GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A long journey is far from over for a woman from the Upper Peninsula whose been in a Grand Rapids hospital for a month. She became ill last fall and is now preparing for transplant surgery. But now, she's planning for something else, as well.
"This [past] Thursday, he was really intent on going on a nice evening walk," Kaitlyn Sterling said.
There was a special reason Stan Myaskovskiy took her on a walk last week outside Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital. He got on one knee and proposed to Kaitlyn after five years of dating.
They met in a martial arts class, and Stan says she made the first move.
"We've been through some crazy stuff, and some really good times," he said during the proposal.
"It was a complete surprise for me," she said. "But it sounded like everyone else knew."
Kaitlyn has been a patient at the hospital for the last month. She was diagnosed with antisynthetase syndrome last fall after feeling sick and visiting urgent care. Following the sudden autoimmune diagnosis, she had low oxygen levels and was put in a medically-induced coma for four months.
Now, she's receiving intensive therapy at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital and still using a ventilator to help her breathe while getting ready for a double lung transplant.
"It sounds like it should be happening pretty soon. I'm hoping to transfer to [University of Michigan] for the surgery," Kaitlyn said.
She's been away from her home for months, and Stan's been making the drive every other week to Grand Rapids to see her. When he proposed, he said he wants to be fully committed to Kaitlyn in her medical journey.
"I think it's important that you know that you're supported and that you're loved and that you mean the absolute world. And there's nobody else that I want to take care of, and nobody else I want to spend my life with taking care of you, and whatever hardships are ahead of us and whatever good times are ahead of us, I'm fully committed to you," Stan said during the proposal. "You're my life partner and the person I want to spend my life with. So I just want to know if you'd be my wife?"
A wedding date hasn't been set yet, but Kaitlyn is thinking about a late summer or early fall wedding. Stan said they're both looking forward to going home.
"I'm looking forward, I know, to helping Kaitlyn recover. And so, I think that's going to be really important for us and, and definitely, you know, getting back whatever semblance of a normal life we can," he said.
They have a GoFundMe page for her medical costs here.
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