Melanie E. Andreasen, known by close friends and family as MEA (pronounced “May ahh”), has had a life-altering medical diagnosis and is going to need our love and support to get through what lies ahead.
Some of you have known her most of your life, growing-up with her in rural Illinois. Some know her from the events and hobbies she participates in, including automotive car shows, clubs, and car racing events. Some know her from meeting her at concerts ranging from Classical Orchestra performances to shows from the little-known European Metal bands that she is so passionate about. Some know her as the hostess that seats you at one of the most popular restaurants in town during the lunch shift most weekdays. And still, others know her for being a dedicated mother. She is 34 years old this year. No matter how you know Melanie, she needs our help to get through these difficult times.
In June of 2015, Melanie’s doctor uttered the words everyone dreads the most, “I’m afraid it’s cancer.” Melanie had suspected something was wrong for quite some time…but now the diagnosis was definitive and not exactly what she was expecting. Her doctor had seriously doubted the possibility of cancer, but the lab results proved otherwise and now far-reaching fears have become reality. The doctor explained what they knew at this point about Melanie’s situation and what they didn’t. The possible treatments and implications of each were explained and now she is beginning a process that is one of the hardest things that many people will ever have to face.
A follow-up visit with an oncologist in Atlanta, Georgia confirmed the diagnosis once again with limited options for treatment. Melanie’s type of cancer is usually diagnosed with routine tests long before the pre-cancerous cells turn into a visible growth or lesion. Melanie’s cancer is large and growing and the new doctors suspect she has been living with this for several years while being overlooked during previous examinations. Extensive surgery is required, and permanent, debilitating consequences may also be in her future. A subsequent PET scan gave inconclusive results as to the extent of the cancer’s movement. The surgery, scheduled for late August, will hopefully determine the scope of the treatment Melanie must undertake.
The initial shock of such a life-altering occurrence often requires a great deal of time to process and digest and the event could be crippling in and of itself. Melanie has been an extremely health-conscious person, incorporating a clean diet, exercise, and lifestyle into family life for the last 10+ years, making this diagnosis even more difficult to cope with. Melanie has come to terms with the enormous undertaking laid out before her and decided to meet it head-on. However, for the best hope of success, she needs the prayers and support of family, friends, and anyone able to aid in her quest to destroy this disease.
Melanie has very limited resources in the way of family and is mostly counting on a handful of friends to her pull through this. She is extremely grateful for those of you that have already chosen to reach out to her with love. Unfortunately, she is also going to heavily rely on her 15 year old son James to care for her after the surgery. This is a hard concept for her to face because she is normally very independent and self-sufficient. She retains a great deal of sadness for having to ask anyone to help and for placing a great deal of responsibility for her care on her son out of necessity.
A huge burden to anyone facing cancer is the enormous price tag of treatment. Even, with insurance, the cost still incurred by the patient can be overwhelming. I am reaching out to others to help fund this battle Melanie finds herself suddenly dropped into the heart of. In the weeks leading up to and after her surgery, Melanie is not able to work and will need help with the cost of food, power bills, home health care, gas and transportation to office visits and the enormous medical bills. Every donation, no matter the amount, will make a huge difference to Melanie and her family as they wage this battle. Melanie believes in the power of prayer and hopes that you will remember her in your prayers even if you cannot donate in any other way.
Melanie became a part of my life when she brought her family to visit our Civil Air Patrol Squadron five years ago. Her daughter Victoria decided to join the ranks of our cadets and soon became involved in nearly every level of training and activity offered. Melanie, the ever supporting mother, was there to encourage her daughter through every step. As the weeks and months passed by, Melanie’s shy and reserved demeanor began to fade away… slowly at first, then more and more quickly. The other members and I were genuinely privileged to witness her unwavering character, charming whit, and heart of gold. MEA became, not just a friend to us, but part of our family. As with any family member in need, it’s our duty to offer her our prayers, love and support. It is OUR turn to return the many blessings she has bestowed upon us.