Note: You will want to mute the music below prior to watching the videos.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pictures Speak Louder Than Words

First let me way that if you haven't read the post from earlier today, I would encourage you to do so. Just scroll down to get caught up on what is going on!

Yesterday, Ryan, myself, and Charley had our pictures taken. I guess you could say these pictures were more for me than for Ryan or Charley. Jessica Oatman, the same photographer who took our pictures in the early summer, was kind of enough to take some more photos yesterday in honor of Images of Hope, a non-profit organization that brings awareness to childhood cancers and illnesses through photography. When Jessica took our pictures back in the summer, I had just been diagnosed one week prior. Because Jessica has a son battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, she new what I was up against with surgery and chemotherapy in my future. At the time, Jessica offered to take my pictures as part of her Images of Hope. So yesterday, we did just that!

My journey with breast cancer is not one I would wish upon anybody. However, it is also a journey that I would never give up. The past 5 months have brought many tears and much laughter. I have grown as a person and more importantly in my relationship with Jesus Christ. I am continuously learning valuable lessons throughout this process that I desire to apply to my life.

Thank you Jessica for capturing the real me...bald and all. These pictures document a time in life where I changed as a mother, wife, and a woman of God. I will cherish them forever.

To see some of the pictures, please go to I will post the rest of the pictures when they are available. Enjoy and God Bless!

God is so Good!

Hello Everyone! I am so happy to report that since my little trip to the ER I have been feeling great! This week Ryan and I took Charley to the Spooktakular at the Zoo and we also managed to carve a pumpkin. What fun! I love this time of year and am so grateful that I have felt well enough to enjoy it! This week I received an email from a sweet girl that only lives about 2 1/2 hours from me. Her name is Erica and she too is a young 30 year old mom of three. She was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and will begin chemo this Friday. The ironic thing is, she will be getting her treatments at the Siteman Cancer Center as well. She is an amazing woman of God and has a great attitude which will get her through this entire process so much easier. She too has a blog of which she is constantly posting updates of her journey. I encourage you to check out her blog and say a prayer for Erica. The first treatment is the scariest and probably one of the hardest...not that they ever really get easy. The "unknown" seems to be the scariest part. Erica's blog address is

This week God also answered prayers in regards to my mom. Ever since having been diagnosed with the BRCA 1 gene, my mom has been taking the necessary steps to proceed with having her ovaries removed. Last week she had an ovarian ultrasound. Thankfully her ovaries looked great, but her bladder showed a .43cm solid mass. The OBGYN actually thought it might be a polyp, but without a full examination there was no way to tell for sure. Yesterday my mom went to the urologist. After an uncomfortable exam, the urologist told my mom that there was absolutely nothing wrong with her bladder and it was in great shape! What an answer to prayers! Ryan and I had been praying faithfully everyday that whatever had been there would be gone by yesterday! Praise God! Once again He showed us His power to answer prayers and heal us.

Yesterday I also went to the Plastic Surgeon. In the past two weeks I have gotten two more fills in my expanders. Yesterday, I finally had a discussion with my PS about my "final" size. I currently have 600 cc's of saline in each breast, or mound, whatever you prefer to call them. He said for someone my size, that the current size of my breast fit my body well. However, so that the breast will lay more naturally when he puts in the implant and so that he can create some cleavage, he has to stretch the skin 20 % beyond my final size. So, if I want my breast to be 540 - 600 cc's (full B to small C) he has to put in 800 cc's. Whoa! My surgery is a little less than two months away and I guess I will just have to be a little uncomfortable for awhile and deal with the idea that my breast are going to be pretty large until then. Being large wouldn't be a problem if they looked normal, but these are anything from normal. However, the PS reassured me that our only goal right now is to stretch the skin and not to worry about what they look like now. I am confident he knows what he is doing!

I hope you all have a blessed rest of the week! Enjoy the great weather and have a Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Day At The Emergency Room

Yesterday was not a good day for me. As you know I had my 6Th chemo treatment this past Wednesday. On Thursday, Ryan gave me my Neulasta shot which helps boost my white blood cells. Neulasta is very powerful. I have had the Neulasta shot six times now and each time I have experienced achy muscles and bone pain. The Neulasta is extremely hard on my body after Taxol because Taxol also causes bone pain.

Thursday evening I started getting some body aches. When I woke up Friday morning I was so sore and in such pain, I could barely move. I had what felt like a migraine and was running a fever. When Ryan and I realized that I wasn't getting any better, we called Dr. Ellis. He suggested that I go to the Emergency Room because of the fever. Unfortunately, I have spent a lot of time in the Emergency Room over the past year and know firsthand how unpleasant it can be. However, if you are a chemo patient, that changes everything. When we arrived, Ryan immediately told them that we could not sit in the waiting room and had to be seen right away. He also mentioned that I was undergoing chemo. However, it wouldn't have taken a genius to figure that one out seeing that I had on my little hat and a face mask. Some might have thought I was dressed up for Halloween just a little to early!

We were immediately taken to a room where they began to do blood work. I also had a chest X-ray to rule-out pneumonia. Luckily, the X-ray and all the blood work came back normal......except for my white blood cells. They were at an extremely elevated level because of the Neulasta. Therefore, my body thought it was trying to fight off an infection somewhere and that is why I developed the fever. After a couple of Tylenol and some anti-nausea meds they sent me home. I was a little disappointed that I had to go all the way to the ER just for some Tylenol. On the other hand, they did do an X-ray and knowing that it was clear and everything looked good made the trip well worth it.

Today I am spending lots of time resting. Charley is spending the weekend at her grandparents which is hard on Ryan and I because we miss her so much. However, we know that she is being well taken care of. I would ask that you pray for me and that the last two treatments would be easier on my body. Also, please pray for the health of our entire family and Charley's grandparents. I have been so fortunate to have not gotten a "bug" throughout this entire process. We need everyone to stay healthy so that we can continue to move forward and eventually put it all behind us! Thank you and God Bless!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008 WIFE that is!!

Isn't she wonderful?! Geez....6 Chemo treatments down and only 2 to go!!
This trip up to "the LOU" was another blessed one. Melody, myself, and my parents went up for another blood test (everything was perfect), another meeting with Dr. Ellis (what a great guy, I am so thankful he is Melody's Oncologist), and another chemo treatment (can you say PRIVATE SUITE!?).

Melody did great during the treatment as she again rested most of the 4 hours while I spent that time surfing the net and watching some very, and I mean VERY, interesting election coverage in her PRIVATE SUITE at Barnes Hosp. OK, so the election coverage was the same ole junk, but entertaining nonetheless.

Yesterday, when Melody, and my parents and I arrived in St. Louis, we found out that the Historic Soulard Market was closed so we dashed over for a stroll in the "Archway Park". We soon stirred up our appetites and found ourselves puttin' back some chicken wings and spinach artichoke dip at a local favorite, Caleco's. Then we were off to the hotel to check in and we ate dinner that night at P.F. Changs. Yum in my Tum!

I used a GPS for the first time on this trip. VERY cool I might add, but somewhat stressful......however, I cannot wait to get one......Charley and I might even try to get lost and find our way back home....that would be fun!

Anyway, only TWO treatments left.....that is GRAND! My little memory can't hold the capacity of information that my wonderful wife's memory can, so I will let her fill you in on any specific details about the meeting with Dr. Ellis that I left out. I just know God is so good....and continues to show His awesome grace and always confirms He will never fail us....He's always there for us.

With love,

Monday, October 20, 2008

5 Down.....3 To Go!

Tomorrow I leave for my 6th chemo treatment. Wednesday will mark 4 weeks until my last treatment! Holy Cow! This has been quite the journey and I am amazed by how quickly the days are going by. This is one time in my life when I don't mind if life moves quickly! With my final surgery planned for December 15Th, I am only 8 weeks away from "The End" of my journey with breast cancer. I suppose it never really ends since I will be seeing my oncologist for years to come. However, when I look back and realize that all this started 19 weeks ago, it is hard to believe. Thank you Lord for giving me 19 weeks to fight the fight and beat cancer!

This past weekend I attended a women's conference at my church. I was so touched by every speaker. Time and time again I received confirmation that God is going to use me to do something great. However, in order for that to be possible, I must allow God to take me through a process and ready my heart, mind, and spirit. In order for God to use me, I must be willing to be "uncomfortable." I don't know how or when God will use me in the future but what I do know is that everyday I have to be preparing all that he has for me by being obedient and obeying His word. This is not always something that comes easy and I often fail. However, spending time with the Lord and immersing myself daily in his Word will strengthen me spiritually and open up doors to opportunities that I cannot possibly fathom. I can't wait to see all that God has planned for my life!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Can You Say Bone Pain?

Today is Wednesday and I am finally coming out of my post treatment side effects. Taxol really kicked my bootie this past week. The doctors and nurses had warned me about the bone pain associated with Taxol, but I had no idea it would be so bad. Supposedly it doesn't affect all women the same and some never experience any bone pain. Unfortunately, I think I had enough pain to make up for the few who never have any. You are welcome. The doctors tried to explain it to me in a way that makes it sound similar to the the achiness you feel when you have the flu. Bologna. I would describe it as feeling as if your bones are about to break. There were a few days where my ankles hurt so bad that I could barely walk. Every thing I did created throbbing pains from my feet all the the way to my head. I would literally have to stop moving at times until the pain passed. My back actually hurt bad enough that I became nervous there might be something else going on and I called Dr. Ellis' nurse. She reassured me that the pain was undoubtedly from the Taxol. I was happy to hear that. I will say that today is the first day I haven't woken up in a great amount of pain. I am actually feeling quite normal. Praise God.

OK, time to get honest. With all that has been going on, I feel that I have not been spending an adequate amount of time with the Lord. Sometimes I wonder if He feels like I have abandoned Him. He has blessed me in so many ways and I am so amazed by His grace. However, why is it that we often get "to busy" and that God gets pushed to the end of our long list of things "to do"? Chemotherapy is an emotional roller coaster. There are days were I really feel sorry for myself and if I were in a swimming pool, I would drown in my self pity. There are days when I cry at the drop of a hat, I am angry, and just down right mean to the ones who love me the most. There are days when I wonder if November 19Th will truly be my last chemo treatment for rest of my life. Will I actually live long enough to see Charley go off to college and get married? In my heart I know the answer is yes. However, the enemy likes to try and convince me otherwise.

Since the beginning of this journey I have known that God has big plans for my life. I am convinced that He does not want this to just be a "season" in my life that comes and goes. I know He wants me to use this experience to do great things and bring glory to Him. I am just waiting for that door to open. I love the Lord with all my heart. My prayer is that God would forgive me for my laziness and in not acknowledging His blessings everyday of my life. The past 5 months have been one heck of a journey. There have been so many ups and downs.

This weekend I will be attending the Designed for Life conference at James River Assembly. God has been so gracious throughout my treatments. I know he purposefully planned that I would not have a treatment this week so that my body would be strong enough to attend. Thank you Lord. I am looking forward to all that He is going to do! Thank you God for healing me. Open my mind and heart to you in the coming days so that I may see my purpose more clearly.

I pray you all have a blessed day! God Bless!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Meals to Bless the Wassons

Hey..It's Mel's friend Hilary. First of all thank you to all who have provided a meal, two meals, or gift cards for meals. I can tell you first hand that Melody & Ryan greatly appreciate each one of you who have helped out. Personally, I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of love the Wasson's have received. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

I wanted to give an update on the Meals on Wheels for the Wassons. My goal is to get meals throughout Mel's remaining 3 chemo treatments AND for the recovery process of her reconstruction surgery on Dec. 15Th. So, if you have not had a chance to bring a meal you have until before Christmas to sign up. If you have already brought a meal or two...thank you. If you want to sign up again, you are more than welcome to do so.

I am currently booking meals for a couple dates in October and for the entire month of November. The two dates in October that I have open are Monday, October 20Th and Friday, October 24Th. As for November, the dates available are the 3rd, 7Th, 10Th, 14Th, 17Th, 21st. Those are all Mondays & Fridays. If a weekend works better for your schedule, just e-mail me and I will check with Mel to see if that works for them.

A lot of people have asked as to what Mel is be honest she really does not have any taste buds at this time due to the chemotherapy. So if you are not a good cook this is your time to make something. Mel will never know that you can't cook. HA! I appreciate your willingness to help out and so do the Wasson's. Thank so much. You can e-mail me at

Thanks again and God Bless, Hilary

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Treatment Number 5: Just The Girls

Doreen, Melody, & Hilary

Yesterday was treatment 5 for me!!! I can hardly believe it! Only 3 more and I'll be on with my life! This was one treatment I was looking forward to in so many ways. First, it was my fifth treatment meaning that I am now over half-way done with my chemo. Second, I was fortunate enough to have two girlfriends, Hilary and Doreen, accompany me on this trip. I have written about both of these girls numerous times. Hilary and I have been best friends for 17 years and she has gone above and beyond for me through this entire journey. I am amazed by her generosity and kindness every day. Doreen is a breast cancer survivor herself and that is what brought us together. What a blessing she has been to me over the past 5 months. Our friendship is one that will last a lifetime and I am so thankful for her. Had it not been for breast cancer, we might have never met.

We left Springfield on Tuesday morning and headed up to St. Louis where we enjoyed a day of shopping at The Galleria and lunch at The Cheesecake Factory. It seemed like every second we were chattering away. It was amazing how fast the three of us bonded and it was like we had all been friends forever. That evening we freshened up and rode the Metro down to Laclede's Landing. We ate dinner at a wonderful restaurant called Asia. I have actually eaten there every time I have been to St. Louis. That would be a total of 6 times so far. If your wondering if I am sick of it, the answer is no. Asia has the best food and I have been able to try something different every time. After dinner we headed back to the hotel where we spent another couple of hours exchanging stories, laughing, and just being girls. What fun!!

The next morning we enjoyed breakfast at The Majestic Cafe. By 9:00 we were at Siteman to begin my day of appointments. I was very fortunate this visit because I actually got to see Dr. Ellis and I was so glad that Hilary and Doreen had the opportunity to meet the man I had been telling them about. I was greeted with a warm hug from Dr. Ellis. We discussed several different things including the possibility of children after chemotherapy. Dr. Ellis said there is 50% chance or greater that my menstrual cycle will return after chemo. If it does return, then having another child will be an option for me. When I asked him the length of time I should wait before trying to get pregnant, he stated that there is no set time. As long as I am menstruating regularly, then I can get pregnant at any time. I thought this was very encouraging. The one thing he did stress was that I needed to have my ovaries removed by the age of 35 because of the increased risk of ovarian cancer. I also asked Dr. Ellis what happens after treatment. He said that as of now I am considered cancer free and I have absolutely no reason to believe that I am not cured and will not stay that way. He went on to explain that ordering unnecessary scans do more harm than good. Dr. Ellis said that for many women it creates a level of anxiety leading up to the scan that is not healthy. In addition, one cat scan is equal to 40 chest X-rays. After I am done with my treatment, I will see Dr. Ellis every three months for one year, then every six months, and then once a year for who knows how long. I hope to be followed for a very long time.

After my appointment with Dr. Ellis it was on to chemo. This is where things get a little foggy for me. Since I could have only one person in the treatment area at a time, Doreen was the first to accompany me. The treatment began just like any other treatment.....until it came time to give me the Benadryl. Now, I have never been one to take Benadryl and stay awake for long. Well, this Benadryl was given through a syringe directly into my vein. Let me just say I have NEVER done a drug in my life but I have to believe that the feeling I experienced from the Benadryl was similar to getting really high. Within 30 seconds of receiving the Benadryl, my head was swimming, my speech was slurred, and I literally almost fell over getting up to go to the bathroom. I would like to apologize to Doreen now for anything I may have said that she really didn't want to know hear. What happens in chemo stays in chemo! I can remember moving from the recliner I was in to a bed and then that's pretty much it. Hilary was able to come back for a short amount of time but I was to out of it to hold a conversation. The chemo treatment that my two friends were to "keep me company" at, was a doozy. I slept the entire three hours! Thank goodness they both came because they had each other to talk to for that entire time!

This is me on my Benadryl "High". Did I actually ask you to take this picture Doreen?

I finally woke up when my IV machine started beeping to alert the nurse that the medicine was finished. When I looked around, the other 8 people who had been in the same pod with me when I stared were all gone. I was the only person left. I was able to dial Hilary's number and before long Doreen and Hilary were back there to help me gather up my things and get on the road for our three hour drive. I love those girls! We got home at around 10:00 and the Benadryl was FINALLY wearing off.

It's unfortunate that our girls trip to St. Louis had to involve a chemo treatment, but it will be a treatment that I will never forget! Thank you so much Hilary and Doreen for being such great friends and taking such good care of me!

Eating Lunch at The Cheesecake Factory

Ready for our Girls Night Out

Me and Hilary at Asia

Me and Doreen.....2 breast cancer SURVIVORS!!

Hilary and Doreen

Breakfast at The Majestic Cafe

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Ready or Not Taxol......Here I Come!

Today I leave for my fifth chemo treatment? Did I actually just type that? There are days that I still can't believe I am being treated for breast cancer. What's even more difficult to believe is that this will be my fifth treatment!! That means only 3 more after this one. You know, chemo is a funny thing. When I was diagnosed, I think the word "chemo" might have actually scared me more than the word "cancer". The crazy thing is, a lot of women with my diagnosis would have opted to not have chemotherapy and perhaps it would not have even been offered. However, because of my age, I was offered this choice. As much as I dreaded taking chemo, I never thought twice about it. There were times when I would hear about another women with a similar diagnosis who was not taking chemo and I would wonder how I was chosen as the "lucky" one. I have to sometimes remind myself that taking chemotherapy means I have done everything possible to beat this cancer. There are people everyday who wish they could take chemotherapy, but that is no longer an option for them. I am blessed to have had this choice and to know that it IS going to save my life. My first treatment was 8 weeks ago tomorrow. My last treatment is in just 6 short weeks! Wow! I am going to make it through and God is going to be right there when I ring that victory bell at my last treatment!

I am blessed to have two great girlfriends taking me up for my treatment this week, my best friend Hilary, and a great friend from church, Doreen. As many of you know, Doreen is a breast cancer survivor herself. She is such an inspiration to me! It's unfortunate that our trip has to involve a chemo treatment, but at least it will allow me to feel halfway normal for part of the trip! Ryan returned home from Las Vegas yesterday so he is going to get some much needed one-on-one time with Charley!

On one final note.....BRACE YOURSELF.....I have been wearing my wig the past week! I know, call me crazy! I was so SICK of wearing hats. Plus, I was constantly running into people because I could not see out the sides due to my glasses. It also affected my ability to drive safely, but that's another story. So, last week before I headed out I decided to put my wig on just for kicks. It didn't look half bad and if felt GREAT to have hair on my head! So, I ventured out into the world, just me and my wig. Now, I am pretty aware of people's reactions to others so I was constantly watching to see if someone was looking at me any length of time that would be considered unreasonable. I have to say, I don't think anyone, besides those that know me, knew I was wearing a wig. Yesterday someone even told me I had "the cutest hair." Thank goodness she didn't ask me where I get it cut! Wearing my wig gave me a new outlook. I feel more like a real person when I wear it. I feel healthy. I feel that I don't have "She has cancer" screaming at everyone. What I wish everyone knew is that I HAD cancer. Unfortunately when you are being treated with chemotherapy everyone just assumes you have cancer. Oh Well. I was guilty of making those same assumptions. Thankfully, now I look at all people going through chemotherapy differently and you should do the same.

I will be posting pictures from our girls trip in St. Louis so keep checking back. Oh, and by the way, just in case you get confused, I'm the Hot Blond! God Bless!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Day By Day

Hello Everyone!!! I hope you are all doing well and that your lives are richly blessed! I am doing fairly well and have been busy the past couple of days. Ryan left for Vegas on Monday and won't be back until next Monday. Don't worry, he is there for a bike show, not because he needed to escape the insanity around our house! I have to admitt it was VERY HARD to say goodbye for an entire week. I was so depressed at the beginning of the week. The steroids I have to take after each treatment do not help. I just kept thinking how desperatly I need some time away and how much I wish I could have been going with him. I can't remember the last time Ryan and I had some time away alone, with the exception of going to St. Louis for a chemo treatment and I'm NOT counting that! I feel this past summer and our circumstances robbed us of so much. Every ounce of our energy has been invested in Charley, Cancer, and Chemo......The 3 Big C's! I have said goodbye to cancer (thank you God) and am looking forward to saying goodbye to chemo in just 7 weeks. I will then be able to invest ALL my energy into the most important "C"! What a gift that will be!

This time next week I will have one more treatment under my belt and only 3 left! From what I have read the next set of chemo treatments are not as hard on the body. Someone actually said that it is a "walk in the park" compared to Adriamycin and Cytoxan. I pray that is the case! I am also praying that God would bless me with some hair soon! Ryan swears it is starting to grow but I'm not sure I am convinced. Who knows, maybe by Thanksgiving I'll have at least what looks like a buzz cut.

I hope you all enjoy the beautiful weather this week and don't forget to thank God for all the blessings in your life!