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 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.
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.
When I was a kid, my mom and I would go on long walks with friends every Saturday in the Sierra Nevadas near Yosemite and often go camping. Or we would take road trips together to visit old friends in a different part of California, about 8 hours away from where we lived. We enjoyed these periods of time where we could hang out and just relax.
Fast forward to today, and it’s always a treat when my mom, who lives 1800 miles away, comes into town for a visit. These mommy-daughter visits typically include nice lunches, walks around the hike-and-bike trail with the dogs, and time spent with my kids, husband, and friends.
But 2-3 times a year over the past four years, we’ve lined up our mommy-daughter “vacations” at MD Anderson for our respective cancer checkups, scheduling our CT scans back-to-back and spending a few days in Houston. We’re both blessed to be on relatively uneventful survivorship paths. Yes, we get together for fun trips as well, but the steady drumbeat of cancer checkups seems to dominate our visits. Continue reading →
Today (November 30) is my “new birthday.” Three years ago today, I had a massive surgery at MD Anderson toremove 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. Continue reading →
Three years ago today, on February 5, 2010, I saw a 6.5 cm mass on the CT scan of my abdomen and knew that my life was suddenly changed. Cancer. No warning, no prep. Just wham, down for the count.
The months of chemo, surgeries, sweat, tears and trips to Houston and the fantastic folks at MD Anderson are a blur from this vantage point. (I do have a 6-month check-up in April.)
Today, I’m much more at ease cancer-wise than at this time last year or two years ago. I’m so very thankful to still be here! I am a three-year cancer survivor. There was a time that I didn’t think I’d be here to say that.
Sunday, February 5, 2012 was my second cancerversary. The day back in 2010 when I had a CT scan that revealed the 6.5 cm mass in my abdomen. My ob/gyn thought it was probably ovarian cancer but it was not that dreaded disease. Just a very rare and aggressive cancer: non-mucinous colonic-type appendiceal adeoncarcinoma. Two years later, I am still on the planet and have no evidence of disease. Cause for celebration, right? On my first cancerversary, I was definitely more upbeat. But this year, I was filled with intense mixed emotions.
My husband and kids woke me up on Sunday morning to breakfast in bed, a candle in an almond croissant and yummy coffee. They made cards celebrating “Super Mom,” “Happy 2nd Cancerversary,” “in awe of your awesomeness,” and “Congrats on another year on the planet.” Wow! They were so excited that I had made it through two more years. Continue reading →