May 30, 2011

Chemo #9 Completed!

Friday, May 27th, Melissa completed her 9th chemo treatment. Dr. Bierman, her oncologist, asked Melissa when her school year will end. She responded with a huge smile, "The last day was yesterday. Today is my first day of summer vacation and I have chosen to spend it with you!" Dr. Bierman started laughing!

Melissa's bloodwork was "borderline" today. The doctor went ahead with the chemo treatment as scheduled. The nurse told us to watch for any fever or chills or other reactions. Why was the lab work "borderline"? We don't  know.....could be Melissa's head cold, stress, last minute paperwork for school, closing her classroom, or even the sadness of seeing her kindergarteners move on to first grade. All in all, Melissa has had alot on her plate these past two weeks.

Melissa relaxed this weekend at our cabin at Woodcliff. She walked around the lake, slept, went for a boat ride, and socialized with friends. It was very low key....just what the doctor would have ordered!

Melissa did ask Dr. Bierman about bug bites. What should she do? Should she be concerned? He responded that the bug would probably die due to all the chemo in her. We all laughed!

Melissa's summer consists of 2 major goals:
1. complete all her chemo treatments (12 total)
2. complete her master's program (9 hours left)

So....three more treatments to go to complete goal #1!
Summer school begins June 6th for her first graduate class. Melissa will be taking 3 classes this summer to complete goal #2!

God continues to bless Melissa with her strength, courage, and positive attitude. We continue to thank all of you for your prayers and support as her journey continues!

May 22, 2011

New Wheels!

Grandpa Maher is in town from Scottsdale, Arizona, and staying with us. We all love Grandpa...everyone loves Grandpa! Steve and I gave him a job as soon as he got to Omaha. That job was to help Melissa buy a car! He was to be her "bargaining" person. Melissa has been driving a '94 Honda the last 5 years. My sister, Kathy, had previously owned it. The car was 17 years old with 128,000 miles. Time for Melissa to buy!

Grandpa, (Tom), Steve, Melissa and I all went car shopping. Melissa purchased a Hyundai 2011 Tucson! She had her eye on this car model for the past month. Grandpa did a great job helping her. Now Melissa is in debt like everyone else. She sure is a happy poor person!

 Melissa and Grandpa

Melissa and Iris (named after the color of her new ride)
The school year, 2010-2011, will end this week. Many fun activities have been scheduled for the last few days. One of the activities this past week was  "Bug Day"! The kindergarteners participated in many hands-on lessons about bugs! They even made their own dirtcups (oreo cookie crumbs and gummy worms) for snack. We are so blessed that Melissa was able to continue her teaching this past semester. The classroom truly is her "happy place"! Life is good! God is great!

 Bug Day activities

 Bug Day activities

Bug Day activities
Kindergarten Quotes:
  • Kindergartener:"Miss Maher do worms have eyes?"  Melissa:"I'm not sure. We will have to google it." Kindergartener: " Well, there's our google question for the day!" Melissa is thinking she maybe using google's "words of wisdom" alittle too much in her classroom!  
  • After being a part of Girls on the Run a boy asked his mother "Can Miss Maher do a Boys on the Run? I would like to show her how fast I run!"

May 14, 2011

Two Thirds Done!

Yesterday was chemo treatment #8! Dr. Bierman walked into the room for her appointment and happily announced, "After today, Melissa, you will be two thirds done!" Melissa answered with a huge smile, "Yes!" Her blood counts were low due to her head cold. However, it did not stop the chemo treatment.

Today was the "Girls On The Run" race. Some of the Gretna girls, grade 3 thru 5, participated in a  5K run at Holmes Lake in Lincoln, Nebraska. There were 600 participants from Lincoln, Kearney, Hastings and Gretna. Melissa was the chairman for this activity for her school. However, when she was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma in late January, she had to ask one of the other volunteer teachers to take her place. Melissa practiced with these girls every Wednesday after school and continued to help with the program as much as she could.

Melissa greeting the girls from the bus

Melissa warming up the girls

It was a phenomenal day! The Governor of Nebraska spoke and declared "May 14th is officially called 'Girls On The Run Day' in the State of Nebraska!" Next, Melissa was asked to speak. She did a fantastic job of explaining how the program promotes inner beauty, builds self-esteem, positive self talk,  and having fun while exercising! Melissa then climbed a ladder to be the official starter for the race. She pushed the air horn button; the siren noise was loud and clear. The girls, coaches, and parents were off!

Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman
Melissa's speech
Melissa starting the race
Steve and I drove her to Holmes Lake Park and watched from the sidelines. It was emotional to see these Gretna girls hugging, smiling, and huddling around her! Melissa was laughing and cheering them on! Not even 24 hours from having chemo treatment, and Melissa is there to support her girls! She is amazing!

Melissa and the girls

We attribute her positive attitude to all of her support and prayers that all of you send her way. We thank you so much! Enjoy the pictures! They speak for me as I share this emotional day with you!

May 8, 2011

Wonderful Chemo Free Weekend!

Melissa taught a unit on the farm and barn animals to her kindergarteners. They had a field trip on Thursday to Gifford farm in Bellevue, NE. This activity included a picnic lunch too! Another fun and educationally rewarding day for the children! Melissa had her hand sanitizer in her pocket ready to beat any and all germs! The students and Melissa were exhausted on the bus ride back to school.

Matt and Aimee came in for a very short weekend. Friday night, Steve, Melissa, Matt, Aimee, and I went to a surprise party for Matt's good friend, Scott. Scott's twin brother, Chris, and his wife flew in from California. Scott's wife, Beth, did a great job keeping the party and Chris's visit a secret! We all had fun !

Maggie, Steve, Melissa, Matt and Aimee

Saturday night we celebrated Mother's Day at our house. I created a Mexican theme for our family fun night. I made beef and chicken enchiladas, Spanish rice, and a strawberry margarita pie for dessert. Steve was in charge of the drinks, including the "Skinny Girl" margaritas. After dinner, we played Mexican train; a domino game. Melissa laughed so much! It was the best treatment and good medicine that she could have! She and Matt kept each other laughing and telling stories all night! It was so good for Matt and Aimee to see how upbeat and positive she is! They both remarked how good Melissa looks. They were so happy they made the long trip in for such a short period of time!

Melissa, Matt and Aimee

Melissa is working at the Market Basket today for their Mother's Day brunch. Matt and Aimee left early for their 11 hour car ride home to Indianapolis. We all got our "family fix" of hugs, laughs, tears, and smiles! Thank you, God!

Tomorrow...a new day begins as we continue on Melissa's journey with her!

Kindergarten Quotes: Melissa's students wrote and drew pictures in writer's workshop on Friday about what they liked or learned at the farm.
  • "I like the pigs the best, one even peed in front of me!"
  • "I learned that cows give us lots of stuff!"
  • "I learned pigs can sunburn really easily. They are really lazy too, they just lay there."
  • "I like the the fuzz from the sheep. It's soft!"

May 1, 2011

Happy May Day!

Laura's Team in Training jersey

Laura and Danae before the race

What a cool, brisk Sunday morning for the Lincoln Marathon! Melissa's good friend, Laura, ran the half marathon in her honor! Laura and Danae were part of  "Team in Training" for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society! Together these girls raised over $6000! It was fun and also an emotional time for us. Steve, Melissa, and I cheered Larua and Danae on as they ran in her honor! We are so proud of them!

Melissa cheering at mile 4
Melissa and Laura after the race
Danae, Melissa, and Laura after the race

Round 7 of chemo was completed on Friday. Melissa's lab work continues to be good. Dr. Bierman, her oncologist, and Maribeth, her nurse, enjoy seeing Melissa and her upbeat smile! They both remarked how great she looks!

We continue to pray and thank God for Melissa's positive attitude and her courageous strength to handle this disease! Steve and I thank you for your many prayers and continuous support. We are blessed to have all of you praying for Melissa!

Melissa and Laura