Journal

Journal entry by Lee Fowler

Greetings to all of Marilyn Fowler's supporters, colleagues, family, friends and admirers!

Amazingly, it is time once again to wish a very Happy Birthday to Marilyn Fowler!!
It will be Monday, October 28, 2019.

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday Dear Mari,
Happy Birthday, ..to.. you... (and many more...)!!

As her stroke was around a year and eight months ago, a birthday celebration for her is indeed a wonderful, amazing and not always certain thing.

We continue to honor her survival, strength and spirit as she continues to fight and make the improvements and progress that she has.

Many heartfelt thanks to all for your continued support, visits, contributions and tributes. Each and every one is appreciated so much by all of us and lend hope and spirit to Mother's recovery. 

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Just a quick VERY BELATED update regarding Marilyn's progress and well-being.
A reminder as well regarding Marilyn's current residence:

Marilyn Fowler's location is here:

Marilyn Fowler
Northridge Garden Villa
10929 Reseda Blvd
Porter Ranch, CA  91326

Correspondence and visitors may reach her at this home.
She has settled in for several months now and seems to have acclimated well.
Again, this facility is a "Board and Care" and has the same number (only 6) of patients (or guests) as her former place, Bella Rosa.

Northridge Villa has a number of advantages including a live-in caretaker, better food and more regularity to her routines. Marilyn has her own private room (which of course has been very nicely decorated and continues to be as colorful as all of her homes)!

Healthwise, Marilyn still cannot speak or walk as her right side is still mostly paralyzed, but any increased interaction with and treatment from speech, occupational or physical therapists is continuing to help in her improvements (incremental as they may be). She also enjoys a regular session of acupuncture which also seems to assist in her mobility.

She also has an IPad at her disposal now so look out?!
She is learning to write left-handed and wrote out a request for her restaurant of preference while I was there.
Chris is able on occasion to move her out and into the car and these trips (dining, coffee or even shopping) are as you might imagine excellent opportunities for Mom to just get out and about.

So: keep those cards and letters coming and please do visit if you can!
For instance, how great it was to run into one of our oldest friends, Veronica, up at Marilyn's when I was out there recently.

Blessings and best wishes to all,
Peace and Love,
Lee
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Journal entry by Lee Fowler

Greetings to all of Marilyn Fowler's supporters, colleagues, family, friends and admirers!

This update is regarding some news on Marilyn's progress and well-being.
It is ALSO however news and information regarding Marilyn's NEW HOME!

Yes Maman is moving (or should I say, just moved this last weekend). 
What is essentially the same type of housing and care is so far an upgrade for her comfort and care in a number of areas.

Marilyn's new location is here:

Marilyn Fowler
Northridge Garden Villa
10929 Reseda Blvd
Porter Ranch, CA  91326

She is getting settled in and seems to be acclimating okay.
This facility is a "Board and Care" and has the same number (only 6) of patients (or guests) as her now-former place, Bella Rosa.

Northridge Villa has a number of advantages including a live-in caretaker, better food and best of all, for comparable pricing, Marilyn now has her own private room (which of course was quickly decorated and will continue to be as colorful as all of her homes)!

Before she moved, Chris had been to the new place and I was fortunate to visit there also while on my recent visit (once with Mother). 
This was my third visit to LA since Marilyn suffered her stroke just after Valentine's Day, 2018, so I will share more of this in an upcoming update (promise).

Healthwise, Marilyn still cannot speak or walk, but the increased interaction with and treatment from speech, occupational and physical therapists is continuing to help in her improvements, incremental as they may be.

She has an IPad at her disposal now everyone so who knows?!
She is learning to write left-handed and wrote out a request for her restaurant of preference while I was there.
Chris is able to move her out and into the car and these trips (dining, coffee or even shopping) are as you might imagine wonderful opportunities for Mom to just get out and about.

So: keep those cards and letters coming and please do visit if you can!

However you may be active or celebrate, we wish to you everywhere a safe, productive and peaceful International Women's Day 2019 on next Friday, March 8.

We hope all is well for everyone.
Peace and love,
Lee

Journal entry by Lee Fowler

Greetings to all! 
Best wishes to everyone everywhere for a wonderful holiday season.

First things first: Marilyn continues to improve in the small increments we have all come to know, and sometimes have our patience tested by. No one more than Mom, as she still does not have speaking capabilities restored.
But a number of things are helping her to improve in her communications, involving more therapies of various kinds. These are still mostly done with assistance from Chris, family and friends who visit and Mom's new nurse at the board and care residence. (This would be the Bella Rosa facility in Woodland Hills, address below) She will spend the holidays there and continues to see and heartily welcome any and all visitors, whose presence and company bring an immense boost in spirit to Marilyn, as you may well imagine.

A word about Bella Rosa: during the recent cataclysmic California fires, one of them was apparently close enough that the BR staff had in place and was actually ready to enact evacuation procedures. Needless to say, that was of great comfort.
And Mom's new nurse (this is what I call her, but with just a couple of young men assistants, she handles a ton of multiple duties) has developed a bond with Mother.
In addition to all the other duties, she practices some therapies with/on Marilyn that include physical (periodic standing, etc.) and speech skills in sound and movement.

As Mom continues to expand her overall communication skills as described so well by Chris in an earlier post, her writing LEFT handed, for instance, enabled her to send me a birthday card, and a halloween card- she was only able to sign her name "Mari" in a legible way and Chris of course sealed and mailed the cards, but they were so touching and will always be treasured keepsakes.

With Chris providing other occupational therapies of various nature, Mom is inching towards incorporating something else that is new in her recovery- the IPad. Baby steps here, she is not sending out mass network mailings just yet people- but her WinAction.org address IS active. So don't be surprised if one day a message appears...
I meant to ask Chris and will- when/if Mother indeed will have electronic communication established, one or two-way. Of course, when viable we will definitely notify everyone asap. Sounds like a pretty good goal for 2019 (among others) don't you think?

Also in 2019, I will be visiting Mom et al again in late January/early February. Something to look forward to for sure, especially after this chaotic year.

I must make note that our family suffered another great loss just a few weeks ago, and that was the passing of dear uncle Giles Fowler, 84. He will be deeply missed and condolences go to all who had the special privilege of knowing him.
( https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/kansascity/obituary.aspx?n=giles-merrill-fowler&pid=190877538 )

Again, I hope everyone has a peaceful, safe healthy and happy holiday season!
A special shout-out to supporters and members of WIN and WIN Circles nation/worldwide.
Keep up the extraordinary work you do!

And thank you AGAIN to all who have assisted in spirit and support of Marilyn's care and recovery, and please remember that any donations are never more timely, and are always deeply appreciated.

Mom's location:

Marilyn Fowler
Bella Rosa Place
23275 Sylvan St.
Woodland Hills, CA 91367

Peace and love to all,
Lee

Journal entry by Lee Fowler

Yes, as noted by Chris earlier, today is Marilyn Fowler's birthday, so..

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday Dear Mari,
Happy Birthday, ..to.. you... (and many more...)!!

As Maman's stroke was around eight months ago, a birthday celebration for her is indeed a wonderful and not always certain thing.

We honor her survival, strength and spirit as she continues to fight and make the improvements and progressions so well described by Chris in his earlier October post in the journal (check it out if you have not seen it).

Again, visitors and supporters are more than welcome today (anytime) at Bella Rosa in Woodland Hills where Marilyn currently resides.
Many heartfelt thanks to all for your continued support, visits, contributions and tributes. Each and every one is appreciated so much by all of us and lend hope and spirit to Mother's recovery. 

I sign out here as I would on a birthday card to Marilyn:

Happy Birthday Maman!!
All my love,
Your son Lee

Journal entry by Chris Fowler

Hi all,
I wanted to say thanks to everyone for your ongoing support!  Thanks for all the cards, chocolate, CD's, books, money, etc, and visits!

Marilyn is making small but notable progress.  The past month she was struggling with some pain from having the PEG feeding tube removed.  (I think she pulled a muscle or something).  After a few visits to the Kaiser Permanente hospital, not much seemed to be resolved.  But she is complaining less, and hopefully things are getting back to normal.  The upside is she is now fine to travel in my car for doctors' appointments, (much easier and cheaper than the wheelchair van).  Who knows, maybe shopping trips in the near future?

She still suffers from hemiparesis, (right side paralysis), but is generally getting stronger. She trys to stand on her own, which helps when moving to/from her wheelchair.  The caregivers appreciate that big time.

Her biggest challenge is communication.  She has expressive Aphasia.  Her language library for expression was wiped out.  Which is interesting considering her receptive aphasia has pretty much resolved.  The library is good on the receive side!  I think she understands just fine, and is reading much better now. 

She may have a degree of dyspraxia which means she can't control muscles to talk.  But I've been having her do tongue exercises and after some practice she is able to control things. So this may really be the aphasia and the brain not sending any coherent words down to her mouth.

The past couple weeks we have been doing writing exercises.  She can fill out worksheets with the alphabet.  And is getting the hang of writing with her LEFT hand.  She can copy words, but still can't formulate words on her own, (back to the aphasia,,, she can read but can't spell, or can't express words).  Very frustrating for all, but we keep at it and little things set the foundation for big things.

I could use help in finding her Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Speech Therapy resources.  I think I've exhausted Kaiser's help in that area.  If anyone has experience in finding and engaging these types of services please let me know.

Marilyn continues to reside at the Bella Rosa Board and Care home.

Marilyn Fowler
Bella Rosa

23275 Sylvan St
Woodland Hills, CA 91367

All are welcome to visit.  Best time is the afternoon between noon lunch and 5:00pm dinner.  And cards and letters are most welcome!

Thanks for all your love and support!
Chris

Journal entry by Lee Fowler

Greetings and best wishes to all of Marilyn Fowler's family, friends, colleagues and admirers!

First, as one of my Brazilian friends would say: I apologize to you ten thousand times!! For not sending along updates more often that is. I intend to send more often, and will always do so of course should changes occur.
Suffice to say, life and times has proved especially chaotic this year for brother Chris and me in so many areas of work, health, family, friends.
Still, I always know that word of Marilyn's status and health is welcome, anytime. Even if her routine activities do not change much from day to day. That is, if one considers being incapable of verbal speech, incapable of regular muscular movement still on much of her right side, and other bodily functions that require assistance routine activity.
In short, Marilyn has some good days, and some not so good days.
As has pretty much been the case in her recovery since February, now entering its sixth month. Mom can do so many things now that seemed unlikely then, and yet, her inability to speak continues to be a primary obstacle and often source of frustration.

Marilyn does continue to reside in a board and care facility (Bella Rosa, address below) that houses only 6 patients and operates with a small staff (usually a nursing assistant and male assistant).
As with every rehab and assisted care facility, there are pluses and minuses. For the most part, and for its location and what it offers, Bella Rosa has provided a reasonably comfortable environment for Mom and she seems to have adjusted well and well, for the most part willingly.

As it would be in so many facilities where one is confined, three square meals a day are a highlight at Bella Rosa.
It is a big plus here for the facility, for a number of reasons.
Of primary interest and importance is the continuing ability to eat and digest regular food, in regular fashion as Marilyn is now able to do. She began recovery in February with a feeding tube in her mouth, and then was fitted with the feeding tube on her stomach. It has now been about two months since she started to eat and digest regular food at the end of her Canyon Oaks stay, and has been eating simple but well prepared meals at Bella Rosa since.
This is one of the brightest developments in Mom's recovery, her regaining the ability to eat and swallow. This allows other treatments and locations that will accept her for her continued rehab.
It also allowed her to visit Kaiser Hospital recently and have the feeding tube attachment removed!
Apparently, the procedure was done without a local or general anesthetic and was not unpleasant. Fortunately her recovery has not been too difficult. However, her stomach re-adjusting to eating the normal way has caused various pains, bloating and discomfort on occasion. Recently Chris actually took Mom to Kaiser as she was in pain and wanted a doctor, and in fact forgoing the ambulance and accomplishing her transport himself, wheelchair and all! Upon doctor's examinations and testing though, she only had gas and bloating.
Overall however, regaining eating ability has been a big highlight.

Usually it is the same on-site nursing assistant Vangy (sp.?) who attends the patients and does the cooking, laundry and cleaning too. She is invaluable, and Mother and she have developed a bond where they high five and stuff. Vangy can translate some things that Marilyn tries to say- did I mention that she is still fully capable of making sounds that sometimes even sound like words- and Vangy and Mom would chuckle and cluck at me for my inability to understand.
Continued therapy for physical, occupational and especially speech are so helpful and arranging that from off-site is just another of the myriad of things brother Chris has to navigate, negotiate and deal with in Marilyn's continued treatments and accommodations. Amazing work that he does on it all. 

And I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir when reiterating how difficult it is to obtain all the necessary treatments (including medications) in today's healthcare, unless you are a billionaire.
Which sadly, none of this family are so again, kudos to Chris for keeping Marilyn in the best possible facilities, with the best possible treatments, comforts and amenities. It is, after all, Mom's comfort and quality of life that determine courses of treatment. She calls the shots, and as long as she keeps fighting, so do we. Gladly, always.

We continue to thank everyone for their visits, cards and online support.

I know all this about Bella Rosa having just completed another visit to see Maman and others in LA. As always in LA, my accommodations are with Chris and Jay in their home in Hollywood (5-star, of course!). As in March, I drove up to see Mom in Woodland Hills from Hollywood daily and spent afternoons at the home. I will send another post about that next time so as not to crowd out this entry (one of Caring Bridge's faults I find, in the layout of pages and ease of visuals). But no big deal, Caring Bridge, we love you.

I look forward to visiting Maman and everyone in Cali and ABQ again soon.
And I look forward to providing a journal entry again soon (including more from my trip and visits).

Best wishes and good health to everyone!
Peace and love,
Lee

Bella Rosa
23275 Sylvan St.
Woodland Hills, CA  91367

Lee Fowler: leemfkc@outlook.com
Chris Fowler: cfweho@gmail.com

Journal entry by Lee Fowler

We wish a very peaceful Memorial Day to all!

To me anyway, this particular Memorial Day does seem to have a particularly somber tone, colored with many remembrances.
So many of us are still enduring grief from losses and to all, we continue to offer support and condolences.

There is one person, however, of whom we can conjure a wealth of loving memories that are STILL ongoing and not of the past and that is Marilyn Fowler.

In short, Marilyn continues to fight. Still cannot talk; but oh boy, does she know what she wants and is trying to say. So as it has been for most of her ordeal, the improvements are minimal and slow. As had pretty much been the diagnoses from the start, and as shared by others in similar situations.
So the marathon continues, and will for some time. And we keep saying that once Mom can talk, things will improve even more in so many areas.

For now, it appears that Marilyn has somewhat adjusted to her new facility; it has its plusses, it has its minuses, as do they all. This facility is far smaller, and even has a living room where Mom can go to watch movies (and MSNBC. Think she wasn't following all the women candidates last week?)
And Marilyn has her good days, and has her not-so-good days. So as strong-willed as she is, it is also, I think, the visits from family and friends, the cards, and other amenities that keep her comfortable, and keep her and all of our hopes alive.
Amenities such as the chocolate. Oh yes; gotta have chocolate.

I also look forward to visiting again in a few weeks.

If you do not have her address, it is:

Marilyn Fowler
Bella Rosa
23275 Sylvan Street
Woodland Hills, CA  91367

So as always, please keep those visits, cards, letters and donations coming!

Once again, we wish a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day holiday to all.
Peace and love,
Lee

Journal entry by Lee Fowler

Greetings to all! We wish a very Happy Mother's Day to Mothers everywhere!!

In case you had not seen Chris's prior post, Marilyn is re-located to a smaller, more comfortable (we think) facility. She still has in-house care and therapeutic treatments.

In fact I had the good fortune today of Facetiming with Maman and Chris. (If you don't know Facetiming, it's like a large Dick Tracy watch where you see them and they see you.)
No really it's a wonderful thing, and Marilyn really does seem closer to speech. She knows what she wants to or is trying to say, but the nerves/brain just haven't quite cut through the fog yet. The work in speech therapy has continued to contribute to improvements not just in speech but in swallowing as well.
It has been almost three months now since the incident, and I am still confident that her improvements, however slight, will continue and her voice will once again be heard, whatever platform it is from.

Again, a very Happy Mother's Day to everyone!!

And.. a very Happy Mother's Day to you Maman, so good to see you today and see you again soon.. mmoowah mwah

Peace and love to all,
Lee Jr.


p.s. If you missed Marilyn's new location, again, it is:

Bella Rosa
23275 Sylvan St
Woodland Hills, CA 91367

Thanks for everyone's support!  If you want to contribute directly to Marilyn's healthcare please use our GoFundMe page at: https://www.gofundme.com/57at7cg

Journal entry by Chris Fowler

I'm happy to report, that yesterday, May the Fourth (be with you), we moved Marilyn to her new residence at the Bella Rosa, board and care facility.  It is a nice house in Woodland Hills, with 6 residents, and full time caretaker staff.

Bella Rosa is a converted residence, so in very nice residential area, and is nice and quiet.
Visitors are fine, and you can mail directly to her there, or send to me and I can make sure she gets things.

Bella Rosa
23275 Sylvan St
Woodland Hills, CA 91367

Thanks for everyone's support!  If you want to contribute directly to Marilyn's healthcare please use our GoFundMe page at: https://www.gofundme.com/57at7cg

Marilyn's health continues to improve.  Her right leg is starting to gain strength, and she can kick and move it voluntarily.  She is spending most of her time up in a wheelchair out of bed now.  She still struggles with her right arm, and speech.

Today a new Speech Therapist sat with Marilyn at Bella Rosa, and hopefully she will continue to recieve Speech, Physical and Occupational Therapy at the new place!

Thanks!
Chris

Journal entry by Chris Fowler

On Friday night, 2/16/18, Marilyn suffered a severe ischemic stroke.  She went to her neighbor who immediately recognized something was wrong and called 911.  The ambulance arrived in minutes.  She was taken to the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Woodland Hills, just minutes from her home, and treated with tPA.

The stroke was in the left side of the brain, and caused the right side of her body to be paralyzed, damaged speech and optical, and left her without language.

As of Monday, 2/26/18, Marilyn remains at the KP hospital.  She is recieving daily Physical Therepy, Occupational Therepy, and Speech Therepy.  She has had trouble swallowing, so has a NG feeding tube.  Tuesday morning she will have a more permanent, and less intrusive PEG feeding tube installed.  Hopefully that will help her breath a little easier and build up her swallow muscles.  
This will also make a transition to a Skilled Nursing Facility possible, and could happen on Wednesday or Thursday this week.
Marilyn’s Story

Site created on February 26, 2018

Marilyn Fowler founded the Women's Intercultural Network, (WIN).  She has a been a lifelog advocate for human rights.

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