Mike Elliott was born and raised in Escanaba in the central part of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Following high school graduation, he moved to Janesville, Wisconsin working for GM. He became a Badger fan and is to this day. Upon returning home to the UP after layoffs from GM, he became a salesman for a Siding and Windows company, which he eventually bought. In 1993 we met through one of my brothers (although we graduated and knew of each other). We married in 1997. I had four children who lived in the area. We enjoy being grandparents to 10 grand children from Florida to North Carolina, with most residing in the UP. In 2015, I retired and Mike semi-retired and in 2017 we began an unexpected journey which brought us to Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee.

Be Aware: Mike is a quiet man in many ways, but he is also very social and actively volunteers for many organizations. Early in our marriage we both had environmental allergies and saw a doctor in LaCrosse, Wis. due to the unavailability of an ENT where we lived. That changed finally, and we began seeing an ENT locally. Mike also had issues with ringing ears so each year he saw the ENT. In 2017 at his dental cleaning, the hygienist found a lesion on his tongue. The hygienist told him he needed to see his ENT and a biopsy was done. He was prescribed some mouthwash and the biopsy showed no signs of cancer. He never showed me the lesion or told me any changes that might have been happening – that’s who Mike is.

Be Proactive: If Mike were writing this today, I hope he would say, “BE PROACTIVE” with your health. The most proactive he’s ever been is to go to the doctor regularly for physicals and if the doctor said to go and get fish oil, he would, and he’d take the does he told him, so he had a lot of medications and supplements. He resisted exercise (except for times of walking regularly), resisted eating healthy, among other things. When he became a Type 2 diabetic, he just took the medication. When his numbers showed it inching higher and the doctor’s office called to tell him they would prescribe another medication, he just said OK.

Be Thankful: As I write this, we have been through a diagnosis of cancer, a surgery with what we understood is “the dream team” of doctors at Froedtert Hospital (I had never heard of this hospital, much less knew how to spell it!), more than six weeks of radiation and chemo, falls, and now pneumonia. Since July 4, Mike has been hospitalized and it is really hard to say, “I am thankful” but it doesn’t take long to start a list of what I’m thankful for: a family of God-fearing and loving people praying for us is first on the list, a family of parents, sisters, brothers, children and grandchildren caring for us, the experience of doctors at Froedtert who were dedicated to removing Mike’s cancer and the reconstruction of a new tongue, being able to walk and get up and down on his own only sums up some of the list. As we began this journey, COVID-19 was just hitting and it was weeks before we could think about visiting one another. As I write this, there have been highs and lows for three weeks. I was able to visit Mike for a couple days before COVID-19 visitation rules changed out of nowhere. I do not know what the future holds, but I know WHO holds it and I rest in Him.

Debbie Stiglitz and husband Mike, cancer patient
About the Author

Debbie grew up in a rural area outside of Escanaba, Mich. She began to work at a local church part time and took classes at the local community college. Having focused on business classes in high school, she had a lot of skills to work as an administrative assistant and in 1993, she began her career at the community college where she trained.

In 2015 she retired from the community college. With her husband’s recent cancer diagnosis, it is looking like there will be another downsizing move where they can be closer to the children and her husband’s aging parents.

Donald Sublett

Debbie, I was searching for your e-mail to see how your husband is doing. Would appreciate an update when/if you have time. Thanks! Don Sublett

Candy Koppitz

Mike and Debbie, we continue to pray for God's healing for Mike and strength for both of you and the family. Blessings to you!
Candy & Rich Koppitz

Donna Sigfrids

You are a brave woman, sister! I've watched how you've cared for Mike and taken on a huge challenge. God is faithful and many are praying for you and Mike! LOVE YOU!

Cherrie Kerwell

Dear Mike & Debbie,
I’m so sorry for what you are both going through. Sending love and prayers for Mike’s full recovery from the cancer.
Cherrie & Ken ❤️🙏