Wednesday, April 27, 2016

I don't want to have to say goodbye

Yesterday I told God that I didn't want to have to say goodbye.

I watched Mel sleep the majority of the day. I saw him hooked up to chemotherapy. I witnessed the radiology tech do a chest X-Ray. I saw all the different medicines he had to take. And I told God I didn't want to have to say goodbye.

Some may think I am too honest in my prayers and communication with God. They may think I am not praying the right way. They may think my prayers indicate a lack of faith. But I don't want to have to say goodbye to my husband. I don't want the doctors to tell me there is nothing else they can do. I don't want the cancer to spread. I don't want to have to say goodbye. And that is the type of prayers you say when a loved one is diagnosed with cancer.

We need to be honest in our prayers. Sometimes I think we go to God scared that He is going to get mad. We hide our thoughts afraid to share them with God because we think He is going to tell us that we do not have enough faith. And we don't share our thoughts or feelings with others because we fear that well meaning people will tell us that our trust in God is lacking. I know God can heal. I know He still performs miracles. I know that all He has to do is say the word and my husband can be cancer free. I know all of that. And I am trusting in all of that. I am trusting that God will turn our situation around.There are a lot of emotions involved when a loved one is diagnosed with cancer and I share all those emotions with God.

And so in my prayers I tell God I don't want to have to say goodbye.

I was single for many years praying that on God's time He would open the doors and bring into my life the right guy. And He did just that and almost 7 years ago we said "I Do!"

My husband doesn't care that I am not a size 2 anymore.

He makes me feel pretty, smart, special and so loved.

He lets me take Saturday and Sunday naps.

He loves my cooking.

He listens to me and encourages me.

He puts up with my grumpiness.

He lets me watch House Hunters, Fixer Upper and all the other HGTV home shows.

When my husband looks at me I know just how much he loves me.

The list can go on forever of all the amazing quality that my husband has.




And I don't want to have say goodbye.

He is the most hard working man I know.

He worked 60 hour weeks at times.

He attended school full time.

He plays the bass guitar at church.

I often hear him praying late in the evening.

And I don't want to have to say goodbye

And I don't want my kids to have to say goodbye.

He woke up in the middle of the night with them when they were newborns.

He had no problem changing their diapers.

He spent just as much time in the nursery and the lobby during church services than I did when the kids were little.

He found as much joy and happiness in their milestones as I did.

He is an amazing dad.

He plays with the kids.

He tells them bedtime stories.

He helps them memorize scripture and has taught them how to pray.

He is the one the kids call in the middle of the night when they get scared.





And I don't want to say goodbye.

So I tell God that in my prayers. I have been telling Him that every day for the last 17 months. And I will continue to tell God that. In those 7 simple words and in that simple sentence I am pouring my heart out to God and asking Him to heal my husband. As I listened to my husband praying in the middle of the night last night I prayed

I don't want to have to say goodbye


________________________________________________________________________________

Click Here to go go to the bethematch site and register to be a bone marrow donor. 

The news interviewed me about the need for more Hispanic bone marrow donations. Here is the link to the news report.

Some have asked how they can help out financially.  Here is the link

If you would like to follow the facebook page we set up, Here is the link



Tuesday, April 26, 2016

What cancer cannot do

This has been a long week....and it is only Tuesday. Cancer is exhausting. It depletes. It hurts. There is no nice way to describe it.

The round is much harder than the first on my family. Last year we counted down to the end of chemotherapy. Even though 2015 was incredibly difficult, we had something to look forward to. We thought the last cycle of chemo in December would be it and my husband would be able to do well on the maintenance drugs. We weren't expecting the cancer to return. Yet only 4 months after Mel finished his last cycle of chemo it did. And it hurts.


My children should not know what cancer is. Yet they do.


I have witnessed my strong husband sobbing. I have seen him drained and exhausted. I have stood outside the bathroom door as he was vomiting. I have seen him lay in bed sleeping much of the day because of the effects of the medicine he is taking. I have listened to the doctors tell us that a bone marrow transplant is necessary. I have experienced the heartache of knowing that he does not have a match in the system. It hurts to hear statistics like only 72% of Hispanics find matches and less than 10% of the registry consists of Hispanics. I have had to listen and answer some difficult questions from my children. I listen to my children tell me they wish their daddy was home.

(Here is my son singing a song about cancer)  video

My husband was set to start working on May 2nd and I have had to watch as he emails the hiring coordinator to let her know he wouldn't be able to work after all. I have seen his hard work and dedication to school the last 3 years. His semester was almost done and he has had to email his professors letting them know that he was not going to be able to complete the semester.

I have cried many days and have wondered why us? Why is this a road we have had to endure? Why does this have to be our life? Why does this have to be our pain? I am not afraid to ask God those questions. I am not ashamed to go to Him with my fears. I take my mask off in prayer. I let my guard down. And I allow God to see my broken heart. I allow Him to see a weary wife and mother. I allow Him to listen to my worries. I don't try to act like I am strong. I don't try to act like I am not afraid. Because I am. I am broken. And I am hurt. And I do have fears. And I am not strong. This is a difficult road.


We have spent too many Sunday's going to church without Mel since he has been in the hospital.

17 long months we have endured this heartache. 17 months of chemotherapy. 17 months of hospital stays. 17 months of financial uncertainty. 17 months of pain. Cancer hurts. Cancer is ugly. It depletes. It tries to destroy.

But cancer can't rob us of our faith and trust in God. I go to God with my fears and my hurt and in my weakness because I know God hears me. With tears streaming down my face, I know God is offering my comfort. When I don't know how I will make it through the day I go to God. When my heart is broken over the plans that have not come to pass, I go to God. When I see my husband hurting, I go to God. When the storm doesn't seem like it will ever end, I go to God.

He still heals. He still makes a way. He has not lost His power. He has not left the throne. He is in control and He can change the situation. So I go to God. I take off my mask. And I place our life in His hands. There is nothing I can do to change the situation, but God just needs to say the word and it will be done. I know we are broken, but God can pick up the pieces of our life and put them back together.

And so the storm is pounding. And our life has been shaken. Yet our house is built upon a firm foundation. This storm will not destroy us. We will continue to have days where we cry. We will continue to have days where we hurt beyond description. We will continue to have moments where we feel weak and tired and depleted. But we know Our God will get us through. We know He will help us endure.

Cancer may be able to do many things but it absolutely cannot rob me of my relationship with God.


He is absolutely the best dad!


___________________________________________________________________________________



Click Here to go go to the bethematch site and register to be a bone marrow donor. 

The news interviewed me about the need for more Hispanic bone marrow donations. Here is the link to the news report.

Some have asked how they can help out financially.  Here is the link

If you would like to follow the facebook page we set up, Here is the link




Saturday, April 23, 2016

"Mommy why did the cancer come back?"

Today I had to have a conversation no parent should have. I had to sit down with my 5 year old son and my 4 year old daughter and I had to let them know that their dad would once again have to undergo cancer treatment. The first thing my son asked was "mommy, why did the cancer come back?"

Malachi and Hannah love their dad so much. And it broke my heart to have to answer a question that I don't have the answer to. I don't know why the cancer came back. I don't know why we have to go through this again. I don't know why my amazing husband has to endure more chemo and wait for a bone marrow transplant match to be found. Malachi preceded to ask my why the medicine didn't work the first time. And he asked if his dad would have to take the "falling off hair medicine."




For the last 16 months my children have had to go back and forth between hospital visits. They have had to go without their mom and dad at home at night. They have to see their dad hooked up to IV's while he gets chemo. They have had to wear a mask as they enter the hospital room because my husband's white blood count is so low. My son knows more about T-Cells, platelets and cancer than the average adult. And there are times I feel as though it is so unfair. It is so unfair that my children have to endure the pain of seeing their daddy getting treated for cancer. And it breaks my heart when I have to hear the question "Why did the cancer come back?"


Yet more heartbreaking than that question was the question my daughter asked. She said '"Why didn't our prayers work?" And it is easy to ask the question "God didn't you hear our prayers? Didn't you see our tears? Didn't you see our broken heart the last 16 months?" I don't understand this. It is painful. I don't want my husband to have to endure this. My heart is shattered and I know I serve a God who heals. But I also know there are times the healing doesn't come the way we want it to. So when my 4 year old daughter asked the question I am sure others are thinking my heart broke.


 I don't know why the cancer came back. But I am sure Joseph didn't understand why he was thrown into a pit and then placed in a prison. I am sure David didn't understand why he had to spend so much time on the run. I am sure Esther didn't understand why she had to be married to a heathen king. I am sure Hannah and Elizabeth didn't understand why they couldn't conceive for so many years. I am sure Job didn't understand why he had to endure all he did. There are things in life we won't understand but that doesn't mean God is not answering our prayers. And He can turn the worse of situations around. He is in control. He sits on the throne. He give peace to those who are broken. He gives strength to those enduring the most difficult of situations. He gives joy to those who are in sorrow. He is God.



Our God still performs miracles. He parted the Red Sea. He provided manna from heaven. He delivered Daniel from the lion's den. He created the heavens and the earth. He spoke life into existence. And He can still heal my husband. In our darkest times when life is not going according to plan and when everything seems to be falling apart, God's light can shine so brightly through us.




"Mommy, why did the cancer come back?" I don't have the answer to that question. But I serve a God who has all of the answers. I serve a God who is in control no matter what our situation looks like. I serve a God who will get us through this situation but not only will He get us through this situation, He can use this situation to illustrate His power and His love and His comfort and His peace and His strength and His provision and His healing.

God can still do the impossible. He is God. And He is good.

"I will bless the Lord at all times. His praises shall continually be in my mouth." Psalm 34:1
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding." Proverbs 3:5



Here is the link to the bethematch site. Consider registering to be a bone marrow donor.
bethematch.org

Here is the link to our gofundme account
https://www.gofundme.com/melchorlira

Friday, April 22, 2016

When cancer returns

They took my husband downstairs to get a kidney biopsy yesterday. I sat in his hospital room on the bed alone and started crying. This has been a hard road. There is no other way to describe it. And it has been tough not because we don't have faith. It has been tough not because we don't trust God. It has been tough not because we aren't standing on a firm foundation. Cancer Sucks. And it hurts. And it is tough.

When my husband was first diagnosed with cancer in 2014 as we drove to an oncologist appointment my husband said a simple but powerful prayer "no matter what the outcome you are still God and you are still good." As I sat in the hospital room alone crying yesterday as my husband was undergoing a biopsy I couldn't say those words. 



I can declare God is good. I can declare God is God. But I didn't want to say "no matter the outcome." Because I don't want the outcome to be a relapse. I don't want the outcome to be more chemotherapy. I don't want the outcome to be the need of a bone marrow transplant. And I don't want the outcome to be death. 

So I sat on the bed crying refusing to saying "no matter what." Because I want the outcome to be a miracle. I want the outcome to be a healing. I want the outcome to be the end of dealing with cancer. I want the outcome to be the end of hospital stays. I want the outcome to be a healthy husband.


And people can say I don't have faith. But I will show you the last 16 months of us praising God in this storm. People can say I don't have trust. But I will show you the last 16 months of us serving God. People can say all that they want to say but I will show you the last 16 months of us crying out to God. I will show you the last 16 months of us praying in the middle of the night. I will show you the last 16 months us being drained, depleted and weary but still taking another step. 



I don't want to say "no matter the outcome" because I don't want a shattered heart. I don't want to have to explain to my children that the cancer is back. I don't want to hold them while they cry when we listen to the prognosis. I don't want look at a paycheck that doesn't cover all our expenses. I don't want to bury my husband. 

And so alone on the hospital bed I sobbed. I let the tears stream down my face. I cried out to God. And while I didn't say "no matter the outcome" my tears were saying it. While I didn't vocalize it my broken heart was saying it. Because I know that no matter the outcome I will still serve God. I know that no matter the outcome I will still praise Him. I know that no matter the outcome I will eventually be able to take another step. I know that no matter the outcome God will give us strength. I know no matter the outcome He will give me peace. I know no matter the outcome He will never leave me. I know no matter the outcome He will provide me comfort.



And I know no matter the outcome He is still God. The doctor told us today that the preliminary results show cancerous cells in my husband's kidneys. I know we serve a God that performs miracles. I read about the miracles He performed in the Bible. I hear of the stories that people tell of miracles God has performed in their life. And I have witnessed the hand of God upon our life the last 16 months.


But I don't want to go through this. I wish I could post the new home purchase, vacation and just hanging our pictures to my social media. Instead I am going to have to drive home and tell my 5 year old son and my 4 year old daughter that the cancer has returned. And I am going to have to tell them that we are depending on a miracle. And I am going to have to answer questions I don't want to answer. And we are going to have to endure another journey of hospitalizations and chemo and everything else we don't want to go through. And it is going to hurt. And there will be tears shed. And our heart is going to break. This road is not easy. It is draining. It depletes. It knocks you down.



Many have asked how they could help so if you feel led to give to our family during this difficult time here is the link

gofund.me/melchorlira

Thursday, April 21, 2016

In need of a miracle

People like to say that they want to see miracles, signs and wonders. In order to see those though someone has to have a need. And it is incredibly painful when you're that family that has a need. It is painful when only a miracle can change the situation. People like to say that they want to see miracles, signs and wonders but I am pretty confident those same people do not want to be in the position where they are the ones who have the need.

In December of 2014 my husband was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Lymphoma. He spent the majority of 2015 in the hospital receiving chemotherapy. He was hospitalized 8 times for two to three weeks at a time. He received high dose chemotherapy. During his hospital stays he received platelet transfusion, blood transfusions and his white blood counts were so low he had no immunity to a simple cold. It was a brutal year as he was unable to work and we were reduced to one income. He spent 150 days away from our 5 year old son and 4 year old daughter. 150 nights where he couldn't tuck them in to bed. 150 nights where he couldn't tell them bedtime stories. He responded well to the chemotherapy and we thought the worst of it was over. In December of 2015 he completed his last cycle of chemotherapy and by March he had completed 18 days of radiation. We thought we could move on. He started his junior year at the local university and was offered a job set to start May 2nd. Towards the end of March he started not feeling well. He was diagnosed with bells palsy after a trip to the emergency room. He was still feeling unwell and after a couple trips to his oncologist he found himself back in the emergency room. CT scans showed swollen kidneys. The lab work showed kidney function at 25%. His initial lab work and CT scans show symptoms of Lymphoma. I don't even want to type what happens when Acute Lymphoblastic Lymphoma relapses.Patients with Acute Lymphoblastic Lymphoma typically receive a bone marrow transplant but no match has been found for my husband. Today he is getting a kidney biopsy and we are in need of a miracle. All signs point to the return of the cancer. And we are in a situation where only God can intervene.


 (My husband was hospitalized 10 times from December 2014-December 2015)

 I look at pictures on Facebook of people making home purchases, going on vacation, attending sporting events and my heart breaks because I look through pictures on my phone of my children and I hate that for the last year and a half every single plan I have had has not come to pass. I hate that my children have spent so much time visiting their dad in a hospital. I hate that for the last 5 days I have watched my husband sleep most of the time lying in a hospital bed. I hate that we are not planning vacations. I hate that we are not putting our house up for sale. I hate that my children aren't playing soccer on Saturday.

Can I be honest? I hate that we are depending on a miracle right now. I hate it. Because it hurts when you are the one who is in need of a miracle. It hurts when truly only the intervention of God can save you. It hurts because I know I serve a God who performs miracles but I also know that sometimes the miracle does not come the way you want it to. I know sometimes the prayers aren't answered the way you desire. My husband is an amazing dad. And I can't imagine the possibility of my children growing up without him in their life. I don't want to think of the possibility of of my children missing out on so much. And so I hate that everything depends on a miracle right now.


(It breaks my heart that this has been the scene so many times of my children walking into the hospital)


I don't want to need a miracle. Because when you are in need of a miracle your heart breaks. When you are in the need of a miracle you shed tears. Because when you are in the need of a miracle it hurts. I don't want to need a miracle. I just want my husband to be well.