Final Recommendations Are In

September 26, 2014


Today was a day full of information to process as I received results from all of the lab work and imaging I have undergone the last couple of weeks.  Thankfully my Mom and John were with me, and I am grateful for their unwavering love and support!


The results shoe that my bladder has healed extremely well after the resection of the tumor back in June and there are no new growths.  The mass that was seen on my T6 vertebra on my spine is unchanged; this is also good news as it reaffirms that it is not cancer.  The fibroids in my uterus are unchanged; this is a bit of a mixed bag as the Dr. explained.  Typically, if a mass shrinks after Chemo is administered, or it if grows, it is a likely sign of cancerous cells and the mas being malignant.  If the mass, or fibroids, don’t change in size this could mean that they are either benign, or that they just didn’t respond in any way to Chemo.  It turns out that there is no way to biopsy these fibroids in my uterus, which is mind boggling.  How is it that open heart sirgury can be done, brain sirgury can be done, but a biopsy of the fibroids in the uterus cannot be done?  The uterus expands to hold and deliver a child, and yet no one will do a biopsy of the fibroids in it.


I did get the explanation that Drs. think there is to grate a risk involved in biopsying uterin fibroids, including puncturing surrounding organs.  So the only way to really know if fibroids are cancerous is to have a historectomy done.  Once the uterus has been removed, the fibroids can be biopsied, sent to the lab, and a diagnosis achieved…The troubling aspect of all this is that the biopsy can come back negative, meaning that the fibroids are “not” cancerous.  If this is the case however, there’s no turning back because you cannot reattach the uterus into its owner’s body…


The last result of the day was a new and shocking finding.  There seems to be an increased amount of fluid in my heart as of the last MRI.  This is known as a Paracardial Effusion.  When I heard this news, I broke down in tears.  All I could think of was, “please, not my heart!”  NThe concern this raises is that extra fluid around the heart can put pressure on the heart limiting its ability to function normally.  Then there is the concern of not knowing where or how this extra fluid came from, or what caused it.


The next step then is to figure out what is going on with my heart.  Perhaps it is just a fluke with the MRI, but this needs to be investigated.  Once this is settled then I’ll be able to proceed with either bladder sirgery, or with a historectomy and bladder sirgery.  The bladder sirgery would be a “Partial Resection” of the bladder, which means that the piece of the bladder where the tumor was found would be removed, and my bladder would be stretched and resown together forming a smaller bladder.  The historectomy would involve removing my uterus but keeping my ovaries in order to keep my hormone production as normal as possible since I am still young for menopause.


For now, John and I need to return home.  I have a lot of thinking to do about what I would like to do with regards to the bladder and the uterus surgeries, and I need to follow up with a Cardiologist.  In short, there’s more yet to come.  Emotions are high, and I am scared of what this new finding could lead us to discover.  Yet there is a part of me that is determined to continue fighting, to continue finding answers and figuring out what I can do to help my body heal…I have been praying a lot as well, and deep down I know that I will find my way through this as well.  It’s a journey that is teaching me so much, and I hope we can share with each other what we all learn along the way.





The Runner’s Stop, and My 1st Pair of Spikes!


Picture of Ivonne and Ellen, Runner's Stop Owner.

Picture of Ivonne and Ellen, Runner’s Stop Owner.

September 12, 2014


Today was all about rest and recovery after yesterday’s extremely long day at the hospital.  I went through lots of testing, CT scan, MRI, and consultation with my Oncologist, Dr. Keohan. Fortunately, my Dad, Cristobal (who goes by Cris), and John spent the long day with me keeping me company…


It’s a beautiful day today in Lynbrook, New York.  The sun is out and the temps are pleasantly warm with low humidity.  So we went for a walk around town.  Along the way we had tasty thin crust Pizza for lunch at Angelina’s, and happened to stumble upon a store called The Runner’s Stop!   It’s a small but incredibly well stocked shop with tons of sneakers and spikes!  Yes, I’ve been talking with my running coach, Joaquim Cruz, about trying out spikes for the 1500 meters event!


I’ve never worn spikes before, never even tried them on before because it’s been extremely difficult to find a pair that fits since I have such small feet- I wear a size 5 or 5.5 in street shoes.  Track spikes need to fit like a glove, really snug.  So I wasn’t expecting anything at all when we entered the Runner’s Stop.


To my surprise, Patty, the woman who greeted us, was super friendly and super eager to help.  Suddenly John and I were pulling floor models off the shelves, and Patty was checking sizes for me in the stores stock room/area.  In no time, tons of boxes were appearing next to me!  It was so cool to have so many options!


Long story short, after trying on various styles, and mini testing them as John and I ran through the store, I settled on a pair.  I chose a Brooks pair.


As we were paying for my brand new spikes, we also learned that Ellen, the store’s owner, is a Cancer Surviver!  Wow, I thought, what a coincidence…Or was it really a coincidence?  Perhaps not so much a coincidence as a “this was meant to happen; I was meant to stop into this store to find my 1st pair of spikes, and to meet Ellen.  Perhaps meeting Ellen is a sign of hope and encouragement for me, a sign of healing, of life, a sign of what the future holds in store for me too.”


Ellen and Patty are also runners.  This helps a lot when a fellow runner is shopping for shoes, because runners can be very picky looking for “just the right fit”!  This means we can spend a lot of time shopping and trying things on!


I am greatful for having met Patty and Ellen.  Many thanks to them for the awesome tanktop with the store’s logo on it too.  I’ll be sure to take a picture of me wearing it at the Olympic Training Center!  I also can’t wait to let them know how things go with my spikes. It’ll be a dream come true to wear and race in them on my way to Rio!





Runner’s Stop

20 Atlantic Ave, Lynbrook, NY 11563


IN NYC For Follow-ups!

September110 2014


I’m in New York City for follow-ups with my team of Doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering, MSKCC.  There will be a series of MRIs, CT Scans, blood work, a cystoscopy of the bladder with the urologist, a check-in with the Gynocologist for the uterus, and then review of all the results.  I’m looking forward to having the remaining pieces of my treatment plan finalized.


John and I will be staying with my Dad for a few days.  It’ll be a treat to spend some quality time with my Dad, which I haven’t done in ages.


To all reading, I’m am feeling excited, anxious, but overall moving forward with “Faith and courage”.  I’ll share what I learn soon!





All The Hair Comes Off!


photo 5Coach Cutting Hair

Picture of Ivonne, Jimmy, Andy, and Barber John!

Picture of Ivonne, Jimmy, Andy, and Barber John!

Picture of Ivonne, Coach Joaquim Cruz, and guide Anne Shadle.

Picture of Ivonne, Coach Joaquim Cruz, and guide Anne Shadle.

September 5, 2014


Since my hair has thinned and fallen out so much, I decided to shave it all off!


John and I had a little ceremony to mark the occasion, and to keep things light! I sang the National Anthem, my running Coach, former Olympian Gold Medalist Joaquim Cruz took the 1st cut of my hair, two Dining Hall staff members shaved their heads along with me, and we all enjoyed some refreshing watermellon!


I was touched to have such incredible support from the Sports Med Staff, Jimmy and Andy (Dining Hall Staff members), fellow Track and Field athletes, my current guide Anne Shadle, and my wonderful husband!


“My newly bald head feels a bit weird, but totally refreshing!  I’m looking forward to going for a run and feeling the wind on my head!”



Thank you to everyone for joining me today!