Friday, December 12, 2014

Y'all....Did that really just happen?! The final report...

Oh my goodness. Oh my goodness. OH MY GOODNESS!!!!! (insert the dancing lady in the red dress emoji)

I have to be honest. I'm still squealing over here in Mississippi. There was no way to prepare myself for these scan results, and I will NEVER forget Tuesday, December 9 as long as God gives me air to breath!

That morning, the radiologist called us in (Vic's parents were with us) maybe 10 minutes after my scans. The first thing he said was, "Well. I have good news. I don't even know what to say, so I'll just show you," and he pulled up the images for us to see as we sat down in front of his computer. The difference was incredible. I couldn't even see the two smaller spots, and the largest spot looked like a speck on the screen. My inlaws were jumping and celebrating behind us, and I just sat there speechless with my jaw on the floor. The radiologist incredulously demanded to know what medicine they were giving me and said, "Do you even know how lucky you are?" After about 5 minutes of just staring at everyone in the room with my mouth agape, there were fist bumps, high fives and lots of hugging, screaming and fist pumping. Needless to say, we threw a big party that night, and we are still celebrating and thanking God.

We received the actual written report from the doctor the day after, and the results are nothing short of miraculous. I had 3 measurable tumors in my lungs: a 10 mm tumor, a 6.4 mm tumor and a 4.2 mm tumor. After 1 cycle of treatment over 8 weeks, the 10 mm tumor is now 3 mm; the 6.4 mm tumor is GONE; and the 4.2 mm tumor is almost 2 mm now (we initially thought this one was completely gone too).

The fact that, in the words of the radiologist, the tumors appear to be "melting away" is unheard of. A metastatic melanoma diagnosis doesn't give you the "luxury" of hoping for remission. It gives you a death sentence. That sounds awful and harsh, but, barring a miracle, that is reality. So you can imagine our great rejoicing over this VERY promising news!! I am overwhelmed at the goodness of our God.

I leave for treatment this weekend and start cycle 2 on Monday. I have approximately 8 million questions for my oncologist regarding what my scan results mean for me long term. What happens if after another cycle or 2 of treatment my tumors disappear completely? Will I keep taking treatments? Will I be considered in remission? Could these results be durable? As in, forever??

I hope to have an answer to these questions so that I can give a more formal update when I return from Boston next week. Regardless, we are so thrilled and SO THANKFUL for this renewed hope. We are so grateful that Jesus led us to EXACTLY the treatment I needed, and then proceeded to open up a spot for me in a trial that was already full. He has shown us incredible mercy and grace throughout this journey. Let me say it again, as loudly as possible, thank you Lord!

I love you all so much and SO APPRECIATE you walking through this with me. You will never, ever know how grateful I am to you all. One day, when this is all over, we are having a HUGE party. You are all invited. I insist! (Just don't mention it to Vic until alllll the tumors are gone.)

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. -Eph 3:20-21



Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Glory to God in the HIGHEST

and on earth, PEACE.

I'm struggling to type as I'm swimming in a pool of tears. Tears of joy, thanksgiving and ECSTASY. The two small spots that were on Meredith's lungs have disappeared, and the large tumor that was previously 10 mm is now 1-2 mm. Meredith's doctors described the results of her scan by saying the cancer had "melted away." Her doctor is amazed, but I think he is in the minority in that respect. For most people, stage 4 melanoma is a certain death sentence. Today, our God has said, "not for Meredith."

I'm so overwhelmed right now and feel the need to just let this sink in as we praise the Lord and celebrate together. I"m certain that Meredith will want to post here later, but I know so many of you were praying and waiting for news so I at least wanted to post here right away.

THANK YOU LORD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

See the comparison below. The original scan is on the right; the tumor is on the upper left corner. The new scan is on the left!!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Scan Me Already!!

Ready or not, here we go! And let me say I am READY. Tomorrow is everything that we’ve been working towards. Cycle 1 of treatment is complete and tomorrow’s scans will reveal whether or not my body is responding to treatment. I’m so excited for this important step and hopeful we will receive good news. My sister is planning a celebratory dumping of a Gatorade ice bath over my head in the parking lot of the imaging center after good results. #winning (I told her I’d rather get tickets to the Orange Bowl instead. Dan Mullen are you reading this? I’m available to sit on the bench with the team for moral support, FYI).

But really, I fluctuate from extreme anxiety and excitement over these scans tomorrow. They are scheduled for 9:00 a.m., and we will have results same day. Emily will be posting results here tomorrow! Thank you, thank you THANK YOU for praying for us!!! It gives me great peace and hope knowing so many of you are lifting us up in your prayers. It’s such an important milestone for us, and I just can’t help but believe we will get good news after the miraculous way we were accepted into this trial. I can’t know what the future holds for us, but I am believing this treatment will provide the pathway to my wellness. Whatever the outcome, I am confident that Jesus loves me and He has a plan for my good and His glory.

Huge strides are being made in melanoma research right now, and they feel they are on the precipice of a treatment with a durable cure rate. (This trial I’m enrolled in may even prove to be the answer!) Time will tell. Metastatic melanoma can appear slow growing for a several months, or in some cases even a few years, but eventually “blows up” and spreads rapidly and takes over the entire body. This is why it’s considered a huge victory if treatment is able to halt growth, even if there is no tumor shrinkage. So basically, if tomorrow’s scans show no new tumors and no growth of existing tumors, the treatment will be deemed effective.

If the scans show new growth, they will likely try one more 8 week cycle before I’d have to look for other options. Either way, I’ll start cycle 2 December 15.

So we are done with cycle 1. We have made it through relatively unscathed in terms of side effects, and we are so thankful for that. Besides being extremely fatigued, I’m feeling well. Treatment has not hindered me from any of my day to day activities of being a wife and mom to my two babies, and that is a tremendous blessing!

The most difficult aspect of the journey is not so much the physical, but the mental and emotional struggle. Every day I have to choose. Will I allow my diagnosis to determine my mood? Will I live in fear of dying from cancer or will I chose to trust that my life is in His hands? Will I retreat into my room and throw a pity party or will I get up and find a way to serve my family and friends? Will I let worry paralyze so that I merely go through the motions of my day, or will I choose to be truly present and enjoy my relationships? Will I fret over the bad news or will I choose to be thankful in all things no matter what my circumstances look like?

Most days are good days. Great days, even! But the better news is that even on those really bad days, when I’m so sad or really frustrated and have a bad attitude, Jesus finds a way to let me know He’s still there, and He cares. He has used so many of you to get that message across. Through your notes, words, hugs, meals, fundraisers, prayers, kindness and generosity. All of you have been a very real part of this journey with us – an HUGE part. I cannot adequately express my gratitude for each and every one of you.

Funny story - my wallet was stolen in Boston a few days ago while we were eating dinner after my last treatment. It was a huge hassle – filing police reports, getting through airport securing with absolutely no ID (tons of fun), canceling credit cards. Really?? I'm barely 30 minutes out of my cancer treatment and my wallet gets stolen? So frustrating. (Plus I really did love that wallet!) Anyway, we made it home after barely escaping airport security with my dignity, and waiting in the mail for us were 4 different cards from friends, all with checks.... It more than quadrupled what I lost in my wallet. I was so completely blown away I just had to sit down and cry for a few minutes. God has been SO good and faithful to us. We are at a loss for words at the outpouring of love and support. We have a MILLION things to be thankful for, and losing a silly wallet is not even worth a second thought.

Again, we thank you for taking the time and energy to pray for us. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

With so much love,

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Cycle One Complete!

Meredith has finished Cycle One of treatment! The first four infusions went well, her organ function is still good, and the side effects have been minimal. God is so good! We are now looking to Tuesday, December 9. That is when she will have her next scan to check her prognosis. According to her oncologist, no change is considered positive. If no new tumors have developed, and her existing tumors have not grown, the treatment will be considered a success. Hopefully, we will see tumor shrinkage! Regardless of the scan results, she will continue with Cycle Two later in December.

Please continue to pray with December 9 in mind. We hope to get results same day, but regardless of how long it takes, I will post here as soon as we get news!