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Marshfield Clinic patient stories

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​When the future seems filled with uncertainty, often the most comfort comes from knowing someone else has been through the same situation. 

Through the experiences we have shared with our patients and their families, we understand the best reassurance and support comes from stories shared by other families in similar situations.

Here are some stories of Marshfield Clinic patients and their families that we hope will provide comfort and inspiration to others.

Back in the game: Recovery from season-ending knee injury

A staggering 35 million kids, ages 5 to 18, play in organized sports each year.  ​

In addition to the tremendous benefits sports participation offers, including improved fitness and character building, the high participation brings increased risk for youth knee injuries. 

Some knee injuries can be season-ending. Successful recovery takes hard work and support from parents and coaches. Strengthening and conditioning programs can help with prevention.

Early diagnosis, advanced treatment can be life saving​

​​Chris Kahl, of Prairie Farm, knows he's alive today because of an early cancer diagnosis, knowledgeable experts overseeing his care and advanced therapies keeping his cancer at bay. It's cases such as this when advanced technology and new therapies developed from research can shine.

Kahl, 42, was diagnosed in July 2012 with pancreatic cancer. Despite undergoing an intense chemotherapy treatment, Kahl has never skipped a beat.​

Cancer treatment: Charting the course

​Control what you can. That's good advice when times are uncertain. For Bob Butler, of Ironwood, Mich., it's advice that's serving him well since he was diagnosed with cancer of the thymus gland.

Despite changes in his course of treatment, Butler, 72, remains steadfast, focused and willing to try new therapies to gain the upper hand.

The trouble started while he was on vacation two years ago. "I was out of breath all the time," Butler said. ​

Rehab program helps Merrill patient with cancer recovery

​​The numbers tell part of the story about Jill Weber's physical therapy program after treatment for ovarian and endometrial cancer.

When she started the Stepping Stones Cancer Rehab and Recovery Services for cancer survivors, she could only balance on her left leg for 2.4 seconds. After just two months, she had gotten to 45 seconds. And in terms of walking distance, she's gone from just one-fourth of a mile to almost limitless distance.​

Running the road to cancer recovery

​​​​​​​Joanna Gustafson's reaction when she learned in October 2012 that she had B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, was not one of fear, apprehension or sadness. Rather, she reacted with dogged determination to take the disease head-on.​

"What's next?" recalled the 32-year-old Gustafson, of Marshfield, about her response to the diagnosis. "I was surprised to find out that I had cancer, but the doctors gave me a positive prognosis so I was ready to move forward."

Shoulder surgery provides relief for Eau Claire woman​

​​​Timing can be everything. This is especially true with joint surgery.

Although joint pain and stiffness can be good gauges as to when surgery is needed, waiting too long can impact your treatment options. 

After undergoing shoulder surgery last year, Emma Banovich, 73, Eau Claire, advises not to put it off. Banovich had trouble with her shoulder for more than 20 years. ​

"The first problem happened years ago," she said.

Boulder Junction man’s advice: Don’t delay knee replacement​

​​​​Knee pain and problems with function are common as we age. In the past 10 years, the number of older Americans having had knee replacement surgery has more than doubled. ​

Dick Paveletzke, 68, Boulder Junction, knew both his knees needed to be replaced. Concern about undergoing the surgery while managing a chronic condition slowed his decision.

Father’s weight loss catches son by surprise​

​​Jeff Buettner lost 120 pounds in a year and his wife, Anne, lost 40 thanks to Health Management Resource® (HMR) weight management program at Marshfield Clinic. It was such a big loss that their own son, returning home from military duty overseas, didn't recognize them at first.​

​"We were walking down a long hall at the Milwaukee airport and saw him off to the side," Jeff said. "He saw us, but you could tell he didn't recognize us, because he went back over to the side area. When we finally got close, this huge grin came across his face and he said, 'Who is this guy?' It was a complete surprise, just as we'd hoped."

Knee replacements keep Wisconsin Rapids man on the go​

​​​​​​At age 70, Dave Kersten stays on the move. But it wouldn't have been possible without two knee replacement procedures at Marshfield Clinic.

​Kersten works as a real estate agent, operates the four-vehicle Kersten Funeral Coach Service with his wife and referees about 40 high school basketball and football games a year.

Kersten's increasing difficulty in pursuing his longtime passion for officiating – a total of 46 years calling basketball, football and softball games at the college and high school level – led to his undergoing knee replacement procedures in 2009 and 2010.​

Treating atrial fibrillation: Not all patients alike​ - Albert Schultz​

Television or magazine advertisements about treating atrial fibrillation (a-fib) may imply that the heart rhythm condition can be isolated and treated alone​.

Because many different causes can lead to a heart rhythm problem, it's important to consider total heart health during treatment.

Pediatric expertise helps Wausau family - Michelle and Matthew Odland​​​

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Michelle and Matthew Odland of Wausau have taken full advantage of Marshfield Clinic's expertise in pediatric care.Their second child, Nyssa, was born with Down syndrome and congenital heart disease, and later developed asthma and hypothyroidism.

Many specialists help family pilot son's congenital conditions - Amy and Michael Fleury

​​​​​​​​​Twenty weeks into the pregnancy of their second child, Amy and John Fleury received news that would alter their lives. ​An ultrasound showed their baby had two congenital conditions: sacral agenesis, an under-developed spine and malformed inter​nal organs; and hydrocephalus, the buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain.​

Teen makes lifestyle change, improves health - Donald Loew​

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​If you want to do it, only you can do it. These are words to live by when you decide to make a big lifestyle change. They also are the words of Donald Loew, age 17, Chippewa Falls. For Loew, dramatic changes in his eating and exercise habits have translated to a loss of more than 145 pounds.

Ketogenic diet: Seizure treatment makes a comeback - Debbie and Noah Jensen​

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​debbie an noah jensenWhen nothing seems to be working, you look for alternatives. The search may lead to an old approach.​Such is the case for Noah Jensen, age 13, Eagle River. Jensen has a history of suffering from seizures lasting for days at a time. By connecting him with prescribers of the ketogenic diet, a revived treatment for seizure disorders, his life has changed for the better.

Deep brain stimulation can provide relief - Lorean Stanek​

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Lorean Stanek, 75, has Parkinson's disease. Her days used to revolve around a rigorous medication schedule.The results were unsatisfactory. Another treatment, deep brain stimulation (DBS), has provided relief of debilitating symptoms to the Lake Holcombe, Wisconsin, woman.

New Laser Technology Helps Babies with Flat Head Syndrome — Dan and Michelle Axford

​Before the birth of her triplet sons, Michelle Axford had never seen a baby wearing a helmet. After coming to Marshfield Clinic for the babies' six-month check up, she learned her sons had a common condition that could be treated successfully by wearing custom-fit orthotic helmets.

Heart Patient Heeded Warning Signs — Wayne Zimmerman

Wayne ZimmermanWayne Zimmerman didn't think twice about the unusual, dull pain in his left upper chest and shoulder. Even when it happened a second time two weeks later and a third time within weeks of first noticing it, the recurring sensation only struck him as odd. It wasn't until the fourth episode two days later that he decided to seek care.

Woman Grateful for Expert Breast Cancer Care — Patti Jaromin-Meis

Patti Jaromin-Meis After being diagnosed with cancer, Patti Jaromin-Meis of Pittsville wondered: “Is there going to be a day when I don’t think about this every minute? “I didn’t think I could go a few minutes without being afraid,” said Meis, who learned in spring 2009 – right before turning 50 – that she had breast cancer. She had regular screenings and no family history of cancer.


Cancer, Hope and Dreams — Ann and Don Ovsak

Ann and Don Ovsak of Rhinelander, their infant daughter Isabel To Ann and Don Ovsak of Rhinelander, their infant daughter Isabel is more than precious. She’s a living symbol of overcoming cancer and moving on with their lives. Back in 1999, Don was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) and began an aggressive treatment plan.

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Young Boy's Family Grateful for Local Expertise — Mason Mrdutt

Mason Mrdutt Born with a genetic condition known as velocardiofacial syndrome, or VCFS, he has received care from almost all of the pediatric specialties at Marshfield Clinic. The son of Jen and Chris Mrdutt (pronounced mer-DUTE) of Mosinee has had care from pediatric specialists in cardiology, gastroenterology, genetics, immunology, physical medicine, otolaryngology (ear, nose and throat), neurology and speech pathology.

Aggressive Diabetes Management Works for Woman — Mary Olson

Mary OlsonAn aggressive form of insulin management, arranged by her Marshfield Clinic team of caregivers, is helping to make a big difference in quality of life for Mary Olson. This 46-year-old woman was younger than many patients when she was diagnosed with diabetes five years ago by Kathryn Krohn-Gill, M.D., a family physician at Marshfield Clinic Merrill Center.

Ankle Replacement Returns Quality to Life — Dawn Scheets

Dawn SheetsBy the time she was in her mid-40s, Dawn Scheets found herself struggling to walk. It was a pain on several levels. "I just hated being asked why I was limping," Scheets recalled.


 Patient Stories

​Our patients share their stories to inspire others to make good health care decisions.​