Melissa is a 42 year old single mom of 4 amazing kids! She shares the love of Jesus with others by offering a servant's heart every chance she gets (and then some). She gives of herself to help others, loves and educates young children with special needs, and is an incredible mom. But now the time has come for us to repay the favor and help Melissa when she needs it most!
Melissa's story began nearly 5 years ago when she heard the words "You've got cancer". Stage 3 triple negative breast cancer, to be exact. After months and months of chemo, double mastectomy, more chemo, radiation, and reconstruction, Melissa was cancer free! We all rejoiced and praised God for healing her body! 4 years later (January 2018), Melissa gets the flu. But this flu won't go away. Fast forward a week or two and she is in the ER, starts seizing, is rushed to ICU where she would spend the next 6 days, followed by a lengthy stay in the hospital. She was septic, developed Rhabdomyolysis, had to have fluid drained from around her heart, and was so swollen for weeks she could hardly move - all from the flu. But she never stopped smiling! She never stopped caring for others and bringing a light everywhere she went. We joked that she was going to get kicked out of the ICU for laughing so much!
As a follow up to the flu, her oncologist wanted to meet with her. As a cancer survivor, your oncologist is your primary care physician. They met several times over the following weeks/months as there was something off with her numbers. Finally, the dreaded words were heard again, "You have cancer". This time, everyone was pretty certain it was some form of lymphoma as all of the symptoms pointed to that direction. We went for the biopsy and PET scan to confirm she did, in fact, have cancer again. But what we heard next, no one expected - not even the doctors. Her breast cancer had returned! How was this possible? She beat it, her breast tissue was removed? But, it has metastasized and was now stage 4 and spread throughout her neck and abdomen.
Fast forward to now... she has undergone several months of oral medication that kept things at bay for a while but has since stopped working. She was admitted into a trial at Duke University specific to the type of breast cancer she has but later found out that she was on the arm of the trial that only gets chemo and not the "extra medicine". She has had two rounds of chemo so far and was hospitalized for 5 days last week as a result. Her body is retaining significant fluid making mobility a challenge. And as you can imagine, the chemo has its own set of side effects that make doing life difficult.
Our family is caring for her and the kids daily, but maintaining the house has become a really significant challenge. This is where you can be of great assistance. We are looking to raise money quickly to have someone come in weekly to keep up with the housework that comes with 4 busy kids and a dog. Our priority has to be taking care of Melissa and the children but a clean house is imperative to her wellness also. She cannot get sick! Her body is too weak to fight sickness and keeping things clean is a tremendous help in the fight to get her well and keep her well. Any assistance you can provide to help cover the cost of this simple but critical task would be greatly appreciated!
And above all - please keep her, the doctors, her kids, and our whole family in your prayers as we deal with this new normal and fight to Get MEL Well!
- Mandi Chappell
- MEGHAN AMITRANO
- Karthik Kripapuri
- Steve Ross
- Jennifer Henson