Conquering Cancer : Together for Mel

Update posted by Jackie OConnor On Jun 28, 2017

I just wanted to give everyone a update after surgery. I had surgery on June 12th. Yesterday I met with my oncologist and we went over the next steps. Unfortunately when they removed my lymph nodes 9 out of 9 of them tested positive for cancer. So what does that mean? In a whole it could mean that my surgeon was very good at spotting what was infected. Maybe if she took out 15 only 9 of them would have tested positive but who wants to take that risk? Originally I was told I would be starting radiation in August but that did not sit well with me. I wanted to know that their was a step in place to ensure that if any cancer was left behind that we got it before I started radiation. Well my oncologist suggested I take a oral treatment of chemotherapy. This will be a bunch of pills I take for 14 days on and 7 days off for 8 rounds. I know, super scary right? I mean I just finished a pretty intense treatment of chemo and to be honest I don't ever want to go through that again. The good news in all of this you ask? Well this type of chemo isn't as intense. It's oral so not IV (yay!) I won't loose my hair, I won't have the nausea, I won't have the bone and muscle pain and all around it is a "easier" type of chemotherapy. However it has proven to be very effective for post operable breast cancer patients. As scared as I am at the word chemotherapy I am happy their is a step in place to give me the best shot I can get at this thing we call life. So my journey at beating this just got a little longer BUT I truly believe it's for the best and the best decision for me and my family. I will still do radiation and hormone therapy in the new year once this round of chemo is done but for now I will celebrate Canada day with my family and friends, then start chemotherapy on Tuesday. To be honest I just think my oncologist just missed seeing me every 3 weeks. I get it! Who wouldn't?

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Update posted by Jackie OConnor On Apr 05, 2017

Good morning! Mel just sent this update and picture and asked me to share with you all.
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So here I am waiting for round 4 of chemo. Today I start a new type of chemo and I am scared shitless (pardon my language). When i heard the words "you have cancer" a few things rang through my mind. Will my kids grow up without a mom? Will I be leaving my husband a young widow? Will my mom have to bury her daughter? I now know that I'm not going to die and I'm going to fight as hard as I can to make sure these fears do not become a reality. Everyone says fight! And trust me I am. Chemo, surgery and radiation are all scary but I truly believe that waiting periods and the unknown of cancer are harder then the actual steps of beating it. So as I sit here so scared of this new treatment I will prob look back at this and realize that yes it was bad but not as bad as I thought it would be. I'm blessed to have a supporting husband, two beautiful kids who are my world and team of family and friends who literally do anything they can to make me smile. So yes I'm scared, but I got this!!! See you on the other side of this with a smile for days and a bigger heart.


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Update posted by Jackie OConnor On Mar 03, 2017

Its been a while since I have sent out a update and to be honest it is because I haven't had anything positive to update with. However today is a new day and I am finally feeling “normalish”. This second treatment was really hard on my body. Since I was sick with my first treatment my oncologist suggested I be put on a hydration IV at home for 4 days after treatment which was great. For those day I felt really good but when they stopped I crashed pretty hard and took a while to recover. I do not mind that the treatment is hard my body but what I do care about is that I miss so much time with my family during the recovery part. I am so blessed that my kids have amazing support around them. My mom, Uncle and best friend took the kids to Chuck E Cheese on one of my bad days and the kids had a blast! I am so thankful that they have people around them who love and want to do fun things with them when I am not able too but I also wish I was there to take them and enjoy in the laughs. I hate that cancer takes that away from me. I hate that cancer is making my family suffer, I hate that cancer kicks you when you are already down BUT let me tell you, it makes those moments when I can be there with my kids so much more special. Today I was strong enough to walk Tegan to school. It was freezing but I loved every step we took. This weekend I get to take Tegan to her very first friends birthday party and I can’t wait to see her have fun with her friends. I also got to spend today with Hayden and actually take the time to potty train him. Sounds weird that I am happy I get to potty train him, but I am happy that I have the energy to chase a naked toddler around with a portable potty and its not someone else doing it.

It is the small things that I appreciate so much more. People keep saying “you’re so strong", “you’re so inspiring” but the truth is, if this happened to you, you would be the same way. When I first found out I had cancer I kept thinking to myself. I finally have the man who I have always dreamed I would marry, I have the family I have always wished for and I have a career I can honestly say I love and then THIS happened. Cancer does not let you choose your future but it does open your eyes to things that really matter and how you handle your journey is your story. I am living life with new eyes now. I do not take the simple moments for granted anymore. So I guess I can thank Cancer as foolish as that sounds. I might be singing a different tune as treatment goes on and it gets harder but for now I am not mad at Cancer. I am thanking Cancer for putting this challenge in front of me so I can KILL IT! The dark days are dark but with the help of my family and the friends who have stepped up and shown me what true friendship is all about I know I can take this on. Cancer might kick me a bit but it wont keep me down. Not without a little kicking back of my own.

#Igotthis #suckitcancer

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Update posted by Jackie OConnor On Feb 03, 2017

Hi everyone, here's another update Mel wanted to share with you :

So yesterday was my first treatment. 1 down 5 more to go! I went to the mall before treatment because I needed to get a new backpack to carry all my papers and meds. I had a pill I needed to take a hour before treatment so I opened it in the mall and OF COURSE it feel under a closed door that my husband had to try and wiggle his way in. Definitely an pretty funny site to see I'm sure. Then I had to go for treatment which was nothing like I expected. I expected to walk in and see everyone sad because they were there but I was the only one crying. Everyone was happy, laughing, some even playing cards and there was me, a blubbering mess the whole time. We had a social worker talking to us during the whole treatment which took our mind off of things so that was great. The afternoon was good. I felt OK for the most part, but one evening hit I felt like someone had drugged me.... although as I write that I realize someone did drug me but you get what I mean. I had no control over my body or mind. I was really sick all night and couldn't hold anything down. This morning I woke up still really weak but as the day went on and all the meds kicked in I felt really good. I went for my injection and when I came home I had a lot of energy but I took it easy since I figured it was just the meds. Tomorrow is suppose to be "a good day" and then day 4, 5, 6 and 7 are suppose to be the worst. So I'm going to try and make the most out of tomorrow.

Just thought I would share since I have had a lot of people reaching out to me with such beautiful messages. And thank you to everyone who has taken the time to reach out to us, bring us home cooked meals and left them on our door step. We truly appreciate it. We are so blessed and so loved it's amazing!

#suckitcancer #fightlikeagirl

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I agree with laura, like to see the updates and see how you’re doing

Sandra Roda

Update posted by Feb 07

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keep the faith, you’re a "bad ass" girl and you’re gonna beat this cancer...many blessings!

Ann Marie Diver

Update posted by Feb 03

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Love the updates, keep them coming. Even though they make me cry, I love to see how your doing.

Laura Ellis

Update posted by Feb 03

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Update posted by Jackie OConnor On Jan 31, 2017

Hi Everyone,

Here' s a quick update from Mel that she wanted to share with everyone. On behalf of the De Souza family, thank you to everyone for your overwhelming generosity, prayers and support.

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This last week has had a lot of ups and downs. I met pretty much my whole team who is going to get my through this. I had a lot of tests done and happy to report that the cancer has not spread anywhere else in my body. So needless to say lots of happy tears were shed with that news. Which seems unreal because I feel like all we have been doing is crying tears of fear of the unkown and now we have answers and I am READY TO FIGHT! My treatment starts this Wednesday so this weekend I am going to do as much as I can with the kids before treatment knocks me down for a bit so except lots of smiles to be had this weekend! Like I said earlier to my cousin, I am here for the long haul. I have two babies that will one day find a partner and I will be there to walk them down the isle and hold my grandbabies! I have LOTS to live for and nothing like some stupid cancer is going to steal that from me!

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Beautiful and well said! We are are thinking of you and know that you will kick this!.. many are right behind you supporting you! Thinking about you rich and the kiddos if you need anything let us know! Love you

Jennifer Desouza

Update posted by Jan 31

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From my entire family to you and yours Mel, we keep you in our thoughts and prayers! Sending you all the positive vibes, love and strength. Cancer can suck it!!! You’ve got this girl!! God bless

Leigh Ford

Update posted by Jan 31

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Go Girl!...with that positive, fighting spirit you can’t help but succeed! Many blessings.

Ann Marie Diver

Update posted by Jan 31

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Virginio & Ana Luis

Backed with $200.00 On May 05, 2017

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Bev MacLean

Backed with $200.00 On Apr 26, 2017

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All the best, From our family to yours!

Erin & Steve

Backed with $20.00 On Apr 26, 2017

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Dear Mel When Darrin and Marlyn told me about your struggle I wanted to help in some way. Your family is beautiful and you are such a strong and positive individual. My hope, thoughts and prayers are with you. Lynne Gregory

Lynne Gregory

Backed with $150.00 On Mar 18, 2017

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Stay strong Mel..Love you long time Hope you start feeling better today and always so we can get back to Spacemans porch and laugh untill we have abs #nalaupsidedown #needaboost #carsonfire #pigeons #marcosporchparties Xoxoxo Brian Vaz & Courtney Ormston

Brian Vaz

Backed with $150.00 On Mar 10, 2017

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Daniel Medeiros

Backed with $100.00 On Mar 09, 2017

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Anonymous

Backed with $50.00 On Mar 09, 2017

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Sending all my support and love!

Kasha Antczak

Backed with $100.00 On Mar 09, 2017

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Sending you so many healthy and positive vibes!!

Andrea Perricone

Backed On Mar 08, 2017 Amount Hidden

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Anonymous

Backed with $250.00 On Feb 28, 2017

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