Cancer Journey


I’m sure many of you have been wondering what happened since my last post. Well, I’ve been in the hospital for the last 3 months undergoing a Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT). This transplant replaces my damaged blood system with the new clean blood from the donor match God blessed me with [see full story here]. I must admit, this was the toughest thing I’ve ever been through in my life. The transplant requires you to receive high doses of radiation and chemotherapy to wipe out your entire system so you are almost at the brink of death. After 7 days of that, you are then infused with the new blood cells and you start counting the +days that your new blood will start rebuilding in your system. That’s the hard part because you are very sick (almost to death) waiting for the blood to work in you.


I received my transplant on July 15, 2013. The procedure itself was fairly quick and I made it through with minimum pain. Shortly thereafter I developed hepatic veno-occlusive disease which is a condition where some of the veins in the liver are obstructed. I began to swell up due to water retention and my kidneys began to have problems. My immune system was completely wiped out and I was unable to fight any infection, so I was being pumped full of IV antibiotics and fluids. My appetite decreased and eventually I stopped eating anything at all. They put me on IV nutrition just to maintain my health, but I couldn’t hold down food and just wasn’t hungry. I was in alot of pain and slept alot.


There were so many people who came to the hospital to see me  and sit with for me, even when I was incoherent. My sister Lynna coordinated a schedule for friends and family so I would never be left alone. Many people sent cards and balloons. I hung them all around the hospital room as a reminder of the love and support I’m so blessed to have. I don’t take it lightly that people take the time to think about me. Words cannot express my deepest gratitude. But what I am so grateful for is all of the prayers. People prayed for me when I couldn’t pray for myself. I could barely talk and many times I was so drugged up I was delirious, but I remember my Aunt coming to visit and laying face down on the hospital floor, crying out to the Lord for me. I thought, “oh no, the floor is filthy, get up.” But, what I realized was that she was not afraid to get a little dirty in order to reach Jesus. The love and support from my family and friends kept me going, but it was those intercessory prayers that brought me through. Prayer works!


After 3 months in the hospital, I had stabilized enough to finish recovery at home with outpatient visits. I was so excited! I couldn’t wait to go home. However, when I got there I was overwhelmed by how tough it was. I could barely walk and needed assistance in doing everything. I just kept thinking this is just too hard. Then, I remember my Dad saying “Why do people expect trials to be easy? It’s a trial. It’s supposed to be tough, but obviously God saw something in you that He knew you could make it through the trial.”  That’s definitely not what I wanted to hear, but He was right. James 1:2 [NKJV] says “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.” Then I read a devotional by Sarah Young that said:

Pain and problems are opportunities to demonstrate your trust in Me. Bearing your circumstances bravely–even thanking Me for them–is one of the highest forms of praise. 

I began to pray “God I need You”. That’s all I could manage to say. I certainly did not feel joyful nor thankful about my circumstances.  I was at a very low point and my faith was being tested. I needed His strength because I felt so weak. I believe that it was, again, the prayers of those interceding for me that got me through my first few weeks at home because every day I began to gain more and more strength. Please take a moment right now and pray for those who may be going through cancer and other diseases. You interceding on their behalf may just be the prayer that brings healing.



comment (40)

  1. Jana

    16 Oct 2013 - 8:20 am

    Glad to hear from you Melanie. Glad you are moving forward. Praying for your continual healing and restoration. Miss and love ya.

  2. G.Harris

    16 Oct 2013 - 8:29 am

    Hello my name is G.Harris and I am part of the Mel-Strong Nation and I send Agape love and intercessory prayer from Texas u don’t know me but I know who u are and whose u are and how u are inspires me, u are ministering to me through your testimony and I thank God for u and your families strength and endurance God Bless u sis love ya

  3. Rebecca C

    16 Oct 2013 - 8:34 am

    Melanie your words are so inspiring. I’m happy to see you are doing better. I will continue to pray for you and your family- keep your faith. Your father is right, God sees something in you. He knows you are strong enough to make it through this trial. Xo

  4. Rose Clifton

    16 Oct 2013 - 8:54 am

    Hello Mel, thanks for posting. You are stronger than most and I appreciate your tenacity and endurance. You have been a great source of encouragement to me and others.

    Deuteronomy 31:6 “ …Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

    We love you and are yet praying for your divine healing in Jesus name.

  5. Amber Weston

    16 Oct 2013 - 9:17 am

    Mel, I thank God everyday for you and your testimony. I will continue to hold you up in prayer….. No worries, God got you!

    • Na'Koshia Banks

      16 Oct 2013 - 10:03 am

      Girl Mel,
      It made my heart smile to see this post come through my email. I’m so confident in God’s promise’s for your life and His faithfulness to continue to see you through. Love You Much!!

      -Kosh #MELSTRONG

  6. Britney

    16 Oct 2013 - 9:33 am

    Hi Melanie!
    It’s really great to hear/see your post and to get an update! I’ve been checking on with your mom and she’s been letting me know how you and everyone else have been doing. Prayers will continue to be lifted for you, your family, and your better half! I’m confident that God will finish this healing work that He began! Remember 2 Corinthians 12:9 and Jeremiah 30:17. Once again, I’m so glad to see your face and to hear what God is doing!

  7. Kayla

    16 Oct 2013 - 9:57 am

    God is still working !!!!!

  8. Marvin

    16 Oct 2013 - 10:04 am

    Your story is an absolute blessing. Wow. Many of use go through life complaining about trivial things while others are fighting through issues far greater than our own, and for a longer period of time. I’m thankful that God has kept you. I’m praying right now that God will continue to bless you, strengthen you and uplift you AND your family. Thanks for sharing your testimony as it is monumental blessing to others. Thank YOU and may GOD continue to favor you.

  9. Judia Jackson

    16 Oct 2013 - 10:14 am

    Well, there she is!!! I am so blessed and so very happy to see your beautiful, smiling face. I just want you to know that I think about and pray for you constantly! Meeting you changed my life and I continue to thank God for blessing me to know you. Hang in there, Melanie! There is still so much work to do and YOU are the only person that can do the job God has for YOU. I am here to talk any time you need. I will be in touch very soon. Be blessed and stay focused! Love you.

  10. Mary A Williams

    16 Oct 2013 - 10:31 am

    Hello Mel
    I am encouraged each time I read your Blog and about the trials and tribulations you are so gracefully going through. I believe God has placed you in my life as a reminder that we are not alone, althought at times we carnally believe that hard trials are only on us. Be reminded that I am praying for you each day. I’m also reminded of God’s promise in Zephaniah 3 that says “At that time, I will undo all that afflict thee”. Not at our time but his time and will. Continue to hang in there.

  11. Mark D. McCowan

    16 Oct 2013 - 10:38 am

    NOTHING & I mean NOTHING I’m going thru compairs to the trial you are going through. Even when you think you are at your weakest you are 10x stronger than us. I was obedient and “stopped in grocery store & prayed”. You are ALREADY HEALED and I will pray for you and thefamily wwithout ceasing. GodSpeed

  12. Yolanda Coffey Kelly

    16 Oct 2013 - 11:18 am

    Hallelujah! Thank you Jesus!

  13. shorron scott

    16 Oct 2013 - 11:22 am

    I am so glad that you are home, and regaining your strength. I haven’t stopped praying nor will i stop until your victory is won. He never said it would be easy, but you are a winner in the end.

  14. Dante Shaw

    16 Oct 2013 - 11:26 am

    Mel, Just wanted you to know that I am always thinking about you and we are praying for you . You are such a inspiration to so many people. Positive thoughts bring positive results. God Bless you!

  15. latonia

    16 Oct 2013 - 11:47 am

    Hi Mel, this is Latonia from One Way better known as Ashly’s mom I just want you to know that I so admire your strength and determination and you are a true encouragement to me… love you


  16. Samantha Fuller

    16 Oct 2013 - 12:10 pm

    I will continue to pray for ypu and your recovery. God never fails us… Love you so much.


  17. Lisa Cantrell

    16 Oct 2013 - 12:43 pm

    Hey Mel I am so inspired by your testimony I love you I am always asking about you……I will continue to pray for you can’t wait until the day that your healing is complete.

  18. Reginald K. Williams

    16 Oct 2013 - 12:48 pm

    God is awesome! Melanie, thank you for sharing this testimony. My family & I will continue to pray for you. Praying you continued natural and spiritual strength. Christ the Healer is continually at work in your body.

  19. Kim McNeal

    16 Oct 2013 - 1:24 pm

    I am still working and walking the halls of the IU Simon & Transplant departments praying for you and the ones that are still here fighting the good fight of faith. I love this job (ministry)!! What an inspiration you are!! By His Stripes………


  20. Pastor Denise Carpenter

    16 Oct 2013 - 3:49 pm

    To God Be The Glory Mel-Strong for the things He has done. Thanking God for your Strength, Courage and Healing…Always in my Prayers…Love & Blessings…Pastor Denise Carpenter…

  21. Pam Bufford

    16 Oct 2013 - 5:12 pm

    Mel you are in my prayers. God is so faithful. Keep the faith.

  22. Becca Meyer McCuaig

    16 Oct 2013 - 5:38 pm

    I cant even fathom displaying the strength you do! God bless and continued prayers for you

  23. Andrea Brandon

    16 Oct 2013 - 5:47 pm

    Melanie, You are much in my thoughts and prayers. Thanking God your complete healing.


  24. Wendi

    16 Oct 2013 - 5:52 pm

    Praise The Lord that you are on your way to a new you. I glad you are much better. Going through sickness and having joy at the same is hard. I haven’t nearly went through what you have but battling any immune disease is a hard thing. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and its been a hard thing this last 16 months. I ask the Lord to help me as well. I was hurting everyday constantly from my hands, feet, ankles, knees, neck, and shoulders. What I’ve learned is thou He slay me yet will I trust him. Also what we. Go through is not just for us but so that we can help someone else. Take care and I will continue to lift u up in prayer.

  25. Pastor Denise Carpenter

    16 Oct 2013 - 7:02 pm

    Blessings Melanie….

  26. Precious

    16 Oct 2013 - 9:23 pm

    When I read your posts, I am inspired, challenged, and burdened to pray for you and others battling cancer and other diseases. Words never seem capable enough to provide comfort through the physical pain, but I know using my words to cry out to our Heavenly Father on your behalf changes everything. I know that prayer moves the heart of God, just as the pleas of a child would move their earthly parent to respond. I am praying for you! Thank you for the reminder of proper perspective when reading James 1:2.

    You are loved.

  27. Chelsea Johnson

    16 Oct 2013 - 10:38 pm

    Mel, you are such an inspiration!! I am praying for you and will be watching what God does in you and through you. Love you beautiful!!!

  28. Mom Beverly Cole-Bennett

    16 Oct 2013 - 10:43 pm

    I am so glad that God has answered our prayers…

  29. Mom Beverly Cole-Bennett

    16 Oct 2013 - 10:44 pm

    God has brought our families together through prayer.

  30. Tiana

    16 Oct 2013 - 10:56 pm

    God bless and may his healing power continue to strengthen every part of your being sister 🙂

  31. Rick Reifenberg

    16 Oct 2013 - 11:32 pm

    What a great joy today when I saw your first post now out of the hospital. When I met you for the first time in your hospital room at University Hospital I saw myself – but now I am almost 3 years out after a similar transplant saved my life also from leukemia. From our short time together I was so impressed by your faith, your strength (even though you were already so physically weakened), and by your inner beauty and smile which still shined through despite all the radiation and chemo treatments. Just as so many others did for me, I have prayed for you every single day since I met you. You have made it through the hardest part of the journey, but you and I both know this is still a long, slow road ahead. Luckily you have a wonderful family and support structure, faith, strength, and a loving God who has allowed you (and me!) to live despite this mighty challenge you are still enduring. Your ongoing and full recovery will remain in my prayers.

  32. Carmen Peaches Arila

    17 Oct 2013 - 9:50 am

    Just remember the blood still works. The healing blood of Jesus. By His stripes you are healed.

  33. Eric Askew

    17 Oct 2013 - 2:00 pm

    I love reading your updates and I’m so happy to see you progressing. YOU ARE SO STRONG! I’m looking forward to hearing more about your recovery and will certainly keep your family and you in my prayers.

  34. Nathan Scott

    17 Oct 2013 - 4:48 pm

    A wise man once told me (many, many times) “Keep The Faith, and God will Furnish you Favor.” I think you know who that wise man is 🙂
    I Love You Sis!

  35. Krista

    18 Oct 2013 - 6:16 am

    He that shall come HAS come! AND, He was and is on time!! I love you sweetie!!

  36. LaKecia Mason

    19 Oct 2013 - 3:57 am

    Wow! You have a purpose MEL ! A very powerful purpose! Thank you for sharing. I love you Gorgeous!

  37. K.B.

    21 Oct 2013 - 2:12 pm

    Sands, you are a HUGE inspiration to me and many others and just know that I am praying for you and believing in God for your TOTAL healing in the name of Jesus!!! I love you and can’t wait to see you soon!!!

  38. Penny Burt

    24 Oct 2013 - 8:55 pm

    I am so glad that you were able to update your post! We have been praying for you and we know that even though it is not manifested yet, God has answered every prayer for your healing. This trial has tested your faith because of the amazing testimony you will have when it is all over. All for Gods glory! Hold on to God and continue to thank and praise him in everything. I thank God for you and we continue to pray for your strength and complete healing.

  39. Love Looks Like Sacrifice | Bethel Cincinnati

    09 Feb 2014 - 4:32 pm

    […] I came home from the hospital after my transplant [Read full story HERE], my mother wouldn’t even sleep in her own bedroom, she slept in the room next to mine. She was […]

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