How it all started & fairness.

Found a lump.

Wasn’t worried because I had a cyst last year in a similar spot that was totally benign.

Called doctor.

Made appointment.

Saw nurse practitioner at my OBGYN’s office.  She said it felt like the same cyst, didn’t feel malignant, and that I could just wait and watch it for 3-6 months.  I said, no.  Asked for an ultrasound.

Thank God.

Ultrasound revealed two spots of concern.

Scheduled biopsy.

Had biopsy.  (they struggled to get my boob numb so I had the pleasure of feeling the needle)

They said it looked benign. Reassured me that 90% of the lumps they biopsy in women my age are benign.

I felt relieved. Joel felt relieved.

Next day went shopping. Got home. Got phone call.

One spot was a benign fibroid.  The other one: invasive ductal carcinoma.

That was the day before Thanksgiving.

I will remember that phone call for the rest of my life.  Joel had his face pressed against mine, and we listened together to the devastating news.  I called my mom first and told her it was cancer.  I remember telling her I was so sorry.  Watching my family deal with the news has been so hard.  I feel like I have stolen some of their happiness, too.  My dad came to get the boys so they wouldn’t have to see us fall apart.  Joel and I just held each other and cried.  And vowed to him that I would not leave him.

That was one shitty day.

I’ve had a few moments of “this isn’t fair”.  But really– it is.  My life has been beyond blessed.  For those of you who know me well – you know that I am always saying, “something has to go wrong.  This is just too good.”  I grew up with a loving family. With parents who have always put my brother and I first.  Parents who are silly, generous, honest, open, and know just what I need right when I need it.  Parents who make me feel like I am the center of their world, and a brother who is beyond loyal.  I’ve never had one need that was not met.  I went to great schools, got a fantastic education, and have been provided with every possible opportunity to learn, explore, and grow.  I’ve traveled internationally, made connections with people from all different walks of life, and been loved by people who have never asked me to be anything more than me.  I fell in love with my soul-mate.  I have a job that I would probably do even if I wasn’t paid.  I see God where some see darkness.  I feel happy 98% of the time.  I dream big, and don’t feel scared to risk.  I’ve run great distances and written poems that make me proud.  I live in a house that feels like a home.  I have neighbors who drink wine with me in the middle of day, and bring me meals for no reason. I have friends, who are selfless and remind me how to be silly. Most importantly I have given birth to two boys who are so magical.  They have changed me forever, and make me feel loved and special every single day.  I have had an amazing life.

Working with at-risk youth shows you firsthand what unfair looks like.  Unfair is being treated differently because of your skin color, dress, or sexual orientation. Unfair is being sexually abused by your mom’s boyfriends, being beaten by strangers, and not having food in your refrigerator. I know what unfair looks like.

I have cancer and it fucking sucks (that was for you Tim Bopp). It really fucking sucks.  But it is not unfair.  It is part of life. Part of my life.  But I have everything I need to beat it: the best medical team, the most amazing support system, health insurance, and the will to get through it.

Well, I am not sure where all of that came from.  Now I’m tired.  I’ll fill you in on the oncology mumbo-jumbo tomorrow.

Your comments, facebook “likes”, emails, texts, and voicemails – do not unnoticed, even if I don’t respond.  They are SO needed and so appreciated.  Whenever I feel weak, I grab my phone and see your love. Thank you. Thank you.


9 thoughts on “How it all started & fairness.

  1. What a powerful post. I am so glad you asked for the ultrasound. Thank you for reminding me to advocate for myself and to do a check every month. Your level of gratitude in the midst of this inspires me to be more grateful for what is around me and to wake up to the presence of so many blessings. Sending you and your family love and strength. Xo Jessica


  2. You may not see it, or feel it, right now but you are a rock start Melissa!! Thank you for sharing AND thank you for asking for that ultrasound!! I want a retake at Denny and Staci’s where you guys get to actually stay after we get the boys all pumped up on smores!


  3. I love reading your postings. It seems like you continue to lift our spirits up when we are supposed to be lifting your spirits up. You remind us to be thankful and to live our lives to the fullest. Please continue to know that we are all here for you and your family and that we love you very much. We pray and think of you daily. ((hugs))


  4. Melissa, thoughts and prayers. I shed so many tears reading your message. It’s powerful and so positive that I know you will survive this. But you don’t convince me that it’s fair. I remember too well about another Fouss woman who came before you.


  5. You Go Melissa. Right on the money with your outlook and, in my opinion, your language. I have never known you to use such language, and am finding it hard to believe it now. BUT your GRIT is top shelf! I think you are going to be around to share your love and story for another 60 years or so. God Bless you.


  6. You have such a positive attitude! Love it! Your upbeat disposition will make your treatment, recovery and healing all the more endurable.


  7. …and this is why you are the person I admire and respect, Melissa Fuoss! Beautifully written (esp the part about Bopp! 🙂


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