Surgery Day


November 24, 2014


I’m up early this morning, 3:30AM.  It feels like the night was a long night though I didn’t sleep much.  Actually, the feeling is similar to that of the night before a marathon, or a major competition/event.  To ease and quiet my mind I opted for a little meditation session led by Deepak Chopra.


The sutra/mantra for today, Monday, is “I am That.” This incompasses a lot:

I see others in myself and myself in others

• My spirit is not only in me but in all other beings and everything that is.

• Everybody is a reflection of myself.

• When I look at the universe, I am looking in my mirror.

• I am a person in a hall of mirrors where I see myself for miles and every reflection I see is of myself, but appears different.

• I see what others see.

• I feel what others feel.

• I am the qualities I admire most in others.

> Others reflect the qualities I cherish in myself.


For me, in a positive frame of mind some of the qualities these statements make me think about are joy, piece, love, kindness, good health, strength, stamina, determination, calmness, trust, organization, faith, hope, courage, and the image of Warrior pose in yoga! Feeling, thinking, and visualizing all of these things going into surgery will cary me into, through and out of surgery!  It’s about the will to survive, the will to live in order to share, touch, Inspire, Learn, Empower and Change! I will be a different person post surgery and I am ready and excited to meet that new person!


Next, the actual time for meditation.  Meditating brings about a quietness that calms the mind, which is so wonderfully relaxing!  It’s soon time to head to the hospital, check in, and settle in with Doctors and nurses.


My parents (Consuelo and Cristobal), my husband (John), my sister (Sandra), and Lydia and Derick (who came in from MN) are here to accompany me throughout the day today.  I am humbled and grateful for their love and support!


I’ll be thinking of all the positive thoughts and energy the universe is sending my way today and in the future days to come!






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 Decision To Cut My Hair!



Ivonne holding her brades after new haircut.

August 12, 2014


The decision to cut my hair was not a difficult one to make.  I knew that I would eventually cut it, the question was “when”.


At first, there was a bit of anger and sadness as I thought about cutting my long dark black hair.  Sadness because of the realization that no matter how well I took care of my nutrition, my sleep, exercise, and emotions, my hair would still fall out.  This is just one of the side effects of Chemotherapy.  Sadness because I have dreamt of racing at the 2016 Paralympics with a long brade down my back.  Now I’ll have less than two years to grow it back! 


The anger came as a natural emotion of coping with cancer; why me, why now, how will I handle questions about what happened to my hair?  Then, as the tears streamed down my cheeks and fell onto my pillow, I reminded myself that there was no sense in me asking “why?”  The key to moving forward, past the anger and sadness, would be to decide what to do about my hair.  That’s when I told myself, “Ivonne, you can donate your hair and bring another human being joy!”  It was then that I decided to donate my hair to Locks of Love, a  public non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the United States and Canada under age 21 suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis. 


I chose Locks of Love because I believe that it is essential for children to feel empowered and self-confident to face their peers and the world starting at an early age in life.  Our experiences and feelings from childhood play a crucial part in life as we become adults. This thought brought me piece with the decision to cut my hair immediately in order to donate as much of it as possible.


The Haircut:

I found a salon called Pigtails and Crew Cuts in Chula Vista California that gave me a free haircut because I would be donating my hair to Locks of Love. My hair was braded into 6 brades, which were cut and neatly placed into a plastic bag and padded envelope to be mailed off to Locks of Love.  My hair was then trimmed up nicely and evenly, and it was short but cute!  Thank you to the warm and welcoming staff at the salon!


I even had a support crew come to the salon with me:  John (husband), Sandra (oldest sister), Ariana (Niece), and William Adrian (nephew)!  We all Facetimed with my mom as well!  Everyone’s support made the experience light and fun!  I can’t thank my family enough for joining me today!


**If you are interested in donating your hair for a meaningful cause, join me!**