Good News Again!

My mom and I just got back from MD Anderson Cancer Center last night after our 4-month check-ups.    Good news –  my scans look clean again and my tumor markers are in normal range!  My non-mucinous colonic-type appendiceal adenocarninoma is still outta here. My mom’s very slow-growing low-grade B-cell follicular lymphoma is stable with no progression so there is no need for treatment yet. Great news for both of us!

Barium Smoothies

It is surreal to be part of a mother/daughter combo with different types of cancer.  It hit me again how strange it all is while we were sitting in the MDACC lab getting our blood drawn at the same time. The lab techs were marveling at us as if we were some kind of miracle/tragedy. We checked-in for our CT scans scheduled 20 minutes apart.  It was time to drink the dreaded two Readi-Cat barium smoothies in a row. I prefer the berry-flavored barium cocktail while my mom prefers the apple-flavored barium cocktail. We couldn’t help but laugh through the whole ordeal.

Bard Power Port

There was talk about removing my power port at the next 4-month visit if I still have no evidence of disease.  My Bard power port is a little round appliance inserted in my upper chest (about 2 inches below my right clavicle) with a catheter running up under the skin to my jugular vein and then down near my heart for the better administration of IV chemo.  It was put in almost two years ago at the beginning of my chemo treatment.  My port hasn’t carried any chemo in almost a year but it has transported contrast dye for all my CT scans over the past two years.  I imagine I will miss the port because it made painful IV lines in my arm unnecessary.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.  We’ll just have to see what happens at the next check-up and think about it then.  But it is yet another step in the right direction.

Caution aside, I truly feel liberated this time around.  The more time passes, the easier it is to relax.  I’m sure I’ll have more emotional bumps in the road but that’s life.  I’m grateful once again for another chance to get on with life in all its simultaneous glory and mess!

12 thoughts on “Good News Again!

  1. As they say, keep on keeping on with the good news. I recently did a 3 hour spin a thon to raise money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation and your name was on one of the balloons! My sweet cancer survivor friends; you and Janie Cravens and others.

    I am so grateful for the good news for you and for your mother.

    love, Jane

  2. That sound you hear is Jim and I cheering! Every time you get a clear scan, I think maybe his next will be clear, also. Great news about your mother, too. I have been thinking that your depression at Christmas time was due more to excessive working out than cancer. You looked really buff, but I know through experience with track and field that too much of a good thing can lead to insomnia, etc. So I hope you are continuing to swim, just not as much. Our next visit is in May. We will keep you posted. Marion

  3. Ivanna: Jim adds (after reading your post) that he knows a sure-fire way to make the barium cocktails go down more easily. It has something to do with holding your breath while drinking. He wants you to come over before going to your next checkup and he will demonstrate with a liquid more potable than the berry or apple flavor! See you soon, we hope. Marion

  4. Great news and great attitude. I think your family’s positiveness is truly amazing and to me it is really different to be hearing about the Mother/Daughter combo. Keep up to forward progress!!

  5. Hi Ivanna! Thank you for sharing your experience with appendix cancer. You and your mother are such an inspiration! I work in the communications office at MD Anderson. I would love the opportunity to speak with you about potential collaborations. If you are interested please email me at

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