In Their Own Words

The providers and team of FHN affect the lives of so many, by providing expert care from diagnosis to recovery. Here are some of our patients' stories.

Stephen Lafferty

Surgical Success More Than the Luck O’ the Irish

When all-things-Irish enthusiast Stephen Lafferty thought his knee needed an overhaul, he didn’t want to count on luck. Instead, he trusted the professionals at FHN to help him regain his quality of life. His wife, Susan, first noticed his knee discomfort when he had trouble with…
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Bill Schramm

Feeling Dizzy? FHN Can Help Stop the Spin!

Dealing with vertigo can be a dizzying experience. Just ask Bill Schramm, Heather Politsch, and Rachel Boatwright. All three have grappled with the frustrating condition due to different causes. Any way it manifests itself, FHN has strategies to help make the room stop “spinning” for frustrated patients…
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Len Carter

“I Am So Happy I Didn’t Ignore the Pain in my Chest!”

He was walking his dogs on a cold December night, just as he does every evening. But on this night, there was something different – the middle of Len Carter’s chest ‘felt like a toothache.’ He told himself it was from breathing in the cold winter air…
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Farfalena Rahn

Desire for Double Knee Replacement Transforms Woman’s Health Journey

Farfalena Rahn’s first name means “butterfly” in Italian. This symbol of transformation and hope well represents the last two years of her life, when she went from relying on a wheelchair to walking again, thanks to strong support from FHN, her family, and her friends. In 2019, Farfalena was unable to walk…
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Le-Win Football

State Champs Get Medical Expertise from Former Panther Quarterback

Football injuries are part of the game – it’s a long, rough season. Even the best of teams, like the Illinois State 1A Champion Le-Win Panthers, deal with broken bones, torn ligaments, and dislocated joints as they battle through their weekly schedules...
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Mary Lynn Trost

Innovation and Compassion Provide the Right Balance

Mary Lynn Trost was eager to get her surgical staples out – all 50 of them – after having a successful hysterectomy for Stage 1A uterine and ovarian cancer at UW Madison hospital. Unfortunately, her incision reopened almost immediately after her stitches were removed, right in the doctor’s office…
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Brad Rothermel

COVID-19 'Long Hauler' Benefits from Pulmonary Rehab

Brad Rothermel’s family calls him “the moon baby,” since he was born July 20, 1969, when U.S. astronauts first landed on the moon. But his “lunar lineage” didn’t give him any breaks when he caught COVID-19 just after their clan’s Thanksgiving gathering last year…
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Dan Malin

Heart Attack Patient Conquers Concerns

Dan Malin’s work trip to Michigan took an unexpected detour – he started to feel ill before departing,and then feared he was having a heart attack while he was driving in Indiana. He rushed to a local hospital...
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Michele Davis

‘It’s a rare fungal disease, but he suspected it and ran the right tests

It never crossed her mind that she might have blastomycosis. She had never even heard of it! But when Michele Davis got sicker and sicker, she and her family were very grateful that FHN Infectious Disease Specialist Robert Geller, MD, MS, FACP, FIDSA, connected the dots...
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Amalia Viveros

From Wheelchair to Walking Again … Thanks to FHN Orthopaedics

When Amalia Viveros came to visit her son Ramon in Dakota, he was concerned about both her physical and emotional well-being. Suffering with osteoarthritis in her knees for about five years, she was in a great deal of pain. Steroid injections...
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Mackenzie Biehl

High School Student Ready to Put Best Food Forward with Help from FHN Podiatry

When Mackenzie Biehl was in kindergarten, her mom, Stacy, noticed a bony bump on her feet below each big toe. She took note of it at the time, but figured it was “nothing to worry about.” As time passed, the ‘bumps’ didn’t go away...
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Paul Fosler

Life Looks Brighter after My Battle with COVID-19

He didn’t know he was exposed to COVID-19, so when Paul Fosler felt tired and “off,” he dismissed it. By day four of his fatigue, Paul’s wife Kristine urged him to get tested and got a referral to FHN’s Acute Respiratory Clinic...
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Jennifer Robinson

FHN Family Counseling Patient Heals Herself While Helping Others

Being a client at the FHN Family Counseling Center helped Jennifer learn many of the skills she incorporates in her job. “I was a patient before I was an employee,” she shares. “I have bipolar disorder and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and I am not ashamed..."
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Trimble Family

Having a Baby during COVID-19

COVID-19 or not, babies are still being born - and FHN is working hard to keep the experience safe and exciting for new parents. Take Amy and Scott Trimble, for example. The couple tried for six years to give their daughter, Charli, a brother or sister..."
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Delbert Bunker

Radiation Therapy Helps Delbert Bunker Beat Prostate Cancer

Delbert Bunker, Jr., has been a farm worker, a custodian, a maintenance man, and a courtesy driver, but one thing he never expected to be was a cancer patient. When a test reported that his prostate-specific antigen (PSA) numbers were elevated..."
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Colleen Edler

Pearl City Patient Recovers from COVID-19

It wasn't the customary COVID-19 symptoms that sent Colleen Edler to FHN's Emergency Department, but after four days of excruciating headache pain, she knew something was very wrong. She explains, "I had the worst headache of my life..."
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Brad Gusloff

Brad Gets New Knees Despite Pandemic

When Brad Gusloff went to visit his son in Colorado, he couldn't keep up with the rest of his family. "I was miserable," Brad explains. "The pain was relentless." He started asking everybody he saw with a cane or a walker if they had knee surgery...
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Debbie Oppold

Meniscus Surgery Helps Debbie Strike a Pose

All it took was a quick slip on the ice to tear Debbie Oppold's meniscus, a disk-shaped piece of cartilage that acts as a shock absorber inside the knee joint. "Every step hurt," Debbie explains, "So I called my family physician...
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Katy Lartz

FHN Nurse Hopes Her Experience Helps Her Patients

It came out of nowhere. With no family history of cancer, no risk factors, and nothing but time on her side, Katy Lartz was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012 at age 30. Her eyes still fill with tears when she talks about it...
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Joe Mastroianni

Treatment ‘Took the Pain Away’ for Retired Engineer

Joe Mastroianni was enjoying retirement from Honeywell with his artist wife, Carolyn, when horrible back pain took him to his then-general practitioner. After referral to a urologist, he got a diagnosis no one wants: His back pain was actually prostate cancer that had spread...
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Brenda Berning

Emergency Care, Cancer Care, and Wound Care – All at FHN

4 inches wide. 10 inches long. 3 inches deep. That was the approximate size of Brenda Berning’s wound when she came to The Center for Wound Healing at FHN Memorial Hospital. She had complicated ovarian cancer surgery...
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Carol Richards

Winning the Fight Against Cancer for 18 Years

Carol Richards has been fighting cancer for eighteen years, and she takes it all in stride. She is simply not one to sit and dwell. She will be on preventive chemotherapy for the rest of her life. She knows it. She accepts it. And she deals with it...
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Julie Wenzel

Hip Surgery Brings 'Immediate Relief'

Julie Wenzel was in a lot of pain. Her back and hip hurt, making it difficult to walk, and it was cramping her style. A busy woman, she had a long list of things to do...
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Don Graybill

'You Can't Milk Cows With a Bum Shoulder'

It was evening chore time, and Donald Graybill was moving cows in the barnyard, just like he does every day. And then, just like that, he fell. He knew by the numbness in his shoulder and how his arm just ‘hung there’ that it wasn’t good.
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Lori Willging

Emergency Surgery Saves Local Woman’s Life

On the morning of April 11, Lori Willging didn’t know what a splenectomy was. Later that day, she had one -- and it saved her life. Lori had gone to work and was sitting at her desk crunching numbers. She noticed a gurgle high in her stomach…
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Valerie Schubert

'I promised the kids I would come back with healthy legs.'

Valerie Schubert's "normal" day doing missionary work in Honduras includes lots of walking. From inner-city streets to the hills and mountains of rural villages, she and her husband cover many miles a day serving hundreds of at-risk children through their foundation, Casa de Luz (House of Light).
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Jim Kerr

TruMatch® Makes Jim Kerr A Happy Camper

Before his knee replacement surgery, Jim Kerr couldn't mow the lawn, climb a ladder, or participate in some of his favorite campground activities. TruMatch from FHN changed all that...and now he is doing things he hadn't done in quite some time.
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Shane Stouffer

The Test Was No Big Deal — Yet It Ended Up Saving My Life

"I would never have done it if it wasn't required by my health and wellness program." That's what Shane Stouffer of Winslow said about the colonoscopy that, according to him and his doctors, saved his life.
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Josie McDermott

"I Am So Grateful That FHN Helped Keep Me On The Playing Field"

Josie McDermott heard her knee 'pop' at club soccer practice. It didn’t really hurt, so the determined standout just kept playing. When it started to buckle later, she knew she needed a professional opinion. That's when she turned to FHN orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Greg Dammann.
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Tom Klemm

FHN Team Puts Alderman Back On His Feet

Ten years ago, Tom Klemm missed a step and hurt his foot. For years the discomfort would come and go, agitated by exercise or long shopping trips. When the pain got more frequent and severe, Tom decided he needed expert help.
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Larry Feiner

"My Heart Was In the Right Place"

Larry Feiner was sitting at his desk at Midwest Bank, working on the computer like any standard workday. But when a sharp, numbing pain radiated across his chest two days in a row, he knew it was anything but normal.
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Catherine Banks

Happy for the ER "Just Down the Street"

Two decades ago, Catherine Banks had a scary long-term episode with hives that was never fully resolved. After that incident, her doctor told her to hurry to the emergency room if she ever experienced swelling of the tongue or difficulty breathing. Twenty years later, she recalled his advice...
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Dorothy Ellinor

FHN Hospice Care Helps Stitch Together Final Memories

Soon after Dorothy Ellinor entered FHN's hospice program, her daughter, Diane Dietmeier, found 20 embroidered quilt squares in her mother's linen closet. Dorothy had always wanted to make a quilt with them, but hadn't quite gotten to it. Pragmatists at heart, the two looked at each other and said, "We better get going."
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Porter Krolow

Introducing Porter's Top-notch Tonsil Team

Porter Krolow had a typical childhood ailment. Trouble was, he didn't know it. Come to find out, he needed surgery.
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Jerry Gill

Putting Miles On My Model A...

Jerry Gill fought head and neck cancer for six years before coming to The Center for Wound Healing at FHN. Because the cancer was of unknown origin, he needed broad radiation. This procedure caused significant side effects, including stubborn infections that simply were not healing.
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Pat Willging

FHN Was Her Lifesaver

She usually has a lot of energy. But three years ago around Labor Day, Pat Willging was exhausted. "Just beat," she said, "and out of it after putting in my shift at CONTACT. I sat for hours. When I got up, I collapsed in a heap. It was the start of quite an ordeal."
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Jeff Lyrenmann

Shoulder Surgery Is A Weighty Issue — At FHN, We Help Lighten The Load

Jeff Lyrenmann is an award-winning competitor and tenacious trainer. The owner of IPF Training in Freeport makes his living helping people maximize their fitness and meet their CrossFit goals. So when he heard a loud 'pop' in his right shoulder in August 2013, he knew it could be a serious injury - one that could impact his livelihood and his passion.
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Vivienne Yvonne Marten

A Star Is Born...With The Help Of FHN's OB Team

When Vivienne Yvonne Marten made her debut six weeks early, she made it very clear she was ready for primetime. Though premature, she was healthy overall and a big hit with her mommy and daddy. With a few days' time amid the skillful care of FHN's OB team, the 'tiny but terrific' infant was able to avoid a trip to Rockford and stay close to home.
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Brian Stewart

"I Just Wasn't Feeling Right — But I Didn't Want To Make A Big Deal Out Of Nothing"

Personally, I am grateful for the security I get from knowing FHN is right here when I need help. If it wasn't for the professional and insightful care I received in the FHN Emergency Room, I might not be here.
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Ronnie Bush

Diabetes Education: Nutritional Management

Ronnie had attended classes with Certified Diabetic Educator Nicolette Drane years ago, but needed a refresher. "I knew I was tempting fate by not eating right."
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