Three Candles

Today (November 30) is my “new birthday.”  Three years ago today, I had a massive surgery at MD Anderson to remove the remaining cancer tumor (appendiceal adenocarcinoma) in my abdomen that six months of weekly chemo had reduced to a pulp.

None of the doctors were certain how the surgery would turn out but it went well.  I even escaped the need for the HIPEC and was declared to have “no evidence of disease (NED)!” Since then, my visits to MDA for checkup scans have moved from 3-month to 6-month intervals, giving me (and my family) peace of mind with each clean scan and NED result.  

Before my surgery in late 2010, I wasn’t sure that I would make it this far. I can’t believe it’s been three years.

Looking back, I’ve been blessed to have moments like these:

  • Waking up everyday and having my cup of coffee. It seems so insignificant and joyful at the same time.
  • Watching my kids grow. Laughing, crying and simply being there for them, through both the chaotic and mundane times.
  • Celebrating three wedding anniversaries with my husband.
  • Being able to support my mom in her cancer journey, and the bittersweet mommy/daughter CT scan cancer checkups at MDA.
  • Laughing and crying with my girlfriends, and being able to reciprocate the tender care they’d given me.  
  • Getting to know and learn from new friends.
  • Sticking my toes in the sand in the Outer Banks with my brothers’ families.
  • Exhaling in Taos one summer, watching my kids and dog befriend “Dolly” the Llama.
  • Having the privilege to search for my place in the universe.

So a big happy 3rd “New Birthday” to me!


14 thoughts on “Three Candles

  1. Was there suppose to be “snow” falling, or was that my eyes failing me? Always overjoyed to hear the positive ( and really, they all have been, lucky girl) of your progress and journey. Your mom’s car is here and safe with us. Love and hugs to your family, Jani

  2. So glad you are doing well. Happy Anniversary and many more to come. I lost Jim last July but he is with me in spirit. He so enjoyed knowing you. I am wearing the shirt you got for him. Keep me posted on your progress! I am so happy for you and your family. Marion Coffee

  3. Ivanna I am always in awe of your grace and strength – truly and inspiration for us all! You are so right, enjoying the first cup of coffee in the AM and the simple blessings of everyday life along the way is truly a gift. I am so thankful for your friendship-
    Much love,

  4. Ivanna, congrats on your “new birthday.” You have been such an inspiration for me on my journey with appendiceal CA. I’m considered cancer free now and hope that will be the news 3 years from now. Reading this helps me realize again how fragile and precious all of our moments are especially those that involve family and friends. I’m looking forward to reading about many more of these birthdays in the coming years. Xoxo

  5. Ivanna, Happy “New” Birthday….wishing you many, many more. I am blessed to have you as a friend; you are a wonderful reminder to all of us to cherish each day and our families and friends. Praying that God will continue to bless you and your family. Hugs…Rosie

  6. So you are out of your “terrible twos” now? Such a big girl!! They grow up so quickly. Congrats, Ivanna! I hope you, your husband and the girls are all doing well! I need to schedule my MDA visit next fall so we can get together. We’ll plan that!
    All my best to you, keep on moving!

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