Update 5.3.13

I know it’s been a while since we updated here, I apologize as I have had a busy couple of weeks with out-of-town guests, the fundraiser and treatment or lack there of.

Since we last met here, I was so blessed to be honored in such a wonderful way, at such a beautiful place with so many amazing friends! Thank you to everyone who took the time out of their busy lives to come enjoy the evening with me and to those who donated and participated in every way. It was beyond my wildest dreams that so many people would come to support me and lift my spirits and you all did just that!!

Following the fundraiser I should have had a chemo treatment on April 17th but at my blood workup on Tuesday my counts were so incredibly low that I was not able to have my session and I was quarantined to my house. They call this Neutropenia. Neutropenia is a granulocyte disorder characterized by an abnormally low number of neutrophils. Neutrophils usually make up 50-70% of circulating white blood cells and serve as the primary defense against infections by destroying bacteria in the blood. My blood counts need to be above 1500 in order to receive treatment and at this lab, my counts were below 300.

The following week on April 24th (my scheduled “off” week from chemo), I had an appointment at City of Hope with a doctor for a second opinion. Unfortunately the doctor was not prepared to discuss my case because Kaiser had not sent all my test results, labs and records in a timely manner in order for City of Hope to run their own pathology reports and make an educated second opinion.  After leaving there with not much more information that we already knew, I continued to wait for Kaiser to complete the records request and City of Hope to complete their pathology.

Having not had chemo for nearly two weeks, I began to experience the same pain and discomfort in my lower abdomen (my liver region) that I was feeling when I was diagnosed in early March, which I can attribute to lack of drugs attacking and killing the cancer. At the same time I was experiencing pains, I was also a little less fatigued and had an increased appetite since the chemo was basically out of my system. Needless to say and quite surprising, I was looking forward to my next chemo (which was this past Wednesday May 1st) so that the pain would subside.

Yesterday, the City of Hope doctor called with her second opinion conclusion… she informed me that the tumor board met on Wednesday to discuss my case. Their pathologist discussed with the doctor that they feel their findings indicate that the cancer started in my GI track or pancreatic biliary. They feel that they would need to request the biopsy block from Kaiser to continue further evaluations. At this point she indicated that their diagnosis is conclusive with Kaiser (Carcinoma of the unknown primary) which is ultimately not breast cancer. They believe that Kaiser may not have enough tissue left from their original biopsy to continue testing without going back in for additional tissue (another biopsy) and this may not even give a definitive answer as to where the cancer originated. That being said, the consultation has ended for the time being. The treatment plan remains the same, they agree with Kaisers protocol and indicated this chemo covers whatever type of cancer this is, in those areas.

I have still not experienced too many side effects, I am physically exhausted which has been the norm for quite some time. I am not violently ill, just a little nauseous throughout the day, usually when I have an empty stomach. I continue to shed hair more than usual which is expected but I haven’t gone bald yet, obviously 🙂

My spirits are high and I’m taking things day by day. Love each and every one of you!

Thank you for your continued prayers, love and support.

Until next time…

❤ Diane

 

 

 

Luau Fundraiser: Hosted by Laguna Hills Community Friends & Family

Hello All,

Here are the details for the fundraiser, if we had your email address, you should have gotten an evite about 2 weeks ago (we have had some trouble with people not getting it or not being able to RSVP). This event is for everyone, please share and invite your friends, neighbors and family.

Diane’s Luau Benefit

Diane Gibson was recently diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer in her liver.

To read Diane’s journey visit: https://teamdidi.wordpress.com/

Join us for a night of fun and celebration in Diane’s honor!

In addition let’s raise awareness for cancer prevention and funds for the family’s expenses during this time.

Live Entertainment & Dancing

Featuring Brad Johnson & The Killin’ Time Band

Beer, Wine, Mai Tais, & Margaritas

Vendors, Raffles & Silent Auction

Good Eats, Good Friends and Good Fun!!

All vendors will be donating 20% of their proceeds to Diane!

Bring your checkbook!!

Attendance is FREE to anyone and everyone!

Suggested $40 donation per family 

(or $20 donation per individual)

For your donation you get to enjoy Hawaiian Dancers, a great meal and a fabulous band!!

Provided that Diane is feeling up to it, she WILL be in attendance. Please remember that her immune system will be compromised and she should not be in direct physical contact with anyone! Use other ways to show your support & love rather than hugs and handshakes. Thank you! Please only attend in good health!

Due to the potential number of guests; we are asking that you leave the “little ones”

(elementary aged and younger) at home please.

If you cannot attend and you feel it in your heart to contribute, please visit: https://teamdidi.wordpress.com/donate-2/

Host: Lynette Brinkis & Diane’s Friends

Contact: lynettebrinkis@gmail.com  or  949-278-4920

When: Saturday, April 13 from 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM

Where: Brinkis Family Residence- 25031 Buck Board Lane Laguna Hills, CA 92653

Thanks,

Lynette

 

 

Chemotherapy Port Surgery & 3rd Chemo Appointment

Tuesday mom had her port surgery. It was a long day.

It was rough, she went from not being hungry because of this disease and chemotherapy making everything sound gross or taste disgusting  to starving because she had to fast for her surgery.

Surgery was scheduled at 3:30pm and she was home by 7:00pm. Had a hard time sleeping after the meds wore off and she has to get used to having the port and finding a comfortable way to sleep.

This is what her port looks like… Swelling should go down hopefully soon!! Her neck is tense and She’s sore but Dr says it went well!!

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She had Chemo on Wednesday. This was her 1st round of her 2nd cycle. She did well, rested most of the day and then went to Aaron’s baseball game for a little bit. Overall she’s feeling pretty good, all things considered.

Today she has been down most of the day, trying to rest and keep her pain and discomfort at a minimum.

We love you all! Thank you so much for your words of encouragement and support in every way possible!

Until next time…

❤ Jaimie

 

One Round Down… Six more to go….

Although I couldn’t attend the fundraiser at Flamingo’s I want to personally thank each and every person who dined there in support of me. I can feel the love and prayers from all of you. I also want to extend a huge thank you from the bottom of my heart to Lynette Brinkis for organizing these events and to Flamingo’s for coming together as part of this amazing community!! I will do my best to attend the benefit on April 13th and I hope all of you can too!!

As for my treatment…July seems so far away….

I feel very blessed to not have had any real side effects yet. The only thing I can attribute to chemo so far would be lack of energy and fatigue. I try everyday to get up and at least shower and stay out of bed for as long as possible.

This week, on Monday I met with my oncologist. He went over my PET scan results and discussed what we basically already knew. I have stage 4 breast cancer which has metastasized into my liver. His goal is to put me into remission so that I can continue to lead a full and normal life, while maintaining chemotherapy.

My chemotherapy happens for two consecutive weeks and then I have an off week. This happens to be my off week and I can definitely feel that my counts have dropped.

Next week I will be having my port placed on my left shoulder on Tuesday and then my next round starts Wednesday. I have heard that as I continue I may begin to feel more side effects. I am praying they aren’t too bad.

I also want everyone to know how incredible it feels to be part of a community that comes together when a family is in need. Thank you to everyone who has signed up on the calendar to bring meals and assist wherever needed and have been here since this all began.

I love you all!!

Until next time…

❤ Diane

 

 

The road begins… After Chemo & finally a PET Scan

I’m sure you’ve all been very anxious to hear what’s been going on the past few days.

The MRI results showed that I do in fact have breast cancer! There is no mass in either side, the cancer was thought to be there at one time and has moved to a right lymph node under my breast about 2 inches away from my liver.

Wednesday I began chemotherapy. Which didn’t seem to be too bad. I have not had any side effects until yesterday.

Yesterday I had to fast because I had my PET scan. Lack of substance in my system and only being able to drink water, may have contributed to my nausea. It was an incredibly long day waiting to get the scan. My appointment wasn’t until 12:45pm and I wasn’t seen until 2:15pm because I had to drink the contrast and wait.

The oncologist originally told me that my PET scan results wouldn’t be back until Monday or Tuesday. Around 6pm I received a phone call from him, informing me that he already had the results!

I am happy to report that my cancer has not spread anywhere except one lymph node and throughout my liver. I have officially been diagnosed with Stage 4 Breast Cancer of the Liver. My chemo will run for 6 rounds (2 weeks on 1 week off is one round).

With this news, even though I have a treatment plan in place, Im still going to get a second opinion.

Although no cancer is a good cancer, breast cancer is more commonly treated and has a higher rate of response to chemotherapy. I am very optimistic about the future and I plan to kick cancers ass!

Thank you all for your continued support, love and prayers!!

Until next time…

❤ Diane

Update on Bracelets

Hi Everyone!

I just wanted to let you all know that the first 50 bracelets have shipped to me. Once I get them I will distribute to those who have ordered and paid first. We have another 150 on order.

Please note that my cousin is making all of these bracelets by hand so it takes longer than ordering from a company who mass produces them.

 

Thank you for understanding!

 

Until next time…

❤ Jaimie

Preparing for the battle..

What a surprise it was for Mom and Dad to have breakfast made for them today. Thank you Shari and Russ for the delicious start to the day and your amazing friendship! They really enjoyed spending time with you this morning.

Saturday was a good day for Mom, she was able to eat well and consumed a lot of protein which made her feel more energetic and she enjoyed the day with Dad and Charity, overall her spirits are high as she prepares for this next week.

We’re still trying to diagnose the primary source of this cancer. Mom had her MRI Saturday and is scheduled for her PET scan this coming Friday (unless we are lucky enough to get it moved to a sooner date), these tests should confirm the primary source and we are still hopeful it is primary breast cancer as the treatment for this type of cancer has the highest success rate.

Monday Mom and Dad go in for Chemo orientation which will tell them what to expect, side effects, protocol etc. Mom starts Chemo this Wednesday.

We don’t know exactly what to expect, but we are planning for the worst and hoping for the best. Everyone has been so generous and offering to help in whatever way they could and we are so gracious and appreciative. I knew my mom was superwoman but until she physically couldn’t do it all anymore, I don’t think anyone realized how much she really did and carried on her shoulders. She reads every post and is so completely overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and support that she is receiving from everyone!

Anticipating that mom will be very sick, we have come up with a few things that we could really use some help with.

1)      Germ Free Environment- With my mom’s already suppressed immune system and the effects from the Chemo; we want to ensure the house stays as clean as possible. We are looking for referrals for a housekeeper to come once a week and thoroughly clean the house.

This person should be:

  • Trustworthy
  • Kind
  • Understanding of the situation, able to “work around” Diane
  • Inexpensive (we don’t really have “extra” funds for this)

If anyone has a referral for us, please email me directly at Jmeelyn@gmail.com

2)      This also means we are asking that all visits are scheduled, no drop by visits please. All visitors must be in good health, we don’t want to risk any exposure during this time to the flu etc.  Thanks for understanding.

3)      Dinners- Thank you so much to those of you who have brought or are bringing dinner!!  If you are signed up for a dinner, or plan to sign up for a dinner, there will be an ice chest in the front of the house to drop off dinner in case Diane isn’t feeling up to visitors.

4)      Sheets- We are anticipating a need to change sheets often, we would like to collect some extra sheets, these can be new or gently used twin size (84″ long x 36″ wide x12” deep) fitted sheets. If you can donate these, that would be incredibly helpful.

Thank you so much for everyone’s thoughts, prayers and kind words. You have no idea what it means to us as a family to know that we have so much support and love!

Until next time…

❤ Jaimie

the emotional roller-coaster continues…

Wow! What a whirlwind we have been through in the last 36 hours!

After a 2 hour appointment yesterday, I was still left with uncertainty. The pathology reports had still not been interpreted. (The top regional pathologist was out of town this week and just returned yesterday to review my medical records) We were told we should have a definitive answer back by the end of the day.

The oncologist was 95% sure this was Cholangio carcinoma- Bile Duct Cancer, which had spread to my liver. There was still a 5% CHANCE this could be an infection but I would be violently ill if it were.

Cholangio carcinoma is a rare type of cancer found in the liver bile ducts and could be caused by my underlying medical condition (Ulcerative colitis, which I have had for almost 10 years.) Typical cases of this cancer are found in older people, in other countries and other ethnicities so I was not a prime candidate. I was devastated to hear that this cancer is not curable, only 2 in 100,000 people get it, radiation was not an option, it is a fast progressing and aggressive cancer and chemotherapy only had a 25% chance of slowing this cancer down.

Because this cancer had already spread to my liver, there wasn’t really talk of a liver transplant because the bile ducts cannot be removed or replaced and the cancer would just infect a new liver, along with the possibility of my body rejecting it.

The next step is a PET scan (Positron emission tomography is a nuclear medical imaging technique that produces a three-dimensional image or picture of functional processes in the body.) and next week to start chemotherapy (no matter what kind of cancer this is)!

I came home with a number to call to coordinate all the following appointments. Kaiser, being the lovely medical group they are, cannot get me in for a PET scan until March 22nd within 100 mile radius. That may not seem like a long time to someone who wasn’t just diagnosed with incurable cancer. So we called around to try to seek out other medical facilities for a PET scan and a second opinion. We hit a few road blocks with insurance and money being an issue and time against us.

Around 5pm last night, the oncologist called me to tell me that the pathology reports were back!  The results showed that I have “Carcinoma of the unknown primary”. Which means I do not have PRIMARY liver cancer (as we thought from my hospital stay last week) He was still unsure if it was Cholangio carcinoma. What he did know is that I have some type of SECONDARY liver cancer that originated from somewhere else in my body and my elevated breast cancer markers indicated the oncologist to believe that despite my clear mammograms and physical breast exams, this is likely breast cancer.

Yesterday was beyond exhausting…

This morning started with a phone call back to the coordinator to find out if she had found any sooner appointments for the PET scan. By 2pm she still hadn’t called me back.

I finally received a call telling me that she had exhausted all her options for locations within 100 mile radius for anything sooner than the 22nd.

I then received a phone call from my GI doctor, who has been following me since I was in the hospital and working with the oncologist. She indicated to me that after reviews some more results that she feels I am truly dealing with breast cancer. I am awaiting two more tests that will give us a final confirmation as well as getting an MRI. They have together decided, with my agreement, to proceed with chemotherapy next week to treat me.

I am anxious to get a final, official diagnosis and to start my road to wellness. I am not going down without a fight!

Bottom line:  Kaiser thinks that I have BREAST CANCER that has metastasized into my liver. Which is way better news than I received yesterday.

Until next time…

❤ Diane

 

Overwhelmed…

I am so blessed beyond words to be surrounded by such amazing, supportive, loving people. I cannot express how full my heart is from all the out pour that has been shown to me through message, texts, FB posts, phone calls and voice mails  Even a few unexpected visitors and flower deliveries. Each and every one of you have made me smile!

Today was the first day I left the house since I was released from the hospital on Wednesday. I went to Aaron’s baseball game. It was nice to get up and go out to some fresh air and do what I love to do, watch my son do what he’s great at!

I came home exhausted, but to a few pleasant unexpected visits from Jen, Stephanie and Anthony.

My dear friend Jillian will be leaving in the morning to go home but I am so thankful that she came to be with me during this difficult time!

I am experiencing some consistent but dull pain and discomfort. Still continuing to have no appetite and feeling very very tired with no energy for anything.

Until next time….

❤ Diane

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