A new journey begins….

Way back in January of this year I was planning a post with pictures of the humming birds that visit the feeder on my patio. Well, you know what they say about making plans….life happens while you are making other plans.


On January 30 I was hospitalized with a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) that encompassed nearly my entire left leg.  I spent two nights in Intensive Care at the hospital closest to my home. I had none of the usual symptoms….except a history of endometrial carcinoma. Yes, that is cancer. I had a hysterectomy for that in 2009 and all of my check ups have been clear. Just to be sure the hospital doctor referred me to an oncologist. I figured it was just routine and he would confirm that I remained cancer free.


I had my consultation with him on February 23. It was that far out because I was still having trouble walking due to the DVT (and still am although it is better). He took some blood tests and the next morning at 9 am my phone rang. It was Dr. X (his name really does begin with X) with the results of one of the tests. It is a test that could indicate cancer somewhere in the body. My result was highly elevated. He ordered a Pet Scan for the following week.


I got a call the next day to come in for the results of the scan. My friend C. came and went with me as an extra pair of ears. The doctor showed me the scan on the computer and there indeed were three lymph nodes and what looked like a possible mass in my left pelvic area. We set up a routine to switch me off the Xeralto blood thinner that I was on to another one that would allow me to have a biopsy and port placement. I went to the Cancer Center daily for seven days to have injections because I’m a wuss and can’t give myself shots. The people who work there are so wonderfully loving and kind. I guess if you aren’t you don’t last long in that job.


I had my biopsy on March 10 and they placed a port in my upper right chest that would allow for administration of medication (read chemo), draw blood and insert IV’s without tearing up my veins and bruising me they way they had in the hospital. On Tuesday….was it really only this week?…I got the results that indeed my endometrial cancer had returned. I was referred to Dr. D who is a renowned gynecological cancer surgeon here in the Pacific Northwest.


Today I had my appointment with Dr. D. He was able to get my old records from 2009 and I brought a disc with my scan. After reviewing the information and examining me I am happy to say that he doesn’t feel surgery is needed but that we can treat this and knock it back into remission.


It will not be easy. I am looking at five to six months of chemo therapy and radiation therapy. I am going to be pretty sick for a while and yes, I will lose my hair. I’m already consulting with my stylist to have a little ceremony when I ask her to shave my head. And as serendipity would have it…I got a wig catalog in the mail this week. Yes, (you know who you are) just like your mom….a little God Wink…there have been others too….like the picture of Venice on the wall of the room where I went daily for my injections. The wig featured on the cover was really cute and very close to the way I currently wear my hair. And the name of the color was perfect. Brazen Auburn. Brazen…that is what I plan to be. I will kick cancer’s butt. I did it before and I can do it again.


Another God Wink…this flower was yellow last year.

Dr. D is going to review everything with their tumor board and if they can get that done this coming week then I can start chemo the week after. Once a week, three weeks apart for probably six treatments. Then five weeks of radiation five days a week. Yes, just about six months.


And since one of the things that I thought about in that emergency room before they admitted me….after making sure that Diavolo would be taken care of while I was in the hospital and my car would get moved from the mall where it had been left was my beloved Venezia. And I decided then and there that I wasn’t waiting to get the bills paid and I could apply for a visa and buy a one way ticket. I was going; and the sooner the better. So I have talked to the doctors and they see no reason I should not be well enough this time next year. March 2017…yes, for the entire month. A wonderful way to celebrate spring, the Baha’i New Year (March 20) and my rebirth and return to health. So among other things to help take my mind off the next few months I’m planning the trip. And I’m already planning to meet up with some of you there.


Most of you who read my blog know that I have a very positive outlook and a somewhat wicked sense of humor. That will continue. I don’t want this blog to turn into a downer although I may moan occasionally. It’s my right. I am in pain although not all of the time. Most of it is my left leg and related to the DVT which Dr. X says was so large it will probably take six months for the body to dissolve it. The medication only keeps new clots from forming it doesn’t take care of the one already there.  I do have a good wallow once in a while and as I told a friend…they usually involve chocolate or ice cream and sometimes both. I am surrounded by a wonderful group of loving and caring friends and I have an excellent medical team that I trust. As we say in Italian: Vincerò!

It means “I will win”.


Stay tuned as I recount my life turned upside down and we travel together to the other side and back to Venezia.

About mvaden1948

I love to travel to Venice (and probably other parts of Italy and beyond) and my camera leads me where she wants without any consideration as to whatever plans I may have. I enjoy photographing nature, my cat and anything that strikes my fancy. I have a "thing" for interesting doors and architectural details.
This entry was posted in Baha'i Faith, Birds, Cancer, Chemo, Chocolate, City of My Dreams, Diavolo, flowers, friends, Home, learning Italian, me, Travel, Venezia, Venice and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to A new journey begins….

  1. gooddayrome says:

    Oh, Michelle, I am so sorry about your illness but uplifted by your positive outlook and winning spirit! No doubt being forward-looking and planning for your beloved Venezia will be an important part of the therapy. Wishing you all the best!

    • mvaden1948 says:

      Thank you so much. Good thoughts, positive energy and prayers are appreciated.
      I have lovely friends lighting candles in churches in Venezia. If you want to light some in Rome too that probably wouldn’t hurt and as a friend in Venezia says….you don’t have to be religious.;-)

      • gooddayrome says:

        Next time I am in a church, I will do just that!

        BTW, on our way to Venezia on Monday to hook up with visitors from Portland. We were just there in November with another guest. We never tire of her!

      • mvaden1948 says:

        I never tire of her either and wish I was either there full time or at least more often.

  2. Jo says:

    Life plays cruel tricks. Best wishes and keep dreaming of La Serenissima.

  3. Sue says:

    We go to 7:00 pm Mass every Sunday and I have never lit a candle. But I will tomorrow.

    Wishing you well and sending you good vibes.

    • mvaden1948 says:

      Grazie mille. I wonder why we don’t light those candles? I know that all those years on Catholic school it was only the little old ladies. Oh, wait…I think that’s us now:-)

  4. Mindy Smith says:

    As others have written, I’m so very sorry to read about the ROTC (return of the cancer) but you ARE BRAZEN and will kick cancer’s a$$ once again. Planning a trip to Venezia sounds like the perfect diversion. My kitty Tate and I will keep you in our thoughts, prayers, chants, and silly dance moves (I find that dancing like an absolute FOOL in the privacy of my own home makes God chuckle and puts my requests to the top of His (Her)? list, LOL.
    Thinking of you in Quincy, MA

  5. Sounds like you have a plan and everything is under control. Hope it all works out.

  6. Vincerai senza dubbio, cara Michelle!!!

  7. furbiziahs says:

    Vincerai di sicuro cara Michelle!!!!!! I’m already making plans for you to taste a wonderful coffee and cakes in Venice 🍩☕

  8. Shelley says:

    Beautiful hummingbird, bella! I’m looking forward to your photos from next year’s Venice stay already. A brazen auburn wig sounds perfect while your own hair decides what form it will take when it regenerates and springs forth again. Sending you oodles of love and hugs from Ella and me. x0x

  9. Susie L says:

    Oh Michele, I am so saddened by this news. But with your wonderful and positive outlook, I know you will beat this yet again! I showed this post to my husband, and we both got very teary. You see, we had to cancel our annual month in Venice trip this last December due to his cancer diagnosis. Of everything he has gone through battling this disease, cancelling Venice was the hardest and most painful part of all of it. But after three months of chemo, surgery on the colon, liver and gallbladder, soon to start another 3 months of chemo, we are preparing to plan our next trip! You and I have friends in common, and believe me, Venice was ablaze in candles for my sweet Marco. Those candles work! And when we return to Venice this December, we will pay kindness forward and light candles for you! I also want to say how charming and clever I think the use of your photographs are on this post. The hummingbird shots, and closing with the reflection of the upside down building. Forza Carissima! Un abbracione!

    • mvaden1948 says:

      Grazie, Susie. First I want you to know I will add your Marco to my prayer list.
      One of these days we will meet in Venice. I know that in my heart.
      Yes, that reflection/upside down shot really illustrates what my life feels like right now.
      I do thank God every day for that DVT because without it we would not have found the cancer till much later. A strange sort of blessing, but a blessing nonetheless.
      I will miss my spring quarter in my Italian class but they have promised to keep me posted on what is happening. My teacher calls me and encourages me to speak in Italian. And of course she emails me….in Italian!
      Diavolo is being very patient with me as he seems to understand that I’m not moving as fast as I was. He’s as good a nurse as a cat can be. And I have wonderful friends around the world….and here locally….looking out for me.

  10. Susie L says:

    Grazie Cara, and we will add your name to ours. I just love Diavolo! Yes, I feel very strongly that we WILL meet in Venezia one day, and let’s coerce M and K into making lunch for us! 😃

    • mvaden1948 says:

      Great idea. They cooked me dinner….okay, M cooked….my first night last trip in 2013 when you and I managed to miss each other.
      Maybe you could come in March too? Okay December and March is probably out of the question as I know where you live and the airfare is just as expensive for you as it is for me. We aren’t our friends in the UK who can just hop over on Ryan Air or some such. No offense meant to any of my lovely friends in the UK….I just envy the short distance between you and the City of my dreams.

  11. I am amazed by your strength and positive spirit and will be continually thinking about you! I think it was just the perfect thing to decide on the trip next year, you’ll be healthy and in that beloved city in the wink of an eye! Your photos here are beautiful! Here’s to a very quick recovery!

  12. may1787 says:

    I am really sorry to hear this, Misha! However, it sounds like your attitude about it is on point. I enjoyed seeing the photos of your Hawaii trip post-cancer diagnosis, and hope you are able to something similar. I think I read you will do Venice in March?

    • mvaden1948 says:

      Ciao, bella. Yes, Venice in March is the plan.
      That Hawaii trip had already been booked when I got the diagnosis in 2009. And just a few months after that in March 2010 I met up with friends in Venice and Rome. I will be meeting with friends this time too. My care team is excited about my plans.
      Hope you are well.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.