Diagnosed with ALS, Fleissner’s summary is of faith, wish and love
December 25, 2016 - als
Not distant divided are a sauna and a family’s four-bedroom house, flanked by hiss and blueberry plots. The categorical apportionment of a residence was built around 1889 and was partial of an aged unfeeling farm, and while a extraneous has a complicated look, a inside is rustic. Kelly jokes a residence went from looking “townhouse-ish” to some-more “cabin-ish,” remodeled after solidified pipes detonate a few years ago and flooded a place.
Fleissner, a former standout Minnesota Duluth football player, sat down during his dining room list on Wednesday to pronounce about his ALS diagnosis. Amyotrophic parallel sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s Disease is a fast on-going and deadly neurological disease.
What does one contend to a chairman who is unwell and appears to have no hope?
Just a few feet away, tucked in a shelf subsequent an aged wooden cabinet, were stacks of design frames, books and house games, including a classical “Sorry!”
It’d be easy for Fleissner to play that game, yet that’s not his style. The box seemed dusty.
Fleissner isn’t looking for sympathy, yet he appreciates support, and he has a summary to share during this Christmas season.
“Every day is a gift, given we never know when your time is up,” Fleissner said. “So make a many of it.”
Living a full life
Nobody is going to credit Fleissner of not vital a full life, yet given his ALS diagnosis on Sept. 20, he has had some-more time to consider and reflect. There is reduction time for sweating details, some-more time for hugs and handshakes. He sees his children — Anna, 26; Sarah, 23; and 20-year-old Emily, a UMD soccer actor — some-more mostly now. Their Christmas stockings hang from a dining room china cabinet.
Time seems some-more fleeting, moments some-more precious, and Fleissner is perplexing to make a many of them.
“I’m perplexing to grow in my faith, No. 1,” pronounced Fleissner, a member of St. Lawrence Church in Piedmont. “And I’m perplexing to be a best father we can, be a best father we can and be a best chairman we can.”
Fleissner, 59, quit operative in Sep after some-more than 30 years with a city, many recently as Duluth’s upkeep operations manager, yet he won’t strictly retire until February. He is now on ill leave, and his colleagues with a City of Duluth Supervisory Association donated vacation time so he could extend his ill leave.
“That was so generous,” he said.
Fleissner is from Anoka, Minn. He grew adult vital by lakes and rivers, assisting encourage his adore of a outdoors. He graduated from Anoka High School in 1975. A defensive back, he played during UMD from 1975-78 and was a captain his comparison year. He set a then-UMD record with 8 interceptions in 1977.
Fleissner played with a likes of Terry Egerdahl, Ted McKnight, Pat Kubat and Cal Barr. Fleissner’s organisation of buddies called themselves a “Quags,” brief for quagmires.
“I favourite Malosky,” Fleissner pronounced of mythological UMD football manager Jim Malosky. “We came from tough coaches during Anoka, so we was used to that, and he was charismatic. we felt we would have a good possibility to play.”
Malosky didn’t unequivocally need to cut anybody. They cut themselves, quitting given they couldn’t hoop it. Fleissner pronounced Malosky could be mean, yet after practice, he would come in with a grin on his face.
Fleisner smiled when asked if players possibly desired or hated Malosky, and afterwards said, “Same day.”
After Fleissner warranted his forestry grade from a University of Minnesota, he returned to Duluth, where he juggled peculiar jobs, including work on tugboats. He had a three-year coaching army in a early 1980s underneath Malosky.
Betty Fleissner, 58, is a 1976 Duluth Denfeld connoisseur who played volleyball, basketball and softball during UMD. She knew she wasn’t going to play a lot, so she entered into jaunty training. That’s where she met Kelly, afterwards an partner football coach. They were married in 1985.
“I usually asked her out one day, she pronounced ‘yes,’ and a rest is utopia,” Kelly Fleissner said. “Half a dates were personification badminton.”
Fleissner worked off and on for a city as a temp from 1978-83 before entrance on full-time in 1985, operative in park maintenance. He could be during Park Point one day, Indian Point a next, and usually about everywhere in between.
“I knew when we was 15 that we wanted to be a forester,” Fleissner said. “It was something opposite any day. we ran a sawmill, we ran a tree nursery, all kinds of stuff. It was really diverse. It was a good job. we met a lot of good people, and a city is beautiful.”
Bad news comes
Fleissner was strictly diagnosed with ALS on Sept. 20 during Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. He pronounced he had a flattering good thought what he had before a diagnosis, carrying finished rough tests and research.
“I went online and checked all kinds of things,” Fleissner said. “Then when we checked ALS, we said, ‘Oh, no.’ we had all a symptoms.’ ”
Emily Fleissner pronounced she knew after articulate with her mom following UMD’s soccer opener Sept. 1. She remembered a difference of her father, who always used to tell her, “Fleissners don’t complain,” yet it was hard.
“No one skeleton for this,” Emily Fleissner said. “I cried a lot on a approach home, and still do.”
Fleissner competence have had ALS for adult to a year before he was diagnosed.
Family, friends and co-workers beheld a change in him starting then. His voice was raspy or slurred. He was fatigued, and his muscles twitched. He’s mislaid 30 pounds.
“It sounds like I’m drunk, all a time,” Fleissner said. “I’m losing control of it.”
Then Fleissner said, “It’s not about trying,” sketch a giggle from his wife.
The Fleissners checked into Lyme disease, given a year before, they found a tick. He had Lyme illness in a tumble of 2015, yet it was treated. To serve mystify matters, his prostate cancer returned after he had medicine in 2010 to mislay it.
“Can we get (snake)bit anymore?” Betty Fleissner said.
Kelly Fleissner was about to start cancer treatments when ALS was discovered, putting a reason to a cancer treatments.
“I’m not symptomatic,” Kelly Fleissner pronounced of a cancer. “So no, I’m not going to spend 7 weeks in deviation and take hormone treatment. Since it’s not impacting me yet, we’re on reason for that.”
Fleissner pronounced he had his share of concussions personification football, yet according to a ALS Association, there is no transparent couple between ALS and ongoing dire encephalopathy (CTE). Most people rise ALS between a ages of 40 and 70. While ALS is 20 percent some-more common in men, it can impact anyone, regardless of competition or ethnicity.
“That’s a frightful thing about ALS,” Betty Fleissner said. “Is it genetic? They don’t know. There’s so many some-more questions than answers.”
About 6,000 new cases of ALS are diagnosed any year, with as many as 20,000 Americans carrying a illness during any one time. Part of a reason those numbers are comparatively low is a grave existence of ALS: a life outlook is 2-5 years from a time of diagnosis as a illness takes control of a shaken complement and causes it to misfire, creation it increasingly formidable to speak, swallow and eventually breathe.
Part of a Fleissners’ disappointment is there is so small out there to help. He is holding a drug “Riluzole,” yet that competence usually boost presence by dual to 3 months. Fleissner earnings to Mayo in Jan and is anticipating to be enclosed in a branch dungeon trial.
Scott Lyons, a former UMD football actor and coach, not to discuss an ex-Duluth military chief, is good friends with a Fleissners. Lyons pronounced he isn’t a “fatalist,” and knows Kelly Fleissner isn’t, either. The dual used to go on cross-country ski trips together. He remembers Fleissner as “one heated football player,” yet off a field, about as laidback and good as they come.
“We crossed paths during UMD, and we’ve been friends ever since,” Lyons pronounced by phone. “He has a smashing family and is a good family man. He has always been a category guy. Everything he does is tip notch.”
The Fleissners removed how for years Kelly helped take caring of his brother, David, who suffered a critical mental illness about 20 years ago. Now some roles in a Fleissner domicile are being reversed, with Betty doing a snowblowing and Kelly doing some-more of a indoor chores.
“Kelly has always been a form to try to leave a universe a improved place,” pronounced Betty, who works as an instructor in UMD’s Applied Human Services Department. “He’d tell we to pronounce adult for what’s right and do a right thing, either it was during work or here, vocalization adult for those couldn’t pronounce up.”
The illness is already robbing her father of a autonomy he loves so much. He is no longer means to travel a dogs, one of his favorite activities, yet instead of home on a things he can’t do, he is focused on a things he can do.
An zealous outdoorsman, Fleissner went on a sport outing to a Platte River in Nebraska in November.
And dual weeks after Kelly’s ALS diagnosis, Betty designed a daddy-daughter dance for her father and children. She invited their closest friends over, illuminated candles and strung lights in a vital room to emanate a temporary ballroom. It was perfect. She and a girls any picked a song, and a dance was recorded. Sarah, their second child, went initial rather than always being stranded in a middle.
It was an romantic night.
“Making memories,” Betty said. “That was a special moment, given we usually don’t know.”
Kelly Fleissner attended UMD’s homecoming football diversion this tumble where he reacquainted with aged buddies, some he hadn’t seen in 30 years. It has meant a lot for him to watch his daughter, Emily, play soccer in a same track where he roamed a defensive delegate 40 years ago.
Emily Fleissner pronounced her father doesn’t like being a core of courtesy yet knows ALS is a harmful disease, and with a fast progression, these stories need to be told. She described her father as her hero, never angry how a diversion competence end, yet appreciating a fact he was means to play.
“I’ve wanted to be like him ever given we was young, and we still feel that way,” she said. “Even yet my father has no control over his physique unwell him, he has stayed unbelievably strong. He has never unsuccessful to uncover his adore for us, and we have never once seen him lay and feel contemptible for himself. He is a best father and purpose indication we could ever ask for. Now going forward, we can usually do a best with what we have, and that’s appreciating any notation we have left together.”