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Raise Your Glass

by Neil on May 26th, 2011

Wow, it’s been quite a while since we’ve posted an update here. A lot has happened since the last post that mentioned Mel being done with chemotherapy. As you can see by the photo, her hair has grown back and she’s bleached it out. That pic is about a month old, so it looks even longer now. I’ve noticed that she no longer can assume that people know she’s been through chemo since her hair has come back in.

To catch you all up… Melanie started radiation therapy in February, which lasted about 7 weeks. Radiation is like getting an x-ray, but it’s focused on specific areas and it is done every day for 30-35 days. The treatments were really quick, only a minute or two each time. The down-side is that it burns the skin surface and degrades the capillaries as well. The burns eventually go away, but the damaged capillaries can affect the re-constructive surgery process.

After the radiation therapy was completed, her oncologist scheduled her to have a PET scan done. This is an imaging scan of the whole body that specifically looks for cancer. She had a PET scan done just before her mastectomy last July which did show the cancer that was known in her left breast, as well as in the lymph nodes that were removed during the mastectomy. After an anxiety-filled week of waiting for the results, her oncologist confirmed that there is no visible cancer in her body. Woot!! There were two spots on her lung that he wants to have checked into (with a CT scan), but he did not think she needed to worry about them. She also talked to the radiation oncologist, who read the PET scan report; he said that given their location it is most likely that they are merely scar tissue that can occur from the radiation therapy in that area. She’s had the CT scan done and we should know the results early next week.

Next Step

Now that her chemo and radiation treatments are done, she can begin the reconstruction process which requires two separate surgeries. As you can probably understand, she is looking forward to getting this reconstruction underway. Next Wednesday, June 1, she is scheduled for the first surgery. Expanders are placed under her chest muscles and over the next few months they are gradually filled with fluid so that her skin can be expanded. Then after about 6 months, she has the second surgery so that the expanders can be removed and permanent implants are put in their place.

Cancerversary

Melanie had found a new term on another survivors blog and took a liking to it; she has adopted the word ‘cancerversary’ to apply to any date of significance in her fight. Today is one of those days; One year ago, she found a lump while doing her self-check. This was the quiet beginning of it all. An ultrasound, a biopsy, and two weeks later we found out that it was Invasive Ductal Carcinoma. Lesson for everyone reading: early detection saves lives! Ladies do your self checks and guys be sure to remind your ladies to do them.

Raise Your Glass

Sometime during the past year the song ‘Raise Your Glass’ by Pink came out. I immediately noticed that Melanie really loved this song. She would always turn the volume up when it came on and she sings along with it (she still does). It reminds me of her when I hear it; not just because she loves it, but for how it fits her personality. Don’t be so serious, let’s have fun.

So, think of Melanie whenever you hear the song. She’s kicked butt on some cancer this past year, she’s shown so many people how to be strong, she always reminds me to have fun, she’s been an awesome mom… she deserves a toast, at the very least. Be sure to add an “L” to the end of the last line to make it “Raise your glass… for MEL“.

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3 Comments
  1. Wilma Parriera permalink

    Hey you 2 (4)! I am soooooooo proud and impressed by both of you! You and Mel poured out your heart and soul to us to allow us to go on this journey with you………….and it has given me great courage when I needed it for various reasons also. It was so real, also sureal. I loved all of the fast quips! It gave us specific pleads to pray for too. Keep us informed! Congrats on re-construct 🙂 Love, Jack & Wilma

  2. Shannon permalink

    Mel- I love you more than words can say and your attitude through out this fight has been incredible. You are always positive and never complain, don’t ever change. Your journey really has shown everyone that when you fight, you can win! Love you!!!!!!!!

  3. Christina permalink

    CONGRATS! Thanks for sharing. One more notch in getting life back to normal. Are family is so happy for you.

    Christina Ramirez

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