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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Our 2nd Opinion Update

Knowing my recent health history, you're not expecting good news, right? As I suspected, it was not pleasant to hear how difficult my physical situation is. Basically, the doctor told us that the best we can hope for is to keep the cancer stable, and I will remain on chemo indefinitely. I could not make myself ask how long that might be.

Despite the bad news, I realized after several hours of reflection (and by reflection I mean crying and resisting the urge to scream at someone, something) that God did answer our prayer. We asked to feel calm, and we asked that the choice would be clear. The cancer center treated us very well; the staff was compassionate; the doctor spent a full hour with us giving us more information on ovarian cancer and treatment than we have received in the last 7 months. My treatment would have been the same at Vanderbilt as it was with Dr. W. The Taxol/Cistplatin/Carboplatin is the standard treatment. Ovarian cancer is rare enough and complicated enough that there are not alot of options. When the standard doesn't work is where treatment plans start to deviate.

While we haven't made the final choice, I am feeling pretty confident that I will switch to Vanderbilt. I will continue on with one more cycle of the current chemo drug (Gemzar if you're interested), followed by a CT scan. As long as the cancer is stable, they will consider the Gemzar successful, and I will continue. When Gemzar is no longer keeping the cancer in check, we move on to either another drug or possibly a clinical trial.

As I sit alone in the house tonight, I feel disheartened. This is certainly the most helpless as well as hopeless that I have felt.  I'm not really upset for myself even though an abbreviated life of chemo doesn't sound like fun. But a life full of chemo is absolutely worth it if it keeps me alive for my husband and children. My heart is broken for them, but even as I try to process all these feelings bubbling up inside me, I find myself resolving to take one day at a time, to fully live one day at a time, to continue to try to learn something from this, to grow from this, to somehow make it worth something.

One way we lived today to the fullest is that Brian and I took advantage of the beautiful weather and took a walk when we got home from the hospital. It wasn't an easy walk because there is so much to say and nothing to say all at the same time, but it was absolutely beautiful out, and I'm glad we made the effort.

57 comments:

Beth said...

Oh Melissa. I don't know what to say. Praying for you, that the chemo will help you life love to the fullest with your precious family.

Mayme said...

I love you guys and continue to pray. I am sorry that you didn't get better news but am glad you got the second opinion.

I am here for you in any way that you need me.

Joan B said...

I'm so sorry but also hopeful that the chemo will do its job and keep the cancer at bay. Hugs.

Kimberly Geswein said...

Melissa,

There's nothing I can say. I'm just so sorry you are facing this. I'm just so sorry.

Suzanne Williams said...

Praying for you and your family sweet Melissa.

Kara said...

Praying for you and your sweet family, Melissa. May God strengthen and encourage you each day.

Barbara said...

Praying for a miracle.

Jill said...

Praying. Praying for you and your family and that all of us who care for you can help ease this burden. Much love to you and your sweet family.

Louise said...

God hears our prayers and we ask him to let you and Brain contenue the work he set forth for you. Never say never, smile and the whole world smiles with you. There are many out here that would take your burden if possible. Please keep tht wonderful smile and additude, Brain, the children and "WE" need you daily.,

Elizabeth Frick said...

My heart absolutely aches for you and your beautiful, loving family. You are daily on my heart and in my mind, and I have every hope and wish that your life will be long and full despite the odds you've been given. You are such a light to this world!
Sending you my love.

Lisa said...

I know you hear it allll the time ...but hope you don't get sick of it...you have THE most beautiful outlook with your situation. You are a strong person even w/out knowing you that shines through! :)
Prayers go out to you for the best decision for your health/family and your road in this journey. God will be right beside you.
You are an inspiration Melissa.
Blessings to you and your family,
--Lisa

Vanessa said...

When my mom was recovering from the surgery where they found she had stage 4 pancreatic cancer, there was this written on the wall, "Everyday holds the possibility for a miracle" As we walked those halls everyday as she recovered from surgery and prepared for her fight, I read that and it gave me comfort. I believe it is true. As you wake every morning, I pray you feel that hope in your heart. I pray for your miracle (and my mom's and Steve M's) EVERYDAY.
((HUGS))

Vicky said...

Oh Melissa,

my heart aches that you had to hear this news... calmly or not. I'm screaming inside for you too, and praying on my knees for you as well.

Joanne said...

Melissa,
I'm so sorry for the very difficult (to say the least) news you received today. I'm glad you have a 2nd opinion and feel pretty confident with your doctors. If you ever need another for any reason, we are close to UCLA and Cedars Sinai (my doctor was a renowned Gyn-Onc at Cedars) and your family is more than welcome to set up home base with us. My prayers continue for you. And thank you for the encouragement with the photography-- I just completed my first photo shoot and booked my 2nd (with the same customer)-- you gave me a big boost and thank you. Big hugs to you all.

Joanne

Across the Miles Photography said...

Tears. Lots of tears. Crying with you & will continue to pray for you as you make the switch to Vanderbilt. Love you my friend. This all just seems so surreal.

Owlhaven said...

oh, I am heavy hearted on your behalf, but trusting that God still has you and your precious ones in the palm of His hand. I am claiming the promise for you that He will work all -- ALL -- for good.
Hugs,
Mary

Tiki said...

Big Hugs Melissa. Your strength and faith is inspiring to so many of us. Like Barbara said, I'm praying for a miracle for you. God knows you deserve it.

ddy2008 said...

Melissa, I truly admire the way that you have personally handled yourself throughout your personal journey thus far. You are so positive and humble. Our thoughts and prayers are with you while you continue on and hope that the doctors will continue to provide you with the best possible care, which I'm sure they will. Remember to laugh and love those who are dear to you, including HIM.

joelsgirl said...

That sucks rocks, Melissa. I will keep praying for you to make the most of each day, to hold up well under the medicines and that God would destroy the cancer in your body so that you and Brian grow old together. Love you big fat bunches.

Karen said...

I wish I knew something great to say, but I will just say that I think about you and pray for you all the time. I'm so sorry you have to go through this. I will keep praying for the drugs to do their job and for comfort for all of you...

Mandy said...

Oh Melissa...I don't have the right words to say but please know you, Brian,Camden and Rory are in my our thoughts and prayers. Hugs to you all!

Heather said...

My heart is heavy for you and your family. Know that I am praying for you, as always.

astepinfaith said...

I am continuing to pray. Each day I think of you. You are such a brave and very loved person.

Beth B. said...

You and your family are continually in my thoughts and prayers, Melissa. Thank you for being such an encouragement to me.

One of Nettie's Girls said...

As I prayed for you this morning I was certainly hoping for better news. I will continue to pray to our great Physician who just happens to be a Miracle Worker, too. Many prayers and well wishes to you and your beautiful family.

Andrea Moberly said...

This is my first comment on your blog. I was directed to your site as we have something in common - my youngest child is also from Korea :) I just wanted to share as encouragement that you are being lifted up in prayer by many people you are probably not aware of, including me! I will pray that God provides you with a deep enjoyment of your family, and that the chemo will not impact your ability to enjoy life with them.

Kathy (loveourboys) said...

Melissa,
I wish I had the perfect words to say to you.... I'm sorry that you have to deal with this. I'm glad that this new doctor was able to give you much needed information. My family continues to pray for you. May you receive the miracle that you deserve...

Joanna B said...

**HUGS**

Brenda Shearon said...

thank you for your honest thoughts and comments in your blog. Even though I have known you for many years at Oaklawn. It seems I know you better from reading your blog. Know you have MANY praying for you, Brian, Camden, & Rory! Nothing is impossible with God. Still praying for a miracle.

Michele said...

Melissa,
I have no words. I am praying for you and your sweet family, every day. May God lift you up and give you strengh and peace.

Monica said...

I'm still praying for a miracle, but also praying that each day you feel His peace and abundant life! Like so many others have already stated, your blog and attitude has been such an encouragement. I hope my life honors God as much as yours does.

Judy Turnbough Bailey said...

You, along with Brian, Rory and Camden, are in my prayers every day; I, too, am praying with so many for a miracle for you! Love, Judy B.

Kathy R. (loveourboys) said...

I just saw this on a friend's FB page and thought of you immediately.

"Jesus replied,
'What is impossible with men is possible with God.'"
~Luke 18:27

He is in control. Trust him.

Danyelle said...

Praying for a miracle, Melissa. You are truly being lifted up by so many people. Praying for strength and encouragement with each day. You truly are inspirational.

thewonderfulhappens said...

The grace that you have shown during this trial keeps me in awe daily. Will continue to pray.

Jennifer Woodbury said...

Melissa, my heart is heavy for you as I read this. But I just have to tell you that the grace with which you have approached this seemingly impossible situation is so inspiring. You are a beautiful person inside and out. It is so evident just from reading your blog. Thinking of you and your family!!

bodegalee said...

Big ((HUGS)) Melissa. I'm so sorry you and your family are going thru all this. I've never walked in your shoes but have seen it over and over in my work....how tremendous a positive attitude can be in fighting cancer. Pls know how many you have in your court praying and pulling for you daily!

Michelle and Family said...

Just want to let you know we are praying for you and your family.

Michelle

DebKennedyPhotography said...

My heart is hurting for you & your beautiful family right now! Just know that you have so many people praying for you!! Including me, my family & our entire church family! (((hugs))) Love you!

Amy said...

I'm so sorry, Melissa. I had hoped and prayed that you would hear much better news yesterday. Don't beat yourself up for crying or being angry and wanting to scream. It's okay to do all of that. I don't understand what God is up to but I know He has a plan and has you in the palm of His hand. I will not stop hoping, praying, trusting, and believing with you!

-Stacy and Ted said...

praying unceasingly for you and your family.

Susie said...

I don't chime in here as often as I should but you are in my thoughts and prayers. I'm hoping that the medicine doesn't simply keep your cancer stable but that at some point it starts to make it go away.

listgirl said...

I'm so sorry Melissa. I'm sure this is not news that anyone would want to hear. You have shown such faith, grace, and courage in the midst of the last few months. You are my hero.

Brenna said...

Our family continues to send many prayers to the Father for you and your precious family, Melissa. Also sending you a big hug.

Anonymous said...

Melissa: I am glad you went and talked to the people at Vanderbuilt. THinking of you.
Cheryl

One Happy Mama said...

You are a beautiful soul. You have such a wonderful attitude. Regardless of the outcome, you are teaching your children a valuable lesson. Keep the FAITH and a good attitude - God is in control. I am praying for you and your precious family Melissa. Hugs, Nancy

Rach@In His Hands said...

Oh, Melissa. My heart is up in my throat reading this. I'm so sorry that the news was not more positive. Every day I think of you and stand in awe of how amazing you are handling this journey. Of course there will be sad, hard, difficult moments, but your faith and your attitude and your smiles continue to shine.
SO many are standing with you to cheer you on! Praying for you and your sweet family!

Anonymous said...

Glad I had not read this when I came by earlier. You know what a crier that I am....love ya.....praying for you and Brian, and the kids. Have safe trip. Hope to have that play date when you get back:) Angel

Ellen said...

Praying for you and your precious family. Crying with you of this news and am in awe of the strength you daily show in this journey. We will continue to lift you up daily in our prayers.

Leah said...

Live your life to the fullest, Love in your life to the fullest, and Laugh with your family to the fullest! Praying that all the hugs, love, and prayers are there to give you strength. We are all benefiting from knowing you. Each post, each picture, and each comment are our way of giving you love and support!

Shelly said...

Just catching up with you, and praying, praying, praying, Melissa. I love that you are choosing to take one day at a time and live life to the fullest each day, words that we all need to live by. Thank you for sharing with all of us, so that we can continue to lift you and your family to the Lord.

Anonymous said...

I remember when we signed the papers to put my daughter under Hospice care, someone said something to me about there being no more hope.
I recoiled. There is always hope, but our hopes change.
First I hoped for a healthy baby
Then, when I found out that she had a complicated heart problem and Down Syndrome, I hoped for a safe delivery and repair.
When repair was ruled out, I hoped for as long as I could have with her.
When time was running out, I hoped for comfort and relief from her pain.
Now, I hope to be reunited with her in heaven.

There was never a shortage of hope..it just changed and morphed, with the realities of the situation..
and always there was LOVE, lots of it.
And with Faith, Hope and Love, we have the greatest treasures.

Sometimes I was angry, even when Ben was dx with cancer, angry and sad and questioning. God is big enough to handle that too, I found out.

I am carrying you in my heart and praying that we can all carry a bit of the pain on your behalf, so you can rest and be enfolded in love, peace and hope..whatever form it takes.

Hugs,
Amy Ostertag

Anonymous said...

Hello,

Can I ask, as I am very ignorant on cancer and treatments. I had a friend who had kidney cancer and they removed the kidney, did a round of chemo and he's been in remission for 18 years.

I know ovaries are a different type of situation altogether, but...

Is your cancer in only one ovary? if so, is surgical removal of the ovary an option?

Has the cancer spread to anywhere else that would make that not an option?

I know losing ovaries really changes the way your body handles everything because of the hormones, but I also know people do remove and live with replacement therapies without their ovaries.

I know how disheartening it can be to hear "chemo indefinitely"

I was just wondering what your options are as far as getting the ovary OUT and if that is an option.

Sorry for my ignorance on the topic.

Anonymous said...

Hi Melissa,
I am a friend of Becky's. I know we have never met, but I feel like I know you sometimes:) Our family prays for you everday. I have no words, but you are SO LOVED!! I can tell everytime Becky speaks of you. I will continue to pray for you, Brian, Rory, and Camden.
Love
Traci

Krista said...

my heart is aching for you and your family - prayers are still coming your way my friend. hugs

Janet said...

Oh, Melissa...
I sit here staring at the screen...trying to come up with something to say...anything...that will sound witty or supportive or caring...but everything sounds too canned or forced. We've never met. We have at least two big things in common that I know of (and probably more): our children are from Korea and we have both battled cancer. Your battle is so much bigger and so much harder...and I really wish it were not so. I prayed for you during our prayers time at church today...I pray for you from home...and I will contine to pray for you and your family. Praying the chemo does its job keeping the cancer at bay...and time brings you more time and more. Your attitude continues to impress, amaze, and inspire me. Peace be with you...tonight...tomorrow...and always.

Christine said...

Melissa, I'm not sure how I missed this... but I'm sitting here in shock. I know He holds you in his hands, and I hope that some day this makes more sense to you. For now, I pray for you and yours daily. Hugs, friend.