MARCUS - Melissa Tabke knows what it is like to have your life take a drastic unexpected turn, - one in which you have no choice but to make the best of it or end up feeling sorry for yourself. Tabke is a healthy young woman with an attitude to live life to the fullest, while taking what life has to offer. She is a prime example of what any parent would want in a daughter.
Tabke graduated from Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn High School this past May with honors. She earned scholarships with plans to attend Texas Tech University at Lubbock, Texas, as she hopes to become a medical doctor. She won many awards in instrumental music playing the saxophone, alto sax and clarinet, plus the piano. She also participated three years in vocal. She played basketball, volleyball, track, cross country and was on the drill team. In addition, Tabke became involved with speech her senior year. She was a member of the leadership team and art club.
She joined 4-H when she was a fourth grader and remained in it until this year. She was Cherokee Chamber of Commerce PRCA Rodeo 2009 Miss Rodeo Cherokee. Tabke loves riding horses and has had her own horse for years. She diligently fulfilled her role promoting the Cherokee Rodeo.
But on June 16, a Wednesday close to 10 p.m., she was jogging along with a friend, Sawyer Hiedesch. Why? To help him earn a fitness badge for scouting. The duo, like many others, had done this many times before and she liked the exercise as well. They would jog so far and then stop to stretch before proceeding on. As the pair continued on, they realized someone was coming down the road behind them. Heidesch managed to get to the shoulder of the road. Tabke was in the process when hit by a motorcycle. According to Tabke, she was thrown about 60 feet.
"I really do not remember much of what happened. The rescue squad came and took me to Cherokee to the hospital. I was told I spoke and tried raising my leg but the foot just wobbled. They flew me to Sioux City around 12:30 a.m. I was there about two hours before they transferred me on to Omaha. I think it was early morning before surgery was done to remove my foot. I really don't remember much of about two weeks time. Some visitors came but I don't recall hardly any of it. I had a pain pump so I could push a button for medication. I had trouble breathing and needed ventilation, plus I developed blood clots. When I ran a high fever, the doctors decided I needed to have a part of my leg removed and then a second time on June 20. I was hoping for the best," explained Tabke.
On July 6, she was moved from Creighton Hospital to Immanuel Hospital as they have an excellent rehab unit. She stayed there to learn how to walk and to give herself shots for thinning the blood. On July 9, she finally got to come home.
"Now I can walk all day if I want to, " added Tabke. "I have been back working with the therapist. I have two prosthetic legs, one for riding my horse and the other one for the majority of the time. I have to do steps one at a time by bending my good leg before bringing the other one up and then take the next step. My legs are still weak but my arms are strong now."
Tabke related how happy she was to get back home. One of the first things she wanted to do was to take a ride on her horse. Her Dad, Dr. Bruce Tabke, a Marcus veterinarian, went with her to help her get on and walk the horse. It didn't last long as her upper body strength wasn't good yet. She just wanted to get on that horse if only for a short while. Since then, she has improved daily.
In visiting with her, I learned her Dad took her to orientation at Texas Tech in late July. She will be staying in a dorm that is closest to where her classes are located and she has been in contact with her roommate. Tabke admitted that medical personnel had recommended for her to take a semester off, stay home and build her strength.
"Can you see me sitting at home, looking at four walls, with nothing to do? I couldn't see me doing that. I will get along just fine and the school is aware of my accident and how I'm bringing myself back. Gradually, I will get to run. When I can run, I will know I'm back to normal. That's my goal---to run. I'm excited. It's what I want," smiled Tabke.
Tabke also was grateful that her family had moved to Marcus about 10 years ago.
"The town of Marcus is a great place to live. They care so much about others. I couldn't believe all the things they did for me. Folks took pictures of the fund-raiser and put them all together for me to see. It was amazing the turn-out from people all over the area. I received oodles of cards.
"Like I said, I don't remember all of the visitors, just bits here and there. My family really appreciated the support from everyone," said Tabke.
Saturday was her last day to pack and box what she needed for school. She and her Dad took off Sunday morning for Texas to get her ready for her first class.
Her mother is Catherine, and Tabke has a younger brother, 17 year-old Matthew, and a sister Michelle, who is six.