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Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Here We Go Again

I put off making the phone call as long as I could. I made the beds, cleaned the counters, scrubbed toilets, wrapped Christmas presents, browsed social media, ate my weight in Chex party mix.

And then I pulled on the big girl pants and called Vanderbilt Ingraham Cancer Center to let them know I was choosing to participate in the Taxol clinical trial that will turn our everyday life upside down, make me bald again, send me retreating to my recently refreshed bedroom with joint aches, nausea, and fatigue.

It also just might kill the cancer that is apparently continuing to grow in my abdomen. To be perfectly honest, I mostly just feel like a hypochondriac because growing cancer doesn't seem quite real, but actual medical doctors and bloodwork and scans tell me otherwise. 

The next 10-12 days are be jam packed with Christmas parties, music recitals, holiday programs, baking, celebrating. Fast and furious even under the best of circumstances. Details to iron out, logistics to manage. I don't know that I feel actual gratitude for this clinical trial or solid peace about the upcoming months, but I'm not falling apart either. Small victories.

From last Sunday's sermon right before we saw Dr. C:

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, 'my grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.' So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me . . . For when I am weak, then I am strong. II Corinthians 12:8-10

Lots of required tests and appointments next week, then a full day of chemo on December 19. I actually wrote this post last Wednesday, but have had a hard time making myself publish it. Sharing the news makes it feel like reality.

While a part of me rebels against needing to be thankful about any part of cancer, doctors, or chemo, it would be so ungrateful not to acknowledge that God has worked out many, many details in the past week as well as blessed us through our friends and family. Here are just a few ways:

  • This clinical trial is very small (as in, only 45 slots in the entire U.S.); it is no coincidence that there was an opening the exact day that I saw Dr. C. 
  • Instead of having to change oncologists, the clinical trial team has granted Dr. C permission to continue as my oncologist. This feels significant to me not only because continuity of care is important but I also just flat out hate change.
  • I have a bazillion appointments/medical tests next week. The research assistant was able to schedule everything in one day (on my regular day off) even though she insisted it would be impossible. It's going to make for a crazy long day, but I won't have to miss my last week of work for these tests.
  • The first 4 weeks of the chemo cycle will be grueling (four days in a row during the first week alone). Brian's Christmas break starts earlier than usual this year, and he will be able to accompany me without using sick days. Still working out logistics for future cycles.
  • We do not have to cancel our Christmas trip. Missing our family Christmas would have been devastating.
  • Our dear sweet friend Kellie is making a special trip to Clarksville Monday so that we'll have updated family photos before my hair falls out. Seriously, don't put off family pictures. They are a treasure and should be a priority. I am so thankful to Becky for arranging this and so thankful Kellie is willing to sacrifice her time for these pictures.
If you want to keep up with me and our family, scroll down to the bottom of the page and sign up for email updates. Fair warning: I'll be back on the heavy duty steroids that keep me up all night writing many words and publishing long lists.

31 comments:

VinGirl said...

I've been thinking of you and your family every day. I'm so sorry that your news wasn't what you would've hoped for, but I'm glad the path has revealed itself in a way that makes it easier for the transition. You will continue to be in my thoughts, Melissa. ❤️

Monica said...

You're been in my thoughts. I am praying for you as you begin this trial during a very busy season!

Mayme said...

Praying for you my friend. God is certainly in the details isn't HE?? We love you guys and are only a call away.

Melissa said...

Melissa, you have been on my mind so much lately, and I guess there was a reason why. Please let me know if there is anything I can do from afar. We will continue to pray for you, as we do every single day. (((hugs))) and love to you and your family during this Christmas season.

jennieandmike said...

I've been thinking of you lately and wondering how you and your beautiful family were doing. I'm so sorry the news wasn't better, but grateful that God is with you and preparing you for what's ahead. I will continue to pray for you and send good thoughts your way.

Jen

Crystal Livesay said...

I thinking of you and praying for you and your family. Sending love and and healing thoughts your way, Melissa! BIG HUGS!!

Jocelyn aka JoBear2 said...

I have also been thinking of you every day Melissa. Please know that I will continue to uphold you and your family in prayer.

♥♥♥ Jocelyn

Victoria said...

Keeping you in my prayers! Gods got this!

Heather Larvik said...

Sending love ❤️ and praying.

X said...

Always in my prayers ✌🏻️❤️

KirstyB said...

I've been clicking through every day for an update and holding my breath. Sending SO MUCH LOVE your way, Melissa! ❤️

Tia Dunaway said...

Praying for you and your family. May God's grace be abundant and overwhelming.

Judy Bailey said...

Praying for you, sweet Melissa, and for your dear family as you all go through these hard days ahead.

Judy Bailey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
subgirl said...

Praying for you and your family, Melissa. Our Lord will carry you through this most difficult time.

Beth Bill said...

I will be praying for you and your family Melissa. May HIS grace be sufficient. (a friend of your parents)

Karen said...

I will be praying for you every single day. My clinical trial enrollment was equally touched by the divine, so I know what you mean about that. I will pray for as little discomfort as humanly possible, and lots of enjoyment of all of the other things that make it worth it in the long run.

Michelle Huddleston said...

I've been praying for you from California. I wish I lived close enough to come help you. I hope you let your friends and family take some of the chores for you.
Bless you, your family and your medical team. I trust in God, in all things.

Merry Christmas
Michelle

Rebecca W said...

Oh sweet friend, I am praying for you and trusting God with complete healing and restoration of your body.

Moments in our journey said...

Fighting tears as I read this. My heart aches for you and we will be praying for you.

Leigh Korn said...

Rodney and I are praying for you. We miss and love you.
Linda L.

Sabrina said...

Reading through tears. Praying for you and your precious family Melissa. Sending you lots of love, and hugs too.

Trece said...

I continue to pray for you daily. Thankful for how God has arranged things.

Keela said...

Many prayers Melissa! <3

Vicky said...

I admire how much you've just focused on living your moments- full. You've packed so much life into your days- in all the best ways. And I've just kept praying... and will keep praying. I did weekly Taxol last year with good results and can only pray the same will be true for you. It's doable. He's already showing you the way- just keep going!

Christine @ 12,450miles said...

You know, I've been wondering about this but haven't been brave enough to text and ask. I'm devastated to read that it's not the "no news is good news" I was hoping for. You and your family are never far from my mind and you will definitely be on our prayer and positive thought list today and all days moving forward. I wish I could hug the cancer right out of you.... XOXOXO

Mimi said...

I keep praying for you, Melissa! ❤️

carolyn Griffioen said...

I have been praying for you! I would love to recieve updates and keep you in prayer. God's peace! ❤Carolyn

Laurie said...

I've been thinking about you a lot lately. Praying for you, Melissa!! Lifting you, Brian, Camden and Rory up during this time!!

Mary DeGennaro said...

Will be praying for you and yours, and would love to receive updates.

Mary DeGennaro said...

Will be praying for you and yours, and would love to receive updates.