Helping Melissa Carroll

March 31,2014



March 17

We are so overwhelmed by the kind thoughts and generous donations and gifts for Melissa. Thank you so much! Melissa is at Mass Genl Hospital where the doctors have a good handle on her pain medication and her friends and family have been able to visit her comfortably. Amy is here from California and cousin Rebecca is up from St Thomas, staying in the room with her at night. Brother, Patrick, lives here in Boston. Melissa was born in Ireland, so on St Patrick's Day, thank you all for your support!


March 11, 2014
Melissa is going to be medically transported to Boston MGH possibly later today. The doctors advised that the risks of performing a kyphoplasty to her spine outweigh the benefits. MGH will guide us on how to keep her comfortable closer to home.
Medicare will cover the first 20 miles of the transport.



February 28, 2014
This is very difficult to write.   Melissa is in so much pain.  The disease has spread to her spine making it nearly impossible to walk.  I am taking a leave from my job to be with her in New York.

January 30, 2014
It's been a very tough week. After some good news that the tumors in Melissa's lungs were responding to the clinical trial drug, a scan revealed that the Ewing Sarcoma has spread to Melissa's skull bone. She was admitted to Massachusetts General Hospital at the beginning of the week and has begun daily radiation treatment that will last several weeks.
 


December 1, 2013 
Melissa is enrolled in a clinical trial at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. She has received the first dose of the trial chemotherapy and is back in Boston this week for the second. There were some side effects that had Melissa with a headache, nauseous and tired. The drug will be administered every other week, and during November and December she also has to come on the off week up to the hospital from New York for monitoring and blood draws. Scans are scheduled early January. The commuting is exhausting. Melissa has mostly travelled by train and we were able to find some plane tickets that were comparable in price to the train fare. Her appointments are scheduled for early in the morning so Melissa has stayed at the hotel next to the hospital. Unfortunately, she is not eligible for a grant for staying at the hotel. It is only available for patients on regular chemotherapy, not clinical trials. We are hoping that the side effects will be minimal and Melissa can enjoy the holidays. May thanks to our friends and family for your support.
 Love, Cecelia



November 10, 2013

I went down to NYC to see the doctors in NYC on October 29 with Melissa about clinical trials there. Coincidentally, the Sarcoma Conference was the same week in NYC. Melissa's doctors from NY and Massachusetts met and discussed what they thought would be the best plan for Melissa.
Whilst I was down in NY with Melissa, she experienced severe pain again in her abdomen area and I brought her to the emergency care at Sloan Kettering. Because of the effects of the chemotherapy over so much time, her appendix had become inflamed again. The decision was made to remove her appendix so on Halloween she had the surgery, not the way she had planned on celebrating her favorite holiday. But being in the pediatrics floor, the staff were all in costume and helped lighten the mood.






Melissa will begin a clinical trial in Mass General in the coming weeks. She will be commuting between NY and Boston on a regular basis. We've already gone into Mass General with Melissa, met her doctors, and she will begin the screening process this week with CT scans, heart and blood tests.
Cecelia


October 27, 2013
A biopsy of Melissa's lung, taken a week ago, showed the tumors to have started to grow since she had not had any chemotherapy since she was admitted into the hospital on her birthday. Friday we met with Melissa's doctor at Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Because the side effects of the chemotherapy had become too severe, she is unable to continue on that particular protocol. Her doctor has suggested she investigate a couple clinical trials that may help Melissa. One is in Boston and the other is in New York City. We had contacted the National Institute of Health to inquire of clinical trials there, but currently there was not much available at this time to help Melissa. We will be meeting with the doctors this week and next to decide which course to take. Whether on the phone, or at the hospitals, every person we have been in contact with in our search has been so helpful and caring. Ever hopeful!




September 18, 2013
Birthday in the Hospital
Melissa was admitted into the hospital late Sunday. The chemo is playing havoc with her system. In her own words: "Still in the hospital but am lucky to have friends turn a really grim birthday situation into a really memorable one!" Memorial Sloan Kettering will be talking about this celebration for some time! She was released to go home tonight (Wednesday) with a plan to adjust her treatment in a couple weeks, giving her body a rest in the meantime.







August 27, 2013
What an amazing evening for Melissa at her "Recurrence" Art show in Manhattan. Thank you to all that came by and those that sent their best wishes. As she said "It was like a dream!" The buzz of the show continues on, though in her words again..."Carriage has turned back into a pumpkin; back in chemo."
I'm so proud of her!


Thank you to Rica Kugalmas who put the show together.
Amazing guy!



Melissa and her wonderful friends and me.



Salmon Rushdie bought a piece,"Self-portrait in India" early on in the evening.



A special friend, art instructor, Jean Kramer, with Melissa.




Just a week before the show, Melissa was admitted into the hospital. Thank you to the doctors and nurses that got her out in time for the art show. It was great to see some of the hospital staff at the show.




August 18, 2013

Melissa was admitted to the hospital on Monday August 12 with what was an inflamed intestine including her appendix, side effects of the chemo. She was treated with antibiotics and released to go home on Thursday evening. With her upcoming art show, getting back on her feet quickly was a major focus. Thank you to the hospital staff for their care. Please mark the date on your calendars:

Andrea Rosen Gallery 2 August 22, 2013
6 to 9 pm
544 West 24th Street
New York City




August 1, 2013
Here is the press release for Melissa's Art Show. She continues to work on her paintings even at the hospital!

Andrea Rosen Gallery 2 August 22, 2013
6 to 9 pm
544 West 24th Street
New York City

Andrea Rosen Gallery 2 is proud to host Melissa Carroll's powerful and revealing watercolor series "Recurrence," a group of paintings created during the artist's ongoing cancer treatment. The exhibition features 15 revealing self-portraits capturing the artist in various physical and emotional states during different stages of her illness. Also on display are three intimate portraits of fellow cancer patients with whom the artist formed a close bond during chemotherapy.
The exhibited self-portraits mark a new chapter in the artist's oeuvre: "Before diagnosis, I mainly painted portraits of friends, but feelings of alienation encouraged me to produce works that would express the reality of my new life. It has been daunting but also very liberating." Despite the extremely personal nature of the work, Melissa hopes these paintings speak to others facing a similar battle: "I want these images to show other cancer patients, locked to an i.v. pump, that they are not alone in their struggle for survival".
Born in Ireland and raised in New Hampshire, Melissa Carroll moved to New York after obtaining her BFA at Massachusetts College of Art in 2005. From 2008 to 2011 she worked as a painting assistant to Francesco Clemente. In 2011, at the age of 28, she was diagnosed with Ewing's Sarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer. In January of this year, six weeks after completing a year of chemotherapy and followed by radiation and surgery, she suffered a relapse. Melissa is currently receiving treatment at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. She works from the hospital and from her home in Brooklyn.

The exhibition is presented by Ricardo Kugelmas and generously hosted by Andrea Rosen.
Andrea Rosen Gallery 2 is located at 544 West 24th Street, New York, NY

http://www.andrearosengallery.com/


Hope to see many of you there for the opening!


Melissa's recent scans were good so we are a bit relieved.
This is her third summer of cancer treatment. It's so overwhelming. Thank you for your donations.


June 27, 2013
Melissa's doctor has allowed her to take next week off from the chemo so that she is able to spend a few days up here with family. Amy and Travis arrive from California tomorrow night and we are going to spend a few days down Cape Cod. We are so happy to have her here. I'm quoting Melissa: "My job they tell us at Sloan is literally trying to survive by doing chemo everyday."
She and her friends at the hospital face pain everyday, even when they are not there for treatment...physical pain, mental pain, sorrow for the friends they have made at the hospital whose treatments aren't working. Too difficult to imagine.

Big news: Melissa's art will be shown at the Andrea Rosen Gallery in Manhattan on August 22. Should be exciting! There's a lot of preparation yet. I'll update as I get more information.



June 8, 2013

Melissa has focused on sending a message of the trials of cancer through her art. She is working in watercolors, journaling her daily ordeals. When I wake up in the morning I open my Facebook page from home in New Hampshire with mixed emotions on what she will reveal as her latest work of art. Most are heart-wrenching but a true window of what I know she has to deal with on a daily basis. There are plans for two art shows in New York City in August. When I know more about the details, I will post that information here.

The end of my school year can't come fast enough so that I can get down to spend more time with her, give a hand with errands and chores and accompany her to the hospital for her chemo. I've used my allotted sick days. Paul has gone down to her the past two weeks on his own to help around the apartment she shares with her friend, Kaylin, who has the same illness and treatment at Sloan Kettering. On weekends Melissa understandably prefers to spend time with her friends when they are available and she is free from the hospital and hopefully has some energy. And it is the weekdays I am more useful meeting with the doctors, hospital financial personnel, and other agencies, or just being there for the long hours of chemotherapy.

Below are links to her blog and her art site, though the latter, melissacarroll.com, does not include any of her recent work as yet.

This week Melissa's blood counts were too low to allow her to receive her scheduled chemotherapy. Paul drove down to her mid-week with some groceries and art materials, helped with some chores, went out for lunch, and spent the afternoon with her and a close friend. Over the the past two years plus, we have become very familiar with every rest stop, places to stop to get a quick snack or coffee, exit number, and what lane to be in the nearer you enter the traffic that always surrounds New York (except for when the trip is in the middle of the night).


Melissa should be back at the hospital on Monday to begin the next round and the havoc it brings.

Again, thank you for any help you can give and we'd be grateful for spreading her message. www.melissannecarroll.blogspot.com

HELP MELISSA FIGHT EWINGS SARCOMA
Melissa is now being treated at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.


April, 2013
After a very brief interval of not having to endure any treatments, we have learned that the Ewings Sarcoma has recurred with a tumor in her lungs. Melissa has begun a new round of chemotherapy and the worry, medical and financial challenges begin again. She is now receiving treatment in New York City at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. She is on a series of chemotherapy with treatments for two weeks and one week off. Along with the usual financial needs in cancer care, daily transportation from Brooklyn to Manhattan is expensive. Melissa was able to attend the OMG! Cancer Summit for Young Adults in Las Vegas at the end of April between chemotherapy sessions.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Donations to help will be greatly appreciated.


Melissa's Loving Friends and Family

Melissa's art: melissacarroll.com

Melissa's blog: www.melissannecarroll.blogspot.com




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Organizer

Cecelia Carroll 
Organizer
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