Life with Leukemia

Match Made in Heaven

If you’ve kept up with my story thus far, you are aware that there is no cure for the type of leukemia I have [ALL Ph+] and according to my doctors, my best chances of surviving require me to undergo a Bone Marrow Stem Cell Transplant (BMSCT). During my first appointment with my new doctors at the IU Simon Cancer Center, I was met with hopeful news that they may have found a match for me. I was so excited because none of my siblings were a match and finding a non-related donor match for minorities was like playing the lottery. You have about a one in a million chance of it hitting. At that time I was scheduled to undergo my third round of chemo, but my doctors were okay with delaying it a few weeks. Chemotherapy was not the preferred method of treatment anyway since it would not provide a cure, so my doctors were anxious to get me to transplant as soon as a match could be found. However, my hopes were quickly dashed a couple of weeks later when I found out that after secondary testing, the person was not a match. Just in case you are totally lost as to what all this means, here is a quick overview.

Stem cells are found in bone marrow, a spongy tissue inside the bones. Stem cells develop into the three types of blood cells that the body needs:

  • Red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body
  • White blood cells, which fight infections
  • Platelets (PLATE-lets), which help the blood clot

Small numbers of stem cells also are found in the blood and in the umbilical cord (the cord that connects a fetus to its mother’s placenta). A BMSCT is a procedure that replaces a person’s faulty stem cells with healthy ones. Below is an illustration of what doctors are looking for in an adult donor match. This is slightly different if an umbilical cord blood is being used.

matching-ill

On May 6, 2013, I underwent my third round of chemo, one of the toughest rounds to date. I prayed so hard that God would send me a match or just heal my body instantaneously because I couldn’t keep going through this. I knew that He could, but I just wasn’t sure if He would. Then I read the story in Matt. 15:22-28 about the woman with the demon-possessed daughter and I marveled at the woman’s faith.  The woman had seen Jesus perform miracles so she obviously knew He could heal her daughter. However, her faith was not in whether Jesus CAN heal, but rather if Jesus WILL heal. This woman knew she was undeserving of a blessing, but her faith that despite who she was (a Cannanite woman), He would still bless her – that’s what stood out to Jesus. Many times our guilt, insecurities or fears will inhibit our faith because even though we believe God can, we don’t believe that for us He will (because of who we are, what we’ve done, etc). But, this kind of thinking doesn’t line up with the Word of God. Mark 11:24 [NKJV] says “Therefore I say to you whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”  John 14:13 [NIV] says “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”  The woman’s bold faith that God WILL is what made her daughter whole. I decided that if a Cannanite woman could have faith that not only God CAN but that He WILL, surely I, who was a child of God, could activate that same level of faith.

match-pic1

I was scheduled to receive my fourth round of chemo on June 3, 2013, but I was still feeling extremely weak from the third round and asked my doctor for one more week to recover. I was informed that again they may have found a match for me, so my docs allowed me to rest for another week while they did secondary testing. About a week later the nurse called me and said that the adult donor was not a match but they found an umbilical cord that was a match!! There were more than enough ounces of stem cells left on the cord to do the transplant and it was 96% viable (meaning that after the freezing process, 96% of the stem cells could still be used). I immediately started thanking God! There was no one on earth who matched me, so He caused someone to be born so my life could be saved! I challenge you today that if you activate your faith, the God who CAN, WILL do it! He is a miracle working God!

I am scheduled to start the transplant process, Mon. July 8. Keep me in your prayers!

-MEL-STRONG

comment (30)

  1. Terry Whitt Bailey

    07 Jul 2013 - 10:04 pm

    I’m so proud of your faith, Melanie!!! Just watch ~ God will do exceedingly, abundantly, above ALL that you could ask or think!!! I did not know about your health struggles, but I am so glad that your witness & testimony will be carried far and wide!!! Much love from Muncie, Indiana!!!

  2. DeShong Perry

    07 Jul 2013 - 10:15 pm

    Hi soror Mel, we don’t know each other but I just wanted to reach out to let you know I am praying for your health during this journey. Thank you for telling your story. Your bravery in the face of cancer is awe-inspiring. God is good! I am thanking Him for that umbilical cord and that mom and baby whose life was connected through it. God bless!
    DeShong Perry-Smitherman

  3. Amber Taylor

    07 Jul 2013 - 10:22 pm

    This brought tears to my eyes God is an on time God I pray your surgery is successful and I know its already done

  4. Lashypooh

    07 Jul 2013 - 10:34 pm

    Hi Sis, I’m so thankful that God provided a match. I pray for a smooth surgery and speedy recovery. Love you Chica

  5. Dorothea

    07 Jul 2013 - 11:00 pm

    Hey Melanie,
    I am definitely and have been praying for you. I’m excited to read about the transplant news.
    God is Good!
    Looking forward to more good news.

  6. Sis. Jones

    07 Jul 2013 - 11:10 pm

    Melanie, praise the Lord! When praises go up blessings come down. I have and will continue to pray for your healing.
    Thanking God for your healing. God Bless

  7. Kelley Wise-Berry

    07 Jul 2013 - 11:37 pm

    Keeping you in my prayers! God did it!

  8. Ysmael Fonseca

    08 Jul 2013 - 12:34 am

    I pray God continues to give you the strength to keep fighting!

  9. Cynthia Glenn

    08 Jul 2013 - 8:49 am

    Already you have an awesome testimony of the goodness of God! We are praying for you as you begin today the next step in your healing. God is using you for His glory to witness to others. Continue to keep us posted until complete healing is manifested physically because you/we already know that spiritually you have the victory in Jesus (which is where all healing begins and culminates in Him). You are indeed a blessed, anointed, and highly favored woman of God!

  10. Nicole Willis

    08 Jul 2013 - 9:09 am

    To God be the glory Mel! I am praying now for a successful transplant and miraculous healing!

    Love you,
    Nicci and Lynnea

  11. Ashley Edwards

    08 Jul 2013 - 10:34 am

    I am praying for you and already believing that you have been healed. Your faith is amazing and we serve an awesome God, Love, Ashley

  12. Doretha Edwards

    08 Jul 2013 - 11:19 am

    God is working it out for you! Ask Him to continue to build up your faith & he will take care of you. Be strong in the Lord!

  13. LaNette Sims

    08 Jul 2013 - 1:26 pm

    Mel,

    Keeping you in my prayers today and always. You have always been an inspiration and a testament to what a wonderful God we serve as he radiates from within you.

  14. Ashley Randle

    08 Jul 2013 - 1:57 pm

    I pray and thank God in advance for your deliverance and completely healthy recovery. Our God is MORE than able, He WILL do it in the name of Jesus’. Yes continue to let God receive praise and glory out of your situation! You inspire me! God bless you continually! Long Healthy prosperous life I speak over you in the name of Jesus, by His stripes, and with His blood. Let Him transplant His blood into you!

  15. Jennifer S.

    08 Jul 2013 - 5:59 pm

    All I can say is praise God!! When you shared how He created new life to give to your life, I had to immediately praise Him for just ‘knowing the plans He has for you’ Jehovah Raph; I pray for you especially on this day!

  16. Sue Thomas

    08 Jul 2013 - 9:33 pm

    Mel although I know your story, it’s just something about reading it. Honey you truly have no idea of how the Lord is already using you and your testimony to bless and encourage others. I couldn’t help but to cry as I read this particular entry, just to think that Jesus loves you (us) so much that He would create a life to save your life. Yet that’s exactly what He did over two-thousand years ago when He manifested Himself in flesh to come and save a dying world, what a mighty God we serve.
    Thank you so much for sharing for I too am facing some health challenges and just needed to be reminded of just how good our God is. Again thank you for preaching to me today! You’re always in my prayers.
    I Love You. Momma Sue

  17. Ching Dressel

    09 Jul 2013 - 2:32 pm

    Mel, I’ve been hearing about your journey for a while now and I hope that I’m not intruding but I wanted to tell you that you have been my prayers. It’s not an easy process but you are handling it well with your Faith to guide you through this. Through this process, if you need anything, please let me know. I had my “second birthday” on 09Feb2012 and it’s been quite a journey for me since that day. You have such a positive attitude and that will help you through this also. Take care,
    Ching

  18. Kevonna Tyler

    09 Jul 2013 - 3:51 pm

    Mel, I’m truly encouraged by your faith! God is so very faithful and is doing great things in you. You are certainly in my prayers.

  19. Judia Jackson

    10 Jul 2013 - 6:39 am

    Melanie, I am so proud of you! I am so happy for you! And I stand in complete awe of your strength and grace during this most trying time in your life. I never, ever doubted you WOULD beat this and that God would step in at the appropriate time. I will continue to pray for you. Can’t wait to catch up with you. I know we have a lot to share!!! Love you soooo much!

  20. Ruth

    10 Jul 2013 - 5:32 pm

    In Jesus name, AMEN!!!!

  21. Nathan Scott

    10 Jul 2013 - 6:12 pm

    They that Wait Upon the Lord SHALL Renew their Strength, They SHALL Mount up with Wings as Eagles, They SHALL Run and Not be Weary, and They SHALL Walk and Not Faint. We just have to wait on the Lord. Love you Sis!

  22. Jennifer Carpenter-Thomas

    11 Jul 2013 - 1:52 pm

    I am so overjoyed ! I am praying for u I know what prayer can do and u know when u get into the situation it seems like there is no way out but God is able ! I’m so grateful for ur life and that God will allow life to be born for you! When I was reading God spoke to me and said NEW LIFE! And that’s just what he did gave u NEW LIFE!!!!! Tears of joy! Love u

    Jennifer Carpenter-Thomas

  23. Brenda

    12 Jul 2013 - 5:23 pm

    This is so inspiring and full of confirmation. As I am faced with and in the middle of something myself, just last night I was in my kitchen and den, just talking to the Lord. The words were, “Lord, I believe that you can and will do it for me, just like you did it for that woman who touched the hem of your garment.” Keep going Mel, you are God’s jewel and His presence is all over you.

  24. Candace Stewart

    16 Jul 2013 - 7:21 pm

    Iam soo proud of you Melanie!! I love you! I am so inspired by faith! What a mighty God we serve!

  25. Amber Weston

    24 Jul 2013 - 10:12 am

    Mel, thank you so much for sharing your awesome testimony! God is so faithful! Love you

  26. Wendi

    29 Jul 2013 - 12:16 am

    Thou He slay me yet will I trust Him. I ran across your blog by I would say accident but I have to say on purpose because all things work together. Wow haven’t you been through life changing 7 months. When I read your blog I was in tears not necessarily sad tears but what you have experienced I have experienced in a similar way. Mines hasn’t been as severe as yours but life changing none the less. I was dx last year with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and a positive trace of Lupus. And like ALL there is no cure. But like you I serve a God that is a healer. I would love to chat with you. I know 1st Lady Crisette Ellis really well she can vouch for me. I look forward to chatting with u.

  27. G.Harris

    04 Aug 2013 - 9:04 pm

    Hello Mel my name is Elder Harris from Texas and I have met 2 Angels from your family and my life will never be the same I have read your story and weep for your fight I have joined the “Mel-Strong Nation” the thing that touch me the most of how God told u how your hands were too small but his hands were big enough,and to lay your hands on the pain and he will take it away I caught that in the spirit and will call upon God’s hand even more on your life and mine as I do intercessory prayer and petition God for you. I don’t know u but I feel your spirit being carried and nurtured to full capacity in Jesus name u are special to God and if I can’t do anything else I can pray until I breathe no more love u with agape love

  28. Donya

    09 Aug 2013 - 2:13 pm

    What a great pic of us together! After finally meeting you in person, it is easy to see why Duane has chosen you! You are a beautiful person inside and out! I am praying for positive outcomes and spiritual growth on this journey. Sometimes the things that seem the worst in life give us the most strength and position us to help others. You are already such an inspiration!! Stay Mel-Strong!! Love you! 🙂

  29. Janetta

    27 Sep 2013 - 3:06 am

    I am continuing to pray and believing God for your complete and total healing. 🙂

  30. Lisa Cantrell

    24 Oct 2013 - 3:10 pm

    Hey Mel!!!!! As always I am so encouraged by your testimony that the health issues that the doctors report says about me seems so small……who’s report will we BELIEVE WE SHALL BELIEVE THE REPORT OF THE LORD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AND IT IS SO.

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