Anonymous asked: Update please!
Alive and well, my friend.
Thanks for asking! :)
I posted this status around 3pm today.
“Hello there! I forgot to update on my past few scans’ results. Been blessed to have a CT scan and a PET scan that indicated no return of cancer. (Praise The Lord!) We have been nervous because a new lump in my neck, on the same side as the cancer in my jaw was, has been present lately. But by God’s grace we have only had good news lately. There’s still no indication what is and I’ll be following up with that soon. My surgeon seems to think it’s a lymph node, but she didn’t confirm that. I was confused because I had 40 lymph nodes removed at surgery but I still had some left in there I guess ha She kept reassuring me I shouldn’t be worried, and I took that as if God was speaking that to me through her. But if you could send prayers, I’m sitting in the waiting room, about to have a biopsy done to rule everything out for sure. Pray for this procedure and the results to come. God is good and our hope is in Him! #beatcancer #amdg”
Lately, I’ve felt a lump in my neck, the same side where I had surgery and my tumor was. Naturally, I have been worried sick to my stomach to the thought of having cancer again. So I ran some tests, the CT and PET showed no signs of cancer anywhere. The lump had some metal look to it on the scans. (I have many metal clips in my neck from surgery) So, doctors told me not to worry, so I didn’t! I remembered that dark and scary place of fear I was in last year, and told myself to snap out of it, give it to God like before, and let His will be done.. whatever that was.
So, today I went to my biopsy completed light hearted. I joked around with doctors, tech’s and nurses because I felt comfortable with this procedure and the waiting that was going to happen. The procedure is, to remove samples of that lump and examine it to see if there are cancer cells present. But after all I’ve been through, today just felt like a regular day.
So the doctor who was going to do the procedure, along with the ultra sound tech’s, were all a bit perplexed on what this was. They were running an ultrasound on it, and It had a circle shape with a bunch of gray dots around it, with blood inside it, like a vessel. Um what? Even I couldn’t figure out what that could be.
So my surgeon came and looked at it too.. and then said, “Oh my goodness. I’m so stupid.” She started banging her head on the wall. (Not kidding) She had a smile though, so I knew this was going to be good. She then said, “I’m so stupid! Dr. Anderson, the other surgeon, placed this metal device to connect your veins together from your fibula to your neck. It just dawned on me now. ” Then she explained. Hahaha. Oh man, I have never felt that relieved and have laughed that hard in a while. So, naturally we all high-fived because we figured it out.. and that I have nothing to worry about.
The swelling in my neck has gone down, which is why I have been able to feel it just recently. But, now I know it’s just another clip in my neck! An important clip that connects that vein together, ha.
Praise God for moments of joy! .. and humor! If you surrender your fears to Him, He will do great things.
Again, God is good.
Also, my surgeon says I should celebrate and urges me to get a bottle of wine and do so. I’m taking wine donations, thanks ;)
And THANK YOU FOR PRAYING!
- Melissa Edera
This past Sunday, I was moved by Fr. Tom’s reflection of the Gospel. The Gospel, Luke 12:32-48, talks about those who know the Father’s will, but do not act according to it. In other words, those who know the right thing to do, yet do the opposite, in reference to God and what pleases Him.
So Fr. Tom turned that into a, living everyday like it was your first and your last, kind of homily. Which is what I took from the Gospel myself. He said something which I chuckled at because he described a young girls battle with cancer, and how she gets so frustrated when family or friends complain about “stupid” things or do stupid and careless things.
Story of my life.
I remember coming back from the hospital, I couldn’t bare to look at Twitter or Facebook because people were complaining about idiotic things, while I had just gone through a lifetime of an emotional journey within the course of a month. I remember watching Keeping up with the Kardashians and feeling like I wanted to backhand all of them for complaining about the dumbest things when I had just came home from a hospital where people are fighting for their lives.
Sidenote: I’m not better than anyone. Cancer does not make my struggle superior than anyone else’s. But complaining about traffic like it’s your biggest hurdle in life…… you get it.
Then, Fr. Tom talked about how he hopes “everyone has that life or death experience. Where they feel like they are shaking hands with their Maker.”
That was beautiful.
I remember that day I was diagnosed like it was an hour ago. I remember praying for days, going to countless masses throughout the week, praying dozens of Rosary’s, before I walked into my doctor’s office and heard my news. I sat there for an hour by myself, twiddling my thumbs, until my doctor (who is not a pleasant man & is no longer my doctor) came in and let out a big sigh, told me my news in a tone that made me feel like I had a week left to live. (Haha) So after days of crying about what I had, I remember, of course, thinking that the worst was to come.. and soon.
When Fr. Tom said those words, I got that flashback. I remember that time period of getting diagnosed and having my cancer surgery a month later, was the time I was shaking hands with my Maker. Where life was precious, temptation stood no chance against me, and I lived that month thinking time was short for me.
Then I heard all my cancer was removed. Then I had radiation which prevents it even more from coming back. Then I had a clear CT scan a month later. Then things are now as normal as it could be.
What a blessing that is— being normal. It comes with a curse, however. Resuming back to normality is what I desired in January. Being normal is a cancer itself. Normal, according to society, is carelessness, is being ungrateful, is being selfish, is being self-centered, is being oblivious, is being sinful. And this blessing God gave me, has come with it’s own temptations of living a life opposite of His will for me.
What’s beautiful is.. God is a loving God. A God who gave me choices. And while temptation is inevitable, Jesus has died on a Cross so that I may choose His path at the crossroads of good and evil. God has broken these chains so that I may be able to have the perks of normality, while also choosing to live for Him and not for evil. Thank you for the Cross, Jesus!
My biggest prayer is to live with gratitude of being without cancer, to continuously feel the prize of life, to live for Him, to follow His will, and to always feel within arms reach of my maker while having the blessing of “normality.”
Pray for me as I will for you!
PS. Happy to say I’m returning back to ministry. Can’t wait to start serving again! I know God has a lot for me to offer back to Him.
#AMDG- Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam; For the Greater Glory of God.
Hi! I was trying to figure out what I talked about in my last blog.. and that was the day before my radiation. My how things have changed since then!
God is good. Things have been so uphill after all the downhill lately. Grateful for life, health, the people I’ve met, the bonds that have been tighter, and the evidence of God’s love that has been revealed in such special ways.
Continuing the hopes of more healing, more normal living, and uphill progress.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
Please continue to pray for all those battling diseases like cancer, especially those who haven’t found the rest in God that they need. Pray for my wonderful hospital, the staff, patients and family who are battling this hard disease.
Anonymous asked: How do you feel about people who smoke?
Oh, random question, ha.
Well, this is my personal opinion.. and anyone who chooses to smoke is their choice and I don’t interfere with that.
Everyone knows I hate smoking, I’ve been saying that since I was little. I begged my aunts/uncles to stop smoking because I loved them too much to choose that kind of damage. In high school I remember crying when my friends would smoke because it made me so sad, haha. I just hate it.
NOW, it bothers me even more because it’s a personal choice people are making to damage their health. They know they are risking heart disease, cancer, and dying younger. They make that choice. I never risked myself for cancer with smoking.. yet I still got cancer anyway. So you can see how that’s a little unfair, that people had a choice and I didn’t.
That’s my personal opinion :) I hope it inspires people to STOP SMOKING CAUSE IT’S DISGUSTING. Haha.
Thanks for asking!
notarealsn21 asked: Hey Melissa, You may or may not remember me, I'm Adrian. I used to say hi to you every so often when we were younger. i literally just found out about your cancer because i was just thinking about you out here in Afghanistan. I really hope your doing alright and getting better everyday. Please take care of yourself.. Sending my prayers out for you. - Adrian Rodriguez.
Thank you! :)
jessicatomilloso asked: hey meesa! i just read your life update and although we were never really more than mere acquaintances, i just wanted to let you know that i will be keeping you in my prayers. your strong faith and love for life is so inspiring and i hope that one day i can obtain half of the faith, grace patience and optimism you contain. god bless <3
THANK YOU so much. I’m just now reading these. I appreciate it.
I’m so happy to say that by tomorrow afternoon, I would have completed 30 radiation treatments. The treatments were preventative, in case any micro cancer cells were left behind. Which made the painful experience very hard to persevere through, because it was only “preventative.” I tried quitting several times, the last one last week being the most serious I ever was about quitting. I went to the doctor and told him that I was in too much pain and discomfort to keep going and I was completely set on stopping my treatments at the “23” mark. He did a very good job at convincing me to continue, and I sighed and said fine.
I went into my “24th” treatment right after that discussion.. and as I was laying on the platform to get ready for treatment, I started bawling my eyes out. My radiologist held me for what felt like an hour and kept telling me that “everything will be okay” and to “have faith.” I said I was ready and we did that treatment, although I cried throughout the whole thing.
Radiation was a painful experience. It may seem like a small deal if I told you that it was because of “mouth sores,” (which it was) but this pain was just unbearable.
My diet changed. I drink “Boost” which is just a nutritional drink, very similar to the liquid I had to consume through my feeding tube when I was unable to eat after surgery. But, that’s pretty much all I am able to eat (or drink?). I lost around 35 pounds since surgery, a lot of it due to radiation’s side effects. I lost all my sense of taste. I barely produce saliva, and if I do, it’s extremely thick. I can barely talk as well. I usually just hum and point at things to communicate.
I’m glad to say, though, tomorrow after treatment I can begin healing from all this pain and I can look forward to what’s next.
About that.. what is next?
That has been the scariest part. I know the immediate response is: well, check up appointments, scans every couple months, bloodwork, happy cancer free life. However, lately I’ve been hoping and praying that the plan is truly just that. I’ve been talking to friends who have dealt with cancer before.. and they say it’s completely normal to fear that your cancer will come back. I would be lying if I said my head wasn’t already consumed by that thought.
So again, I am REJOICING that this chapter of radiation is OVER. And I pray and pray that I will continue to live in hope in the Lord and hope in His healing, as He has healed me now. I pray my future and health will continue to be without this horrible disease. i miss church, I miss ministry, and I still have so much to do for my God, I know it.
May God continue to bless all those who feel discouraged with ANYTHING. May we ALL find hope in His love, His grace, His mercy, and His healing.
Join me in celebrating radiation being over :) I’m ecstatic. Please continue praying for me and my recovery from these treatments. Please also pray for the scans I will have within the next month. I am anxiously awaiting the word “remission.” “Thank you! God bless you all.
All glory to God,
Ps. Me quitting radiation didn’t make sense. I’m no quitter. Told y’all I’m a fighter.
"…Because After ALL the venting, a real perspective sets in. There are far greater issues/challenges in the world then a torn achilles. Stop feeling sorry for yourself, find the silver lining and get to work with the same belief, same drive and same conviction as ever." - Kobe Bryant
Super cheesy.. but the whole Kobe ordeal has totally made me realize how necessary “Mamba mentality” (as he calls it) is in life. The determination, the drive, the hope, the humility and the confidence is all vital in making it through anything. Thanks for that lesson Kobe! ;)
I guess I just haven’t updated in a while? So I’ll just bullet point what’s been up lately!
God has been great in giving me the exact tools and people I need throughout the day to feel good about myself and positive about my situation. I’m grateful for this current chapter I’m in and for everything going as smoothly as it is. I continue to pray that once this is over, that this struggle can be behind me and I can look forward again to the many plans I have for my life.
Mamba mentality, y’all. #beatcancer #amdg
If you don’t follow my Facebook.. I posted this status the other day: “Heard beautiful news today! My results from surgery and the things they removed only showed cancer was prominent in my tumor area. My nerves, lymph nodes and other tissues all came back negative! Praise God! Just looking at radiation then hopefully no chemo, then cancer free living :) thank you for your continued prayers!”
Such beautiful news. Just shows that we really caught this at a perfect time. I had a doctors appointment on Monday back with my surgeons. They checked on me, my stitches, my wounds and everything and said I was healing great. That’s when I also found out my surgery results that said cancer was successfully removed. Praise God for that news. I also got my feeding tube pulled out! No more dealing with that. Yes, it hurt when they yanked it out. It’s like I have another belly button on my tummy ha.
I’m doing well at home. It’s my 5th day at home. My right side of my face is completely swollen, but my visitors say it’s going down more and more everyday. My walking and strength in my legs is getting better. For taking some bones out of my legs, I’m walking miraculously well for just 2 weeks since surgery. For the most part I walk without my walker now and just with my boots. I’m walking UP the stairs now, with tons of help with the handles on the wall ha. But that’s huge because last week during physical therapy at the hospital, I was taking two steps with a walker then sitting down because I was tired. So things are moving along fast.
However, I’m being challenged mentally. It’s frustrating being home and not being able to be normal. I have someone with me at all times. I can’t walk normally. My face is so swollen I can’t move my neck. I’m numb in most of my neck and face, and there’s a chance feeling and control on those areas may never come back. I just know the devil is getting into my head after so much beauty I’ve experienced lately and it’s terrible. I broke down today just thinking about how long this journey will be recovering. Please pray for my patience, all I want is to get back to normality!
I told myself I wouldn’t end this post on a negative note. So I am just going to say I’m thankful for these past 5 days being home. My family hasn’t left my side. Neither has my boyfriend. I have visitors EVERYDAY. So many people are willing to help. This whole journey has just opened my eyes to the living breathing acts of Christ expressed through my closest family and friends. I know God is with me even in my weak moments, and I hope to never forget that.
Please just continue to pray for this recovery journey! I have appointments coming up too to discuss the next step with radiation and everything. Please pray for those as well. Again, thank you for everything. Let’s continue to give ourselves to God. The way you’ve all lifted me to Him has made this a better experience than it could have been. I’m so grateful for that.
I led this retreat with my good friend, Fred. I said something to the retreatants about realizing how God works within people at 5:05. I wanted to end with that today, just so I realize and continue to remember that God is working in my life, despite all my negativity today.