Posted by: mandmthomas | December 28, 2010

Owwww….

I didn’t want to worry anyone so I didn’t tell anyone about my surgery yesterday. :) After Matt and I met with the surgeon last week, she said that they were 99% sure the swollen lymph node under my arm is benign, but they could take it out to be sure. She said they couldn’t biopsy it because of the location. Due to my history of having two types of cancer at the age of 31, I was more comfortable with it coming out to be sure it isn’t something. The surgeon said she didn’t blame me, especially if it gave me peace of mind. She said it would be there for the rest of my life more than likely otherwise.

So, off to surgery yesterday morning to have this thing taken out from under my arm. The surgeon told me in recovery that the node was smaller than she thought it was but it is ABNORMAL! So much for being soooo sure it was benign, huh? That just made me feel better about insisting it come out. She said it didn’t look like melanoma, but they were sending it to pathology and want me to see my oncologist for the results in the next week.

This is just another of those experiences that make me believe even more in “better safe than sorry.” I am pretty dang sore, tired, swollen, etc. Matt is taking excellent care of me. We have watched almost all of Season One of Mad Men – good show! :)

I have a follow-up appointment scheduled with my oncologist next week. I will keep everyone updated. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers.

Melissa

Posted by: mandmthomas | December 21, 2010

Good news!

I got the results of my biopsy today and it is benign! They called it a fibroadenoma. I still meet with a surgeon on Wednesday morning concerning the place under my arm and plan to ask her more about these results. From what I have read, there can be simple and complex cells in these types of results with the complex being at a higher risk to turn into cancer. I guess my question would be why we wouldn’t take anything out that has the slightest risk of turning into cancer given my history…

Regardless, I am very thankful for these good results!! It was only a year ago that I was going through chemotherapy at Christmas time. Thank you to everyone for their kind comments and prayers. It really does mean a lot!

I will do my best to update again after my appointment on Wednesday.

Melissa
“And let us run with endurance the race that God has set before us…” Hebrews12:2

Posted by: mandmthomas | December 18, 2010

Quick Update

Things seem to have been somewhat eventful in our household lately. And not in a way I want them to be! :) Most of you probably remeber that I initially went to the doctor a little over a year ago for a swollen place under my arm. Well, it’s still there, and I am having my doctors look into it a little bit more just to make sure it isn’t anything to worry about. One thing they did in this process was to send me for a mammogram. Unfortunately, while I was there they found a very small place. I went in today for them to try to aspirate it. Once they stuck the needle in, they found that it wasn’t a cyst. Instead it was a solid mass so they took  a few samples to send off to the lab. I should know something early next week. Of course it is the standard, “it could be nothing, it could be cancer.”

I also meet with a surgeon on Wednesday about the place under my arm, and she will also have the results from the procedure today. Of course, prayers are always appreciated!

Please be the #1 advocate for your own health. Had I not insisted we follow up on the place under my arm, we never would have had the mammogram and found this other place. You are the only one who can say what you need and don’t need. It is always best to do more rather than less – better to be safe than sorry!

Matt had no idea what he was getting into when he said “in sickness and in health”, huh? My family has been so great this past year, and I am so thankful for each and every person. Especially, of course, my immediate family – Matt, Mom, Dad, Stephanie and Jerry. Please take the time this Christmas season to spend time with those you love. You just never know what may happen in your life, and we must remember that each and every day is so very precious.

Melissa

Posted by: mandmthomas | November 29, 2010

What a Year

I have been such a slacker at updating this blog. I guess things get moving in various directions and you try to forget for a moment what you have been through. It’s never quite that easy, though.

November 6, 2010 was one year from the biopsy that charted my course. November 10, 2010 was one year from the news that changed my life. It has all flown by so quickly. It is hard to believe that as we celebrated Thanksgiving this past week, it was one year ago that same week that I started chemotherapy. What a journey I have been on.

It seems never-ending. I got the results from a PET scan on Friday. The place I was concerned about – the same place that led me to the doctor over a year ago – is still “nothing”. However, I am showing activity in a lymph node under my other arm. The doctor is pretty sure it is inflammation. In the back of everyone’s mind is the chance that it could be cancer. I am going to have the original place biopsied because I just want to be sure it is “nothing”. I have learned over the past year that it is better to be safe than sorry and that I am the one who is in charge of my own health care.

Amidst all of this, I have been having some real issues with shortness of breath (attributed to stress, but going to see the lung doctor again that I saw initially when the very first CT came back) and back pain.

I do have a history of scoliosis- I even got to wear a fancy back brace in my younger years. I had to wear it to middle school, and I will never forget when a kid tapped me on the back for something and then asked me if I had a book under my shirt. Ummm, sure. At least I didn’t have to wear my headgear to school. :) I was so cool.

On the bright side, I have met deductible and want to get as much of this done as possible before the end of the year! Matt’s work was bought out and the new company isn’t so employee friendly. They changed life insurance companies and the policy from before isn’t portable – which means none for me with cancer diagnosis this year (thankfully, I have a little with my work as well). And they are now going to charge an extra $100/month to carry your spouse on your health insurance. Way to motivate your employees!

What else is going on in our lives? We have a new dog! We adopted Maggie in July. She is 6 months old now and 40 pounds – bigger than her brother. She is officially 1/4 dalmatian, 1/4 lab, 1/4 retriever and 1/4 German shepherd. She is a handful! We thought Ellwood would enjoy a playmate and he certainly does. However, I think Maggie loves her brother much more. She follows him around and always wants to be near him.

My side business, Key Fobs For A Cure is going really good! I can’t believe how well it has taken off. I have the key fobs in three stores right now and can barely keep up with the demand that gives me. If you are interested, check out the pictures at http://www.facebook.com/keyfobsforacure .

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and is doing well. Please stay safe over the holidays and spend time with your loved ones!

Melissa

Posted by: mandmthomas | May 26, 2010

Results

I received the results of my CT scan today. GREAT NEWS!! 2 of the 3 nodules have resolved. The doctor said that she thinks maybe it was just something that was inflamed. The third one was hard to find on the scan this time and was labeled insignificant. YAY!!!! Praise God! I don’t have to have another CT until September and then I will have a one year PET scan in January. It feels like a weight has been lifted off of me.  Thank you so much for all of your support and prayers.

Today was nine years from the day Matt and I got married (May 26, 2001). It couldn’t have been a better day to get such good news. The oncologist said that since Hodgkin’s is such a curable disease that there isn’t any reason I shouldn’t believe that I am cured now. I may be a little more cautious, but that was great to hear!

Prayers really do get answered. Amen!

Melissa

Posted by: mandmthomas | May 20, 2010

CT Scan

So tomorrow is the day. My follow up CT scan. I am nervous. I am trying to keep a positive attitude, but I just don’t have a good feeling. My appointment is at 8:30am.  All prayers are appreciated!  I will get my results on Wednesday (my 9 year wedding anniversary :) ) morning at 9am. I also go for lab work and to get my port cleaned out on Monday afternoon. A fun filled few days. Of course, I will keep all of you updated.

In the mean time, check out my new hobby here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/melj216 . I have had so much fun doing this, and these are only a few of my creations!

Until next week,

Melissa

Posted by: mandmthomas | May 4, 2010

My cat is suicidal.

I have come to the conclusion that my cat (Caleigh) is suicidal. I have proof. It isn’t just my imagination. There are three “situations” that have led me to this conclusion.

First, as you saw in my last post, I have taken up a new hobby. While I am painting, I dip the brushes in a bowl of water to clean them. Caleigh has decided this is precisely the water she wants to drink. OFF THE KITCHEN TABLE. This can’t be good for her.

Second, Matt was running on the treadmill on Saturday when I heard **thump thump thump**. The lovely kitty had tried to jump onto the front of the fast moving treadmill. Obviously, this didn’t work out so well for her. Thankfully, she didn’t break anything on herself or my husband.

Finally, (and this one’s the kicker) she lit herself on fire. That’s right, I said she lit herself on fire. I was doing what most normal people do – I had a candle lit on the kitchen counter when I look up and see a big flame. Oh my gosh, that big flame is my cat’s tail!!! She walked by the candle and apparently dipped her tail in it.  She had no idea she was on fire because she has so much hair.  As I am screaming, “Oh my gosh, Oh my gosh” and lunging at her, Matt is getting up and wondering what the heck is happening. By the time I get to the cat, she has fanned the fire out herself. She proceeds to run away leaving black ash all over the kitchen floor that the dog proceeds to want to lick up. We then have to put the dog up and get the cat to take her outside and brush her tail. She wasn’t burnt at all – just the hair. I don’t think she even knows what happened.

But now I am convinced she is eliminating her nine lives one at a time. Why Caleigh?  Do you not like your brother Ellwood? Do you want to live somewhere else? Our poor kitty cat.

Posted by: mandmthomas | April 26, 2010

New Hobby

So I have found a new hobby.  I never really thought of myself as artsy until my sister showed me how to make jewelry a few years ago. Now I have taken to painting wooden balls with designs and monograms as keychains. I thought I would share some of my latest creations.  It has been so much fun to come up with new ideas, and I am just getting started!

Posted by: mandmthomas | April 16, 2010

Favorite song right now…

There is a Christian group called Barlow Girl that I really like.  They have a song that really speaks to me right now and seems to keep me in fighting mode.  I want to share the lyrics with you:

“One More Round”

Round One wasn’t what I thought it’d be
Round Two I’m struggling to breath
3, 4, 5, 6, 7 times I wondered why I stepped inside this ring

I may be knocked down and bruised
But I’m here to tell you
That I may be knocked down but not for the count
1,2,3,4
So take me one more round
I’ll just keep fighting
One more round
You’re messing me up but I’m still here

One more round I’ll come out swinging
But I know that victory is when
I’m pushing through the pain that tries to feed me lies that I wont reach the end

I may be bloodied and so bruised
But I’m here to tell you
That I may be knocked down but not for the count
1,2,3,4
So take me one more round I’ll just keep fighting one more round
You’re messing me up but I’m still here
One more round
I’ll come out swinging
One more round

I’m telling you now I’m not gonna lose it
I am not defeated
Though you cannot see it
I have never won a battle on my own
I find strength in weakness
I find hope in believing
God is for me who can bring me down?
So take me one more round
I’ll just keep fighting

One more round
You’re messing me up but I’m still here
One more round
I’ll come out swinging one more round
I’m telling you now I’m not gonna lose it here
I’m not gonna go down now
Try to bring me
I’ll come out swinging

No matter what, I will keep on fighting!
Melissa

Posted by: mandmthomas | April 12, 2010

CT Scan Results

As most of you know, I had a CT on April 5 to make sure all signs of the cancer were gone. The results of the scan could have been better and could have been worse.  First let me say that where I had Hodgkin’s shows no sign of the disease. The formerly enlarged lymph nodes are no longer enlarged.

However, a nodule that I had back in October is still there and two more have appeared. These are VERY small.  However, with my history of cancer (melanoma and Hodgkin’s disease), they want to monitor it closely.

I have another CT scan planned for 6 weeks from now.  Then I will follow up with an appointment with my oncologist, my radiation doctor and the radiologist who reads the CT scan. In all honesty I think they will be preparing me for surgery to biopsy the area(s) to make sure they aren’t malignant. I am fine with that!  Better safe than sorry.

It could have been worse.  They could have said they didn’t get all the cancer and it had spread for sure. I am thankful that wasn’t the case.  I was definitely hoping for a clean bill of health but I must deal with whatever I am given. I am reminded “So don’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time.” Matthew 6:34

Of course prayers are always appreciated.  I am worried that it is cancer but keep telling myself that it will be fine. I need to believe in my heart that it is fine and that to me is the hard part. I like to be in control of my life and the things that go on around me, and I am reminded that I am not in control. “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.”Proverbs 16:9

Thanks for reading.

Melissa

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