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Melanie’s Story

Melanie Grace Pike, age 30, born July 11th, 1980, died of acute lymphoblastic leukemia on Mon. Jan. 17th, 2011 at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. She was first diagnosed with cancer in March 2009, she reached remission and enjoyed an amazing year until her leukemia relapsed in September 2010. Melanie will always be remembered for her bright blue eyes, beautiful smile, and a contagious unique laugh unlike any other.

ROUND TWO:

Melanie learned in September 2010 that her leukemia had relapsed. So she'll be starting up additional chemotherapy to induce remission, and once that has be achieved she will undergo a bone marrow transplant.

The next few months are going to be pretty rough, but the good news is that they caught it pretty early. And since Melanie was in remission for a full year, we've had that time to enjoy life to the fullest - and it's been a pretty awesome year. Highlights included a trip to the Wisconsin Dells, a trip to St. Louis, the Fourth of July pontoon parade up at Pikes' cabin, playing softball, a visit to the Minnesota Zoo, and we even got on Kiss Cam at a Twins game at the brand new Target Field - and got voted first place for best kiss of any couple from the entire season!
http://jbhudson.com/2010-kiss-cam-1st-place-winner/

Thanks to all of you for your love and support! Please continue to filter all communication through Joe, especially coordinating visits, etc.

Love,

-Joe & Melanie Pike

joepike@visi.com
763-350-7899 (Joe's Cell)



RECAP OF ROUND ONE:

In March 2009, Melanie was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Given that Melanie is a young, active, healthy woman her doctors are confident that she has a 90+% chance of making a full recovery. Melanie's road to total cancer remission will be long and difficult, but if anybody is capable of beating leukemia it is my beautiful wife.

She is receiving excellent care at North Memorial Hospital and the Hubert H. Humphrey Cancer Center in the western suburbs of Minneapolis. The outpouring of support from family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors has been truly overwhelming. I speak for both Melanie and myself when I say how much we appreciate all of your thoughts, prayers, well wishes, offers to help, phone calls, visits, and the love we have received from all of you.

Melanie only has one job during this process: to get healthy and win her battle with cancer. My job and my goal is to handle everything else so that can be her only focus. She has asked me to act as her "gatekeeper" of sorts. I apologize if I come across as overbearing or rude at times, but please understand that I don't mean anything by it and that I am trying to act in Melanie's best interest. I am doing my best to keep a level head despite the strong emotion involved. I have to do my job(s) well so she can do her job.

If you would like to visit Melanie or speak to her on the phone, please call or text message me on my cell phone (Joe Pike, 763-350-7899) to arrange for an appropriate time. I will coordinate with her treatment schedule, work around planned visits/calls from others, and her overall capacity for interactions based on what she tells me. I ask that everyone avoid calling her directly for ANY reason other than to offer her words of love and encouragement. All questions, comments, update requests, and scheduling should be directed towards Joe and ONLY Joe.

Since Melanie's immune system is in such a weakened state due to the chemotherapy and the nature of her affliction, the doctors and staff have told us that she cannot come in contact with people or items that could introduce a risk of infection or illness. If you are sick, have recently been sick, or feel like you might be getting sick, unfortunately we have to respectfully ask that you stay home and share your love with Melanie via telephone or this website. This precautionary embargo also includes "fresh" items such as flowers and fruit baskets that can carry in bugs and germs. If you would like to send or bring something small to help brighten Melanie's day, items like balloons, food/meals/treats, cards, photos, etc. are good gift suggestions. By no means should anyone feel obligated, though. Smiles and prayers are more than enough.

For those of you who wish to send a "get well" card or anything else via postal mail, our address is:

8211 Northern Drive
Crystal, MN 55427

Thanks again to all of you for your thoughts and prayers. We are blessed to have such an incredible network of support. Melanie needs our love now more than ever, so let's do everything we can to help her get better as quickly as possible!

Many thanks,

-Joe Pike

763-350-7899 (cell)
joepike@visi.com

Latest Journal Update

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Hello Everyone,

It has now been a week since Melanie passed away, and time has been a blur. The "celebration of life" gathering yesterday was overwhelming, for a number of reasons. Although it was obviously a very sad day, I would also say it was a very good day.

I would like to thank everyone who came out to celebrate Melanie's life on Sunday. I don't have a very good estimate as to how many people were able to attend, but a rough guess would be between 400-500 people. It was great to visit with people, share stories about Melanie, laugh and cry together, and the cake was excellent (good choice sweetie). It was exactly the kind of day Mel would have wanted. The last party she ever planned was a success, just like every other party she ever planned.

In the days leading up to the event I had a chance to be surrounded by friends and family, which served as a nice (and necessary) distraction for me. Many thanks to everyone who has been taking care of me and keeping me sane. But I also had plenty of quality time to reflect on things, and really embrace and cherish all the wonderful memories I have of my time with Melanie.

Making the photo slideshow was simultaneously one of the most heartbreaking and heartwarming things I have ever done. Going through our gigantic collection of photos from our life together and picking out my favorites, choosing the music from Melanie's playlists of favorite songs, and compiling it all was hard to describe. It helped me fully realize how special what we had was, but it also made me realize the enormity of what has been lost. All I know for sure was that it was good for me to do it, because it forced me to inch my way closer to acceptance and closure. I'm definitely not there yet, and it will probably be a while before I can say I'm totally there, but every little bit helps.

By the way, I'm willing to burn a copy of the video I made for Melanie onto a DVD for people she was close to, or couldn't make it to the celebration on Sunday, so just send me an email. It ended up being about 42 minutes long so it's too big to just email, and I'd feel weird about putting it on YouTube or something.

Melanie and I had a lot of little phrases and sayings and theories between just two of us, but I'll share one of them here because it is very relevant. We always said that "time is relative" - but not at all like Einstein's theory of relativity. We didn't have an equation filled with variables or anything, and it certainly wasn't based on physics. The meaning behind our version is simply that the quality of time spent with another person far outweighs the quantity.

As an example of our "time is relative" saying, we had only been officially dating for about a year before we decided to get engaged, and we hadn't even known each other for much longer than that. To a lot of people, that may seem like an unreasonably short time to make such a major decision, especially since we were so young. But from the day we met all we ever wanted to do was spend time together. We spent so much time together in fact that the guys on my floor in the dormitory started referring to us as "JoeMel" because we were almost never apart. I would say that we got to know everything about each other very quickly, but I think it would be more accurate to say that we didn't even have to because it was like we already knew.

The reason I say that this is relevant now is because even though I only got to spend ten years of my life with Melanie, I take solace in knowing that we shared enough love in those ten years to last ten lifetimes. Thus, "time is relative". Our desire to spend time together never changed through the years, and even though the simple logistics of life and work would sometimes get in the way during our 7+ years of marriage, we still spent every possible moment together for those years. More importantly, we intensely enjoyed each and every one of those moments spent together, and had a lot of fun along the way. So back to our theory of time being relative, technically we had both quantity and quality. And although I could have never, ever gotten my fill of time spent with Melanie, and it was terribly unlucky that we were torn apart so soon, I also feel very, very lucky to have shared everything that we did. That is really what is most important for me to remember.

That's all for tonight...

-Joe Pike

joepike@visi.com
763-350-7899 (Joe's Cell)