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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Follow-up to Surgery and Beginning of Radiation Treatment

Much has happened over the past month with my surgery, recovery, spring break, and Easter. My surgery went well without complications and thankfully, I went home the same day. The surgeon only had to remove four lymph nodes and all were found to be cancer-free. Even more amazing, at my post-op appointment, the pathology report stated that cancer was not found in any of the removed tissue, breast or lymph nodes! This is called a complete pathological response to the chemotherapy. This is the best possible report, specifically in terms, of increasing survival and minimizing chance of recurrence. With this report, the question of whether radiation therapy was a necessity crossed my mind. I researched, had good friends research, asked second opinions, and had a forthright discussion with my radiation oncologist, all pointed in the same direction. At this time, since my tumor was over 5 cm and I had multiple lymph nodes involved at the onset of diagnosis, the benefits of radiation still outweigh the risks to my body. I have had my planning appointment and will begin radiation treatment on April 19th. My treatment plan is to have radiation every weekday for 33 times. I will have my left chest wall, axillary node area (under the arm), and the supraclavicular lymph node area (near the collarbone) undergo radiation. The side effects tend to develop around two weeks and are fatigue and skin irritation, burning, etc. at the site of treatment. Also, because so many areas of my lymphatic system will be assaulted, I am at an increased risk for lymphedema (swelling and fluid retention in my arm due to a blockage in the lymphatic vessels). The early signs are numbness and tingling in the arm. Unfortunately, I am already experiencing some of these symptoms, so in the coming weeks I will meet with a lymphatic therapist to hopefully minimize any further complications.

Our lives have not been consumed by cancer and treatment. My surgery happened to land on my spring break, so we spent the first part going to the zoo, hiking in a nearby state preserve, and during surgery, my children got to stay at their friends’ home for three nights. They thoroughly enjoyed the family “sleepover.” (Big thank you to Chris, Ashley, Elliot, and Isaac!!) The Thursday through Saturday before Easter Sunday, we traveled with my dad to Glen Rose, Texas where we jumped on big rocks, walked barefoot in the river, saw some safari animals, and played for hours in the indoor swimming pool.

Thank you for your prayers and support and rejoicing with us at the good prognosis. In all things, God is faithful and true.

- Praise God for effective chemotherapy treatment and a successful surgery

- Pray for minimal side effects of radiation and continued healing

Reader Comments (12)

I love you and your sweet family Melissa. Praise God for the good report. You are such an inspiration to me. I love when I get to see you at church and hug M's neck! I miss him in my class so much! All of you are so precious to me! Much love, Kelly

April 13, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterKelly

Thank you for sharing your journey with us. The pictures are awesome😊. So thankful you had days to go do fun things. We continue to pray for complete healing & give thanks to the Lord for all He has done & will do for you & your family. Wish we could be there to love on you & help you but please know we pray daily for you & your family & we love you lots! You hold a very special spot in our hearts😊

April 13, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRoseanne & CJ

Melissa - so glad to hear your report. God is good and prayer is amazing.
Will be praying for very few side effects from the radiation and good health
For you and the kids. Much love to you all. 🌈❤️❤️❤️

April 13, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAunt Kathie

So wonderful to hear such a great report!!! Thanks for the update!!

April 13, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRuthie Shepherd

Always praying and hoping for good things M! I cannot wait to see you guys again!!

April 14, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRaihan Jamil

So happy for you and your beautiful family!! Prayers continue to flow for you and all of those who are caring for you and your family!!

April 14, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterValeria Johnson

Such good news, Melissa! Thank you for keeping us informed. Love the pictures! Keeping you and your family in our prayers.

April 14, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterLoreli Bryant

so very glad to hear things are on the up side and GOD does answer prayers,, still praying for you all, I hope your Dad is doing better. you all look good and just stay safe,,
Love you all
Aunt Ann

April 14, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAnn Brannon

Praise God for such wonderful news! I have recently returned from a pilgrimage to Portugal and France, where I offered prayers for your healing at every "holy site" that we visited. You remain in my daily prayers. May God Bless you, your family, friends, medical team and caregivers.

April 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterNerissa Muniz

This is wonderful news! I'm so happy to read it, and will continue to pray for the radiation to go well.
Thanks for sharing!

April 28, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterDave

Love you, dear Melissa. God is using you in amazing ways. I'm sorry that you are going through so much. You are truly and inspiration to all.

June 3, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterLindsay Keazer

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 via email: dr.fabienconstantin@ yahoo. com

November 29, 2018 | Unregistered Commenteramber emile

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