Kathy C.

Kathy C.

Kathy Christiansen is a proud mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and a friend to many. She often speaks of the wonderful people in her life and is truly grateful for every single day. Her beaming smile is proof that a positive outlook can make a world of difference - even with her current health challenges.

Several months ago, Kathy had undergone a cervical spinal fusion. Kathy's surgeon recommended physical therapy to regain strength, improve mobility, and speed up her recovery. During a therapy session, Kathy's therapist saw a noticeable dragging of her right foot and weakening of her right arm. He advised Kathy to see her doctor as soon as possible.

Kathy did not waste any time. Kathy's daughter drove her to her doctor who quickly arranged an MRI appointment. "Unfortunately, it was cancelled at the last minute," Kathy recalled.

"We got in contact with my doctor who advised me to go to an emergency room.” The emergency room physician ordered tests to rule out a possible stroke. Other tests provided grave news.

Kathy had a brain tumor.

The devastating news was difficult to receive, but Kathy accepted the diagnosis. She moved forward with getting information on a plan of action.

“Everyday is precious,” Kathy reflected. "I remember what life was like before getting sick. I was walking a mile and a half everyday, gardening, enjoying the creative art of stained glass, going to the zoo, eating pizza, camping and watching her grandsons play baseball”.

Kathy's neurosurgeon referred her to San Joaquin Valley Rehabilitation Hospital for inpatient acute care therapies. The goal was to increase her strength to prepare her for radiation and chemotherapy. Kathy entered SJVRH unable to walk or raise her arm. She knew that to endure the next set of procedures, she needed to improve her overall strength. This was vital to her recovery.

Kathy worked tirelessly with her speech-language pathologists and occupational and physical therapists. “I’m amazed that in a short period of time, I’ve improved so much,” stated Kathy. “I can raise my right arm to wave at my daughter. I’ve even gained enough strength to slowly walk again.”

Kathy remained motivated by the activities she hoped to enjoy again, and the people she loves so much. She vows to stay upbeat and positive as much as possible, understanding the challenges that lie ahead. Kathy is determined to live her life to the fullest, not letting anything -- or any illness -- get in her way. And with her family, friends and doctors at her side, Kathy is well-equipped for success.