Cody and Callie Krause live in rural North Dakota and enjoy spending time outside with their kids. Thanks to the amazing healthcare professionals in rural ND and Fargo, Cruz (their oldest son) was saved. This was only half his journey, the rest is still unwritten. If you want to reach out to Callie, you can find her on Facebook at Callie Krause. Best Wishes and remember you are not alone!
One day is all it takes to change the course of your life. You’re busy running errands and doing a million different things. Then suddenly, everything that day becomes important. Every detail makes a difference. Everything in life has to change.
My family is still recovering from my oldest son’s stroke last April. He is a survivor and he grows stronger every day. We have made it through so much, but we’re not perfect. We breakdown in frustration, we cry, and at times we question why it had to be him. Yet, we know we have to continue to grow. We learn how to change with every challenge.
What I’ve realized is I can’t change what has happened, but I can learn from it and I can adapt to it.
Cruz was five when he had a basilar artery stroke. Before that day, my husband and I had spent time planning his life in our heads. He would be participating in football, basketball, and wrestling. He is tall for his age so we were excited to see him participate in all the sports we loved. We could see him playing with his friends and learning to compete.
In one moment, what I had planned for my child was wiped out and replaced with sadness. Since he is on blood thinner due to a clotting disorder that had partially caused his stroke, contact sports were deemed out of his ability. So our mindset had to change. If he couldn’t play football, let’s teach him to bowl. If he can't play basketball, we’ll enroll him in archery. If Cruz can’t play baseball, let’s help him to be the best swimmer in town. The opportunities that we have for him in a rural area are limited, but we found activities that he could participate in with friends. We opened our minds and accepted that our lives had to be different to be better.
Cruz is safe and happy and most of all, he is living his life. Sure, there are challenges ahead. I dread the permission slips that come home for basketball, wrestling, and football. It breaks my heart to tell him no, but I also get to remind him that he has other opportunities. He can still be one of the boys, he just has a few more rules to follow.
If I were to impart knowledge to parents who are struggling with their child’s stroke or with their child’s future, I would say help them dictate their own future, push them to be the best they can, and never let them feel inferior.
Lastly, I have found music to be healing. Not only for me but for everyone in my family. I recently came across a song by Maren Morris called Bones. The chorus talks about the trials and tribulations we all face. She sings “When the bones are good, the rest don't matter. Yeah, the paint could peel, the glass could shatter. Let it rain 'cause you and I remain the same. When there ain't a crack in the foundation. Baby, I know any storm we're facing. Will blow right over while we stay put. The house don't fall when my bones are good”.
My family is my house. My husband and I are the bones. It's ok to feel grief and frustration but we need to stay strong together and listen to each other. The year after a stroke can wear on you but you have to be a team. You are essential to your child’s stroke recovery. You can get through this! A stroke can change so much about life, but a child’s future does not have to be on that list.
As Always Stay Strong and Smile on,
The Krause Family-
Cody, Callie, Cruz and Caysen
Tell us: Do you have a song that gives you strength? Register for the Support Network and reply in the comments below.