Tag Archives: tumors

Team: We Walk with Mel!

Dear Family and Friends,

Galatians 6:2 says, “Bear one another’s burdens…” and yesterday was another example of how you reflect this verse in my life as I walk with NF2. DSCN2250

I was never expecting to raise a lot of money, but through your generosity, I was able to help contribute over $800 to the NF Walk cause: research. As a whole, the Cincinnati NF Walk raised a few hundred d0llars over their goal of $25,000!!!

Maybe I have not talked about it as much as I should (because to be honest, I had been putting myself in denial of reality), but it is no secret that I am running out of options for treatments. Even the steroid treatments I am currently on will not last forever…only God knows the timing of it all. So yesterday when my sister asked why I was walking, I told her I was walking to help raise money for research and then after a pause I said, “And just because I can.”

I can walk! And I think I should get into a praise habit and thank God every morning when I get out of bed, because it is only through God’s strength that I still can. Yesterday was not an easy walk. In fact, it was much more physically enduring than the Women’s Center Walk last month or even my fall off the treadmill a few days ago, but the truth of the day: I was there, because I can walk!

But even though I can still walk, I would have never made it through the 2-mile trek alone. I consider you all on my “team,” but I know everyone who wanted to be there could not all be there and thank you for your prayers from afar. I did have a team with me though: (L to R) my younger sister, my aunt and uncle from NC, and my oldest sister and brother-in-law. Together they helped make my day both a fun one and a successful one.

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As we got started, we were first welcomed by Storm Troopers and bounty hunter from Star Wars. Being a fan, I thought it was hilarious they were there acting like crowd control and took a picture with them.

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As you can see, there was quite a good turnout of walkers. Sadly though, we did not get to talk to hardly anyone else there, because by the time I changed my tee shirt and we did our picture with the signs, the walk was about to begin. We were able to talk to one family that had NF1, only for a few minutes. They were very nice. DSCN2249

Before the walk officially began, they wanted a big group picture–which should be uploaded on the CTF website within a few weeks. So, up this huge hill we went and as long as you could see the lady with the camera she could see you. Then the walk started (thank you David and Uncle Jim for helping me get off the hill!) 1058790_813723071694_1175541122_n DSCN2253 DSCN2254

We stopped often so I could take a drink and catch my breath. It was a lovely day but a toasty one!! By the time we got half way, I felt so tired (due to heat, not enough water intake and not a great breakfast to jumpstart my day)…that and my left foot was achy! Combination of bad balance and the path tilting slightly to the right, my left foot was feeling the weight!

The NF Walk took place at the Sharon Woods Lakeside Lodge which had at the half way point an area with bathrooms and picnic tables in a shaded area. This is probably why I came in last, because we stopped there and I was able to eat an apple, which greatly boosted my energy to finish no matter how bad my left foot felt. DSCN2258 DSCN2256

There did come a certain point when I started to get really wobbly even with my walking sticks, just from being fatigue. I also find that I could not get much conversation in as turning my head to the side while walking makes me wobble too. So, my aunt suggested I forgo the rod and staff and use their arms! It helped me forget about my feet and I got to get some chatting time in too (between catching my breath!) 1060338_813741854054_844995300_n

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And I finished, even if a bit unstable on my feet! 🙂

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Instead of joining the picnic, my aunt and uncle treated us to a delicious lunch at a local deli. 🙂 They left afterwards to head home and the rest of us made our way back northward, stopping in Lebanon for ice cream at a place called Double Dip. If you are ever in the area, it is worth your dessert appetite.

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I just wanted to say thank you again…from the bottom of my heart for the love, support and prayers that you have shown me over the past ten years and this week in raising funds on my behalf for NF research.

God has richly blessed me with the abundance of family and friends and I can truly say, “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.” (Philippians 1:3-5)

~ Mel

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Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Family Times

Thursday’s doctor visits.

And it happened. May is now officially over and June has just begun. Crazy to think!

So I thought I would just recap from where I left off…Wednesday evening:

I don’t know what kind of results tomorrow will show or what I will be doing in this next month or the rest of the year, but as I gather my list of inefficiencies, I remember that when I can’t…He can.

I wake Thursday morning around my typical time, 6:10 a.m. This typical morning time started about a month ago…steroids can cause change in sleeping patterns. Lucky me, I get morning shifts where I see the sun come up and drink fresh cups of coffee at breakfast.

Thursday was no exception except our coffee was on the go, because we had to get down to Cincinnati for my doctor appointments. The day turned out to be relatively fast appointments and we even made it home before 4:30 p.m. which is a record breaker!

I came prepared with my list of questions and observations of things over the past three months. The doctors said I am doing well for the condition that my body is living. And considering the results of my MRI, that prior sentence is an answer to many prayers daily on my behalf.

The MRI of the spine showed stable, which is not what I was expecting, because it usually has more liquid in the tumor at the base of the neck growing in the spine. I asked if there was more fluid in this tumor, but the measurements did not show so.

The MRI of the brain is what surprised me. It showed tumor growth in the meninges areas, including the 5th nerve, etc. I asked out of curiosity if my doctor had a count of how many tumors were growing. He did not know, but estimated about 80% of the tumors in this meninges area were growing; a few as much as 3-5mm and that is the most growth I have had yet. The tumor on the left acoustic nerve has also grown. When I mentioned that I had more ringing and my hearing test results from last week, it made more sense of why my hearing has decreased in that ear rapidly over the past two months.
Because I have had a lot of new side effects, I asked if the tumors from the brain are the ones effecting the rest of my body. It seemed strange to me that this could be probable. I guess I don’t know enough about the brain. Anyway, my doctor said that between the tumors in the brain, the one in my neck and all the ones in the spine down lower at the abdomen–it is extremely difficult to decipher which tumors are causing the problems.
My initial thought was that they would increase my steroids, but because I have been experiencing certain side effects, they are keeping me on the same dosage I had been taking already. The steroids are just to help keep the pressure from the tumors down, but don’t have any control on the tumors as I also have thought this whole time.
Right now, I do have a chemo treatment option. It is also the last option at the moment that I have as far as studied/approved treatments. It is an oral treatment, so I would take it by pill. We went over the possible side effects again. They seem tolerable if I would get any but most effects deal with the blood cell counts and high cholesterol. I could also get a rash, swelling in the face, sores in the mouth (things like this.)
Thursday morning, my reading in Oswald Chamber’s My Utmost for His Highest talked about complete trust in Jesus: “Jesus Christ demands that you risk everything you hold on to or believe through common sense, and leap by faith into what He says.” I didn’t make my decision on this chemo treatment on Thursday. In fact, I still have to pray more about it and make sure that this is what God wants me to do. But one thing is for certain–I feel God had prepared me for that day, the news, the treatment possibility. I had a peace that I normally don’t feel at doctor appointments.
I can’t say that over the weekend the peace remained as strong as what I felt on Thursday. There were times of doubt, fear of the unknown, hard questions to ask myself. But when the time comes for my decision, I want to know the fullness of His peace like I felt on Thursday. The peace that passes all understanding and say, “Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, ‘It is well! It is well with my soul!'” (Horacio G. Spafford, It is Well with My Soul. 1873.)

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Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Books and Movies, Hospital Trips