In March 2016, at the age of 35, I was diagnosed with Stage IV stomach cancer. Only 3% of patients live 5 years or longer after receiving this diagnosis. Most die within the first year. I have a beautiful wife and two young children. This blog chronicles my experiences with cancer and the lessons I learn along the way.

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One more round of chemotherapy

I thought I would be better at updating the blog but I have found myself sick or resting more than expected with each round of chemotherapy. The good news is that I only have one more round of chemotherapy! Below is a recap of the last few months but here is the update of next steps. My last round is scheduled for February 9th. My platelets dropped a little bit this last round, but as of now everything is still on track to continue as scheduled for round 6. Tomorrow I have my pre-consultation with the surgeon, as surgery will be my next action in removing the cancer. From this appointment, I will get more information on what scans will be needed and a timeline between the end of chemotherapy and a surgery date. Scans after round 3 did show that the chemotherapy and immunotherapy were working well to shrink the tumor.

These last few months have by no means been easy for any of us. However, it has been in times of desperation and need that I see God’s greatness and my humility. I am continually grateful for neighbors, school families, and small group members providing meals for us on a regular basis. Each round, a friend from out of state as graciously left their family or work and given up their time to serve and care for my family. I could not have made it through many of my rounds without their help and the help of friends nearby packing a bag and staying with us overnight. Thank you for the constant upholding of our family in your thoughts and prayers.

Our current specific prayer requests are:

  1. A solid finish to the chemotherapy,
  2. A productive and clarifying appointment with the surgeon, and
  3. Peace of mind and heart for my children and family as I have the surgery.

Round 5

Overview of the last few months:

After my bought with mucositis in my throat and intestines during Round 1, I contracted a stomach virus the following week. I continued with my second round of treatment November 17th even though my body was not fully recovered from the mucositis and virus. Round 2 ended up being my worst round. I was in bed almost all the time for 12 days straight with severe side effects and abdominal pain. Over Thanksgiving break, the pain was severe enough that I was unable to drink water without intense pain and spent six hours in the local Emergency Department receiving fluids. All these events led to many discussions with my doctor about how best to manage my care. My pain management was modified, as well as, the chemotherapy drug doses reduced slightly. With these changes, I had a mild Round 3 in early December. I was able to enjoy all of Christmas break with the children. We had wonderful visits with grandparents and friends. Matthew was even able to enjoy his first musical, The Grinch, with Uncle Matt Moore and had a wonderful time. We were also able to go indoor sledding (because that is about the only way it can be done in North Texas)! Round 4 started off fairly calm but then all three of us came down with an upper respiratory virus. Although my intestinal side effects were minimal, I was unable to drink enough fluids to stay hydrated and keep my blood pressure at a safe and normal level. Fortunately, I was already scheduled for daily hydration the following week. Also, my friend, Amy Reno, graciously gave of her time, energy, and resources to fly in from Washington, DC and be with us for the whole first week of chemotherapy. Recovery from Round 4 was a little slower but we are all relatively healthy (the kids) and on the mend from the chest cold and sinus infection. Round 5 was still a battle of hydration but the intestinal discomforts were more managed. I can feel the accumulation of toxicity and other side effects (e.g., bruising under the finger and toe nails along with numbness), but know the end is in sight!

Reader Comments (11)

Melissa. You are absolutely stunning with your beautiful smile and eyes. You and the kids as well as
Clint, Cathie and your Father are in our prayers daily. Thank you for taking the time to up-date us on your continuing
Treatment. Prayers will continue for all of you. Love ❤️ you all

January 30, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAunt Kathie

Praying for you! Glad to read and update and see your smiling face!!

January 30, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterColleen Fehl

Thank you for the update. We pray for you & the kids every morning asking the Lord to walk with you all through the day & that your kids will see Jesus through this all. They have been through so much these in their little lives & we can't wait to see how God works in their lives. . The Lord is faithful in providing who & what you need. We also pray for your dad & brother as they watch you go through this. We also pray for wisdom for the doctors. Please know you are loved & prayed for continually. Oh, & you look more like your mom now:) BEAUTIFUL!

January 30, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRoseanne & CJ

Thrilled and in awe of your courage and smiles. Praying without ceasing for you all. Love you all.

January 31, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAunt Caren

We pray for you often. Praising the Lord for an effective bit of chemo treatments. Thankful for your smile, too. We need people like you and Rob to show us how to go through tough times well...so we'll know what to do in ours.

January 31, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterTimber Brinkley

Praying for you daily, Melissa!

February 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterLaura Scott

Melissa, I'm thankful for you and your ways of recounting God's faithfulness in these days. It's a huge encouragement and challenge to me. Thanks for sharing your news - good and bad. Praying for you and the whole family this morning.

February 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJess Lyons

Praise God. Thank you for the update. You are in my daily prayers and I will definitely add the "specific prayer" updates to my list.

February 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterNerissa Muniz

There is power in prayer. Let's all pray every day for Melissa that she be completely healed!

February 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDon Rossmeisl

Praying for you, your family, and friends non-stop! So sorry that you and your family are having to endure this! The picture of you shows that you are one strong, beautiful person!

February 10, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterValeria Johnson

I was suffering from pancreatic cancer which has spread to my liver. At this time I am not taking any chemo. I have a fair appetite and at times have pain at the left side of my stomach. I don't know if the pain in my bowel comes from the cancer, I take pain meds for that when needed. I read a lot of blogs where people who shared their testimonies on how Doctor Fabien cured people of cancer. I just followed the email address that was shared on these testimonies; I got lucky when I got a reply from he, he told me not to worry or think anymore i will be cured. And told me what to do which i did and asked a few questions I followed his instruction, used Herbal Medicine in less than 4 months, then go for a hospital test and i went after 1 month and my doctor confirmed me totally cured of cancer i was very happy. for over 2 year. Contact him 832 734-3657 or via email: dr.fabienconstantin@ yahoo. com

November 29, 2018 | Unregistered Commenteramber emile

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