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.
Melissa was born in June of 1985 to parents, George and Dianne Patterson. Melissa was able to live independently for most of her 20s. She graduated with a business degree from UW-La Crosse. She worked in marketing and sales. She enjoyed life to the fullest and spent almost all of her time with family and friends. She lived in Dallas, Texas and experienced a new part of the United States. She moved to Minneapolis, Minnesota and lived downtown and worked in sales for a few years. In 2013, she moved back to the Milwaukee area with her dad. George and his fiance, Shelley, have been her primary caregivers for the past 4+ years. Melissa's mother, Dianne, developed early onset Alzheimer's in her late 20s, early 30s. This variation of early onset Alzheimer's is rare and likely unheard of by most. Dianne and her sister died in their 30s from the disease. This particular disease is genetic. A few years ago, we noticed some changes happening with Melissa. George and Melissa decided to meet with her mother's neurologist. This eventually led to Melissa doing some testing and it was discovered that Melissa also had the gene that would cause her to be affected by this disease. George worked with the neurologist and other specialists and Melissa was enrolled into a clinical trial based out of Pittsburgh. There is no cure for early onset Alzheimer's. George learned the clinical trial was the only thing he could do to try and prevent the disease from progressing. Unfortunately, the disease has continued to progress with Melissa. It has taken over faster than any of us could have imagined and faster than any of us were prepared for.
This brings us to the now. The new normal, for lack of better words. George's new normal, again, for lack of better words. We wanted to start sharing Melissa's story with people who know and care about her. There is still time to see her and spend time with her. We don't know how much time that is. We can only speak to what we have seen so far so our guess would be: little time left. George is with Melissa 24/7 and can coordinate a visit with Melissa. This will give George an hour or two and anyone who would like, some quality time with Melissa. She enjoys being with people, like she always has. Actual conversations may be challenging and that is okay. Melissa is blissfully unaware. She just simply enjoys the company of others.