It was an average October day for Denise Brouillette. She was feeling a little odd, but had no reason to be alarmed. However, as the hours passed, Denise gradually began realizing she couldn’t remember how to perform mundane tasks, such as using her cellphone.
It was the middle of the night when Jennifer Christus began bleeding midway through her pregnancy. Up to this point, Jennifer experienced no reason to worry. She had given birth to two daughters previously and had healthy pregnancies with both. Understandably, Jennifer was confused and anxious.
She’d been losing weight for weeks, but Debra, a teacher, figured it was just her new summer job, helping tend bar at a family member’s northern resort. She was coughing a bit more too, but shrugged it off.
Roberta Johnson was nearly immobilized by severe foot pain, until she found Dr. DeVries at Aurora BayCare. Johnson, of Gladstone, Michigan, had been suffering with foot pain for a long time. The arch had fallen on her left foot, causing significant pain. Johnson consulted a local doctor who advised a conservative surgical approach. Unfortunately, the operation didn’t work.
Persistence is how Hope discovered her eye pain was something much more serious, a stroke. She feels fortunate that she was sent to Dr. Ziad Darkhabani, Interventional neurologist at Aurora BayCare Medical Center, for the complex stroke care that she needed.
It never occurred to Joe Cravillion that he was having a heart attack. The 45-year-old long haul truck driver was home visiting his mother when his symptoms came on. He helped her move a TV into the living room and felt some pain across his chest, but he didn’t think much of it. Shortly afterwards, he vomited and began sweating profusely.
While on her annual trip to Arizona with her husband, Mary had a slight mishap while handling her luggage. She assumed the tenderness she was noticing on her breast was related to that incident but the lump that remained gave her cause for concern, prompting her to return to Green Bay earlier than normal. After meeting with her primary care doctor, Mary’s suspicions were confirmed as she was diagnosed with breast cancer.
April Stangel admits she can be one of those, “If you don’t want to know the answer, don’t ask the question” kind of people. That’s why she waited a month to see a doctor about a lump in her breast. Fortunately, Aurora BayCare was ready to jump the moment she came in.
Ashley and Derek were college sweethearts. Married in 2010, the Blaszaks relished their DINK-lifestyle (dual income, no kids) for several years, until their friends began building families. “We were enjoying their kids,” Ashley says, so the couple decided to try for their own.
Lois Gracyalny hadn’t been in a hospital in 46 years. A big believer in preventive healthcare, she scheduled regular exams and started getting colonoscopies in her late 50s. But when a routine test revealed low iron in her blood, doctors debated whether it was time for another colonoscopy to investigate. Lois admits she would have been happy to skip it, but ob/gyn Dr. Thomas Halloin insisted.
Bob Vogel is a hard-working farmer. He’s 55 and a diabetic who, as his wife Mary says, doesn’t always pay the best attention to doctors’ advice. But last winter Bob was feeling especially run down. He avoided any long walks and found himself getting out of breath when doing farm chores.
Roger Griinke suffered from ankle issues for 50 years, dating back to his days as a pole climber in the army. That’s when he turned to Dr. Jason George DeVries, a fellowship-trained foot and ankle surgeon with Aurora BayCare.
It’s like 364 sticks of butter. That’s how Pamela Champagne visualizes her weight loss. Pamela lost 60 pounds in her first three months after bariatric surgery, which rose to 90 pounds lost at six months. She underwent a gastric sleeve procedure with Dr. Daniel McKenna.
Christina Klaubauf had just weaned her nine-month-old son when she felt a lump in her breast. And while she suspected it was nothing more than a clogged milk duct, her husband convinced her to get it checked out.
When Barbara Heuer saw her mammogram, she knew pretty well what she was going to hear. A retired nurse, Heuer knew the black spidering in her right breast wasn’t caused by a mistake with the procedure. An ultrasound confirmed her suspicions: She had breast cancer.
Lori DeMars had struggled with her weight and accompanying health issues like high blood pressure, acid reflux and knee pain for years. Wanting to take action before bigger health problems developed, Lori received bariatric surgery with Dr. McKenna.
Paula Lemke is a three-year survivor of endometrial cancer. She was first diagnosed in 2013 and then tackled a recurrence in late 2015. It’s the same cancer her mother successfully fought off some sixty years earlier.
Tammy Wood was dutiful about her yearly mammograms, so it was no surprise when her April exam came back normal as usual. But three months later she found a significant lump in her breast. The diagnosis: stage 3 cancer.
Lori Wier felt off when she woke up one morning in mid-December 2015. She remembers having a “sleepy feeling” on the left side of her body and some slurred speech. But she passed it off, figuring she just slept wrong.
She injured herself one morning last fall, twisting at an odd angle to replace a hard-to-reach battery in a smoke detector. Moments later, she felt a stabbing pain in her back—so strong it brought her to her knees. She headed into work anyway and tried to push through the pain, but six hours later her legs had started to go numb.
Barbara Kell’s ankle problems started about eight years ago. During a consultation with her podiatrist for recurring ganglion cysts, Barbara found out her ankle joint had deteriorated, and she was walking bone on bone. But her doctor warned against an ankle replacement until the procedure was better developed.
For Sandy Linsmeyer, bariatric surgery meant a chance to get healthy. The weight loss was just a bonus. Her doctor, bariatric surgeon Dr. Daniel McKenna suggested she look into weight loss surgery as a way to address some chronic health conditions.
Brian Spies has a degree in human biology and served four years as a Combat Medic with the U.S. Army, including a tour in Iraq. His wife Melody, who has known him since elementary school, describes him as “healthy, athletic, and full of life.”
Two shoulder replacements and a double knee replacement have Tony Kraemer feeling like a new man. Tony, who worked a physically demanding job for the Manitowoc Street Department, retired this summer after having his fourth joint replacement.
Jennifer had the Roux-en-Y gastric bypass procedure in June of 2014 and lost more than 120 pounds in the year that followed. Now Jennifer can get down on the floor and play with her daughter, run around outside, and even, she says, share a ride at Bay Beach without worrying about crushing her little girl.
Sgt. Matt Ronk, with the Brown County Sheriff’s Office was preparing for a SWAT training exercise when he started having signs that something wasn’t right. “Someone was talking to me, but I couldn’t process what they were saying. I walked by another person and didn’t recognize him. It was strange because the only people there that day were my co-workers.”
Stephanie Lambert finished her first half-marathon in pain, powering through every step. Two weeks later, her hips hurt so badly she was using crutches. Two months after that, she was bed-ridden, barely able to sit up, and even using a bedside commode.
This August, Holly Husting will reach one of her milestone weight loss goals: She’s going to ride the zip line at the NEW Zoo in Suamico. “I’ve always wanted to do that,” she says, “but I was too heavy."
Derek Petska was working at a construction site when the skidsteer he was operating flipped, crushing the fingers on both his hands. He was taken by ambulance to Aurora BayCare where he met with Dr. Jagdeep Sodhi, an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in hand injuries.
At the young age of 16, Paige Kassner was comfortable taking center stage as a performer, a volunteer and as Miss Green Bay Area's Outstanding Teen. But on a Saturday morning in November, she found herself the focus of a story she didn’t want to star in.
Now, roughly seven months after her heart attack, Debbie says she feels “absolutely wonderful.” She’s taking steps to change her diet and exercise routine. And she is also speaking out to encourage other women to heed the warning signs.
Today, Anne facilitates a support group for cancer survivors. She helped establish the group after talking to her doctor about the need for a more frequent, more intimate addition to the hospital’s quarterly support sessions.
Haley Malcore was 16 years old when she started having severe abdominal pain. After ruling out appendicitis, her primary care physician diagnosed constipation and put her on a high fiber diet. Three weeks later, she landed in the emergency room at Aurora BayCare Medical Center where doctors came to a much different conclusion: Haley had Crohn’s disease.
Stephanie Reichart used to be a nurse, but she had to give that up when severe, chronic asthma took over her lungs. A life-long asthma sufferer, Stephanie’s condition started to deteriorate in her early 40s. By her 50th birthday, she could barely walk up a few stairs. Just taking a shower was difficult because the humidity made it hard to breath.
For many years, Jane Pribek dealt with long, heavy periods. After she had her third son, her periods were regularly two weeks long and she had significant pain during ovulation. “It got worse with each pregnancy,” she said. “I had to take pain medication, and I didn’t have the energy to do a lot of fun stuff with my boys. I always felt crampy and I had to run to the bathroom a lot.”