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After brain tumor removal, retiree looks ahead to living a normal, busy life again

by Molly Cartwright

Mike Patterson and his wife, Cecilia, know that Mike was able to make as much progress as he did during his time at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital because of his positive attitude.

In May, doctors discovered and removed a malignant tumor in Mike’s brain. Without the surgery, Mike would have had only 4 months to live.

A day and a half after the surgery, Mike started to regress. He was unable to speak or move the right side of his body and needed emergency surgery for a bleed in his brain. Although nobody could have foreseen Mike’s tumor or the complications that followed, Mike, an active retiree, worked hard to get back to his normal life.

“He told the doctor he was going to play the cards he was dealt,” Cecilia said.

The progress Mike made during his 22 days as an inpatient at Mary Free Bed surprised his doctors and therapists. When he started therapy, he couldn’t write his own name. By the third day, his therapists had him walking outside and doing exercises.

“They worked me,” Mike said. “I had the determination.”

Mike worked with physical, occupational, speech and recreational therapists at Mary Free Bed for several sessions a day.

“I gave it my all,” Mike said, adding that the best part of therapy for him was seeing the results.

Cecilia and Mike also were grateful for the nursing staff, the entire team of doctors and therapists and the prayers from their community.

Mike’s therapists also recognized that his emotional well-being needed attention. After learning Mike loved to fish, therapists arranged to take him fishing at nearby Reeds Lake as a therapeutic outing. They also arranged for him to visit with friends over coffee at a McDonald’s in Caledonia (his hometown).

“That was good planning,” Cecilia said, explaining that it helped Mike ease into life after Mary Free Bed.

According to Mike and Cecilia, the therapists were professional, compassionate and caring, and they treated each person as if he or she were their only patient.

“They made him excel,” Cecilia said.

Mike said he enjoyed seeing other patients improve at Mary Free Bed.

“It gives me such pride to see other patients’ progress,” he said.

Mike and Cecilia intend to stay focused on the positive as they move forward with their lives, keeping busy with church work, spending time with their 5 kids and 12 grandchildren and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.


Julie Scheving

I love, love, love the story of Mike and his recovery! The therapists at MFB do amazing work with “us.” Just another wonderful story of the great work they do! Thank you for sharing!

Maggie Patterson

Unfortunately, my Grandpa (Mike Patterson) passed away on January 24, 2013. I would like to thank the staff of Mary Free bed for giving him the strength and courage to live 20 months after his diagnosis of Glioblastoma in May 2011. The median survival rate for this type of cancer is 12 months, the fact that a 76 year old man lived 20 is outstanding. Thank you so much for giving us an amazing almost two extra years with him, my family and I are forever grateful.


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