• Sharon Krause on a changing life

    Editor’s note: This is the the third story from a brain injury survivor and his thoughts. To read more personal stories, please visit the index.

    In January 2006, an MRI showed that I had a brain tumor. In February 2006 my tumor bled, paramedics rushed me to the hospital, and I survived emergency brain surgery (craniotomy). Most of the tumor was removed and it was determined that it was benign. However, I was left with balance issues (which confined me to a wheelchair) and ataxia on my entire right side–from my eyes to my toes.  I was angry with my neurosurgeon because he saved my life, only for me to be left in this condition.

    Your life can change in a minute, but the road to acceptance and recovery is slow. The doctor may have told you that whatever you are going to recover, will happen in the first six months. BUT, although it may be slow, you can recover after that time. On St. Patrick’s Day, 2006, I discovered that I was unable to clap (a minor inconvenience). But, four years later (again on St. Patrick’s Day) I found myself clapping. I don’t think I did anything to bring this about; I just  think my brain had healed enough to be able to clap again.

    After several months of physical therapy, I was able to walk using a rolling walker. But that was no small endeavor. In the early days of PT, I hated getting out of my wheelchair and walking with my walker. It was so exhausting (I had to stop half way through a short walk to rest) and scary (what if I fell?). Today, when I think of those early days, I know I have come a long way.

    A rolling walker offers its own challenges. Some sidewalks have an incline. Going down the incline is trublesome for me; going up is not as problematic. Able-bodied people automatically,  and without any thought, compensate for this, but people like me have to think about how they are going to handle the obstacle. My walker has handbreaks and I put them on when I have to go downhill and use it as a regular walker.

    After months of speech therapy I was able to write with my left hand (I use to be right handed). The hospital staff was clever. They started me using my left hand before I could protest that I couldn’t. I have found that heavier utensils work better for me.

    I also received months of occupational therapy. It was in OT that I learned “releasing” is not as easy as it looks. I was supposed to throw a tennis ball at a target. I threw the ball as hard as I could. You can imagine my astonishment when I looked down at my hand and the ball was still in it.

    In November 2006 an MRI showed that my tumor was growing again. I had my second craniotomy in December 2006, more of the tumor was removed, and it was then determined that it had changed into a cancerous tumor. I went through radiation and chemotherapy.

    In April of 2010, I started having problems with double vision. It was discovered that my tumor was growing again. I underwent cyberknife and chemotherapy. I am still on chemotherapy and will be on it for at least another year.

    I have a lot better attitude than I did the first time around. I still have a lot of work ahead of me, but I know I can do it, with Christ’s help.

     — Sharon Krause

    NOTE:

    Sharon Krause died March 13, 2013

    Her cancer returned.

    OBITUARY:

    SHARON A. KRAUSE, 58, of Fort Wayne, was called home to the arms of her loving heavenly Father by Jesus on Wednesday, March 13, 2013. Born Jan. 25, 1955, in Chicago, she was a daughter of John and Luella (Karvinen) Hausner. She served Zion Lutheran Academy for many years as preschool director and teacher and as office manager. She was a member of Zion Lutheran Church, Fort Wayne. Surviving are her husband, William; son, Matthew (Katie); grandson, Dylan; and sister, Joanne (Edward) Rush of Chicago; as well as nieces, a nephew, and many friends. She was preceded in death by her brother, John Hausner; and sister, Mary Lou Borowicz. Funeral service is 2 p.m. Monday, March 18, 2013, at Zion Lutheran Church, 2313 S. Hanna (at Creighton), with calling two hours prior to the service. Pastor Douglas Punke officiating. Calling also from 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday, March 17, 2013, at Zion Lutheran Church. Burial in Concordia Cemetery Gardens. In lieu of flowers, memorials requested to Zion Lutheran Church or Turnstone Center.

     Would you like to submit your own story of surviving and recovery? We are accepting both written and video submissions! Just sent it along with your name to Grace at gconyers {at} insanitek {dot} net. We will assume that any submission has your expressed permission to share it.

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