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Angela's Story

Making a Difference in Our Community 

Learn how Caring Circle services and the Hanson Hospice Center supported one local family.
Angela Schlaack share's the story of her husband's final journey with acute myeloid leukemia.

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schlaack-family-photographAngela shares -

Mike and I had an amazing life over two decades, with winding roads that included the ups and downs that are the joys of every partnered life. But then came a new situation like no other when Mike was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. Our journey was quickly filled with detours and uncertainty.

And then we found Caring Circle.

Mike and I discovered that the intense pain of treatments could be better managed with the Caring Circle Palliative Care team. They improved Mike’s quality of life, and although his medical team was widespread, we now had a local caring community to help meet his needs.

And it was not just the physical pain that we needed help with, but also emotional support and the many decisions and choices. Caring Circle helped guide us through this part of our journey. Mike and I were able to have the important conversations with support from our care team, ensuring that his wishes were met through the end.

After 10 months of treatment and clinical trials, and never achieving remission, Mike made the decision to stop treatment and seek hospice care. Hospice is not about dying. It’s about living life. After thirteen precious days under hospice care, Mike moved to the Merlin and Carolyn Hanson Hospice Center.

Together our family was able to plan for life and together we thrived in Mike’s final days. He had been adamant that my last memory of him in our family home would not be his body being removed. Our time at Hanson Hospice Center was brief, but such a comfort. Within a few hours of arriving for his final stay, Mike died, at 45 years young.

I sat, holding his hand with a deep peace that we were together as we walked this journey. Along the way, because I had support from Caring Circle, we fulfilled Mike’s wishes both in life and in death. It was such an amazing gift to Mike and our entire family. I would love for others to have the same support we did through this difficult time.

Caring Circle services did not end with his death, as they continued to support my family in bereavement.Camp Lifetime kids at butterfly exhibit

The hope I’ve gained from Caring Circle is something that I want to share with others. Now, working at Lory’s Place I see it every day in our work--- how we are bringing hope and educating the community about dying and grief.

I’ve learned that grief is a lifelong process that doesn’t go away, but you can find your way again. And by doing work with Lory’s Place and being a part of Caring Circle family, I feel like Mike’s life is not in vain.

Each year, more people like Mike who face serious illnesses are able to spend their final days at the Merlin and Carolyn Hanson Hospice Center comfortably, creating treasured memories with their families in a home-like atmosphere. Insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid don’t begin to cover all of the basic expenses, let alone the exceptional care that is provided.

Each generous gift to Caring Circle will help us provide the type of compassionate and holistic care that helps families find peace during this difficult journey.

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