Melinda Savage Melinda's Journey

First post: Jun 24, 2017 Latest post: Jan 20, 2023
It’s rare that I’m at a loss for words but that’s where I’ve been for the last week. But it's time I find the words I need so that I can be the voice for my dearest friend and keep all those who love her informed about a recent turn of events for Melinda. 

As you know, she passed her 5-year mark for pancreatic cancer back in June. Unfortunately though, just a month later, she was told at her scheduled MD Anderson check-up that they found a few spots in both of her lungs. Not good news. (She shared this on Facebook as she’s been very open about her journey and has felt a calling to share in the hope it will help others.) During that visit, they also saw something in her colon but it was somewhat small and they weren’t really sure what the spot was at the time. Melinda’s doctors were going to put their heads together to determine the next steps and a course of treatment starting in October. 

Melinda considered the waiting a blessing as she and Mike were looking forward to celebrating Sarah’s upcoming wedding on August 13. And what a wedding it was! The beautiful rehearsal dinner hosted by Nolan’s parents, the ornate Catholic church (St. Mary’s is one of the famous “painted churches” of Texas), and a reception that created special memories for many of us for years to come. We danced the night away, ate great food, and celebrated Sarah and Nolan. Sarah was a stunning bride and Nolan - so handsome!

Leading up to the wedding, Melinda had been experiencing some pain in her lower abdomen and with the help of her medical team was managing the pain. Fast forward to Monday, August 15 when about noon that day the pain dramatically increased, and by Tuesday evening Mike drove Melinda to MD Anderson emergency room. The hospital was full (as most are these days) but she eventually got to a room. Many tests were run, and after a week the doctors determined that Melinda’s pancreatic cancer has metastasized in the form of a tumor in her perineal cavity. The tumor is wrapping itself around her large colon and causing a blockage. The doctors have reported that they would typically see these 1 – 2 years out from a pancreatic diagnosis but seeing it 5 years out is very rare. It’s also apparently a very aggressive tumor because it has grown rapidly since her visit in early July.

I know the tears are rolling down your cheeks right now. This is hard to read and it’s really hard to write. 

 I’m also sure you’re thinking – What now?? What’s the treatment plan? Melinda and Mike came home last night to repack, see the dogs, welcome Sarah and Nolan home from their honeymoon, see Jeni, Crockett, and their precious grandbabies, and are headed back to MD Anderson later today. Surgery is imminent and fairly immediate. She will have an ileostomy surgery. There is no other option as the tumor will soon render her large colon nonfunctional and that is dangerous. Chemo will follow the surgery. 

To put you somewhat at ease about this process, Melinda feels that the MD Anderson hospital is the best place for her to be in this situation. She has a dedicated team (her oncologist, a GI specialist, a pain management specialist, a nutritionist, her surgeon, and the hospital chaplain) that checks on her daily. Not to mention the amazing care the nurses are providing. And a snazzy bedside iPad with Netflix and Hulu.

 Melinda, and Mike, are so loved that she knows you will want to reach out. You can text her but she’s asked me to let you know that she may not be able to text you back. It’s already becoming hard for them to keep up with all the messages from the few that do know what's going on over the past few days. Of course, she would cherish a bible verse, words from an old hymn, or just saying, “I’m praying for you” which will lift her spirits and will let her know you care. Again, please know she may not be able to return your text but she will read them when she’s able. She loves each and every one of you.

That’s what I know as of now. I will post any lengthy updates on Melinda’s Caring Bridge site going forward. I will let you know on FB when I do post an update but it would be best to sign up for notifications on Caring Bridge as FB can be tricky. Stupid algorithms. Search for her name if you didn’t follow her page during her original journey. You can leave comments, prayers, and words of encouragement that she can read when she’s feeling up to it or needing some encouragement. 

As I finish this first post on the newest phase of Melinda’s journey, I will share that I've been singing Victory in Jesus to myself this past week. (It’s best I sing to myself because I can’t carry a tune!) It popped in my head the minute I got the news last week. " I heard about his healing. Of his cleansing pow'r revealing. How He made the lame to walk again and caused the blind to see." There is victory in Jesus. He is the ultimate healer.

Lee Ann


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