Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pekin times article

There was a really nice article printed in the local paper recently, wanted to copy it here for anyone from out of the area...

By Sharon Woods Harris
Posted Oct 20, 2011 @ 08:00 AM
PEKIN, Ill. —
Wilson Intermediate School sixth-grade teacher Lisa Schmidgall was known to her students as Mrs. S — much easier to say than her last name.
But Schmidgall was much more than a title and a name at the school. Schmidgall was a dynamic educator who let each and every one of her students into her heart as she searched always for better ways to make them successful in their academic careers and their personal lives.
“Lisa formed a wonderful rapport with her students,” said Wilson School Principal Matt Green. “The environment when you walked into her classroom — the kids wanted to be there.
“She shared a lot about herself with the kids. Kids don’t often look at teachers as people (with outside lives), they think of them as being at the school. Lisa broke that image and shared her life with them. She cared for them in the classroom and out of the classroom and wanted to help them succeed.”
Schmidgall, 33, the wife of Pekin City Councilman Chad Schmidgall and mother of Chloe, 4 and Levi, 2, died at 3:58 p.m. Monday at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria after a battle with cancer. She had last taught in December, but was unable to return to the classroom after the holiday break.
Green said Schmidgall will be dearly missed. He said she was dedicated to her family, her students, the community and her faith.
“Anybody who knew her at all knew how important her faith was to her,” he said. “She was full of life, full of energy and had a unique sense of humor that the kids picked up on.
“She taught her students to ask not only what they could do for their school, but what could they do for Pekin.”
Schmidgall started her career as a teacher at Wilson after graduating from college. She completed her internship with Pekin District 108 and was hired as a full-time sixth-grade teacher in 1999 — a grade level that she stayed with throughout her career.
While at Wilson, Schmidgall served as a faculty advisor to the student council. She was involved in community food drives through the school and her church and collecting coins for various charity events, said Green. Schmidgall was also involved in the Spirit Committee, a group of adults at the school who did things for fellow staff members, as well as the curriculum committee.
Lisa Gentry, Schmidgall’s fellow sixth-grade teacher, said Schmidgall was an inspiration to students and helped them deal with not only educational challenges, but home challenges as well.
“Lisa really inspired her kids to do well in writing,” said Gentry. “She gave a lot to her students.
“One of the things that she did was the student council, in that she loved the talent show and inspired the kids to participate. She was never afraid to be kind of silly, and the kids respected her even more because she was willing to embrace them and put herself out there. She was great about teaching the kids about choices — positive choices in life. Lisa built up the kids so they felt good about their academic and personal lives. Lisa was pretty open and allowed the kids to be themselves.”
Teachers gleaned much from Schmidgall’s example and openness, too.
“She was willing to be a friend as well as a mentor,” said sixth-grade teacher Katie Morrison. “I learned so much from her.
“She always made herself available, encouraging not only the kids, but her friends and coworkers as well.”
Morrison said she lived down the street from the Schmidgall family and they shared the same baby-sitter.
“Chloe and Levi could do no wrong — they were just like little Lisas. We were at McDonald’s one night and it was late and she said the kids had not had ice cream yet — we couldn’t leave without them getting ice cream. She wanted even the little things for her kids.”
Schmidgall, said Morrison, made it a point to have fun whenever possible, right up to the end. Schmidgall celebrated her birthday a few weeks early at her parents’ ranch last week, where the family enjoyed a hayrack ride.
“There was a rule at Lisa’s house — you had to have fun,” said Morrison. “We always did.”
Pekin Mayor Laurie Barra said in a written statement that the Pekin City Council, staff and employees of the city “would like to extend their condolences to Chad and his family on the passing of his wife, Lisa.”
“Lisa fought a valiant fight and will always be remembered for her sunny smile and upbeat outlook, as a wonderful wife and mother, and as an excellent role model for the children of our community,” she said. “Throughout the past year, even though Chad may have wanted to be with his wife and family, he attended each meeting, prepared and with a smile on his face.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Chad and his family, now and in the days to come.”

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Lisa Dawn (Yancey) Schmidgall, 33, of 2116 Wildwood Drive, passed away at 3:58 p.m. Monday, October 17, 2011 at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria. She formerly resided in Spring Lake.
Born October 31, 1977 in Pekin to Randy Deane and Judy Delores (Hull) Yancey, she married Chad Edward Schmidgall on August 5, 2000 in Washington. He survives.
Also surviving are her parents of Pekin; are one daughter, Chloe Schmidgall of Pekin; one son, Levi Schmidgall of Pekin; one sister, Stacy (Stephen) DeJaynes of Germantown Hills and one brother, Ryan (Heather) Yancey of Mapleton. She also leaves her nieces and nephews, Noah Starr, Isaac Starr, Chris DeJaynes, Jacqueline DeJaynes, Ryder Yancey and Madeline Schmidgall along with her in-laws, Gregg and Sue Schmidgall of Pekin.
Her grandparents preceded her in death.
Lisa graduated in 1999 from Illinois State University in Normal with her Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education. She was a sixth grade classroom teacher at Wilson Intermediate School for Pekin Public Schools District 108 since 1999. At Wilson, Lisa was the SCORE Council sponsor, a student teacher mentor and led several extracurricular activities. Lisa really had a heart for kids and also liked Tigger.
Lisa also had a heart for the needy and volunteered at the Dream Center in Peoria, where she had taught a class to help parents prepare their students for school, helped with their annual back pack give-away and served in their food pantry.
Lisa's faith was a big part of her life. She attended First Baptist Church in Pekin and formerly attended Riverside Community Church in Peoria.
Her memorial service will be at 10 a.m. October 29, 2011 at First Baptist Church in Pekin. Pastor Mark D. Friday will officiate. An open house to celebrate Lisa's life will then be held from 10:30 until 2 p.m. in the fellowship hall at the church. Arrangements have been entrusted to Preston-Hanley Funeral Homes & Crematory in Pekin.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions be made to Mrs. S's Scholarship fund in care of any CEFCU Member Center. The family intends to evenly split the proceeds for her childrens' education and for an annual scholarship to assist low income students attend college.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The end is near

Lisa is currently in the process of transitioning out of this life... away from her current worn down body and into an indescribably beautiful one.  She is very close to leaving her earthly restraints and becoming a cherished soul in heaven.  Her condition has dramatically worsened over the past several days, and given her current symptoms, we are being told that the time for her to hear those words she so desires is very near; “Well done, good and faithful servant”

Before she hears those wonderful words, she has spent her few lucid moments enjoying our precious children and families.  Rest assured that she is certainly enveloped in love.  Please pray for a painless and peaceful transition.

May the winds of compassion carry on in our hearts forever, with tears in our eyes we cherish the path you illuminated. 

-Your husband

Sunday, October 9, 2011


It's Chad again,

Thanks to everyone who made it out yesterday, it was a beautiful night, nice bonfire, hayrack rides, and I'm pretty sure there were plenty of hot dogs, smores, and horseback rides to go around. 

Lisa said it was really good to see everyone.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Quick update

This is Chad, just giving everyone who randomly still checks the blog an update.

Went to go see the oncologist Wednesday, going to continue using Tarceva for at least one more round, which is 28 days.  There is still 7 or 8 days left on this round, so we will start the next series next week.

We will go see the doc. again in 4 weeks, and discuss scans vs. one more round of Tarceva, trying to maintain the balance between waiting to long to try something different, and waiting long enough for the new drug to do its work.

Lisa is getting up and around on her leg quite a bit now.  Using the walker to move around on the upper floor at our house, and going up and down the stairs with some assistance.  Unfortunately she is having some short-term memory issues, and we are trying to pinpoint the reason for it, there are so many factors that could be causing it, between the Tarceva, morphine, fentanyl, ativan and the original whole brain radiation we just aren't sure.  So for the time being, if you have anything important to communicate, please try and get a hold of me.

Also, don't forget her brother is planning an early (since her birthday isn't until Oct. 31)party for Lisa this Saturday out at her parents ranch.  We are doing it over the 3 day weekend so Lisa's aunts/uncles/cousins etc. can come up from Alabama...  No gifts necessary, we'll have hot dogs, chili, and if its nice out we'll get some horses out as well.  We're telling everyone to come on out around 6.  We'll likely be there for the better part of the day though.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Can you hear me now?

I know many of you have been trying to keep up with me through my blog and I haven't done a very good job of keeping it updated. Here are our present circumstances.
I will not be part of the  Chicago trial. This last round of radiation (10 days) put me up to almost 2 months. No one was comfortable waiting for the flush period of radiation (2 weeks) before starting chemo treatments.  So the doctors conferred and decided to just go ahead and put me on the tarceva.  I will take 1 pill each night before bed in addition to my regular medicines.  The good news is no trips to Chicago and I will still get the same medicine (except the unknown trial drug).  The bad news, the transition has been physically difficult.  I get PT and OT twice a week and I think that they have it out for me!!

Chloe is getting used to school routines and loves to go!  Levi however, just doesn't understand why he can't go with her.  With the change in our schedule both kids are as tired as we are!  Most nights we are all in bed by 8:30! Chloe actually announces on her own that she is going to sleep now.

Chad and company got the pool closed today :(  We made it to the Marigold Festival.  Chad took both kids on the firetruck for the parade.  And Chloe has been signed up for Suzuki.  The tiniest violin I have ever seen arrived in the mail today.  She is very excited to get started!

Ryan is hoping to throw a HUGE birthday party at mom and dad's horse ranch October 8th.  Hopefully I can catch up with most of you in person.  I promise to blog more often this time!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I think what we have here is a failure to communicate!

My apologies.
The short version of my most recent adventures -
went to Huntsville, went to Gulf Shores,signed Chloe up for kindergarten, Got bad news of a growth splurge, broke a leg, had surgery.

Our trip to Alabama was great! I will post pictures of it at a later time, but for now I'll tell you that pirate cruises rock!

We signed Chloe up for kindergarten at "Altman Kindergarten School" and went school supply shopping. It was just Chloe, Aunt Stac, Uncle Ry, & me. We had a blast and Chloe was super cute! If you ask her if she is excited about kindergarten, she'll tell you :"I'm really excited about school but I sure wich I didn't have to get shots!"
She and Chloe started back to Aunt Beth's full time now so I'm hoping for some gfreat consistency for them.

When we returnrd from Alabama, we went in for chemo. My counts came back REALLY low and I was not allowed to take treatments. I had to go in firts thing Friday moring for a 3 unit transfusion. It was super thoughtful of the infUnion lab poeple to bring us asparkling grape juice and a bowl of fresh fruit for out anniversary!  The other news was that she was sending us back to Chicago. The reports still show shrinkage in the original tumors, but new have come out all over the place.  Stac & Stephen took Chad and me to see Dr. Salgia. He would like to put me in a trial with a well known drug and an experimental drug. He was also concerned about my pain. They order radiation to just the place on my back where a tumor was pressing on a fracture causing my pain. That started Monday.

When I got back home Monday afternoon, I was gathering things to take to my bed to work on.  I found a bag needed in Chloe's room. Sparing gory details, I fell backwards and broke my femur. The break is almost at the ball of my hip so surgery was the only option. I was petrified! They inserted a rod into my leg from my knee to my hip. I am staying here until they all decide I had enough therapy to be able to get along on my own. We decided to look into home health help and ask our friends and family to take turns Schmidgsitting. I will ask Heather the best way to get this on the calender. Feel free to call her too if you want to schmidgsit.

I was so afraid this whole time! Even now, I'm putting off telling the nurse I have to pee because I don't want to have to get up. Whhhaaaat?  It's hard and uncomfortable!
As my sister was hugging me and understanding my fears she told be something very insightful:
You know that verse everyone talks about that God never gives you more than you can bear? It's a great theory, but it's not in the bible. That verse says god will not give you what you cannot handle with out giving His strength to get through. He never intended for us to have nerves of steel. There is no way I could have crawled around on my back trying to find my phone. It was all God being right there with me empowering me to do what I needed to.