and I went on a cruise to the Eastern Caribbean. We had the best time a mother and daughter could ever have. We laughed, cried, ate way too much, got pampered, swaggered down the halls of the ship for miles, got some sand between our toes, and the best thing... made some wonderful memories.
Recently, we both got webcams and are having fun visually checking in with each other. My brother Dale, is getting deployed to Afghanistan at the end of the month. We're all hoping to keep in touch with him as often as we can while he is gone. God's speed home Dale.
I'm doing good, my hip is slowly getting better, been a lot of work to get this far. Tendons and bursitis sure are slow to heal. At the end of the month I have my quarterly cancer check up. I feel like I got it beat, but still want to be sure.
I'm going to be taking this page down soon, it's a new year and I am moving forward, but will forever remember the wonderful people and support I got this past year. Have the best year ever everybody and God Bless.
Friday, December 3, 2010
Yesterday, I officially became a One Year Cancer Survivor! This week, I had another three month check up and all my labs looked good. My right hip is still very painful though. I have a walker for at home, and walking sticks for long distances. My orthopedic surgeon said because of the chemo my tendon tears and bursa could take years to heal (bummer). Anyway, I'm trying real hard to get better - this is just another one of those pot holes in the road. Wow, I sure am on a bumpy one!
I'm still making music - I even subbed in a former band of mine the Barefoot Winos when I went home for Thanksgiving. I am looking forward to some down time after the first of the year, and a vacation. My Mom and I are going on our first ever trip alone together. Her oncologist gave her the okay to go between chemo treatments, so we're going on our "Cancer Cruise" to the Caribbean for a week. I can't wait! Happy Holidays to all!!
Thursday, September 2, 2010
I had my three month check up on Monday and my lab tests looked good, except for an elevated gallbladder number that we're going to watch. Last month, I needed an X-ray because I fell and hurt my hip (honest, I only had one beer!). It was an interesting doctor visit - I found out that the chemo really thinned out my bones so I will need to have a bone density test done. The X-ray also showed a lot of staples in my abdomen - the doctor joked (?!) that several of them are keeping my bladder from falling out!! Wow, now I'm really nervous when I sneeze!!
Summer is almost over, but we're pretty busy for the next couple months. Even though I still hurt, it was good therapy for me to get back playing again. I'm planning on having many more years to go - God willing!!
Monday, July 19, 2010
I definitely got my life back, and just in time for a hectic summer. Work, band and an endless amount of outdoor projects are in full force. I miss my family, hopefully things will slow down in the fall enough so I can go home and recharge.
Cancer was a heck of a battle, but it wasn't the worst thing I have ever had to deal with. A few years ago something happened to me that rocked my world so deeply that everything that has hit me since has been bearable, even cancer. I have gone through the fire and come out the other side still alive, but changed. There is a saying, "in the difficult are the friendly forces, the hands that work on us. They want to make us strong." I believe it, I feel those forces, they are making me strong.
My Mom who has been fighting ovarian cancer since 2005, this month started her sixth session of chemo with a new drug GEMZAR. I pray this will be the one that finally kills all of her cancer cells. With the left over benefit money, I am taking my Mom and I on a "Cancer Cruise" in January - I wish my kid sister (and best friend) was still alive to join us, that would make it absolutely perfect. R.I.P. Jean Klossner Mobley (1961-2005). I will always love and miss you.
Thursday, June 17, 2010
"May God give you... for every storm a rainbow, for every tear a smile, for every care a promise and a blessing in each trial. For every problem life sends, a faithful friend to share, for every sigh a sweet song and an answer for each prayer." - Irish Blessing
Deb Fest (the name makes me chuckle), was held last Sunday at Poo's on the Pond about four miles North of our house. It was a real festival, complete with big tents, lots of bands, T-shirts, wristbands, port-a-potties, a hog roast, etc, etc. We've played a lot of benefits over the years, but we've never seen anything like this. Wow! Thank you so much to everyone involved!! We feel so blessed to have so many people in our lives that have supported us. <3
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Home Sweet Home. There's no place like home. Home is where the heart is, etc. All those thoughts of home have been pouring into my head the past several days and it feels so good. It was those comforting thoughts of home, family, friends, God, that got me through all my cancer treatments and surgeries this past winter.
My benefit on Sunday, at Buster's in Mankato was definitely a homecoming. I saw people who have known me my whole life; people who remember when I first started playing guitar; people who knew me in high school; people who remember when I joined my first band; people I knew in college; people that I have had the honor of sharing the stage with over the years; people that have come to see me play over the decades. Everyone of them have helped me get this far and have made me strong. Lots of credit has to go to my Mom, I've said it before, she is my inspiration - she has been through a lot in her life and she is still positive and still smiling. I am so proud of her. Thanks again to everybody who made my homecoming so special. I am so blessed!
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
So far I have played four gigs, three with Blue Max and one with Big Daddy Cade. Other than some pain in my fingers, pec muscles and abs - I feel good. My hair is even starting to grow. It's like it rained and the grass grew. It's awesome how my feeling better, my hair growing back and me playing bass again have all tied together - and it's SPRING! I couldn't be happier! :-)
Speaking of awesome, there were a lot of great musicians, friends and fans at my Wausau benefit on Sunday at Malarkey's Pub. A good time was had by all! Howard and I have been playing in the Wausau area for over twenty years, beginning at the legendary Scott Street Steak & Pub way back in 1988. That started our central Wisconsin blues family. It's humbling that we have made an impact over the years on their blues scene. Thanks to all of you that took the time to support us - we'll never forget it. <3
Monday, April 26, 2010
This past weekend proved to me that I have my life back. I played my first gig in five months Saturday night, and it felt good. While I was playing I totally forgot about the pain in my chest and belly. I was back, a bit rusty, but I was back!! Anything is possible. :-)
This past weekend also proved to me that I really have some awesome friends all over. My La Crosse benefit at the Jay Street Joint was definitely a Who's Who of friends I have made over there the past thirty years. I had such a good time. Thank you to everyone that made it such a special day for Howard and I. We love you all!!
Sunday, March 28, 2010
I made it through another surgery and another birthday. Thank you to everyone who sent me cards, messages, prayers, positive energy, food, flowers, etc. My abdomen is healing up, and it's nice to be able to get out of bed or off the couch without asking for help. A steady flow of cold ice packs in my stretch pants has become the norm to help reduce the swelling and pain. It's amazing how everything is connected to the ab muscles, I really dread the sharp pain that comes with a sneeze, yawn or cough. Ouch!
I'm very happy winter and all my cancer treatments are behind me. I have over twenty-three inches of scars to show for it, but I got through it. Spring has always been my favorite time of the year and this spring is extra special. Now it's time to heal and try to get on with my life again. I've got a lot I want to do! Make music with Howard, visit family and friends, garden, fish, go motorcycling, etc., etc. Peace, love and happiness! :-)
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Another big surgery day is coming up fast (3/18). I'm a bit scared again, but I'm looking forward to getting it over with. Then I can just focus on getting well with hopefully no more big interruptions. I was looking through the calendar, I sure have been through quite a bit the past several months.
- October, I found out I tested positive for the BRCA1 gene mutation
- November, I found out I had triple negative breast cancer
- December, I had a bilateral mastectomy
- January, I had port surgery and started chemotherapy treatment
- February, I continued and finished up chemotherapy
- March, this week I'll have a total abdominal hysterectomy
- April, recovery and get my chest/neck catheter port removed
- May, I hope to be out making music again!! :-)
My Mom is doing well with her chemo, she has to go every Wednesday for three months. Her side effects so far have been some tiredness and a slightly scratchy voice - I tell her it sounds sexy! We laugh a lot, and compare our health issues. I guess, it's official, I'm getting old. I'm going to be 50 on March 27th. Maybe next year I'll be on that white sandy beach I was planning on being on for this birthday.
Wish me luck on Thursday, I'm a firm believer in prayer, positive thought and counting my blessings. I'll be in touch after I've done some recovery and let you know how I'm doing. Happy Spring everybody!!
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
No more chemo for me! Thursday (2/25) was my final round. I'm still feeling sick and tired, but it's wonderful not having to go through it again. Of course, God willing.
Howard was gone for a couple gigs last weekend, so my awesome daughter, Heather spent the whole weekend hanging out with me on the couch. We both kept thanking each other for the wonderful quiet time we so enjoyed together. Definitely precious moments.
The last phase of my cancer journey begins Thursday, March 18 with a total hysterectomy (Pre-op March 9). Hopefully, that will be enough to end my family's gene mutation from messing up my life anymore. There aren't too many other BRCA1 affected parts I can give up anymore!
WOW!! BENEFIT CONCERTS!! Our friends are so amazing! We're going to have such a great time at each of them. It will be so great to get out again, I have so dearly missed playing, traveling and seeing everybody. Thank you so much!!!!
Monday, February 22, 2010
After one of the worst nauseated and achy weeks since I started chemo, I had the best weekend filled with the company of friends that totally made me forget all about feeling sick. The power of laughter, it will shake away just about anything. Thank you Brenda, Irene, Tracy and Dennis. Love ya!
I honestly can't wait for my FINAL chemo on Thursday. It will mean the end to Phase Two, with one more phase to go through. I can do this. A dear friend of mine who recently has been through breast cancer treatment and has helped me with valued information and inspiration shared this with me: Need to. Can do. Have to. Will do. I have this on a sticky note in my bathroom mirror and computer desk to help keep me focused. Actually, I have lots of inspirational notes scattered all over the place. :-)
My Mom this week is starting her fifth year of chemotherapy for ovarian cancer. She has another oncologist and fortunately will be able to do it in the same town where she lives. Her treatment will be much different than the past. They will be putting a port in her chest and treating her with chemo drugs Topotecan and Avastin on a weekly basis. Hang in there Mom! I'm praying this might be the one!
A quick Happy Birthday to my daughter Heather! You know time is really flying by when your kid is thirty something. Wow, where did the time go? Have a great day, and I can't wait to see you next weekend. Love and miss ya lots!!
Saturday, February 13, 2010
There's a saying, "Adversity doesn't build character, it reveals it." My husband, Howard has revealed a very strong determination to help me in anyway possible. He wants to see me through all this, and to get me back to health again more than anything in this world. I have also witnessed a person that can't take it, even though what's happening to me, is not happening to them. I pray that they can change.
I really got that there's a light at the end of the tunnel feeling on Thursday, when I went in for my third of four chemo. Everything went well, but again I walked out of there with another sinus headache, next time we'll try a 60 minute drip on the Cyclophosphamide. A really sweet gal from the ACS donated a cute sample wig to me. It's a little big for my head, but it makes me smile! =D
I found out Thursday, that if everything goes right I might have my total hysterectomy in the middle of March. I'm so ready to get that over with and put all this behind me. Maybe I will be able to get a garden in after all, and play gigs this summer and take time off from work for something fun like fishing instead of doctor appointments!!
Time to lay down again, this chemo and all the other drugs has really taken it out of me, soon the icky taste will be starting - I'm not looking forward to that again. But soon, chemo will be over with. Have a Happy Valentine's Day everybody!
Friday, February 5, 2010
Just when I thought my hair couldn't get any shorter, suddenly on Tuesday hundreds of itchy 1/4 inch hairs started falling off my head and down my neck. My girlfriend Tracy, buzzed me down to my scalp. I didn't shave it for fear my head would turn out scarred like the way my legs are from shaving!
Yesterday, I had a great day! It didn't start out that way, I was suffering from a whole list of chemo side effects when I went in to work (wearing my turban/scarf gypsy look). But the longer I was with my university family, the better I felt. Every person, every conversation, every meeting (LTS Win/Mac - you know who you all are), just made me feel better and better. By the time I left for chemo labs I had a spring in my step and was feeling pretty good. But my labs again said I had a low white blood cell count so they put me back on antibiotics again. While I waited for the lab results I met with a cancer center employee who helped me try on some sample wigs. Wow! Was that fun! There were some short layered hair styles that I actually looked pretty good in. Way different than my old hairdo that's for sure.
A note about blessings. I have received so many phone calls, cards and emails about people donating their hair, or shaving their heads, or are planning benefits for me since my cancer diagnosis. Totally amazing, I am so honored. You people ROCK! <3
Saturday, January 30, 2010
I survived round two of chemo on Thursday, but my hair didn't. The closest I came to crying about it was in the shower Tuesday morning before work. It just kept coming out, it wrapped around my fingers, clogged the tub drain strainer, and totally filled my comb. So Tuesday night I cut it off and my niece Melissa, buzzed my head down to 1/4 inch. I managed to get an 18 inch ponytail to donate. I am surprised how gray I am especially on the sides and back. Wow!
I'm back on lots of med's again, mostly steroids and a wide assortment of anti-nausea drugs. Sometimes they work, except I'm back to being an insomniac. I guess that gives me lots of time to start organizing our taxes and surf the Internet all night.
Anyway, I'm hanging in there and want to thank everyone for their support, prayers and positive energy. Peace, love and happiness! ~Deb
Monday, January 25, 2010
I'm feeling pretty good, just in time for Round Two on Thursday. Last Thursday, I went in for labs and they said that I had a low white blood cell count, so they put me on Ciprofloxacn and that seemed to help a lot. So much for that $3000 Neulasta shot!
My scalp is starting to hurt/tingle and I'm starting to shed a lot more than usual. Tomorrow night after Physical Therapy, I'm cutting my ponytail off and send it in to Locks of Love (sure hope they don't mind all the gray mixed in there - I've earned every one of them). I have been given a bunch of knit and fleece hats and some beautiful scarves (you women are awesome). I'm really not sure about getting a wig. A gal from the American Cancer Society is supposed to stop by when I am doing chemo Thursday and have me try some on.
Friday I met with my breast surgeon and found that I didn't need to get drained this time (third time was a charm!). She said that after consulting the latest Radiation Oncologist in the picture, they think that the risk of permanent lung damage outweighs the benefits, so I will NOT be doing Radiation!! That saves me seven weeks of going in every day, after chemo ends. So that bumps up my total hysterectomy - I may have a somewhat normal summer after all. <<happy dance>>
Chemo: One down, three to go. Have a great week/weekend! God bless...
Monday, January 18, 2010
New picture! Howard took this picture of me Wednesday, the day before I started chemo. I still have my hair, they say around 14 days it should start falling out. My Mom brought me some clippers so we can buzz it off. It sure will be different, I've had pretty much the same look for the past couple decades. I guess 2010 is a year of new beginnings for me. Hopefully, I'll get more fishing in!!
Before chemo on Thursday, I had a port put in my right chest/neck. I appreciate its purpose, but this thing really hurts where it goes into my jugular vein and chest. I wish I would have been knocked out when they put it in, I could feel way too much happening to me during the surgery.
The chemo went well, the drugs didn't bother me too much at the time. One of them gave me an instant sinus headache (so they slowed down the drip), and gave me a rash, but a shot of Benadryl (in the port) helped out pretty quickly. I've been nauseous off and on; I was taking Lorazepam for it - but it was making me lethargic and I was having lots of double vision. Maybe I'll just use it before bed.
The steroid I was on until last night has made it very difficult to sleep. Another side effect from it is a big blood vein popped out of my upper left forehead, it seems to be getting better today - my brother said it looked like the forehead vein of someone working out in the gym.
The day after my chemo I went back into the Cancer Center for a shot of Neulasta in my abdomen. This is to boost my white blood cell count from the chemo drugs. It sure makes me real achy and stiff. From now on I'll have to do the injection at home (an insurance rule?). I thank God I have insurance, they say this shot alone is over $3,000!!
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Well, as far as we know about that "something" I mentioned below, it is a lymph node that we're guessing is having some post-surgery reaction. I could have a biopsy done or I can leave it alone. At this point, we're going to watch it. The fifteen lymph nodes that were taken out near it were all normal, so the chances of that node having cancer is very low.
Over the holidays I got scared (too much information about people with bad experiences), and was close to talking myself out of chemo - after all, I had already gone through an aggressive double mastectomy, that should be good enough, right?!
Then last week (1/5), I was listening to Public Radio, a woman was talking about writing God a letter asking for help with her troubles, so that night I wrote God a letter asking for guidance; and wouldn't you know this sensitive lymph node showed up a couple days later. This got me thinking about the potential for other "something's" to show up. Even though I would have preferred some other less stressful sign - I will never underestimate the power of prayer ever again.
So I talked to my Oncologist today, I will be starting chemo on Thursday. To be honest I didn't think I could get in so fast. I guess, that will be okay - I won't have that much time to think about it so much. It sounds like a long day: labs; port surgery; radiation doctor appointment; a MUGA scan; oncology doctor appointment, and then about two hours of chemo. If everything goes good, I will be doing the two drugs listed below every two weeks for two months. I'm thinking - Positively! <<Thumbs up!!>>
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Its been a week of doctor appointments. Been to Marshfield twice to get my chest fluid drained. I've had lots of lab tests and a couple scans, everything came back Normal, except the CT scan showed "something" in my right armpit. I had an ultrasound done yesterday, now we're waiting to see what will happen next. Always something.
I started Physical Therapy yesterday. I can't wait for my tight chest muscles to loosen up. Feels like a hard plate running from armpit to armpit that doesn't move.
I got some new 10 year survival rate numbers from my oncologist yesterday. 70% if I do nothing more than the surgery I had; add 10% if I do chemo with two drugs Adriamycin and Cyclophosphamide; add 5% if I add a third drug that I can't remember (it causes numbness in hands and feet). They all have their own serious risks including heart damage and bladder cancer. My recurrence rate is high no matter what I do because of the BRCA1 gene mutation and being Triple Negative.
The end of next week, I meet with a Radiation Oncologist to discuss the possibility of radiation since my tumor was located only 1mm from my left chest wall. There is a possible risk of damage to my heart and lungs. Plus, I'm supposed to have a total hysterectomy sometime within the next six months, again because of BRCA1.
Sometimes I feel pretty confused about all this. To improve my mood, I'm lightly use the treadmill and bowflex, and most importantly have started picking up my bass. My left arm and chest muscles all need more time, but I'll get there!
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Happy New Year's Eve Eve! 2009 has sure had it's challenges, but it had its bright spots with everyone that has supported me.
Monday afternoon Howard and I met with an oncologist for the first time to talk about chemo. If I do chemo - I have a 5% chance of getting breast cancer again, if I don't - I have a 10% chance. There are a lot of short term and long term side effects for not a big difference. Anyway, we scheduled a CT and a Bone Scan for next Tuesday. Hopefully that will help me with my decision.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
I just realized it's been a month since I created this page. So much has happened in such a short amount of time...
Yesterday afternoon I got my left chest wall fluid drained (seroma) - it looked like I was growing a small boob again. Howard said that he didn't think they could find a bigger needle! I couldn't look at it, I think I would have fainted. Although it didn't hurt much, I hope I don't have to have that done again.
I'm still stiff, sore and very tight from armpit to armpit. My chest muscles feel like I'm laced together REALLY TIGHT, I hunch over a lot. The seroma prevents me from doing my left arm exercises. I asked for Physical Therapy but until the seroma stops I can't go. Healing really take patience!
I'm looking forward to going home for Christmas. Getting cancer sucks, but overall I am thankful and blessed for a lot of things. I have a wonderful family, friends, coworkers, and as I was reminded "fans". You all have been really great - it keeps me going! Have a Merry Christmas everyone!! <3
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Yesterday afternoon I got my chest drain tubes removed, it instantly became one of the happiest days of my life. Even though I developed a Seroma and I'm still very stiff, sore, numb and swollen from the surgery - I am really very pleased with my progress. Everything is really going as well as I hoped and prayed it would. :-)
Speaking of hoping and praying, there are a lot of you out there that have been so wonderful. Thanks again for all the positive thoughts, prayers, emails, cards, letters, messages, church and sweat lodge prayer lists, etc. I feel really blessed.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Good News! During the surgery the doctors took seven Lymph nodes from under my left arm and they tested Negative for cancer - so the cancer did not spread from the tumor or to my chest wall (YES!). I'm told that I may still need to do chemotherapy and radiation.
I'm feeling better than I thought I would at this point. My biggest complaint are the drain tubes that snake around in my armpits and chest wall and come out my ribs. I look like a cyborg bomber wired with fluid collection grenades at my waist. I'm not sure what makes me more nauseated the narcotics or the drain system.
I am so thankful for all the love, prayers, emails, phone calls, text messages, cards, flowers, food, support and get well wishes I have received. I hope to get back to each of you when I'm feeling better. Everything has happened so fast, I'm really exhausted but hanging in there! Peace, love and happiness.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Surgery is tomorrow, I'm getting real nervous. It's all surreal, family is arriving. Last week, I learned that I am Triple Negative. My sister Jean was too. My surgery is a lot more aggressive than Jean's lumpectomy, hopefully it will be enough to stop the cancer.
I can feel another chapter starting in my life, I sure wish it was a chapter that started with "Winning the Lottery" but "Beating Cancer" will do just fine. Well, at least they are not taking my arms or legs tomorrow - I know I'd miss them a lot more.
Thanks to everyone for all the emails and cards of support - you're all awesome!!
Sunday, November 22, 2009
On Thursday, I was diagnosed with breast cancer (bad day). Wednesday, December 2nd I will have a bilateral mastectomy. Just last month, I found out that I tested positive for the BRCA1 gene mutation. By learning about this mutation, I was hoping to be proactive - not reactive to it.
April 2005, my family found out how awful this mutation is when my beloved kid sister Jean passed away from breast cancer at the age of 44. A few short weeks later, my mom was diagnosed with stage IIIB ovarian cancer. Thankfully, she is still with us - fighting very hard after four years now of chemo. She is my inspiration.
Last night, was my last night (for now) with Blue Max - we played at the Black Bear Bar west of Minocqua. A good time was had by all. I feel so many emotions. Wondering when my next gig will be? What will it be like not making music on the weekends for the first time since the early 80's? Will I be okay?
I'm scared and trying to find strength. Which is really hard - especially today since I can't eat anything because I have a colonoscopy tomorrow. GRRR!! That's my stomach and my mood!! Today I've played the Paul Thorn song "It's a Great Day" several times, singing it over and over - it made me feel better; the same with the wonderful Power Point that mom sent me about trusting in God. Thanks Mom! :-)
Besides taking care of me, Howard will be trying to stay busy with solo/duo gigs, sitting in where ever he can, and playing an occasional Blue Max gig without me. This past week he really has been wonderful, instead of his usual grouchiness (cranky old blues man). We sure have been together along time - over 22 years! <3
I'm not sure how often I'll write on this page, I just wanted to let our friends, family and fans know what's up since our schedule is going to be looking very different over the next several months. God bless...