Thank You

I don't know what I expected after pouring my heart out in all its ugliness and despair earlier this week. I'm not sure I had any expectation at all. I mostly thought that (a) it would be ignored because there's nothing really to say to a big complainer or (b) alot of cliches or platitudes would be thrown my way.  As I'm sure you can imagine, after dealing with cancer for over a year, I've pretty much heard it all.

What I didn't expect, however, was the overwhelming support (I received almost as many personal emails as I did comments) and appreciation for my honesty. Thank you for not making me feel like a complainer or a melodramatic drama queen. I am always so worried that I will just be a big Debbie Downer and have placed alot of pressure on myself in these past few months to always have a positive spin on things. Isn't that what a Christian woman should do?

I don't think that I've been dishonest with you in the past because the truth is, despite some scattered bad days, I have overall managed to stay positive and thankful and joyful in spite of our situation. I've also become an expert at shoving all that grief and anger and sadness into a closed box that resides in the far corner of my heart. I think that the large dose of reality I received several weeks ago when I returned to chemo was just too big to shove into that box, and darkness from the previous 16 months came rushing out all at once.

Despite the development of a major health issue (more on that in a minute) I have felt so much more like myself in the last 48 hours, probably as a result of the collective prayers going up for me, and I really can't thank you enough. In an effort to avoid an emotional crash as destructive as the one I just went through, I am going to do my best to let Brian (first and foremost) and friends and family share my burden instead of struggling to hold it together on my own. Like many of you mentioned, you can take it. And you know what? So can God. It's not like He can't see those fears and questions in my heart already.

While there have been a couple of fun things happening around here (celebrating Camden's birthday and my parents coming into town for a visit), I'm also facing a new health situation. I've been in severe pain since Monday night with something similar to the gallstone issues I had in December and again in May.

Except, you know, I DON'T HAVE A GALL BLADDER. 

I was supposed to have chemo tomorrow, but I'm seeing my surgeon first to see what's going on. Kidney stones as well as problems with my Bile Duct (which I also had a procedure done for in May) have both been mentioned. Complicating matters is the fact that the chemo I just started makes surgery impossible for 4-6 weeks because of blood issues. Prayers about this are definitely appreciated. I've avoided the ER simply because I had prescription pain meds in the house already.

And how about extra prayers for the hair situation. 49% of patients receiving this chemo lose their hair. It should start happening about day 14, which is today. While I thought that the texture had definitely changed over the weekend, I am having no tingling, no thinning or hair loss as of yet. Yes, this is vain. Yes, this is superficial. But I would love prayers that my hair holds on. I really, really, really want to be part of the 51% who get to keep their hair.

And one picture of the birthday boy. I've been a very bad family photographer the last couple of weeks, but I do have a few birthday pictures to share at a later date.

Happy 9th birthday, big boy!
Taken way too late at night. Settings are f2.2, ISO 800


Amanda said…
Happy Birthday, Camden!!
Renee T. said…
Sending birthday wishes to Camden!
:) Renee
Lori! said…
Your perfectionism with photography amuses me. I think it is a wonderful picture of your darling son!!! He is so handsome and I think you captured that spite of having difficult lighting! Happy Birthday Camden.
Brenna said…
Happy birthday to your handsome guy. My boys are both 10 now and I can hardly believe it! LOVE Camden's smile in that picture.
I will be glad to pray about your hair. If it's a concern to you, it's worth praying about. Praying also that the pain is sorted out soon for you.
Big hugs~
Me said…
I am a bit of a lurker and I love reading your blog. I don't think I've ever commented, but now seems like a good time. I read once that the three things vital to fighting cancer (aside from the obvious chemo/radiation) are laughter, keeping a positive attitude and having some way to vent how you are feeling. I think you have those three things covered and I think you'll be around for a good while yet.
Joan B said…
don't ever waste one second worrying about being a complainer. complain, whine, yell, scream. you deserve it and then some. we are listening.
Susanne said…
Praying for 51%!!!
Joanna B said…
I'm so sorry, Melissa...thank you for being honest. Keep us posted, and we will keep praying!
Happy Birthday to Camden!!
Krista said…
Happy Birthday Camden!
Praying for answers on the pain and praying for 51%!
Anonymous said…
Praying you get to keep your hair! That is not vain or superficial - it is all about the small victories!
Camden is such a handsome boy! Your hair is too gorgeous to fall out. It must stay there. I will pray for it to hold tight to your scalp!!!
bodegalee said…
((HUGS)) my friend and a very HAPPY bday to Camden! Melissa, oh so praying for you. Think of you all the time. AND as so many said it's "Ok not to be OK." Actually dont think you'd be "Ok if you didnt have bad days." That's what friends and family! PLEASE use us as your big cyber shoulder! And yes! DEF praying for you to keep your hair! You so deserve a break!!!
Joanne said…
What Joan said! We are praying fervently for you. Your posts are so honest and real and it's soooo okay to have and let out those emotions! My illness has no comparison at all to yours, but I get i how frustrating it is to hear "you're so strong"-ugh, you don't want to be strong, you want to be healthy and not dealing with this! And you not only have physical pain, but emotional,and physical issues taking the toll on the emotional and spiritual. You can lean n others,near and far,vent when you need to ! Always thinking of you and lifting prayers. Praying they can quickly find and resolve the pains, praying for your hair too. Big hugs
sandy atwood said…
Happy birthday to Camden! Thanks for sharing your heart - we are praying for you - we are so sorry this is happening. Love you
Vicky said…
Happy Birthday to Camden! He is maturing before our very eyes... so sweetly captured by you. Ugh- my stomach is just churning with your news. Yes, I'm praying- I knew I needed to come check on you as you were on my mind a lot these past few days. I was able to run my fingers through my hair yesterday and it felt so good... and made me melancholy over the thought of never being certain again if I'll keep it or not. I'm sorry, sista, so sorry.
Alex said…
I am praying for you Melissa, and I am with everyone need to be able to honestly express how your feeling. On the good AND bad days. You are not a complainer, you are a mama with MUCH on her plate and you are an inspiration to so many.
Happy Birthday Camden!

I do not think it's vain at all to want your hair to hold on... I'm more than happy to pray for that, and whatever else you need me to.

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