Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Next Step

My mother recently reminded me of something that I needed to hear. "God will direct your steps...we may not always know the next one ahead of time, but He will guide you." That just really sunk in deep! I thought that by Monday I would know the details of the next few weeks, and the timeline of the transplant and everything leading up to it. Well, I do know a little....but not as much as I thought I would. So, I really needed to hear my Mom's sweet words of wisdom!

Right now, I know that I will be going back in for another round of chemo tomorrow, Thursday, December 3. I will be staying in for three days as I have the previous rounds. This really is a huge answer to prayer....since it takes about three weeks for my counts to fully recover from being knocked down after chemo, this is going to allow me to be HOME FOR CHRISTMAS!!!!! I've known there was a possibility I would be gone for Christmas, if they felt I should go ahead and begin the transplant process. I am sooooo grateful!

I also know that my transplant (of course there are a lot of tests to be done beforehand to make sure my body is strong enough for it) will take place in January. Doug and I will be discussing some things with the doctors, in order to make a decision on where it will take place: New York or Indiana. Both locations are doing cord blood studies, so we will talk with them to discern if either place has any particular steps in the process that would be beneficial for my particular case. At least with this third round of chemo, we will have some extra time to make that decision.

I also would like to add that while I have been typing this, Lauren has been leaning over and kissing my cheek several times. Nothing like sharing good news with you and receiving some of the sweetest kisses in the world!!! Thank you, Lord for your blessings!

Much love to each of you,

Melissa

(April, since I know now how many times you check my blog, I had to acknowledge you and say thank you!!!! :)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Counting on God

After spending Thanksgiving day with my parents and grandma in Fishers, we were able to travel to Doug's family in northwest Ohio for the weekend.  We have had a great time visiting with everyone, and the kids LOVE being able to play with their cousins.  I'm so thankful for the wonderfully loving and supportive families that we have.

This morning at Doug's home church (Defiance Church of the Nazarene), we sang a song that I have never heard before.  I love it!  I even heard Caleb say to Grandma Rex in the kitchen this afternoon, "Hey, I really liked that song "Counting on God" that we sang in church.  This warmed my heart!  Whether it was the words that he understood or the catchy tune it has, it made me so happy that he liked the song that much.  I wanted to share it with you.  I love the words....it is perfect for me, and I hope you find it true in your life, too.  My favorite line is "the miracle of Christ in me is the mystery that sets me free."  I wish I was a songwriter!  Love it, love it, love it.  I AM COUNTING ON GOD!

(As soon as I know any more details of what step we take next in treatment, I will let you know.)

Please turn your volume on and enjoy the song!  Here are the words.

I'm in a fight not physical
And I'm in a war 
But not with this world
You are the light that's beautiful
And I want more
I want all that's Yours

Joy unspeakable that won't go away
And just enough strength 
To live for today
So I never have to worry
What tomorrow will bring
'Cause my faith is on solid rock
I am counting on God

I am counting on
I am counting on God
I am counting on
I am counting on God

The miracle of Christ in me
Is the mystery that sets me free
I'm nothing like I used to be
Open up your eyes and you'll see

(by Desperation Band)




Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Best THANKSGIVING Ever!

I received a call from my nurse this morning. She had a little extra "pep" in her voice. My heart is overflowing with thanks to the Lord to know that EVERYTHING IS SHRINKING in size and activity levels!!!!!!

Do you know how wonderful it was to receive this news....I KNOW YOU ARE JUMPING UP AND DOWN WITH ME RIGHT NOW! (not suggested for those over 70.)

Thank you, Lord, for yet another piece of refreshing news and renewed hope! I know there is still a long road ahead, but let's give Him the praise for this today!!!

I don't know any more details yet as far as what is next....when and where. I will let you know as soon as I do.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I love you,
Melissa

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Grateful Heart and Wonderful News!

I know I often find myself saying this to you, but I am so sorry I've let this much time go by without doing any type of a post. During the time since my last round of chemo, I have continued living each day to the fullest with my beautiful family. While I may know that nothing is new during this time, I realize I should let you know that everything is continuing to go as well as expected during the waiting period. Not to mention the fact that my three little kiddos keep me hoppin' through the day, and make it so easy for me to fall straight into bed at night!

I have three main pieces of news that I am so excited to share with you! First, the day of my PET scan has finally arrived. I will be having my scan Tuesday morning (the 24th) at 8:45. To refresh your memory, I have completed the two rounds of chemo that my New York doctor suggested. We are praying, trusting, and believing that the scan will show improvement. If this is the case, there is a very high probability that I will be continuing treatments (chemo or transplant prep) in New York City at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. I have been scared at the thought of being so far away from my children and Doug (who would be with me part of the time), but at the same time scared at the thought of no improvement. I know without a doubt though that giving up the comforts of my own home and a short amount of time with the loves of my life, is so worth the long-term outcome of putting this unwanted disease into remission.

Secondly, I would like to share with you how blessed I am by the bone marrow drive that Mount Vernon Nazarene University held in my honor! ( I am so thankful for each drive that was held in my honor all over the United States! I am eternally grateful to each one of you who headed these up.) My heart is just full of joy and thanks to know that my alma mater would do this for me. There are so many individuals who were involved, but I know that James Smith (dear friend, former class mate, the person who is responsible for Doug and I meeting, and current Admissions Director of the school), Tom West, Kimberly Eades, and ALL of the incredible nursing students....all of these people sacrificed much time and energy to make the drive a reality. THANK YOU! I pray the Lord would bless each of you in an amazing way, as you have been such an amazing blessing to me. I believe there were 400+ people that registered to be donors. I know that many of my friends at MVNU are hoping there is a match for me in that number, but I am also so humbled to think of the many other lives that could be changed forever by these new registrants! I can't wait to see the huge ripple effect this will have. I don't think I have shared this yet on my blog, but there is a young lady that attends Parkview (our previous church in Ohio) who found out she is a match for an eight year old girl! Praise the Lord! Isn't that so exciting?

Side note: The song that is playing first is Love Song for a Savior by Jars of Clay. Writing about MVNU made me want to add it to my song playlist. This was my favorite song my freshman year of college. Listen to the words....it so perfectly summed up my hope for that time in my life. "I want to fall in love with you..." I did, and I still am.

Final piece of news...I was told this past Friday, two things that made my heart skip a beat. First, I am now eligible to participate in a cord blood study in Indy, which does not depend upon any improvement on my PET scan. I know this may be confusing, but to sum it up as simply as possible this means that if there is NO improvement in my scan tomorrow....I still have another option. Thank you, Jesus! I've been wondering where we go from here if nothing has changed. I know that improvement of some kind in the lymphoma is a requirement for the transplant in New York. I was just so happy to hear that I had a plan B! In case you are wondering, I now qualify for this study (cord blood transplant), since I am at least 6 months out from my auto transplant. Okay, now here is the really good news. Are you sitting down? I'm serious...hold onto something, because what I am going to tell you is just incredible. They have found a cord blood match for me...they have found a donor....they have found what I need that may possibly work along with the hands of doctors and grace of God to save my life. It's true. I am feeling a little like it is too good to be true....but it is. I have known they were searching donors as well as cord blood...I never dreamed that the birth of a precious little baby could bring me new life. (How appropriate with the upcoming Christmas season...we have all be given the chance at new life through the gift a precious baby coming to the world!) I am well aware there is a long road ahead. I am not even sure when a transplant will take place. There are so many unknowns that continue to linger, but today I rejoice. Today I am grateful for this news. Today, I am given renewed hope. Thank you, my sweet Lord.

Jesus, I believe in You....I thank you for this gift...and I am praying with every ounce of my being that you can use this for a miracle in my life. I will give you all the praise and honor. I will share my story and your love all the days of my life...


Friday, November 6, 2009

Update

Just wanted to let you know that Miss is home from the hospital now. She is feeling and sounding much better since she had the bad cough earlier.

Thanks for the prayers!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Prayer request

All is okay with Melissa, but she ended up getting a fever along with a pretty bad cold that she's had. She was told this is a side effect of the chemo...her low immunity caused by a very low white cell count. She will be in the hospital for a couple days.

The good news is that her chest x-ray came back clear...so no pneumonia. Please pray that her fever will go away, and the cough will leave quickly too.

Thank you!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Chemo Treatment

Just a quick note to let you know that Melissa is in the hospital receiving the next planned round of this new chemo regimen. She will be there until sometime Wednesday.

On a fun note, she discovered tonight that she could access Facebook on her laptop. This is the first time she's been able to do that during any hospital stay, so that was a fun thing for her to discover. I'm sure she'd love to hear from you on Facebook these next few days.

Also, I am updating the prayer calendar for her for the next couple months. Even if a day looks already loaded up, feel free to add yourself too-- the more, the better! You can choose a date by either commenting on that post on her prayer calendar www.prayformelissa.blogspot.com , or by emailing me at jenniferbergey@yahoo.com.
Let's be in prayer that she will have good news after her next PET scan, and that this chemo is working as we speak!

Thanks so much!!!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sweet Audrey Jane

Happy Birthday, Audrey!!! It is so hard to believe that two years have passed since Audrey came into this world. God knew we needed her...she is such an incredible blessing. She fills our home with lots of laughter, running feet (usually chasing after big brother and sister, Caleb and Lauren), squeals of happiness, sweet kisses, and big hugs. She is as mischievous as her mommy was as a little girl, although I am guessing Doug contributed a little of that, too. :) You can't leave her in a room alone seeing as how she can climb onto anything and everything. If she does disappear and is quiet too long, you know to find her quickly! Despite the extra fatigue this little girl may cause at times, we just can't imagine our lives without this little beauty! Thank you, Lord, for the precious gift of Audrey Jane. We love you, sweet girl!


I took these pictures this morning. She was soooo happy with her toaster strudel...a special treat for a very special day!






Monday, October 19, 2009

Birthday Celebrations!

First, let me give you a quick update on what is going on with me. I finished my last 3 day round of chemo on October 2. Other than getting my lab work done twice a week, I have just been resting and recovering over these last three weeks. I have had to go in to receive blood and platelets, which has been a pretty normal routine for me at some point following chemo. I will be returning for round two of this regimen on Monday, October 26th. (May I add how excited I am that I will be home for my wonderful husband's birthday on the 25th? Thank you Jesus!) Following this next round of chemo will be the PET scan (to be scheduled) which will tell us if there has been any improvement. If so, my treatment will most likely be moved to Sloan Kettering in New York. Please continue praying....I am trusting and believing with all of my heart! Overall, I have been feeling very good...again, thank you Jesus!

Now onto the fun birthday celebration pictures! There are no words to describe how grateful I was to be able to prepare for Caleb (Oct. 6th) and Audrey's (Oct. 21st) joint birthday party! It was so much fun! I just loved knowing how much they enjoyed their day. Our children are such a gift to me...to all of us. As I soaked in every minute of the festivities, I kept thanking the Lord that I was able to experience that day with our children.

(Just a side note...I decided it would simplify things this year if I used the same theme for both Caleb and Audrey. Last year, I did have a "boy" room decorated for Caleb, and a girly area for Audrey. I have received some fun-loving ridicule this year that Audrey was being subjected to a solar system theme...which is what Caleb chose. Hey, she's two....and she loves anything right now! I think it was really cute. :) Here is a glimpse of our fun day...





As you will see throughout the pictures, sweet Audrey kept a straight face with the camera that day!

The birthday boy enjoying his pizza

"When's this party gettin' started?"

Lauren sat so sweetly and patiently beside her big brother while he opened every gift.

Caleb and Lauren love their cousin Megan!

...and Madi!

He was so excited to wear this gift to church the next day!

Please notice that mid-way through the party, Audrey wanted to wear this apron. My Grandma made this many years ago...I love Audrey needed to have it on!


Audrey trying out her new Radio Flyer tricycle...and Lauren and Sophie
trying to hitch a ride.


I think Lauren is posing for a senior picture....

Caleb blew out six candles and Audrey blew out two while we sang Happy Birthday.




He is serious about pinata time!

Trying to get a good hold on the bat...

Whoa...this is fun!

A little face painting to top off the day at the Rocket Rally Carnival
at Caleb's school later that evening.


This is a sign of a successful party!

A little hair coloring for Lauren...

...and Caleb.

What a wonderful day!!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Caleb James!


Our sweet little Caleb James turned six years old today! He is so excited about today being his birthday! I know he knows how old he is; however, this morning when I was talking to him about what a big boy he is now that he is six years old...his eyes got really big. It must have sounded so great to him. "Six years old? (Long pause and stare) You're not joking?" Then he proceeded to strut around the living room with a little extra pep in his step! He is such a joy, and we thank the Lord for blessing us with the gift of his life!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Quick Update

Just a quick update to let you know that Melissa was able to return home Friday night. She is doing well and has been pretty worn out since getting the chemo, so she is doing a lot of resting right now. Thank you for your continued prayers for her!

Jenn

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Chemo, Rest, and Quietness

This morning I woke up by my own desire in my hospital room....I ate a hot breakfast while watching Good Morning America....I didn't have to reheat my coffee three times before getting to drink it...I haven't changed a diaper this morning....and I am not fixing breakfast for my little indians. I know it sounds lovely and perhaps for one day it is a welcomed rest for me, but oh how I missed having Audrey crawl in bed beside me before the sun came up...eating cereal after everyone else is fed and settled....warming my coffee up several times before having the chance to drink it....and last but not least watching Curious George with Caleb, Lauren, and Audrey laying beside me and on top of me on the sofa. I truly believe we may have broken a record for the number of times George has been watched, recorded, and replayed in our home! There is no place like home!

All is going well here. I received a call yesterday morning that a bed was available. After hugs and kisses to Caleb, Lauren, and Audrey, my beautiful mother graciously drove me to the hosptial. She and I were able to enjoy lunch together in my room, while we waited for the "festivities" to begin. (I love the time I am able to spend with my Mom, Dad, and Grandma....thank you for moving here!!!) I have completed one chemo which only took two hours to infuse. The second chemo which takes twenty four hours (I will receive two of these bags), was started very late yesterday evening. I'm so thankful that I've not had any adverse side effects! I am not sure yet if Iwill be able to go home late Friday night, or if it will be pushed to Saturday morning. I am just resting, reading, catching up on phone calls, and enjoying talking with my nurses...and continuing to trust and believe that God has brought me here again for a purpose.

I had a very handsome young man bring me dinner last night! Doug was able to leave work at a very decent time, and we were able to spend the evening together. It really was like a date.... in a hospital room. :) But all of you busy parents out there understand how wonderful it is to have some quiet time together, no matter where it is! I felt like we were being sneaky, because the children were probably anxiously awaiting his arrival at home...they always run to the door when Daddy gets home from work! I know they thoroughly enjoyed their evening, too, though. Kristen (my wonderful cousin who is living with us and helping us with the children) and the kids were invited to our neighbor's house for dinner last night. They just love going to their friends' homes! (Thank you, Debbie.) We are so grateful for all of those who are just putting their arms around us and pouring out their love through so many different ways. I'm also so grateful for those from our Indy First church family who are bringing meals! What a huge blessing!

I read something this morning I wanted to share with you. I love these verses.

Psalm 62:5-8 (New Living Translation)

Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
for my hope is in Him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will not be shaken.
My victory and honor come from God alone.
He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.
O my people, trust in Him at all times.
Pour out your heart to Him,
for God is our refuge.

About a year ago I heard a song the radio that just summed up my thoughts. I am placing it once again at the top of my play list on the blog. Please have your volume turned on and listen to the words....He is doing something heavenly.

All my love,
Melissa

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

October

The prayer calendar is back! Please take a minute to go to that site to sign up for a day to pray for Melissa. We know many of you pray for her every day, but it will be an encouragement to her to visibly see who is covering her in prayer that day.

I already added those of you who I thought wanted certain days continuously. Please tell me if I missed you, or gave you the wrong day.

Right now, she is receiving the first round of a new chemo regimen. Please be praying that this new chemo will prove to be effective in treating her lymphoma. Also, pray for Doug and the kids while she is away this week.

Click here to sign up on her prayer calender! You can either leave a comment or email me at jenniferbergey@yahoo.com

Thank you in advance!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

New Chemo

I am sorry I didn't post this sooner, but I received a call yesterday late afternoon letting me know I will be going in to begin chemo tomorrow (Wednesday). As long as all goes smoothly, I should be coming home on Friday. This is a much shorter regimen than what I've had before, with it just being a two day infusion.

I am so thankful for all of your prayers. You are such a blessing to me and my family!

Melissa

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Pure Sweetness

Just wanted to share a few of my favorite recent photos....


Caleb and Lauren at Conner Prairie

Audrey Jane showing off the newly recovered bench...it belonged to her Great Granny Prater

We have no idea how this happens...Audrey (sometimes Lauren) will wake up with the whole back of her hair in a "teased" state. So funny.

Lauren and her gymnastics buddy, Josh. Is this perhaps a prom pose?

One of the most beautiful sites in the world...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Official Word

We finally received the phone call from Dr. Portlock (New York) yesterday afternoon around four o'clock. Talk about relief just to hear something! In a nut shell, the echocardiagram showed that my heart pumping rate is slightly decreased. It is still in the normal range, but it is decreased most likely due to the chemo drugs from the EPOCH regimen I had this summer. So, she is choosing not to proceed with another round of these particular drugs. She is going to have me try two chemo drugs that I have never had before....thank you, Lord, for this option! I am just so happy to know there is something for me to try...perhaps something that will prove to be beneficial!

Okay, as far receiving the treatment in NYC....
I know I had mentioned how emotional I was about this possibility. I had come to a point, after prayer and much optimism and encouragement from my husband, that I realized this was a temporary change for what we trust will be a long term and life changing benefit for our family! So I was very surprised when Dr. Portlock told me I could go through the first two rounds of treatment here in Indianapolis. At that moment there was a rush of sweet relief to know that I wouldn't have to leave my children yet! Oh, thank you, Lord! I asked her if she honestly felt okay about me receiving the chemo here, or if she would rather me be in NYC. She said at this point I might as well receive the first two rounds here, which will be followed by a PET scan. If there are any improvements whatsoever, then I will proceed with further treatments (hopefully leading up to a transplant, dependent on my physical eligibility and finding a donor) in New York under her care. At that point, I would be there for several weeks.

We have prayed, cried, sought the Lord with all of our hearts, and we believe this is the next step we are to take. To the best of my knowledge, I will receive this chemo in the hospital over a few days period. There will be three weeks in between the first and second round. I am not sure exactly how soon after the scan will take place, but Dr. Portlock wants immediate action taken after that, in terms of going to NYC if there are improvements. I cannot tell you how grateful I am to know I will be home for all of the birthdays our family will celebrate in October....Grandma Nellie turns 96 (she is going to out-live us all!), Caleb turns 6, Audrey turns 2, followed by Doug's, my Dad's, and two nieces birthdays!!!!

I plan to talk to my local nurse first thing Monday morning. We are hoping I will begin treatment here as soon as possible. I will let you know for sure when I am going in to the hospital for this round. I know I am surrounded by so many prayers, so much love, and an incredible amount of support...THANK YOU! Don't ever doubt that YOU are making a difference by your prayers and words of encouragement. You are. I love you.

Melissa

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Waiting to hear....

Doug and I returned safely yesterday evening from New York City. Although I wish our trip was under different circumstances, I am so grateful for the time that we were able to spend there. It was refreshing to have three days alone with my husband. He is such an amazing person....my best friend....and my rock.

I didn't post anything sooner because we are actually still waiting to hear the final word from my NY doctor. As of yesterday afternoon, she was still in the midst of a more detailed review of my latest PET scan, as well an echocardiogram that was done yesterday morning before we left. The echo will tell us if my heart has been affected or not from the previous rounds of chemo. Dependent upon these results, we may begin further treatment soon.....in New York City. Yes, that is correct. The thought of carrying out treatment in a city so far away from my home and my family has taken my breath away and caused many tears in the last two days. However, I may have received what I have prayed for: someone who is willing to try something else with me....someone who knows I am not done with this battle.

It is a lot to digest....I still haven't yet. I was expecting to hear from her office today, but unfortunately I did not. I am now just hoping and praying the echo is not showing any results that would keep me from further treatment. The thought of that is scarier than being so far away from home for my treatments. I don't know very many details yet. I will fill you in on so much more after I hear from them tomorrow. I am just praying that the Lord will give me more peace than ever before....we are trusting Him. As hard as this temporary "relocation" for me would be....it could just be what I need at this time.

I wanted to share a picture of my handsome husband and me just before we saw the Lion King on Broadway. Wow....that was amazing. Thank you, Doug, for that special gift!

More details to follow soon!

Much love,

Melissa

Thursday, September 17, 2009

New York City here we come...again.

Last week I learned two things which, I must admit, caused me to feel as though a rug (of hope) had been pulled out from under me. To back up a bit, I need to explain where Seattle was fitting into this picture (for those of you who read the previous post and were waiting for more info on this). I had been informed several months ago that Seattle may be a place that I should look into in terms of an allogenic bone marrow transplant. I believe they do the most allo transplants in the U.S. Flashing forward a bit, I was told a few weeks ago that they had a clinical trial that I may potentially qualify for....meaning I perhaps would be receiving my transplant in Seattle. While the idea initially startled me and brought me to tears, my heart eventually softened to the idea. I am at a point where I will do anything I need to do. I just want to lie down with my arms spread open and say to the medical world, "I am a willing guinea pig....try it."

I am queen of saying and writing what I refer to as "side notes." So here is a quick side note: for anyone who just read that and feels that I am depending more on the medical world that I am on my God....you are mistaken. I have surrendered all that I have to the Lord many times. I am simply trying to do my part and patiently persevere through this with His strength....and in the meantime you better believe that I will try what may be effective in my course of treatment. God has given us knowledge to use for His glory....and praise the Lord for the medical field. Ultimately, I know the Lord is my Healer...my life-sustainer...my eternal hope. I am trusting in Him to heal me....whether miraculously like the woman who touched His robe, or through medical intervention.

So, I was under the assumption that after my PET scan in early September, I would either be proceeding with one of two things. I thought that Doug and I would be making a trip to Seattle for the initial meeting with the doctors to get everything lined up for the transplant (assuming a donor would be found eventually). If we were not able to get an appointment in the near future, I believed I would go in for my third round of the EPOCH chemo regimen. So, here are the two surprises I learned last week from my doctor's office. First, there is not a clinical trial that would be appropriate for me in Seattle at this time. I was disappointed to learn this. I was also told two days later that I could not go in for another round of the chemo, because there were not "significant" enough results. This was very difficult for me to swallow. For those of you who are curious, my doctor feels it would be potentially damaging to my heart, as I have had a high dosage of adriamycin based drugs over the last year. I understand this could be the case. I also refuse to sit down and do nothing. Which brings us back to New York....

After feeling at a bit of a dead end with my local doctor, I contacted the doctor that I saw in May at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. I received yet another recommendation from Dr. Carol Portlock that I see Dr. Papadopoulos (say it a few times...it gets easier). She is a bone marrow transplant specialist at MSKCC. Doug and I both feel that since I am not going through any treatments right now, this is an opportune time for another visit to New York City. We were really hoping that I would also be able to see Dr. Portlock again while we are there. Before I dialed the phone number to schedule my appointment with Dr. "P", I prayed out loud and asked the Lord that we would be able to see both doctors on this trip. As I spoke with the secretary I said "I know this would be a miracle, but we are hoping to have an appointment with both doctors." I was assuming we would have to wait a day or two in between. I was called back that afternoon, and my miracle had taken place. We are seeing Dr. Portock at ten o'clock Tuesday morning, September 22, followed by Dr. "P" at eleven o'clock. Thank you Jesus! Doug and I will be flying out Monday morning and returning home Wednesday evening.

I don't know what the appointments will bring us. I do feel a peace about returning to New York. We both really like Dr. Portlock and would just like to discuss everything with her. I trust her judgement in wanting us to see the other doctor, too. I don't know if this means a transplant would be taking place in New York when the time comes. We still are waiting for a donor. There are pieces of this puzzle that need to be found yet, but I know with all of my heart that the Lord is leading us.

In our college chapel (MVNU), I used to sit and look around at the beautiful and enormous stained glass windows. I like to believe that is what my life is like. While I sometimes just see one little speck of it....perhaps one color that is not even that attractive by itself....Jesus knows there is so much more than that. He sees it all....the magnificent beauty and wholeness that He longs for me to experience. Friends, whether on this earth or in heaven....I know I will be healed. I would like for it to be here....but no one can take that truth away from me. I love it....I love knowing that even when I feel a rug of hope has been pulled out from under me, Jesus is still holding me. He is never taken my surprise....He knew we would be going to New York again, and I will love Him and trust Him every step of the way! I feel so much better after sharing all of this with you. Please be in fervent prayer for these appointments on Tuesday. Pray that we would know the right questions to ask and for the doctors to be filled with wisdom and insight. Thank you to all of you who faithfully walk this journey with us....I really do love you.

Melissa

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Praises First

I apologize for posting the results of my PET scan so late in the evening, but I know everyone understands my energy is first poured into my precious family. I am sitting here in the corner of my bedroom, while the lights are off and everyone else in the house is asleep. Peace...sweet peace.

Speaking of peace, that is exactly what I have prayed for this week, and exactly what the Lord has given me. Waiting for results is always a bit of a mental and emotional rollercoaster....one which I pray you will never have to ride. However, even in the midst of the wait, the Lord is always faithful to fill my mind and heart with a special peace. This peace is like a gentle whisper in my ear that no matter what happens....He is here. I just have to add something here. I fear that some people who are witnessing me go through this battle against cancer, may question why God doesn't make it go away. Well, I know He could. I know He is omnipotent and omniscient....I know He is bigger than all of this. I honestly don't know why that hasn't happened....but I do know without a doubt that I don't want to stop trusting over something I can't understand. He has given me life....and the promise of a greater life for eternity. I trust Him that He sees the big picture....He is guiding me and molding me through this time. I know without a doubt that He can and will use this to strengthen me....and my prayer is that everyone around me will allow Him to use this to strengthen them as well.

Well, onto the results. My nurse did call me this afternoon. I will choose to share the praises first. Number one big praise is that the lymphoma has not spread to other areas of my body. Thank you, Lord!!! Number two big praise is that the actual size of the tumor has not increased....it has remained stable in size since the last scan in May. Number three big praise is that my counts are recovering on their own. My nurse said again today it is very good that my platelets are going back up. The last time I knew they were in the forty thousands....as of yesterday afternoon my platelets were up to 95,000! Thank you, Lord!!! She also shared that lymphoma is measured in units called SUV's. This is a way of measuring the activity of the lymphoma. Since my last PET scan, this meausurement is showing an increase in activity of the lymphoma. Doug and I are not jolted by this news. We knew when we began the latest chemo regimen in June (suggested by the specialist we saw in New York), that this treatment would serve as a stepping stone in the whole transplant process. I do believe the Lord has used this to keep the lymphoma contained....at least a lot more contained that it may have shown up had we not done anything the last few months. So, I am just thankful that the number of praises out number the one piece of not-so-great news!

As soon as I hear from my nurse again (hopefully tomorrow), I will be letting you know what our next step is. I will then explain how Seattle fits into this picture. If we are able to get an appointment there in the near future, then we will be going there before having another round of chemo. In the meantime....please be praying that a donor will surface soon. I have found myself praying that this person would find me....that I would find them....that God will use this means of medical intervention to heal my body. Please keep praying and believing with me.

I appreciate you so much!

Melissa

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tomorrow Morning

I know I haven't done a great job recently of updating everyone on how I am doing. Overall since my last week of chemo at the end of July, I have been feeling pretty good. I still feel very tired on some days, and have to just rest and lie down. My lab work has shown that my counts are steadily on the rise, which is what we want to see. Thank you, Lord, for that answer to prayer.

Tomorrow morning I will be having a PET scan. I need to arrive by 8:15 to register, and the scan will follow shortly thereafter. This is the first scan I have had since beginning this chemo regimen in June. We will be learning what progress has been made and how the tumor has changed in the last few months. After we know the results (probably Thursday) we will then be scheduling the next step. I will either go forward with in initial appointment with a doctor in Seattle (Yes, Washington. I promise more details to follow.), or with my third round of the chemo regimen.

Please be praying that peace will continue to fill my heart and saturate our home. We have waited many, many times for results, and I don't think it gets any easier. I am so thankful to know that God is the same steady Rock that He always has been in my life....I am waiting hand in hand with Him.

Much love to you,
Melissa

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Good news!

Her white count looks good and her chest x-ray is clear, so that means no new infection. It is just one of the annoying fevers that creeps in with the lymphoma, but anything 102 degrees or higher always has to be checked out.

The good news is that all this was done at the nearby hospital, and she gets to go home now! My mom gave me the update, but I can only imagine how relieved Miss is that she does not have to endure an unexpected hospital stay!

Thankful for all of you, your prayers and your support!

Please Pray

I just got a phone call from my sister. Her fever is back with a temperature of 102, so she needs to go get everything checked out. This is a surprise frustration for her as she has been doing so well lately, with lots of energy.

She wanted me to ask that you pray for 2 specific things:

1)That the kids stay settled peacefully as they miss their mother when she is away.

2) That she could possibly receive the necessary antibiotic treatment at the closer hospital she is going to now. Otherwise, she will be admitted to the hospital downtown Indy.

I'm going to throw in a third: Please pray for Miss to have peace of mind and heart as this is an unexpected thing to do.

Thanks in advance for your prayers! I'll let you know as I hear more.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Caleb's First Day of Kindergarten


I can't believe this day is here! I remember his arrival into this world so clearly. I remember holding him and looking at his perfect little face and thinking...so you're the little boy I've fallen in love with over the past nine months!

Caleb is such a joy and source of happiness for us. He is a wonderful big brother to Lauren and Audrey (with a few exceptions here and there). He has been so extremely excited to begin school. He's had a little extra pep in his step as the day has approached. He and Daddy went shopping for school supplies together last week, and also purchased some needed clothes and shoes for the school year. He is growing like a weed! He was such a chubby baby...he had rolls everywhere! I loved it. His little feet were so chunky and puffy, they looked like they may pop! All of that to say, he is getting tall and is very lean. I affectionately call him a green bean! As much as I dreaded sending him to school, I love seeing his enthusiasm about it. He is just growing up so fast! He will always be my baby boy.

I will end for now before I become too teary to see the page! The pictures will speak for themselves. They were all taken Wednesday, the first day of his afternoon Kindergarten. I take him to school, and then he rides the bus home. (Which is so cute, because the school is basically a hop, skip, and a jump
away from our house!) The bus ride may be the highlight of his little life.

Caleb James....we love you even more today than the first day we held you in our arms! Happy First Day of Kindergarten!