Thursday, December 10, 2015

Prayers for Molly and New Treatment Plan for Me...

Dear friends,

After being diagnosed with cancer, I always feel a special bond when I meet another cancer patient or survivor. The cancer club is the club you never want to join, but it's also one that connects you to a beautiful community of people. One of the most amazing people cancer connected me to was Molly Remmert Rossell, a beautiful young mother from Alabama who is also battling metastatic melanoma.  If you follow my facebook page, you’ve seen my post about Molly, and maybe you have even prayed for her. Molly has inspired thousands with the way she has battled this disease so gracefully, always with a positive attitude. Her strength and dignity have been such a testament to her unwavering faith and has brought glory to God. Though I’ve only known her a short time, and only via phone calls and text messages, she continues to be a blessing and an inspiration. Friends, please take a moment and pray for Molly and her family. The latest update is not good. Molly has been fighting with the best medical care and newest drugs, but the cancer has been relentless. Medical attempts have been exhausted, and Molly is being moved to palliative care in the morning.

Here is an excerpt from her sibling’s latest update: “So, how do we proceed? Molly will be moved to palliative care in the morning. In that venue, the focus will be on making her as comfortable as possible. There will not be additional medical attempts to combat her cancer and surrounding complications, as those attempts have all been exhausted.  More significantly, how do we proceed with the prospect of her (likely imminent) departure from this life? Simply, we do so as she would want us to. Prayerfully. Hopefully. Trustingly. Joyfully. For those traits are the characteristics she’s shown us throughout her entire life. And in about as graceful a manner one as one is humanly able, if we might say so. She would also want us to focus on the eternal peace she will realize in her home ahead, whenever she may enter it. For she is an Easter Person, and we are Easter People who put all of our trust not in this fleeting world, but in the resurrected Christ and in His everlasting world of Heaven above.”

I was grieved to read this update, and shed many tears tonight. I am also inspired by the faith of Molly and her family – as they are grieving this news, they are still trusting Jesus with Molly’s future. They know Molly belongs to Him, and that He will carry Molly into complete healing and restoration, if not on earth, than certainly in Heaven. Their hope is anchored in Jesus, who brings beauty from the ashes and makes all things new.

Thank you for praying for Molly and her family, and thank you for your continued prayers for us. We received some unexpected news last month. Long story short, there is actually a clause in my clinical trial paperwork that says any complete responder has to exit the trial. This was only discovered after the scans I mailed to Boston got lost somehow, and the protocol office didn’t want to clear me for my November 16th treatment that I showed up for. This was a shock for my medical team and for us. So, as of November 16th, I have been officially out of the trial and off of treatment. I told my mom I feel a little like someone took my training wheels off before I was ready to ride my bike on my own.

We are flying to Boston on Tuesday of next week for an early morning meeting with my oncologist on Wednesday. There are a few options for us – though I can no longer be in the clinical trial, one of the drugs I was taking has recently been FDA approved, so I have access to it (street name Opdivo). The other option is to do nothing for 12 months. If I stay off of treatment for 12 months, and the disease comes back, I can reenter the clinical trial. We will see what my medical team advises on Wednesday and go from there. The good news is that I can get Opdivo anywhere, now that it is FDA approved. So, that likely means no more back and forth to Boston every other week. We will have to travel there for a few follow up visits required upon exiting the trial (30 days after, 60 days after, and 100 days after). Possibly more. We just don't know yet.

I’ll share the longer version of this story at some point, but we are thankful no one caught that clause in the paperwork in June when I got the official NED report. I was able to get two more complete cycles of treatment that I technically should not have received. The crazy way I actually got into this trial, and the crazy way I got out of it are too extraordinary to not be divine. I believe God’s hand has been all in it and through it, and that has really given me an extreme peace about whatever my treatment plan is moving forward.
And an even stranger/funnier/awesome thing that happened on that trip to Boston was my cab ride from the hotel to the airport. I was still in a little bit of shock after receiving the news of my abrupt end to treatment when I got in a van to head to the airport the next morning. My Haitian driver was very chatty and asked me where I was from. When I told him Mississippi he asked, “Well what church do you go to? I know EVERYBODY in Mississippi goes to church.” I told him ALMOST everybody does, but that I HAD to go because my daddy was the preacher. ;) We chatted a little about church and he asked what I was doing in Boston. I told him I was here for cancer treatment and he got really quiet. After a few moments of silence, this precious man started praying the most beautiful, fervent prayer for me. Not knowing I was in remission, he thanked the Lord for healing me. He prayed me all the way to the airport and ruined my mascara. I’m telling you right now that Jesus showed up in that cab.
And as I look back over this entire cancer experience, that’s been the case. Jesus has just shown up for me. Through every high and low place, He just keeps showing up. Whether I ask Him to or not, and regardless of what I have done or haven't done. He is that good. Even in the hard, awful, sad, tragic things, he shows up. I’m thankful that there is more to our story than just this life on earth. But I am thankful that He gifts us with this life too. And I am so eternally thankful that He gifts us with you all, who have prayed for us and carried us through the past year. There is just no way I could not make it without your support. Thank you for the incredible ways YOU continue to show up for us.

I will update you with the new treatment plan after our meeting on Wednesday.
With much love,

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

All Clear Once Again

Meredith had another round of scans again today, including an MRI to check her brain. Once again, we celebrate another clear report! Official report from Boston will come later, but initial report is that everything still looks cancer free!!
I had the pleasure of traveling with Meredith on her last trip for treatment, and we were excited to hear that her white cell count is back up into normal range. More good news!!
Thank you as always for your prayers and support. Our God is good!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

One year later

Meredith just finished one year of treatment! When celebrating this milestone with her doctor, he mentioned that the trial sponsors want to extend the treatment for another year. So...possibly another TWO years of traveling and infusions and blood tests and pricks and exhaustion. Initially it felt like a punch in the gut, but gratefulness remains our strongest emotion.

Meredith's white cell count is pretty low, so please pray that number will come back up especially as we enter flu season! This is one side effect of the treatment, but we are praying that she can stay healthy and continue to fight some of the other side effects including exhaustion and insomnia - what a combination!

As always, we are thankful beyond words for your prayers and support. As we celebrated the milestone of "one year later," I never could have imagined how well she would be doing. Watching her play with and dote on her children often makes my eyes fill with tears, remembering the fear of a "14 months to live" diagnosis last year. God is so good and merciful!!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

One Year Out...

God, your saving acts reach to the skies. You have done great things. God, who is like you? You have sent many bitter troubles my way. But you will give me new life. Even if I’m almost in the grave, you will bring me back. – Psalm 71: 19-20

I am way overdue with an update and before I update you on my current status, let’s take a minute to revisit my official No Evidence of Disease report, shall we?

This was pretty much the reaction all around on Floor 8 of the Yawkey Cancer Center, and this is the reaction I imagined having with all of you who follow our story and are always with me in spirit. BEST DAY EVER!!!!

Rewind to end of May, seven months into treatment. After getting a preliminary clear report from a Tupelo radiologist May 26, I was hesitant to get my hopes up. The radiologist at Mass Gen had been reading my scans as no change since December 2014, even though the report from Tupelo cited significant changes each time. Fast forward to June 3 in Boston. Dr. Sullivan did not have the radiology report during my office visit, so I went up a floor to the infusion center for treatment as usual. About an hour into treatment one of our research trial nurses came bursting through the door, official report in hand. “As soon as we got the CR email I printed this out for you because I knew you’d want to frame it!” she said. “What is a CR?” I asked. “Complete Responder!” she squealed. I held the print off in my hands and let my eyes focus on those two glorious letters…CR, that she had highlighted in neon yellow. And the tears just started falling. Then there were lots of hugs, squeals, more tears, high-fives, fist bumping and a steady stream of staff, some whom I had never met, coming into my room for congratulatory hugs. We’ve basically been celebrating every day since, hyper-aware of God’s goodness every day I get to wake up cancer free.CANCER FREE, y'all.

It’s a report SO FEW people with my diagnosis receive, and to say I continue to be overwhelmed with gratitude is a gross understatement. The Lord has answered my cries, our cries, in a HUGE way. After just seven months of treatment, the tumors have all disappeared. Miraculous, really.

June 3 was such a significant day for us, and one I will never forget. But today is also a significant day.

Today is the 1 year anniversary of my diagnosis. Exactly one year ago Vic and I were sitting on my parents front porch swing, staring at our cell phones, waiting expectantly in heavy silence for the call with the results from my lung biopsy. Dr. Victor called Vic’s phone and the conversation was just a few sentences long. I could tell from Vic’s reaction that this was the news we had been terrified we might receive. After taking a minute to swallow the news and compose ourselves, we had to walk inside and tell my mom and dad. I tried to appear strong and hopeful for my parents and my family, but my heart was full of dread for what this news meant. We stood in the kitchen, not really knowing what to do next. I looked out the back kitchen window and saw Madeleine, barely four years old and Charlotte one year old by one day happily playing on the playground. I silently wondered if I would be alive for their next birthday. How much time did I have left to hold them, comfort them, teach them, love them? I felt trapped in a story that could not possibly be meant for me.

Four days later we were sitting in an oncologist office in Los Angeles listening to doctor tell me I had approximately 14 months to live. Gut wrenching.

The next 6 weeks were a blur and filled with an unplanned move to Mississippi; doctor appointments; second, third, and forth opinions; research, research, research; and a LOT of prayer. Even with the stress of trying to find treatment and the uncertainty of my condition, we began to see God’s hand in midst of the turmoil.

That is why today is significant for another reason besides our diagnosis anniversary. Today also marks the day one year ago when the avalanche of prayers began on our behalf, when love was poured out lavishly on us by friends and strangers and the comfort that comes from Christ visited us in a way I had never before experienced. I have never ever felt so loved and so humbled. Incredibly, peace came down and rested on my spirit in the midst of the most fearful time of my life. Grief was intertwined with comfort, and fear was overpowered by peace and great assurance that God was with us and in complete control. God really is good enough and powerful enough to gift us with comfort and peace in life’s most excruciating moments.

After spending several weeks stressed and exhausted about which treatment path to take, we were disappointed when we were told the clinical trial we felt was my best option was completely full. No open spots. The option we had left was not very promising and the statistics looked grim, but we knew time was of the essence, so we decided to start treatment the following week.

On the plane ride home, God comforted me with Psalm 139:13-16 “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

He reminded me that He knit my body together and He knew EXACTLY what medicine my body would respond to, so I needed to stop worrying. I immediately felt settled and confident about starting treatment. Two days later, on Monday morning, the onc called us to let us know that there was actually a “hidden” spot in the clinical trial (our first choice) that no one was aware of, and it was mine if I wanted it.

Isaiah 12:4 In that day you will say: "Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted.”

I started treatment at the end of Ocotober 2014 and had my first scan in December. The radiologist was shocked but thrilled to report my tumors shrunk in half after just one cycle of treatment. Every scan since has been better than the last, and the doctors have been amazed at my progress. Last I checked, I am still the only complete responder in this particular trial, but I am praying that more will follow!

God has grace has been so evidence to us as so many of you have stood beside us the past year in incredibly powerful ways - holding us up in prayer, giving to us financially, the notes, the texts, the food, the calls, the visits… caring for us in countless ways. It’s been the most humbling experience of my life. That you would take time to remember me in your the midst of all of life's busy and hard...There is no adequate way to say thank you. You are part of our miracle, and your support continues to spur me onward as I continue with my treatments. I thank God for you every day.

We flew home after that NED appointment and pulled up to my parent’s house to pick up Madeleine and Charlotte. They ran outside to greet us, yelling “MOM!!!” and as Madeleine clung tightly to my leg, I lifted Charlotte up for a kiss. She cradled my head in her chubby hands, looked me in the eyes and said, “my momma.”

Y’all……I get to stay here a little longer and be their momma.

One year ago I was on my knees crying out to God with such urgency it left me exhausted. I begged Him for more time. I pleaded with Him to let me live here with my people for a little longer. And one year later, I am looking to the future with a renewed hope. I feel free to dream again. God has been so incredibly gracious and good to me.

So what does life after the CR/NED report look like? I will continue treatment for the full 24 months, so I am still traveling to Boston every other Sunday for a Monday infusion (but my September treatments will be on Wednesdays). I am on schedule to finish up in November of 2016, so we have a ways to go. I would love to speed things up because I am just so ready to feel good again, but this is a marathon, not a sprint. And I want these drugs as long as I can have them. Plus, I love telling people on the elevator that I'm just here for the illegal drugs. So there's that.

My veins are hanging in there! The primary side effect I am battling is fatigue. My white blood count has been too low the past month, which just means I’m more prone to getting sick and intensifies my fatigue. I am learning my limits and trying to rest when possible, and I’m taking full advantage of the days when I feel well. Even with the fatigue, I’m so thankful I can still function and enjoy life. My neuropathy is still occurring in my feet, but not nearly as frequently. Nausea comes and goes, but is manageable with medicine. Overall, I’m tolerating the drugs really well.

Because the medicine is so new, no one has any real idea about the durability of my remission. I am in a Phase I trial, so there is no long term data available yet. My goal is to just being thankful for the here and now instead of focusing on the “what-if’s” or the “how longs.” It’s a work in progress, and easier said than done. But I am so grateful to still be here, and to have the opportunity to hope and believe for many more good years. God's grace and mercy has sustained me every second of the past year, and I know He will continue to walk with me every step of this journey.

I have adopted Eugene Patterson’s definition of hope: “Hoping does not mean doing nothing… It is the opposite of desperate and panicky manipulations, of scurrying and worrying. And hoping is not dreaming. It is not spinning an illusion or fantasy to protect us from our boredom or our pain.It means a confident, alert expectation that God will do what He said He will do. It is imagination put in the harness of faith. It is a willingness to let God do it His way and in His time.”

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your amazing support, friendship and prayers.You just have to know I could not have made it without you.

"Friendship is one of the sweetest joys of life. Many might have failed beneath the bitterness of their trial had they not found a friend." - Charles Spurgeon

Love to you,

Wednesday, June 3, 2015


It's official. The doctor has declared Meredith a COMPLETE RESPONDER. NO EVIDENCE OF DISEASE. The cancer that was is no more. It no longer lives in her body, and she has been set free.

Dr. S. recommends continuing treatment a few more months. That melanoma is tricky, y'all. It hides, and we want to make sure it all gets zapped.

Thank you ALL so much for your prayers and support. I know Meredith will want to post something later, but for now, we just wanted to put the word out.

To God be the glory, great things He has done!

Paperwork showing CR: complete responder!!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Scan Results

Radiologist in Tupelo cannot find anything on Meredith's chest scan.

I'm just gonna let that sink in on y'all for a second.

The radiologist in Tupelo cannot find anything on Meredith's chest scan.

We probably won't get official report from Boston until next Wednesday when Mere sees Dr. S, but we are all holding our breath for the NED report: no evidence of disease!! Y'all know how that radiologist can be picky, so we will see what he says. But y'all...


Please stand by for cheering and sobbing and celebrating. Will post official report the second we get it!!


Thursday, May 28, 2015

Scan tomorrow

Several of you have asked- the next scan is happening tomorrow!! We will have preliminary results tomorrow afternoon, and I'll post here as soon as we get those. Official report will come next week. Thanks for praying!!

Monday, April 6, 2015

New Scan Results

Meredith's latest scans showed that her brain is still clear, and the tumor in her lung is still shrinking! *Cartwheels and fist bumps* We are so thankful for this good news and as always appreciate your prayers and support. Please pray for her this afternoon as she is awaiting treatment. They blew out a couple of her veins when prepping her for scans last week (OUCH!), so she isn't sure where they will run the IV for treatment today.

She saw Dr. S today, and he's pleased with her progression and the way she's handling the medication. Her treatment will continue as scheduled every other week, and she will get another scan in June!

Friday, March 27, 2015

March Update

Hi, friends.

I haven’t updated in a while because it’s been busier than usual for us this month. This is totally and completely my fault by the way. I had the brilliant idea to take two children under 4, load them up in an RV, travel over 4,000 miles, and brave two snowstorms so that I could check off a bucket list item and see the Grand Canyon.

Y’all. I know. The cancer drugs are CLEARLY affecting my brain and ability to reason.

In hindsight I can see that this was not an ideal situation for someone who is already energy depleted and enjoying the very unglamorous gastro-intestinal side-effects of cancer treatment. Bless my heart. (And if you are a fan of National Lampoon’s Christmas vacation, I know what Cousin Eddie one-liner you are thinking of right now…)

So the good news is that treatment is still going according to plan, and we will have scans on Monday to check my progress. I did have the very uncomfortable privilege of an ESM test a few weeks ago. Basically they hook you up with lots of electrodes and shock the ever loving fire out of you. It’s really awesome. Probably about as much fun as ripping your fingernails off slowly, one by one. I came within a gnat’s hair of ripping the electrodes off, throwing them at Rosemary (the tech) and bolting out the 4th story window clad only in my hospital gown and blue socks. It was that serious, y’all.  

Thankfully all those tests came back normal, and they confirmed that neuropathy is due to inflammation in my nerves. They had me stop running on the treadmill about 6 weeks ago, and since then, my neuropathy has been VERY infrequent. (Don’t you just love a doctor who tells you to stop exercising because it’s bad for your health?)

 I completed my 11th infusion this week, so only 35 more to go! (Maybe fewer if my scans come back clear next week!) My primary side effect is still fatigue, but I have been dealing with increased nausea and some stomach issues. Nothing debilitating, just minor inconvenience, and a SMALL PRICE to pay for my tumors shrinking.

There are so many suffering from this awful disease, one of whom passed away this week. It was devastating for me. I didn’t know Kara personally but felt like I did through her beautifully written blog ( and her book, The Hardest Peace (read this book!). I related to her story as a stage IV cancer fighter and young mother. She was faithful and beautiful even in her passing. I encourage you to visit her blog. You will be encouraged and amazed at a life well lived. Full of joy and peace, even facing death. Here is just a snapshot of her story:

It’s always unsettling and difficult for me when another stage IV cancer patient loses their battle. It honestly scares me to death. But reading Kara's story has really helped calm my fears. She faced death with so much peace and joy.  In her living, suffering and in her dying, Kara spurred others on to live well. To choose joy. That the presence of suffering is not the absence of God’s goodness. And to know that God’s grace WILL meet me in my suffering and WILL BE sufficient for my every need.

And then there are people like Windle, who remind me that life could always be harder. It could always be my child facing this diagnosis. Parents of children with cancer, you are my hero. Every time I walk into the infusion center I thank God that it’s me arriving for treatment and not my children. Will you join me in praying for Windle and his incredible family? He has fought valiantly against cancer for years, and they are having to face some very hard news right now. Check out his story here, narrated by another hero of mine, his mother Tara (

And last but not least, you people are still blowing my mind with your kindness and generosity. We still routinely get cards and checks in the mail. Many of you text me daily or weekly to see how I’m doing. Asking what I need. Bringing me meals. A few weeks ago I got a message from a girl I’ve never met saying she wanted to donate all of her SkyMiles to me. Two weeks ago I received a $500 check from a church in small town Texas that I’d never heard of. Last week I had an anonymous donor pay for all my pilates classes. (Okay so my doctor says it’s imperative that I still exercise…just not on the treadmill. Shoot!) There are too many blessings to name. Every week uncovers new relationships that bless my life. All of this is evidence that God is with me on this journey, and gives me renewed strength for the journey. How I WISH you could know how much you all mean to me and how you are helping me.

The grace, mercy and kindness of God on my life extended through all of you in this time is just astounding. I am so, so grateful, humbled and amazed at the way people continually give of their time and resources to help my family. I am SO thankful for all of you. You are a huge part of my story.

 Please be in prayer for my scans on Monday at 2:15. As much as I expect them to be really good, there is always anxiety that goes along with scans! The last scans showed only a trace left in my lungs, praise the Lord! IF I get the all clear, Dr. S says I’ll continue treatment for a few more months and then we will have a discussion about postponing treatment indefinitely!

With love,


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Update from Boston

More good news from Boston: her doctor has deemed her fit for treatment again! She saw her oncologist (Dr. Sullivan) and the neurologist this trip, and she remains encouraged. The radiologist in Boston read her scans as "no change" from December, which is crazy considering the results she got in Tupelo, but Dr. Sullivan was very pleased with her progress. He said the neurologist is a "very hard grader," but I think he just needs to have his eyes examined. Dr. S thought the scans looked great. I knew I liked that guy.

So back to the good news - Meredith got her final infusion from Cycle 2 yesterday. They plan to continue treatment unless the numbness gets significantly worse. Both Dr. S and the neurologist think the numbness is caused by inflammation of her nerves, and her bloodwork showed high CRP levels, which is an indication of inflammation. The doctors do not think this will cause any permanent damage / numbness. Meredith will keep monitoring it from home and report to Dr. S so they can keep a close watch on it.

Meredith reminded me that this is a marathon, not a sprint! The treatment plan is 24 months but could take longer if there are interruptions due to side effects. This might even be considered a blessing as her body is still responding to the medicine despite the interruption  last month, and the longer she receives the medicine, the longer it is likely to have lasting effects.  We are so thankful for the opportunity for Meredith to be in this treatment program and extremely blessed by the results we are seeing. She will continue bimonthly trips for now, and she will get another scan in 2 months!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Scan Results

Ok friends, are you guys ready for some great news? 

The radiologist who read Meredith's scans a few minutes ago said he can't see the two smaller tumors. The third and largest one is not much more than a wisp! Please keep in mind that her Dr in Boston reads her scans differently, but this is fantastic news! The radiologist said he wouldn't call it a tumor, that it was much more linear like a scar. We will get official report early next week when Meredith is in Boston.

Thank you as always for your faithful prayers and support! More good news expected next week!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

To Treat, or Not to Treat...

Dear January, If you were trying to kill me or at least drive me to the brink of insanity, congratulations. You nearly succeeded! A for effort!

My month in a nutshell:
I traveled to Boston 3 out of 4 weeks, Madeleine got really sick for a few days and then gave it to me (It’s still hanging on), my numbness moved to my mouth and down my foot a little (oh hey, panic) and  Blue Cross Blue Shield has caused me to nearly catapult myself off of a cliff.  They apparently switched our group ID number without notifying us, so I had people calling from the hospital and several pharmacies saying I no longer had insurance. I’ve lost track of the hours I’ve spent on the phone with them the past week.  

And ohhhhhhh yeah.  My doctor put the treatment that is killing my cancer on hold. 

But seriously....I'm allowed to be dramatic sometimes, right?

It was really hard to sit in front of Dr. Sullivan and hear him express concern over my numbness, which happened a few times in my mouth this month, and after seemingly getting better, has been slowly moving up my foot a little this week. It was hard to see the worry in his eyes and hear him answer “Yes” when I asked if the numbness might eventually cause me to be dropped from the trial. That was not a fun day. 

He deemed me unfit for treatment last week, and there are no promises I’ll be able to resume any time soon. As I’ve been processing that reality, I've become fearful, worrying about my scans, what might happen in my body while I’m not getting treatment, etc….

(and can we just pause to give props to Tom Petty?. He really hit the nail on the head. The waiting really is the hardest part.)

But the simple truth of the matter is that our circumstances have no bearing on Christ’s ability or desire to work on our behalf. He’s not worried about postponing treatment. It doesn’t make it any harder for him to heal me. And honestly, it’s been embarrassingly easy fore me to forget the path of God’s faithfulness I’ve been walking. He’s gone before me each step, opening impossible doors, and meeting my every need. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9) 

As I’ve struggled through this month, the phrase that has been resounding in my  head and heart has been “one day at a time.” The February 1 entry from Jesus Calling says it better than I can say it, so I’ll borrow from Sarah Young to close: 

Follow me one step at a time. That is all I require of you. In fact, that is the only way to move through this space/time world. You see huge mountains looming, and you start wondering how you’re going to scale those heights. Meanwhile, because you’re not looking where you’re going, you stumble on the easy path where I am leading you now. As I help you get back on your feet, you tell Me how worried you are about the cliffs up ahead. But you don’t know what will happen today, much less tomorrow. Our path may take an abrupt turn, leading you away from those mountains. There may be an easier way up the mountains than is visible from this distance. If I do lead you up the cliffs, I will equip you thoroughly for that strenuous climb. I will even give my angels charge over you, to preserve you in all your ways. 

Keep your mind on the present journey, enjoying My Presence. Walk by faith, not by sight, trusting ME to open up the way before you.

We can all walk in the new mercies that are ours for TODAY. This day. That’s all we have, and all we have to deal with. And His grace is sufficient for all of us for this day. 

I probably would have gone completely crazy this month were it not for your calls, meals, texts, letters, visits, and prayers. So many gifts of friendship and love that I have lost count, but that I hold so dear in my heart.Your acts of love have sustained me!  And another bright spot and huge prayer request answered this week –we have a contract on one of our Texas properties. We are hoping to close by the end of February! He is faithful.

Thank you again for loving and supporting our family. Please be in prayer for my scans on Thursday of this week at 2:00 CST. I’ll be off to Boston again this weekend to meet with my oncologist and neurologist and I’ll have Emily post on the blog any updates from that trip. THANK YOU for walking with us through this.

All my love,

Psalm 18: 29-36
With your help I can advance against a troop[e];
    with my God I can scale a wall.
30 As for God, his way is perfect:
    The Lord’s word is flawless;
    he shields all who take refuge in him.
31 For who is God besides the Lord?
    And who is the Rock except our God?
32 It is God who arms me with strength
    and keeps my way secure.
33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
    he causes me to stand on the heights.
34 He trains my hands for battle;
    my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35 You make your saving help my shield,
    and your right hand sustains me;
    your help has made me great.
36 You provide a broad path for my feet,
    so that my ankles do not give way.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Postponing Treatment

Meredith was scheduled to have her final infusion of Cycle Two today. However, after meeting with  her doctor, he thought it would be best to wait a couple of weeks due to the continued numbness in her toes. She met with a neurologist today who wasn't overly concerned, but because the medicine is still so new, they just don't know how it will affect her nervous system. She will carefully monitor the numbness for the next two weeks to be sure it doesn't spread or worsen. If it stays as is or lessens, the concern level will remain low.

She had more bloodwork today (shocker!) so please continue to pray for her veins as they are being pushed to the limit!! She will undergo some sensory neuro tests  in the next few weeks to rule out different things and see if they can pinpoint the cause of the numbness. The good news is that she will still have her scan next week, so we will find out soon how effective this round of treatment has been!!

Meredith and Vic were able to get on a standby flight out of Boston a few minutes ago, one of the last flights out of there as severe winter weather is setting in up north. They are exhausted but thankful they were able to get a flight this evening as their original flight was canceled due to the weather!!

I know she appreciates all of the calls and texts so much, so thank you for keeping her in your thoughts and prayers. It encourages her to hear from you! Please don't be concerned if you don't hear back from her right away, especially when she is in Boston as these trips are a whirlwind of racing to and from airports and doctor appointments and treatments. The travel alone is so physically exhausting without throwing in the emotional exhaustion on top of that. But she is getting your messages and appreciates them so much!

This is the latest news, and I will post here again when we get scan results next week, probably Tuesday or Wednesday. Praying for more great news!!!

Monday, January 12, 2015

New prayer request

Most of you already know that Meredith has been experiencing some numbness in her toes. She had an MRI last week that came back all clear, thankfully! She is in Boston this morning for her next infusion, but her doctors are still concerned about the continued numbness. They deemed her fit for treatment today, but they want her back in Boston next week to see a neurologist.

If the numbness spreads to her feet or up at all, this will be considered an emergency and treatment would stop. Also, they would have to give her another kind of medication that would counteract the immunotherapy drugs that have been combating the cancer.

Please pray that the numbness would subside and not spread! We also want to get a good report from the neurologist next week. After today, Meredith has one more treatment (on Jan 26) before her next scan (probably Feb 2). We are always praying for good results from that!

Monday, January 5, 2015

The Latest

Y’all! I have waited too long to update the blog (6 family Christmases later… I have a BIG family), so I’ll spare you a novel and just give you the quick rundown. We’ve had a few hiccups the past few weeks and a few new prayer requests, but overall things are still looking very positive! I am still so very excited and grateful that the treatment is working. It makes all the inconvenience of travel, the pain of the infusion and the side effects SO MUCH EASIER to endure. I’m just so very, very thankful.

Here’s the latest…

MRI This Week:
I’ll be getting an MRI of my spine this week to see if there is any possible nerve damage. I’ve had an issue with my toes going numb, and it’s become more frequent over the past week. Dr. Sullivan wants to rule out any issues with my spinal cord so we are starting there and will find out this week. This is a phase 1 trial, and has only been going on for 6 months, so side effects and long-term issues due to the treatment is still relatively unknown. When out-of-the-ordinary side effects surface, like numb toes, we just have to go through the process of elimination to determine the source.

What’s Going on with Treatment:
I’m two rounds into cycle two and only two more infusions to go before I complete cycle 2 and get my next scan. Yay! My infusions are still going well. I did have a mild allergic reaction during my December 15th infusion, but a few benadryls later and I was good as new. I do have a new prayer request related to my infusions though– my veins are not being cooperative, and my nurse is having trouble finding a vein where he can advance a catheter enough to give me the infusion. Trying to find a good vein is fairly unpleasant. It means multiple needle sticks and some working with the catheter in my arm, which causes some intense burning.

Because I get frequent bloodwork and an infusion every other week, my veins have developed scar tissue that blocks the catheter. I am not a candidate for a port, because melanoma patients are at high risk for blood clots, so we have no other options than to whip my veins into shape and beat them into submission! Would y’all please pray my veins will hold up?

Next Scans and Next Steps:
Dr. Sullivan was so excited about my December scans, as were the nurses and nurse practitioners. Good news travels fast, and I have had so many people come up to me in the hospital with a congratulatory hug or a high five. Let me digress for a moment to say how incredibly grateful we are for Mass General and their amazing staff. The level of care I have received is nothing short of spectacular, and it feels like my doctors and nurses are family now. Y'all I just LOVE THEM. They are an answer to prayer.

Anyway, I asked Dr. S what would happen if my tumors completely disappear after another cycle or two. The treatment schedule for this trial is for 24 months, so technically I have 46 treatments to go. BUT, he said that if I’m a complete responder, he is going to talk to the trial sponsor about letting me leave the trial early. YAY! There is no protocol for complete responders yet, but Lord willing, I plan to be the first of many. ;) How amazing would that be?!

How I’m Feeling:
Not great, but not bedridden, so that's a win! As treatment has progressed, my fatigue has increased, and I just feel crummy overall. Nausea sneaks up on me off and on every day, but it's totally manageable.

I’m learning my limits and coming to terms with the fact that I just cannot do everything I used to do. There is simply not enough energy in my reserve. But. I have no complaints. These are all VERY minor discomforts and it could be so much worse.

I remind myself daily that this is just a season. I won’t always be in treatment, and I believe there is a day coming when I will feel so much better, dare I say NORMAL again!

But for now, it’s time for battle. I am so grateful for you, my prayer warriors and friends, for fighting with me. Thank you for continuing to hold me up in prayer, encourage me with your words, cards, and messages, and for finding ways to love us.

I’ll close with a passage that really spoke to me over the course of a rough past week. I hope it will encourage you too!

Psalm 40
1 I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in him.
4 Blessed is the one
who trusts in the Lord,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods.
5 Many, Lord my God,
are the wonders you have done,
the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
they would be too many to declare.
6 Sacrifice and offering you did not desire—
but my ears you have opened[c]—
burnt offerings and sin offerings[d] you did not require.
7 Then I said, “Here I am, I have come—
it is written about me in the scroll.[e]
8 I desire to do your will, my God;
your law is within my heart.”
9 I proclaim your saving acts in the great assembly;
I do not seal my lips, Lord,
as you know.
10 I do not hide your righteousness in my heart;
I speak of your faithfulness and your saving help.
I do not conceal your love and your faithfulness
from the great assembly.
11 Do not withhold your mercy from me, Lord;
may your love and faithfulness always protect me.
12 For troubles without number surround me;
my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see.
They are more than the hairs of my head,
and my heart fails within me.
13 Be pleased to save me, Lord;
come quickly, Lord, to help me.
14 May all who want to take my life
be put to shame and confusion;
may all who desire my ruin
be turned back in disgrace.
15 May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!”
be appalled at their own shame.
16 But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who long for your saving help always say,
“The Lord is great!”
17 But as for me, I am poor and needy;
may the Lord think of me.
You are my help and my deliverer;
you are my God, do not delay.