Sunday, January 31, 2010

god is good!!!

just wanted to give you all an update on melissa.....she continues to do well since the transplant. she has been resting better which is a real blessing. she slept well last night and ate a good breakfast this morning. on most days, she has been able to take a walk through the bone marrow transplant unit. she is always amazed at how exhausted she is after doing so, but this is to be expected as she rebuilds her immune system and strength.

today she said a heartfelt goodbye to our wonderful cousin, charlene, who stayed with her in the hospital this past week. they enjoyed their time together. we love you, charlene!!! this evening, melissa's good friend, tara, arrived and will be staying with her this week. what a tremendous blessing to have such support from family and loved ones. i look forward to my turn as roommate to my beautiful sister in a couple weeks.

she has enjoyed having the webcam and skyping with caleb, lauren, and audrey. i am not sure who enjoys it more--melissa or the children. caleb and lauren have been able to visit. audrey has not yet as she has been sick recently.

some answers to prayer and blessings.....she still has not experienced any of the mouth sores that can happen with a transplant. she is resting better at night as i mentioned earlier. her platelets increased today on their own!!! this is wonderful news. thank you, lord. lastly, doug, who is a surgeon and has an hour commute one way each day, will not be on call during the month of february. this will allow him to be with melissa and at home with the children much more. what a blessing. thanks to his peers for allowing this to fall into place.

things to be praying about.....please pray that the gastrointestinal discomfort that she has been experiencing will subside. pray that her white blood cell count will begin to rise as it is bottomed out now, which is to be expected. pray that the lord will continue to strengthen her daily and give her a peace that passes all understanding!!! she misses her children tremendously and simply being at home as a wife and a mother. the lord has brought her great comfort during this time. we will try to give a daily update on melissa, even if it is just a line or two.

thank you beyond words for your continued prayers, your love, and your interest in melissa's story. it is one of great hope and faith. she is such a light for the lord in the hospital. i want to close with a scripture i mailed to her before her transplant. she keeps it near her hospital bed now.

1 peter 5:7 "let him have all your worries and cares, for he is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you!!!"

god is good!!!
her sister,

michelle

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Specifics To Pray About...

Melissa has had a pretty rough day today for several reasons. She wanted me to share them with you, so that you could be praying specifically for these things. None of these things are alarming or surprising as we knew these could be possible side effects.

The high dose chemo brings some nasty side effects due to how acidic it is. Her stomach really starts to churn, which later turns into more gastro-intestinal type issues. This happened constantly throughout the day today. Just something that makes it that much harder to feel encouraged when you're dealing with that all day.

Also, we are praying that the really nasty mouth sores stay away. Those would also be a result of the chemo.

Lastly, and this is not related to chemo side effects. Her heart has been aching today to be at home with her children. One has been sick with a cough, so it sounds like it may be risky to see them or at least that one in person now. I know you already know this, but she is SUCH a good mother, and she just misses her little loves so much.

If you could pray specifically about these things, I know she would really appreciate it.

THANK YOU for your continued prayers!!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Transplant complete!

I wanted to write a quick update to let all of my sister's prayer warriors know that her transplant went well today. Some of you may remember that last year she experienced a few side effects during the actual procedure itself. This time, there was none of that which we are thankful for! All went well and smoothly.

She appreciated the fact that Pastor Morris and Pastor Jason were both there with Miss and family before the transplant. They laid hands on her and prayed for the healing that we believe will take place just moments before they gave Miss her new stem cells. As Missy described to me on the phone, there was a very happy, peaceful feeling in the room. We thank our Heavenly Father for that!

And I do have to tell you that she said she is LOVING that mail that so many of you have sent already! It sooo brightens her day to hear encouragment from all of you, so THANK YOU for that!

Please pray that those stem cells will settle exactly where they need to be to take over and overpower the bad cells. Also, please pray that the side effects from chemo will stay away from her.

We SO appreciate your prayers and appreciate YOU too!!!

Love to all,

Melissa's sister~ Jenn

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Hospital Address

Hello everyone! While I know I am surrounded by the Lord's arms right now, I will be very transparent and tell you I am shaking in my shoes! The anticipation of and preparation for the departure to the hospital is certainly not what I wish anyone to experience. I was able to have a wonderful time with all of my family being with me in church this morning. My beautiful sisters, Jennifer and Michelle were in town for the weekend, along with their husbands (my handsome brother-in-laws Mike and John...didn't want to leave you guys out :). ) I know I was surrounded by so much love. I must admit I was a bit distracted during the last half of the service, since I was able to hold my amazingly adorable niece, Lexi. She is just a bundle of sweet love! To tell you a little about the service though...at one point my sister looked at me and said "Is this service just for you?" I know there are many people carrying heavy burdens right now, but the songs that were chosen for this week were so fitting for me. Thank you Lord for that little reminder through the worship songs and specials today! (And thank you, Aaron Baker for being a great worship leader!)

So, I wanted to share the wonderful news that I will be able to see my children. We were told they are not quite as tight on the rules (keep it on the down-low) as it appears. That is an answer to many prayers! Please just pray that the visiting times would flow smoothly, and the children would be able to see me at the best times possible for all of us. My wonderful husband also bought web-cams so that we can see each other every day that way, too! I do appreciate modern day technology! Don't understand it all....but so appreciate it!

I also wanted to BEG you to send me mail! I love mail on any given day, but you don't understand the excitement of a nurse carrying cards into my room. That would make me so happy, and I am not being shy about putting that huge hint out there! The address is:

Indiana University Medical Center
550 University Boulevard
BMT Unit (5th floor)
ATTN: Melissa Rex
Indianapolis, IN 46202

If I find out a room number would expediate the delivery, I will definitely let you know!

The next time I write to you, I will be in a different surrounding awaiting a huge event in my life...please continue praying!

All my love,
Melissa

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Much Awaited Update

I realize I have left you hanging for a very long time. Several people during Christmas time, both at our church and relatives churches, stopped to ask how I was doing and mentioned they knew I hadn't posted any updates for a while. What I didn't expect was for them to remember the exact date I last posted! That, my friends, is accountability and pure love! I even had to read my previous entry to remind myself what I last shared with you. And now here we are, and I have so much to catch you up on!

First, I want to thank the Lord again that I was able to be home with my family for Christmas. I soaked in every minute of it, and loved everything about it. I already love Christmas so much...I get excited about the lights, and the music, and the church plays, and just the celebration of a precious baby that came into the world for ME and YOU! Love it, love it, love it. I loved shopping for the kids...and trying to keep them hidden. Our walk-in closet maybe was breaking some law. Anyway, I am just so thankful to have been here with my family. I also have celebrated another birhtday since I last wrote. Can you believe I'm already 28? I just can't either. (For those who don't know...I'm kidding! I am a young and maybe not always so spry thirty three year old. :)

Do you remember when I last wrote, I told you about my mother's encouraging words of wisdom? She reminded me that God was working out each step of this process. Although I didn't know all of the steps at one time, He would guide me as I needed to go. Well, thus begins the meat of the update today...

Over the last few weeks, I began to long to be able to stay here in Indianapolis for my bone marrow transplant. I couldn't believe I was feeling this way. At one point, Doug and I thought that much of the decision was final. If New York had the "upper hand" in treatment for me, then that is where I would go. I prayed for God to bring us a peace about the decision. I prayed for the strength I would need in being that far away from Caleb, Lauren, and Audrey for so long. I was missing them so much even before I was gone. The thought was beginning to leave an unbelievably empty feeling in my stomach and heart. Little did I know that this was the Lord preparing me. I knew the transplant doctor in New York was reviewing my records, including the results of the most recent PET scan. She presented my case to the transplant team, and soon after I received a call from her.

Perhaps if I was placing my hope in the doctor rather than my Lord, I would have been a bit stunned with her news. Perhaps if my heart hadn't already begun longing and pleading with the Lord to stay here with my family rather than go to New York....I may have been more shaken. But dear friends....God has a way of preparing us for what lies ahead. We do not see it most of the time, and even if we did we wouldn't understand things along they way anyway. He created me....He knows me like no one else....He knew the order of events to take place and where I would be having my transplant long before I did! Wow...I'm glad He's in charge, and I'm not. I have a feeeling I would just mess things up!

So, the transplant doctor was very kind and informed me that they did not feel it would benefit me to come to New York. Perhaps a month before this particular day I would have responded in my mind with a "WHAT?!" On this day, however, I responded in my mind and heart with a "WHOOHOOO!" As the conversation continued and she explained they did not have a suitable protocol nor felt proceeding with a transplant there would be any more beneficial to me than being here in Indy....peace flooded my heart. I had prayed for us to know for certain where I should go, and our answer had come. I did not take this news as another rug pulled out from under me, but rather a huge cozy blanket of clarity put around me. Thank you, Jesus.

After waiting a few weeks for my counts to recover, Doug and I had an appointment with my Indy doctor last Monday. We both left the appointment feeling good and peaceful about everything. I also began some of my work-up testing that day, such as lots and lots of lab work, an EKG and a chest x-ray. I returned Wednesday for an ECHO and pulminary function test. The purpose of all of these tests is to determine that my body is strong enough to endure the transplant and everything that goes with it. I have an allogenic (donor) BMT class tomorrow, and then radiation simulation on Friday. I fear the days are passing too quickly. The planned day of admission is one week from today, Monday, the 18th. I know the first week is very high dose chemo and radiation. I don't have the calendar right in front of me, but I will definitely let you know the actual date of the cord blood transplant. The process itself will be relatively quick. What will take an unknown number of days and weeks is the engraftment process. They are literally trying to replace my immune system with a new one. It is a waiting game to see how quickly these new stem cells will find their place and thrive. So, it could be as few as four weeks, or it could be more.

I want to share some specific ways that you can be praying. First, I'm scared and nervous. Please pray for the Lord to give me more peace than ever before....and strength. Pray for my husband. When he is not working or visiting me, he will be the parent they rely on for all of their mommy and daddy needs. He will be carrying so much on his shoulders. He needs God's strength to pour over him every day. Pray for my cousin Kristen who will be caring for them. This is a huge responsibility for her...pray for strength, patience, and peace for all of us. Of course, pray for my little loves, Caleb (6), Lauren (4), and Audrey (2). Their little lives will no doubt be impacted by this whole process, and not having their mommy at home for so long. PLEASE pray that their lives would be full of so much joy and happiness in spite of what is going on with me right now. Also, I will be learning tomorrow in the allogenic BMT class, if children are able to visit. I am so scared to ask that question, because I may get an answer I cannot swallow. The reason I am uncertain, is because of so many restrictions during the flu season. Pray, pray, pray that they will be allowed to visit.

Prayer requests as far as the physical aspect of the tranplant....pray the chemo and radiation work as effectively as possible. Pray that the stem cells will engraft as quickly as possible. Pray that the yucky side effects such as mouth sores will be kept away once again during the transplant time. This miracle of no mouth sores happened once, and I know it can happen again! Please pray protection from any other infections that could incur during my time there that would slow down the process of healing. I just want the Lord's presence to penetrate that hospital room from the moment I walk into that room to the moment I walk out. If I have ever needed prayer warriors my sweet friends, it is now!

I do hope to be on the computer for updates as much as possible while I'm in the hospital. If I am not feeling up to it, I am sure one of my sisters will keep you posted on everything. I am so thankful to know I have all of you praying for me. I need you right now, and I need my Jesus! This is a scary time, yet I really believe He is going to work in my life like never before....He already is at work. I just pray that His love will shine through me every day....both the really dark ones and the bright!


I love you,
Melissa