March 31, 2011

F.R.O.G....Fully Rely On God!


The tests results came back NEGATIVE!!!!

We are sooooo very happy! No, Melissa is not cured. Yes, she will continue  with  8 more chemo sessions. But.... Melissa will continue with the same current standard ABVD treatment that she has been doing! The treatment is working!!! Melissa has been able to handle these treaments mentally, physically, and emotionally! She will continue with chemo therapy through mid-July.

We thank all of you for your continued prayers and support. However, the ball game is not over....Round 5 of chemo starts tomorrow!

March 27, 2011

And The Wait Begins!

Melissa completed all scans on Friday. Now we wait for the results to arrive later this week. Patience is a virtue!

It was a chemo free weekend! Melissa finished her papers for graduate school, socialized with friends, and worked at the Market Basket on Sunday. Her high energy level, along with her positive attitude, allows Melissa to keep living her busy life!

Catrina, Melissa, Lindsey, Brittany, Christina

We are anxiously awaiting the test results. No matter what, next Friday will be Round 5 for chemo! Thank you for your prayers!

March 25, 2011

Marathon Test Day!

Melissa has her second set of PET scan, CT scan, and Pulmonary tests.The PET/CT scan results will be sent to a centralized lab at Ohio State University where a panel of three PET experts will review the scans. Next week, we will receive the results. Melissa will travel down one of two roads towards recovery. If the scans are negative (cancer is inactive), Melissa will continue with the ABVD two week chemo treatments ending in mid-July. If the scans are positive (reveals that some cancer is still active), she will begin a new round of chemo treatment called BEACOPP. This new series of chemotherapy drugs would  treat Hodgkins Lymphoma more aggressively and end in mid -August.

The tests! Let the continued prayers and support begin!!!! Thank You!!!!

March 19, 2011

Round 4 Completed!

Maggie, Melissa & Steve

Round 4 chemo went well! Melissa has now completed one-third of her chemotherapy treatment! Dr. Bierman, her oncologist, remarked that Melissa is doing great! Maribeth, her nurse, commented that she looks wonderful! Melissa's lab work was good, lymphnodes continue to get smaller, and she still has hair! Melissa's positive attitude gets stronger everyday! She is determined to kick this cancer out of the park!!

Power walking at the Mall

Excercise continues to be a part of her daily routine. She walks in the neighborhood, on the treadmill, or at the mall, works out with Wii Fit, and even ran a mile this week!

Matt and Aimee designed purple wristlets and sent them to Steve and me to wear. The wristlet has Melissa's name on one side and the words "Courage, Faith, And Hope" on the other side. What a thoughtful gift to give us in support of Melissa.

Aimee & Matt
Matt & Skylar

Next Friday, March 25th, Melissa will have her second set of PET scan, CT scan, and Pulmonary test. Please keep those special prayers coming her way! Thank you!

March 15, 2011

Daffodil Days and Scarves

"Liv N. Hope"

Daffodil Days is about beautiful flowers and celebrating the American Cancer Society's commitment to saving lives from the disease. Meet "Liv N. Hope", the newest bear from the Boyds family. He is created especially for the American Cancer Society Daffodil Days. His special job is to share hope for all people facing cancer. Melissa received this gift of hope! The bear has found a home with her!

Two of Melissa's kindergarten parents donated all of the materials for a special scarf project. The kindergarteners created their own scarves. Melissa discussed with the children why they would be making scarves. One boy said, "So we could be pirates!" Melissa replied, "No, not to be pirates." She continued to ask questions of why they would make scarves. One girl said, "Because you will be wearing them." The students loved this activity and were so proud of their own artwork. Melissa told them they could keep their scarf at school and wear it when she wears scarves or they could take it home and wear it at home.

The Pirates

The Stylin' Girls

Renee and Melissa

The Whole Group

This fun "hands-on" lesson will help prepare the children for the weeks to come.

March 13, 2011

Spring Forward!

It's that time of year for daylight savings! It's also the time for Melissa to get ready for round 4 of chemo!

Melissa has had a good week. She completed report cards, presented with her small group for her graduate class, and had a fun chemo-free weekend!

Riana, college roomate, sorority sister, and good friend flew in from Wyoming to spend the weekend with her. The girls met for lunch with some of their sorority sisters.

Melissa and Riana

Katie, Allie, Meredith, Marnie, Lindsey,
Riana, Melissa and Gail

Melissa napped each day. Riana had no problem snuggling up on the other couch and napping too! After resting, Melissa was able to enjoy the evening out with friends.

Laura, Melissa, Katrina, and Riana

Chemo-free weekends are a blessing! It gives Melissa an opportunity to feel "normal" and have fun with friends.

Thank you for your prayers and support as we "spring forward" to her next treatment session. As Melissa travels onward, she also moves closer to remission of Hodgkins lymphoma. This is the path that all of us are following with her. We continue to appreciate your positive encouragement and caring thoughts that you send her way. Thank you so very much!

March 4, 2011

Round 3 Completed!

Cheers to a good report!

Melissa's oncologist, Dr. Bierman, accompanied with Maribeth, her nurse, said that she looked GREAT!!!!! Lab work was good, weight is good, no infection has set in, and the side effects are few. Melissa's body is responding well to the treatment! Dr. Bierman says full speed ahead with round 3 chemo today.

Jessamie, Melissa's good friend and sorority sister, joined us during her treatment. We all made chemo a party with a picnic lunch.

Melissa and Jessamie

Melissa, Steve and I believe that all of your prayers and support have contributed to the good news we received today! Motivated Melissa continues to be her positive, strong self! We're all in this together! Round 4.....March 18th....let's make it another good report!

Kindergarten classroom quotes of the week:
  • "Everytime you go get medicine, you lose more hair!"
  • "Miss Maher, why are you outside at recess? I know you have bad cells. Mom told me!"
  • Two girls tug on Melissa's hair as she is tying another child's shoe.  The girls say "It feels real". Melissa says "It is! Please don't pull it, it won't last much longer!"

March 1, 2011

Teacher Appreciation Week

This is Teacher Appreciation Week! As educators, Steve, Melissa, and I have become part of this wonderful celebration. As we follow Melissa on her journey, it has taken on an even deeper meaning to us!

Melissa continues to teach her kindergarteners partly due to her positive attitude and mostly due to her fabulous Kindergarten team, her caring and supportive principal, and her dedicated para. All of the Thomas Elementary staff are there to support her!

Principal Patti Brownlee and Melissa

The Kindergarten team: Melissa, Beth, Marla, Paula, and Tiffany

Steve retired from the Omaha Public Schools after 32 years. Many of the staff and close friends that Steve worked with at TAC (the central office) surprised Melissa with a card and nice present! Melissa will use the gift to pamper herself and indulge in special spa treatments as she continues with chemotherapy.

I taught kindergarten and first grade for the Omaha Public Schools for 33 years. My last 12 years were at Sunny Slope School. The staff becomes family to you. You share good news, bad news, tears of joy, and tears of sorrow with each other. My staff had dozens of donuts delivered to Melissa's school. A beautiful card accompanied the donuts! All of the Sunny Slope staff members wore purple and had their picture taken in my former kindergarten classroom. What a classy group!

Sunny Slope Staff

When our family goes through a journey like this, we truly appreciate the prayers, love, and support  that we receive from all of our colleagues and friends.