Hopeful for the future

Meghan Flynn
Melissa Ball has learned in 2020 to not dwell on the negative and try to think of the positive.

2020 has taught Melissa Ball that you can’t dwell on the negative, you have to think of the positive.

It’s been a weird year with COVID-19, Ball said, but you have to make the best of it.

The pandemic had a significant impact on Ball. She was supposed to have a liver transplant in June, but the surgery was canceled because of a stay-at-home order in the Kansas City area, where it was to take place.

“It’s OK,” she said. “I was frustrated, but God has a plan.”

Ball, a 46-year-old Garden City resident and mother of two grown children, was diagnosed last year with severe cirrhosis.

She went to the doctor because her side was hurting. She underwent tests, which all came back abnormal, Ball said. Then a biopsy was conducted.

It was painful, and it still hurts, Ball said. No prescription has helped with the pain.

“You just have to lay there and say, ’OK, God, this is in your hands,’ ” she said.

People have asked Ball whether she is angry about her condition, which besides the pain has changed her diet. She said she isn’t angry.

“God, Jesus died for us, I can be sick for him,” she said. “That’s my interpretation.”

Ball, a Christian who belongs to the Church of the Nazarene, said faith is a big part of her life and it helps her get through everything.

“Jesus is always there, Jesus never leaves and that's what I'm thankful for,” she said.

She’s also thankful for Emmaus House, which has helped her out immensely with food boxes and a holiday food box.

“Emmaus House has helped me so much, because with this COVID going around and my health issues, I don’t have money for food, because all of my money has to go for the trips (to the doctor),” she said.

Ball has to travel to Kansas City, a six- to seven-hour drive, for her doctor appointments.

Emmaus House has also given her a care package in the past when she had to go to Kansas City so she wouldn’t have to stop to eat.

“It was so awesome that they would do that,” she said. “That helped out a lot.”

Brittney Knoll, director of Emmaus House, said the organization’s mission is to help anybody and everybody and care about all its clients.

“We pray for her, she’s on our prayer list,” she said. “We become close with everybody and you get to know them and you care about them.”

Emmaus House is a food pantry, soup kitchen and homeless shelter.

There has been an increase in the number of people utilizing the food pantry since the pandemic began, Knoll said.

In March the food pantry helped an average of 96 people. On Nov. 25, they were set to help 240 people.

While the situation is difficult, Knoll is thankful Emmaus House can help people.

“We're this huge family between us and the staff and between us and our clientele,” she said. “It's really nice to be able to help the community and to be a part of such an amazing organization. I'm right where God intended me to be. It has been a whirlwind of an experience, but it is so rewarding at the end of it all, at the end of the day that I wouldn't change it for anything.”

Despite her condition and the pandemic, Ball is hopeful for the future. She hopes to heal and get back to living as normal a life as possible.

“I'm hopeful, but I know there's a possibility that I might die, but I know in my heart I'm ready, I've lived a good life,” she said. “There's always that possibility, but the doctors do everything that they can, but I haven't ever heard them say ’there's nothing else we can do for you.’ ”