Welcome to our CaringBridge website. We are using it to keep family and friends updated in one place. We appreciate your support and words of hope and encouragement. Thank you for visiting. I am Heather, Marilyn's daughter-in-law, and I will try to be as accurate as I can with dates and information - thank you for your understanding!
As most of you know, Marilyn has been quite ill for sometime now. It all began a few years ago when we noticed her walking was a little off. None of us really thought much of it because she had a major accident/surgery many years ago so we thought perhaps it was just that she was getting older. Then, around 2015, after a day of shopping in Green Bay, she was walking out of our garage and fell flat on her face as if she had tripped, but there was nothing there to trip on. She got a bloody lip and was sore, but was not seriously injured. Shortly before this, she had undergone cataract surgery, so she thought maybe that was what caused her increasing instability. As time went on, she felt less and less sure of her walking - feeling as if she would fall back. She progressed from a cane to a walker over a few months time. One evening in 2015, she fell in the garage and broke her wrist. At this point, we knew something more serious was wrong. She had a few inconclusive tests, as well as some vague diagnoses, but nothing solid. She would go to Green Bay for intravenous treatments which helped some things but never helped her stability. In September of 2016, I took Marilyn to a neurologist in Madison who gave us the diagnosis we had suspected, ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) , commonly known as "Lou Gehrig's Disease". As horrible as a diagnosis this was, at least we had a reason for her struggle. At that visit, the doctor said there are four kinds of ALS and that she had the "slowest progressing kind". We asked what that meant and he said that each person declines at their own pace, but wherever you were a year ago, that is the worse you'll be a year from now. If I were you, I would get into an assisted living place as soon as possible." At this time she was still getting around the house with her walker, doing some cooking and cleaning, just much more slowly. Then, on Good Friday of 2017 she fell in the bathroom and broke her leg. This began a 3 week stay in the hospital where she contracted MRSA. Because of the MRSA, she had to be sent to a nursing home for a few weeks. She has been bedridden since. Over the past 2+ years since she broke her leg, she has remained in her home, where she wants to be. She has nurses come in and help her with bathing, and her husband has been there for her every call. He has been her main caregiver. Others come and help with cooking and cleaning, shopping, and whatever else she needs to remain where she wants to be rather than in a nursing home. Many of you know that Tom, her husband, has dementia and has also been declining mentally. Marilyn always jokes that "together they are one complete person". Her mind is good but her body has failed/ his body is good but his mind has failed! They have been a great team and a great example of unconditional true love and "growing old together". Speaking of great examples - Marilyn - I wrote the story above chronologically to the best of my ability, however, the incredible woman that this is written about deserves a crown of honor for the way she has lived through this. Marilyn has been to some of the lowest places with her health, devastating diagnoses, inability to walk or do basic things, being forced to rely on everyone else for doing everything for her (totally out of character for her!) and she has never once complained or felt sorry for herself. More importantly, her faith in her Savior, Jesus Christ, has never once been shaken. She lays there with a smile on her face, joy in her heart, and encouragement, love and kindness which she gives freely to everyone around her. She struggles, of course, but always trusts in God and knows that he is with her and that He loves her. She smiles, laughs, jokes, and still shares the hope of Jesus Christ with those who are near. She is ready for heaven. She longs to be face to face with her greatest love, her Savior, Jesus. She longs to walk the streets of gold, to worship her Almighty, to thank Him for the wonderful life she was given. She looks forward to seeing her mother, her father, and the others who have gone before her. She is not in pain. She is not afraid. She is ready.