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Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

The Bad and Ugly:

Had my 4th round of chemo today. As has happened with each treatment, the side effects start hitting a little earlier each time. This was the first chemo day that I didn't leave encouraged.

Most of the reason for my discouragement is the fact that I learned today that only 20% of ovarian cancer patients do not experience a recurrence. That means there's an 80% chance my cancer will return. That is not encouraging. Anyone else not feel encouraged by that? As Becky says, cancer is a beast.

My blood pressure was 160 over 98 today, which is a little scary.

My CA 125 level was up to 40 and is now back to 27.3. I probably should be happy with that, but they want it closer to the 6-12 range and mine is not there even though my other chemo patient friend's levels are totally there.

I seriously considered posting pictures of my stomach to share my 12 inch scar, the two open holes, the scar from my laparoscopic surgery, my red and chaffing skin from all the adhesive, and the spot where my skin just rubbed off the first time I wore "real" clothes after wearing sweats for 3 weeks straight. And have I mentioned that my stomach is completely lopsided these days, and my belly button will never, ever be the same? I think my mother would never speak to me again so you'll just have to imagine it.

I'm obsessed with watching the scale creep down to a weight I haven't seen in 10 years and then creep up as I actually eat during the good days.

I'm kind of done with the steroids that keep me up at night, make me snappy, turn my face and neck red, and make me dizzy.

My doctor tells me that when they did the CT scan he didn't scan for cancer, but just to look at my port. My fearful side tells me that he just doesn't want to tell me bad news.

The water marathon has begun. After each chemo treatment, I have to drink ungodly amounts of water to help flush the chemo drugs out of my system. Do you know how much I hate water?

My red blood cell count is low enough to qualify for a blood transfusion. Sara, my chemo nurse, tells me that because I'm young, there's still a chance I'll rebound but to not be surprised if she calls me Monday and asks me to come in for a transfusion. Does that gross anyone else out?

I am really tired of getting up in the middle of the night to eat, then wait 30 minutes and take antibiotic. I'm guessing Brian is getting tired of this too.

But the Good:

My God doesn't really care about statistics. I'm trying not to.

My God does care about me. And there's a plan.

I only have 2 chemo treatments left. Two!

My CA 125 level is in the normal range.

The other chemo patients mother me, mostly because I'm young enough to be their daughter. It's kind of nice.

My blood pressure Monday was 120 over 80, which is perfect.

Thank heavens for Crystal Light lemonade which makes drinking water a little easier.

I see my scale at a weight I haven't seen in 10 years.

I kind of like the extra energy the steroids give me. They also help with the nausea.

My stomach holes are getting better, and I can actually take a real shower these days.

Friends, those both close by and those I've never met in person, have been SO amazing.

I wore a new shirt today and I can't tell you how many people told me that red is my color and that I look great. Always nice to hear.

That antibiotic that forces me to get up in the middle of the night is the strongest on the market and has completely taken care of my MRSA infection.

I hear you feel really good after a blood transfusion.

There's a new season of The Closer playing, and I love The Closer. Off to watch.

John 16:33 (from The Message)
I've told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I've conquered the world.

18 comments:

thewonderfulhappens said...

Take heart, indeed! There was definitely a lot of bad and ugly news in there. But thank God for the good.

Kara said...

I only know you by name through scrapbooking, but I'm following your story because my dad is going through a similar fight with cancer. It's hard. So hard. Praying for you.

Grace said...

girl, you seriously inspire me. seriously.
taking heart.

Suzanne Williams said...

You are so amazing and strong! Praying for you and your family!

Joanne said...

Melissa, I'm continuing to pray! And yes, you're right, you do feel better after a transfusion so try to take that as a "good" if you might need one (my first nursing job was oncology). I'm so glad the MRSA is clearing up! That's huge, and your immune system plus the antibiotics are doing their jobs! Red is a powerful color and is an example of your power and God's over this!

LG said...

I just found your blog last week. I love your heart, your pictures, and your writing.

Love the Chris Tomlin song, Our God. I'm sure you have heard this song. This song just came to me when reading your post.

I know it's long, but here's the lyrics.

Water you turned into wine, opened the eyes of the blind there's no one like you none like You!
Into the darkness you shine out of the ashes we rise there's no one like you none like You!
Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other.
Our God is Healer, Awesome in Power, Our God! Our God!

Into the darkness you shine out of the ashes we rise there's no one like you none like You!
Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other.
Our God is Healer, Awesome in Power, Our God! Our God!
Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other.
Our God is Healer, Awesome in Power, Our God! Our God!

And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us.
And if our God is with us, then what could stand against.
And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us.
And if our God is with us, then what could stand against.
What could stand against.

Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other.
Our God is Healer, Awesome in Power, Our God! Our God!
Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other.

Praying for you!

Kimberly Geswein said...

I love that you post it all, Melissa. Thank you for sharing your heart. I pray for you always.

Tiki said...

I hope you're in that 20% Melissa. I can't wait until this ordeal is over for you and you can enjoy the ordinary everyday moments again.

Monica said...

Melissa, you had me laughing at your comment about not posting pics because of your Mom, and crying as you listed all the good! Thanks for letting us know how to pray!

Anonymous said...

Good call....
And I put make up on this morning...crying for what you're going through and crying because you still trust...crying because you can be thankful during the trial.
Love, Mom

Christine said...

Your faith and strength amaze and inspire me every single day. Really and truly.

Now, i think you should create a mailing list for that picture! :)

M said...

Lots to be grateful for but I wish there was something I could do to take the bad parts away. From someone who has had 3 separate blood transfusions I'm here to say..yeah it's weird but oh so helpful. The only thing I vividly remember about getting my transfusions was that the blood was so stinkin' cold going in my i.v. Ah the memories...LOL. We continue to lift you up. Keep fighting Superwoman!!!

Anonymous said...

Melissa - the strength and honesty you show in your writing is amazing. Wishing you continued strength.

-Renee
(fellow adoptive mom from HOLT Korea board)

Mommyx2 said...

Melissa, you are a CONSTANT inspiration. You are STRONG! Keep up the FIGHT ... you are WINNING!!! <3

Krista said...

Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference. ~Winston Churchill
Your strength and belief will get you through these dark times Melissa. Sending you lots of positivity and hugs!

Elizabeth Frick said...

I know it's been said before, but your strength and incredible ability to find the positive, despite the unbelievable obstacles you face, is just amazing Melissa. I'm sure there are those times that you don't feel so positive, but the fact that you can even find SO many things, write them down, and share them with us shows what an awesome spirit you have. I don't think I could have the tenacity and fight in me that you do if I were in the same circumstances.
Your children are incredibly blessed to have a hero in their mother.
Much love, mama.

listgirl said...

I've been following your cancer journey and have been encouraged and inspired by your posts. This post was great because I love how you need to look at both sides of things and not just dwell on the negative or scary side. I'm so glad your MRSA infection is gone. We drink lemondade Crystal Light too, just to give the ole Coca Cola a rest. Will continue to pray for you.

worldshine06 said...

Did you end up getting the transfusion? In regards to feeling better after one...the answer in YES. I dont know how many transfusions I needed during my whole cancer experience, but I do remember feeling BETTER afterwards....