Internal Struggle


Picture Of Ivonne In A Running Pose

Picture Of Ivonne In A Running Pose

Internal Struggle

October 27, 2014


I’ve been doing a lot of praying, thinking, reading, and trying to process tons of information. I’ve been searching for “what is the right answer” with regards to surgery.  The recommendation from Drs. at Sloan Kettering is for me to have both a historectomy and Partial Resection of the Bladder done.  My original thought was to address my Bladder via a Partial Resection, and watch the fibroids on my uterus; the idea being that the fibroids are likely benign.


On one hand, a historectomy and Partial Resection of the Bladder sounds reasonable.  There would only be one surgery rather than two, if the decision is to address the Bladder now and remove the uterus later.  Also, if the tumor in my bladder possibly came from the uterus, which isn’t known for sure, then the historectomy would eliminate a potential reoccurance of any cancer growths.


On the other hand, if the fibroids on the uterus are indeed benign, the historectomy is irreversible. There is no way of knowing whether the fibroids are truly benign other than by removing the uterus.  This has caused me a great deal of frustration because Drs. just will not biopsy the fibroids unless the uterus is removed.


In one of my Deepak Chopra readings, I came across a Sutra – Sat Chit Ananda.  This sutra means “My inner dialogue reflects the fire of my soul; truth, knowingness, bliss.”. The mantra also indicates that “I am focused on the journey, not the destination…A deeply profound ocean of calm exists within me that is not affected by any turbulence.”


As I read this Sutra, it resonated with me in a powerful way, and yet I wasn’t sure why.  Giving it more thought though, I saw so many appplications of the sutra to my life.  There was and still is a lot for me to learn from my cancer diagnosis.  My task is to learn as much as I can, to share with others my learnings along the way, and in the process to feel empowered while empowering others to learn, ask questions, and live life to its fullest! Living life to its fullest is making sure we take and live life One Day At A Time.  We can be greatful for the opportunities, friendships/relationships, and joys we have today, because tomorrow is a new day with many unknowns!  It is also about acknowledging how experiences may change us and being honest about what brings us happiness and wellbeing.


It was then that I saw the Historectomy in a different light; If I have both the historectomy and the Partial Resection of the Bladder, then I can honestly say that I have done all I could do at this time (today) to address any possible cancer reoccurance in the future.  I will have faith in my decision, and with God by my side, continue moving forward on my life’s journey.  It’s not about what others may think is best for us, deep in our soul we each know what is best for ourselves!








Pericardial Effusion Part III

October 24, 2014

Pericardial Effusion Results


Today has seen the receipt of some positive results regarding my Pericardial Effusion, extra fluid around my heart!


Dr. Raisinghani informed me that the Cardiac MRI did show the extra fluid around the heart, but it was very minimal; all other heart functions are perfectly normal!  The blood results checking for my Thyroid function also came back normal.  Finally, the second Echocardiogram that was just done a week ago shows the fluid around the heart has decreased!


This is all fantastic news, and helps clear up a great deal of uncertainty.  One of my main conclusions about the Pericardial Effusion is that the cause could infact have been the Coxsackie virus.  Since the fluid is decreasing, it seems that the Golden Flower Chinese herb is working.  Huge thanks to Dr. Rich Olree for his insights!


This news also means that I am cleared to move ahead with surgery in November. Surgery will be at Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York City.  I am ready to move forward with this part of my treatment plan- moving forward with faith, hope, healing and positive thoughts, and an insatiable desire to live, love, and fulfill my dreams!


Thank you to all of my family, friends and supporters  for being part of my journey!






Detoxing Can Be Fun!


DE Face Mask-Ivonne and John_IMG_0031October 10, 2014


Chemo is meant to kill or slow the growth of cancer cells, which grow and reproduce rapidly. However, it also can kill normal, rapidly dividing healthy cells including those in the digestive tract, skin cells, nails, red and white blood cells, those responsible for hair growth, and more. As the healthy normal cells are attacked, one may feel side effects including nauzia, intense fatigue, inability to eat or swallow, both constipation and diarrhea, dizziness, severe itching, rashes, etc.  The Chemo meds are powerful, but they also contain strong chemicals that the body may treat as very foreign and toxic.  This is why people experience such strong side effects from the Chemo meds.  The skin is also our biggest organ, which is why itching, prickling, rashes, and sores tend to be some of the common side effects of Chemotherapy.


I was starting to feel some itching and prickling-like sensations on my face after the 3rd session of Chemo.  So we turned to the ever-powerful (food grade) Diatomaceous Earth for a little detoxing.  John mixed a bit of it up with spring bottled water creating a paste-like cream, and we used it as a facial mask!  We let the mask dry for about 20 minutes before gently rincing it off.


The DE mask worked like magic – the itching and prickling was gone, and my skin felt beautifully soft and smoothe!  It was awesome to get such a relief and to cleanse my skin naturally!


**Diatomaceous Earth – food-grade — is a mineral/powder that 89% Silica.  The human body needs Silica for many natural body functions and for absorption of vitamins and nutrients.  You can learn more about DE at**







Pericardial Effusion Part II

October 5, 2014

The Coxsackie Virus


I decided to check in with my main naturopath, Dr. Rich Olree regarding my Pericardial Effusion.  He told me that the extra fluid could be a result of a virus called Coxsackie.  His recommendation was to take a specific type of Golden Flower Chinese herb.  Never having heard of such a virus I immediately turned to Google as my research tool!  Below is information from Web MD,


What is coxsackievirus?

Coxsackievirus is a member of a family of viruses called enteroviruses. Enteroviruses are made up of a single strand of ribonucleic acid (RNA). The enteroviruses are also referred to as picornaviruses (pico means “small,” so, “small RNA virues”).

Coxsackievirus was first found in the town Coxsackie south of Albany, New York.

What are the types of coxsackieviruses and what can they cause?

There are two different types of coxsackieviruses: A and B. Type A viruses cause herpangina (sores in the throat) and hand, foot, and mouth disease. Type B viruses cause epidemic pleurodynia, and inflammation in the chest. Both types A and B viruses can cause meningitis (inflammation of the spinal cord or brain), myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle), and pericarditis (inflammation of the sac surrounding the heart). They also may have a role in the development of acute onset juvenile (type 1) diabetes.”

Wow, I couldn’t believe I had just read that…Perhaps this was the cause of my Pericardial Effusion!

When I asked Dr. Raisinghani about the Coxsackie Virus,he told me two things:
1. How do you know about Coxsackie? (I just smiled…)
2. No, not likely to be Coxsackie; well, Western medicine doesn’t typically test for the Coxsackie virus, and there are no medications to treat it.
Interesting to ponder?  Yes, mainly because it seems much more economical to test for a virus than to go for an MRI.  Sure, the MRI is an extremely useful tool, but it could be the second/next step after investigating something like a virus!
Nonetheless, I also realize that at this point, time is of the essence since I need to resolve the Pericardial Effusion cause in order to proceed with the next steps of treatment.  My corse of action now is to start taking the Golden Flower Chinese herb, go for the Cardiac MRI, and get blood drawn to check my Thyroid function.  Then Dr. Raisinghani will repeat the ECG in two weeks as well.
Stay tuned for the results of all of these tests!

Pericardial Effusion Part I

October 3, 2014

ECGs and EKGs


It’s time to start investigating why there’s a bit of extra fluid around my heart, which is known as Pericardial Effusion.  So today I met Dr. Ajit Raisinghani, a cardiologist who is part of the University of California San Diego Healthcare system.  At the UCSD Medical Center Dr. Raisinghani is Director of Cardiology Clinics, Director of Non-Invasive Laboratory Chief of Clinical Services, and associate professor. He enjoys cycling quite a bit too, and enjoys spending time with his wife and two sons!


I was greatful that Dr. Raisinghani was able to see me on such short notice.  He conducted an Echo-cardiogram (ECG) and an Electro-Cardiogram (KG). If you’re like me, you may be wondering about the difference between these two kinds of tests.


As I learned, an ECG is a test that creates pictures of the heart through the use of sound waves.  The pictures created allow the Dr. to see the heart’s beating ability, the heart’s valves and chambers, and enables the detection of several things including:

  • Abnormal heart valves
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Damage to the heart muscle from a heart attack
  • Heart murmurs
  • Inflammation (pericarditis) or fluid in the sac around the heart (pericardial effusion)
  • Infection on or around the heart valves (infectious endocarditis)
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Ability of the heart to pump (for people with heart failure)
  • Source of a blood clot after a stroke or TIA

**Information found on**


Think of the ECG as an ultrasound.  A gel is applied to the center and left areas of your chest and on the upper abdomen.  Then a probe is used to slide around these areas while it sends out the sound waves that pick up your heart.  It was a pretty neat experience because there are times throughout the exam when you can hear how your heart beats, how it speeds up and slows down depending on your breathing, and the difference in sound from when the probe is on your chest versus your abdomen.


On the other hand, an EKG records the electrical activity of the heart.  Basically, an electrical signal travels from the top to the bottom of the heart each time the heart beats.  As the electrical signal moves from top to bottom it causes the heart to contract and to pump blood.  It is these signals that set the rhythm of the heart beat.

An EKG shows:

  • How fast your heart is beating
  • Whether the rhythm of your heartbeat is steady or irregular
  • The strength and timing of electrical signals as they pass through each part of your heart

Doctors use EKGs to detect and study many heart problems, such as heart attacks, arrhythmias (ah-RITH-me-ahs), and heart failure. The test’s results also can suggest other disorders that affect heart function.

**Information found on**


The Findings:

Dr. Raisinghani told me that he suspected three potential causes of the Pericardial Effusion:

1. Potentially caused by a low Thyroid function (perhaps a result of all the Chemo meds)

2. The Docetaxel Chemo med has Pericardial Effusion as one of the risks associated with it.

3. Potential metastasis, highly unlikely given no metastasis was found in my latest scans and blood work.


now, the next steps are to have some blood drawn to check my Thyroid, have a Cardiac MRI done, and repeat the ECG in two weeks to see if the fluid has changed.


Stay tuned for more!