I Dance Because…

Back in 1995, we were on a trip to Arizona. I stumbled upon a simple water-color painting of a brightly-colored clown figure kicking its heels up along with the words “I dance because…”    On the back side of the painting, penciled in by the artist Natalie Mizicko, are the words “…I am rich.”  I purchased the little painting because I felt so happy and blessed in my life at that time.

Fast forward sixteen years.  Now I look at that little painting with a whole new set of eyes.

Artist: Natalie Mizicko

…I am alive and well.

…I am “Mom” to two fun and crazy kids who make me laugh and cry, sometimes at the same time.

…I love my husband and am loved in return.

…I am surrounded by funny, loving, supportive extended family members.

…I am privileged to have some of the best friends in the world.

…I had amazing support from all kinds of folks during the hardest year of my life. Some I don’t even know.

…I have the best medical team in the world.

…I have the chance to give back.

These are  just a few things that come to my mind. It doesn’t take much to feel like the richest person in the world.

Here’s where things are with me today.  It’s been  six weeks since chemo ended.  It took three of those weeks before I stopped feeling very fatigued.  It’s only been two and a half weeks since M.D. Anderson confirmed that there still is no evidence of disease.

Things seem so different now.  All I want to do is MOVE.  I’m happy to wake up, have a little coffee and get my day going.  I’m walking three miles every morning and taking the occasional bike ride in the afternoon.  Started yoga and it is kicking my butt.  Eager to start swimming.  Have been sailing a couple of times this week.  All of this movement makes me feel every muscle which means I am ALIVE!  Nothing like a year of getting bombarded with chemo or recovering from surgeries to make me revel in the ability to move.  Life is good.

Happy Mother’s Day!

9 thoughts on “I Dance Because…

  1. God bless you dear one. I am so glad that all prayers have been answered on your behalf. Happy Mother’s Day, and I am sure it is a special one because you are very much alive and loving life and family and all and more. Have a most wonderful day and most wonderful future.

  2. I have read all your stories. Today you made me cry. You, you brave soul, made me realize, again, how rich I am. Like you, I have two beautiful daughters (and a wonderful son-in-law, an almost perfect granddaughter and an almost perfect grandson). I pray for smooth sailing in your future.

    love from me and all of us at AAI


  3. Such great news, Ivanna! Sounds like you are going full board with all the summer activities. Happy Mother’s Day! Love to you, Doug and the girls,

  4. ivanna, Happy Mothers’ Day back at you. It is wonderful to read of your blessings this spring and so good to read you are doing so well. And I like the little clown painting too.

  5. Happy Mother’s Day, Ivanna! So very happy for you and for your family. Yes, keep moving, stay happy and may God always continue to bless you and your family!

    Hugs to you,

  6. IJ — Betty and I talk about you all of the time and how truly remarkable you and your fortitude and resilience have been — you are awesome — as is your family — we are so glad that you never held it against us (and McD) that we introduced you to a SAILOR (eeks). Now the “conservative Jill” has to weigh in — I love hearing that you are being so active and I’m sure it feels so good. Please pace yourself and try not to come back too fast, too soon (I did that after a major surgery once and it kicked my butt for a year). Love and thoughts, JAWs

  7. Ivanna, you’ve posted a good reminder to me and all of us about what things are truly important in life. Funny, didn’t see anything in there about financial net worth! Here’s hoping you dance on out to California sometime . . . Of course, Texas could be calling my name as well. Happy Mother’s Day and every day to you!

  8. I’m catching up on you blog (for some reason, I wasn’t receiving the new post notifications!?). You are such an inspiration to me Ivanna…..always have been. This post makes me want to dance & walk & do yoga & swim! I’ve been way too much of a couch potato. Your beautiful attitude & spirit is also inspiring…..as its always been! Miss you!

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