Today is my 10th cancerversary of appendix cancer diagnosis back on February 5, 2010. Unbelievable. I remember when I didn’t think I would be around to see my daughters finish elementary school and enter middle school. Not only did I get to see those milestones but now one is in college and the other a sophomore in high school. My husband has been forever supportive and my extended family and friends have been with me all along. Thank you to all for your love and friendship!
Additionally, I have graduated from MD Anderson cancer check-ups! I always hold my breath before these visits but the tests indicated that I still have no evidence of disease. After almost 10 years of cancer scanning appointments, I am now released into the wild!
I asked my artist friend, Maria Vittoria Sesta, to create a piece of artwork that expressed my emotions and have given it as a gift to my doctor.
I feel so blessed and grateful for another year!
I can’t believe it’s been 9 years ago today, Feb 5th, that I first saw a 6.5 cm tumor on the CT scan and began my journey with appendix cancer. It took lots of chemo, multiple surgeries, and intense support from family and friends to help me get through that ordeal. Here I am, 9 years later, with no evidence of disease.
Some of my friends struggled with the same rare appendix cancer. Ellen and Zanetta, in particular. I will always remember their laugh, their sense of humor, their optimism. Sometimes, when I feel that life is a bit overwhelming, when I’m worried about my kids, and about the future, I ask myself what advice they would give.
I imagine they would look me in the eye and remind me to:
- Believe in yourself.
- Love your family.
- Be a good friend.
- Be kind.
- Smile often.
- Let challenges inspire you to do better.
- Remember, you make an impact with every little thing you do.
- Go for it right now because the future isn’t promised!
Another year, another opportunity to get on with living.
Back in 2010 when I was researching treatments for appendiceal adenocarninoma, I learned that appendix cancer is often treated with colon cancer chemotherapy even though appendix cancer is thought to be genetically distinct from colon cancer. There still aren’t any appendix cancer-specific drugs but some patients do respond to the standard colon cancer drugs. To understand why, scientists are doing research into the genetic differences between the two types of cancer and have found that there are distinct genetic mutations between appendix cancer genes and colon cancer genes.