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Melissa's Village

Grand Rapids, MI


For current updates, visit Melissa's Site: 4-29-24 Melissa heads into Consolidation Chemo round 3! The family are so grateful for continued support with some meal help as Melissa continues to received chemotherapy inpatient treatment and then come home to recover for extended periods. Whether it is a meal or groceries, your help and support is so greatly appreciated. Isaac and Asher aren't the most adventurous eaters, but Melissa has provided a list of things that they are guaranteed to enjoy: -Door Dash gift cards (the Lees have a subscription which offers free delivery) -Fresh fruits (raspberries, blueberries strawberries, grapes, and bananas) -Fresh veggies (red/yellow/orange bell peppers broccoli, and baby carrots) -Frozen chicken nuggets -Lunch meat (ham and salami) -Spaghetti -Hotdogs -Frozen meatballs -Pizza (pepperoni) -French fries -Whole milk After exactly one month in the hospital for inpatient treatment, Melissa was able to go home last night! If you have been reading updates on her Caring Bridge Journal, you know that she was hoping to go home at some point this week based on her blood counts. Over the weekend, our girl’s neutrophils doubled! She was able to be home, on her own couch, for Super Bowl snuggles with her family (and doggies). While this is a huge milestone, Melissa is now entering the next phase of her journey. She is very weak from her treatment thus far and the smallest of tasks can make her very exhausted. She also expects to be going back and forth to the hospital based on next steps and testing. We have extended the Meal Train ("Care Calendar" located at the bottom of this site) to help Melissa and the family over the coming weeks. It is important for Melissa to regain her strength and maintain a nutritious diet. I have some information, below, from the American Cancer Society and Johns Hopkins Medicine about post-chemo diet and avoiding infection: I want to personally thank you all for the incredible outpouring of support you’ve shown over this last month. Your prayers, thoughts, kind words, and generosity are so appreciated and are working! Thank you, Village, from the bottom of my heart, for loving my family. They appreciate you more than you will ever know. The family is still learning to navigate this new normal and their needs will change over time. A road through AML treatment and recovery can take up to a year and beyond. This page will be updated regularly to update their Village on what support they could use. Original story from Melissa’s post: January 16, 2024: Today I have officially been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Leukemia. CANCER. I have cancer. Last Tuesday, I was playing in the snow with my boys and feeling dizzy and light headed. Thursday I went in for routine labs and got the call from hematology to get my ass to the hospital. My world flipped upside overnight. AGAIN. 3 years after my son died, I’m now starting a lengthy marathon to fight for my own life. WHY ME. What happened to my lottery card in the game of life? Now I look to a future of many weeks in the hospital for aggressive chemo, infections, reactions and blood transfusions. A future of minimally seeing my children and my husband. Not knowing when again I’ll get to see my dogs or my home. Once I overcome this phase, next comes either months of further chemo outpatient or a bone marrow transplant, yet to be determined. Stunned. Scared. Overwhelmed. Angry. Tired. I feel utterly smothered in love and outpouring from loved ones. I do. I am so so grateful for our village immediately stepping up to take care of Shelby, me and the boys. But once again, I’m on an isolating path in life. And while surrounded, I will still often be walking alone. I don’t know this side of the medical field. I’d be grateful for any resources or contacts shared to walk this road together. So much of what pulled me through my deepest darkest grief after Eli was finding community with other mothers who understood what I was going through and went through it alongside me. I’m so grateful for your prayers, your love, your help. Not just this week but for all of 2024. Currently, I’m only restricted to healthy and masked visitors so the boys have been coming up daily which absolutely FEEDS my heart, drive and resolve. Family is organizing a meal train to help Shelby and the boys stay fed between trips to see me. We are also figuring out sign ups for visits to keep me company in the hospital. Ultimately I’m hoping to be discharged in 4-6 weeks and then will be looking for more help again at home. This is the long game, so please keep checking in. I will be updating our loving community through and post there soon. Love, Melissa

Special Notes

Thank you so much for being here to support Melissa, Shelby, Isaac, and Asher. What your prayers and outpouring of love mean to them can't be expressed in words. We will plan on organizing a second meal train when Melissa discharges from the hospital, hopefully in 4-6 weeks. For now, Door dash is a simple way that can order food/groceries for the boys but is also accepted at the hospital. Quality food is just what Melissa needs to get her through the side effects of chemotherapy. As they family settles into a routine for hospital time, we will be organizing times on the calendar to sign up for or ask about visitors to stay with Melissa, boost her spirits and help her around her hospital room as needed. It is isolating to be inpatient for so long and a difficult balance between keeping Melissa safe from outside infection and keeping her from being too lonely. We are so incredibly grateful for the outpouring of love and support.

Care Calendar