Moving Forward Anyway

I had a little scare last week.

A little tenderness and pain sprang up in my lower right pelvic area, the same spot as my first two tumors. Uh oh!  Was this another tumor or just scar tissue causing problems with my colon? The tenderness/mild pain kept up for almost a week.  My local oncologist poked around my belly but didn’t feel anything, so I decided to  just wait until I go to MD Anderson for my quarterly check-up in two weeks.

But the next day, the pain was less. Now it’s completely gone and I am relaxed again.

So THIS is what cancer survivorship is like.  A little cloud hanging over my shoulder.  Wondering if every ache and pain is the cancer coming back. For a few days, I spent some time thinking about my options if the cancer returned.  But then decided it was best not to worry until I have some real facts: data from a CT scan; tumor marker levels; doctor visits.

What’s a person to do in this situation? For starters, I slipped into the pool again this morning for my swim workout with TeamTexas Masters in spite of the 40 degree temperature outside. (Thankfully the pool is heated!)  After two months of swimming, it finally feels like things are clicking.  I swam my heart out.  Ironically, I’m on my way to being the fittest and healthiest I’ve probably ever been. Eating right, sleeping better, exercising more. Still working on managing some of the stress in life.  Trying to keep perspective to help set me on course again.

I’ve been thinking about other aspects of my life and where I can contribute. Of course, raising kids is the most important job ever. But I want to give back in some way related to cancer. Everyone handles their cancer experience a little differently. Some want to move on. Some want to hang back and stay in the cancer arena. There are so many approaches.  But I have realized I’m a “hanger.”  I feel this urge to help others with cancer in whatever small way.

I’m interested in fundraising for appendiceal cancer research, an orphan disease, that needs a bright spotlight shining on it.  My ideas are still evolving and I will eventually figure out where I’d like to focus my extra energies.

But sometimes I am hesitant.  I look over my shoulder and that sick, weak, struggling woman with cancer I once was is daring me to give up, to not take that next step.  But I owe it to myself to put on my good dress and my dancing shoes and get on with life, full-speed ahead.  I owe it to the cancer survivor that I am.

12 thoughts on “Moving Forward Anyway

  1. Ivanna, your positive attitude is an inspiration to me…..thank you for sharing this; praying for your continued good health.

  2. Ivanna, your courage, will, and positive outlook never cease to amaze and inspire me. I’m certain that whatever form your involvement in the giving back to the fight against cancer arena takes, you will touch the life of a person – someone who will be forever grateful that they crossed

  3. That’s my girl ! I like your attitude…doing everything you can to get in top shape and then facing whatever comes. Being physically strong, eating the right diet, positive outlook on life….all of these are an advantage should you have to fight the cancer battle again. In the meantime you are cancer free ! May each day be filled with deep joy and contentment , no matter what the stress issues are around you. “These too will pass ” and life will take on a different pace. Success as a parent is not entirely dependent on us alone. There is a Heavenly Father, who would love to be part of the “parenting team”, He is always available !!You already have the right “formula” to fight the cancer. Live your life without fear !
    Love you,

  4. You always surprise me….and remind me that your value system and your introspective nature will guide you in your journey post-cancer. You have always been the best at living life and you are in control. I think of you often and hope for the best for you and your precious family.

    love, Jane

  5. IVANNA: I know how you feel, one step removed. Jim started having a pain in his neck. I went into a tailspin, silently. Then I remembered that he had fallen and hit his head. He must have strained his neck at the same time. The pain is better but it is so hard to not scream “cancer” inside when any little thing happens. You know we are all here supporting you. Please continue to do your blog. It so helps me deal with whatever Jim’s future is. We will be thinking of you for the next several weeks, as well as the rest of the time. Love to you and your wonderful family. Marion

  6. Ivanna,
    Your outlook on the situation is so positive and forward-thinking…I wouldn’t expect anything less from you!

  7. Ivanna –
    I just recently started following your blog. An old, mutual, MBA friend gave me the quick version of your story & pointed me this way.
    I immediately read every post – in shock, awe, fear, wonder, & tears for you & your family. Now I am so happy to read about your healing. This latest post is such an inspiration. Your positive outlook is a blessing to so many, & in ways you never dreamed, I’m sure. I love your determination to be a ‘hanger’.

    I’m so happy, too, to read of your mom’s prognosis. I have a photo of her that I stumble across every so often – our junior year at MBA, she’s sitting on one of our beds in our dorm room, and has the happiest expression on her face!

    My best to both of you & your families. I’m looking forward to your next post!

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