‘God has gotten us through this’
It will be a special Thanksgiving this year for Diane and Frank Vorlicek.
The Vorliceks will be celebrating a miracle times two.
The Vorliceks have an attitude and that is one of meeting their health issues head on and solving them.
Diane received a kidney transplant on July 11, and her husband Frank came home from a rehab stint to their Blooming Prairie home on July 1. Since that time, Diane and Frank have resumed their busy schedules and have again conquered health challenges.
The 2019 year has given the Vorliceks a new lease on life and that is because of the attitudes they possess.
This Thanksgiving will indeed be special. The Vorliceks can celebrate this special holiday with their family, knowing that it is because of their deep faith, some caring medical personnel and a loving family that this husband and wife of 52 years has overcome some serious health setbacks.
Diane was fighting a kidney disorder and Frank was battling UTI (Urinary Track Infection). Both thought at times that their life was in the balance.
Diane says she is indebted to her daughter Auna Hildahl of Roberts, Wis. and to an unknown kidney donor.
Diane's first battle was with Lymphoma cancer 15 years ago. She is now a cancer survivor.
The Vorliceks will host a family Thanksgiving on Friday, a day following the traditional Thursday date. The meal will be served at 4 p.m., hopefully after the Blooming Prairie Blossoms football team has claimed the Class 1A football championship.
Diane and Frank plan on going around the table, asking everyone to share for what they are thankful.
The two July dates, Diane's transplant date of July 11, 2019 and Frank's discharge date from the Fieldcrest Care Center in Hayfield on July 1, 2019, will be forever be ingrained in the Vorliceks' memory bank.
After undergoing kidney dialysis for 2 1/2 years, Diane learned that she would be receiving a kidney transplant due to the love of two individuals who she calls her angels.
Diane's daughter Auna was not a match for a kidney transplant but she could donate a kidney to the National Registry and receive credit to have a kidney donated to her mother.
Diane said she hopes to put a letter together, thanking her anonymous donor.
"Thanksgiving is a time to pause and say thanks," said Diane. "We should also say thanks for our many gifts every day of the year," she added.
Diane last week visited doctors at Rochester's Mayo Clinic on a four-month checkup. She was given an "all-clear" after her numbers from a biopsy of her kidney were declared "super," said Diane. She will visit there again in one year.
Diane says she feels "like a new person" following her transplant. She said her energy has returned.
Previously, she said she was constantly tired and didn't want to talk to anyone. "Just let me be," Diane said. Now, she can go to her grandchildren's activities because her energy has returned.
The dialysis was performed three times a week, four hours each time.
The Vorliceks' four children, Auna, Heidi, Jason and Trent have been lovingly supportive of their parents during their health challenges.
Heidi is an LPN in Columbia Heights and has served as an unending resource for her parents during their journeys toward better health. She took her mother to St. Mary's Hospital in Rochester after her condition became dangerously serious.
Diane was then declared a candidate for a transplant. "Transplants are necessary for good health and every organ has its purpose," remarked Diane.
Frank and Diane totally agree that their faith and the many prayers they received from family, churches and the Blooming Prairie community led them to recovery.
The Vorliceks saluted Father Tom Niehaus, formerly of the St. Columbanus Catholic Church and Pastor Heidi Heimgartner of First Lutheran Church for their constant vigil of the Vorliceks' health.
Always ready with a humorous quip, Frank said "it seemed like people crawled out of the woodwork" to help Diane and him.
Two families, Bill and Joanne Neuman and Joanne's sister Becky Johnson, brought delicious evening meals to the Vorliceks every Wednesday for 1 1/2 years.
The journey to recovery for both Diane and Frank has been a struggle at times. During her fight with a kidney disease, Diane fell and broke her femur on her left side and then shattered her right hip. "It wasn't easy at times," Diane says.
Frank was a resident at the Fieldcrest Care Center for four months of rehabilitation. He said Diane visited him every day.
Because of his UTI, Frank said he "was out of my head" for about three weeks. "We thought he was going to die," Diane said. "I couldn't walk and had everything wrong with me," Frank relates.
Frank said he had lots of company when he was at Fieldcrest but can't remember who was there to visit him.
Frank turned the corner at Fieldcrest and praised the care center for providing him with lots of smiles and some extraordinary therapy.
Always a lover of gardening, Frank said he will not ever be as intense with this passion. "It's been an adjustment and there are changes in life you have to accept," he said.
Both Diane and Frank say they cry a lot. "God has gotten us through this and I don't know how some people can get through family emergencies without faith," says Frank.
Frank, a former teacher, is known for his sharp wit. "Sometimes, he gets annoying," Diane says with a smile. "I think we have become closer since our health problems," believes Frank.
"You've got to make the best of what you've got," says Diane saying a positive attitude by both has led to their recoveries.