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  • Marlis Scholljegerdes laughs at herself and perseveres

    Marlis Scholljegerdes of Waseca, Minnesota has had many challenges to overcome. She has been a cancer survivor since 1988; and in the spring of 2012, she had a stroke that affected her right (dominant) arm and leg. She was hospitalized in the inpatient unit at Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute - Abbott Northwestern Hospital and then referred to outpatient therapy close to home at Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute - Owatonna.

    Scholljegerdes received physical, occupational and speech therapy, making excellent progress over a period of eight months. Then another setback occurred in February 2013, and she was readmitted to the Institute at Abbott Northwestern, unable to walk, grasp objects or use more than one or two words at a time. Once again, she returned to outpatient therapy in Owatonna and made great strides in her level of function. By May, she could climb stairs with supervision, manage her daily cares, and begin to read and write again.

    Unfortunately, in July 2013, a fall put Scholljegerdes back in the hospital, where she needed a craniotomy. Again, she returned to outpatient therapy in Owatonna and worked hard to regain the ability to walk, speak, read, take care of herself and perform household chores. She understandably struggled with fear, stress and sadness, as she dealt with the consequences of her physical limitations and the upheaval in her life.

    Scholljegerdes' supportive family, including husband Doug, has been by side throughout her successes and setbacks. She experienced several milestones while hospitalized or in outpatient therapy, including her 60th birthday, a wedding anniversary, and the birth of a granddaughter.

    According to her team of therapists in Owatonna - Denise Rokke, OTR, Sheryl Mans, PT, Ruth Nolte, PT and Caitlin Klukas, SLP - Scholljegerdes showed remarkable resilience and a firm determination to get herself to the next level, whatever that was at any point in time.

    The therapy staff at Owatonna has been deeply impressed by Scholljegerdes' positive attitude and sense of humor. She has inspired other patients with her empathy, her work ethic, and the ability to laugh at herself and keep at a task when at first she doesn't succeed.