Kate’s Story

Kat KonneckeAt the beginning of this story, I am 28 years old, married with two children and another one on the way. In 2004, I went through a 9 hour brain tumor surgery along with my baby.

I suffered from an epidermoid, affecting my central nervous system. My first surgery was in September, 2003, without the tumor being fully removed. Unfortunately complications arose from this surgery meaning that I had a hemiparesis and lost the hearing in one ear. My balance was also severely damaged. In November, 2004, after the tumor caused feeling and movement in my right arm and leg to be lost, making walking in a straight line almost impossible, I had surgery to remove my tumor for the second time. I was also pregnant with my third child, my daughter at this time.

The removal of the tumor was successful. Whilst I was lying in the hospital recuperating the vague idea of running the marathon began to become a fixed ambition. I had been running for around 3 years and had been forced to stop running for three months after surgery until the birth of my daughter, early in March 2005. During this period of forced inactivity, I was learning to walk in a straight line again and my pregnant stomach was getting huge. To run again had become a fixed focus. I wanted to prove that I could, my running partner agreed to join me.

In later March, 2005, when my daughter was 2 weeks old, I started running again. At first I had difficulty, as my leg didn’t seem to work as it should, but 4 weeks later I was fit enough to take part in the 1/3 marathon in Berlin/Potsdam. After this run, my marathon preparations began in earnest, wearing-out several pairs of running shoes as well as my husband’s patience. I mentioned my intention to run the marathon to friends and was met with comments of “you’ll never make it” or “you’re insane!”. Being incredibly stubborn and needing to prove everyone wrong has spurred me on and made me doubly determined to finish. Being my first marathon, I did not have a set time goal. I only wanted to make it over the finish line. And make it I did. Since then I have run over 4 marathons as well as participating in various other running events.

I have now set other goals. Following a car accident, I had to be cut out of the wreckage, and due to the injuries I sustained, my marathon running thus came to a close. Four days after the cast came off, it was time to try something new; exercising my brain by studying psychology at university. I am currently working on my dissertation and work in a specialist epilepsy centre as well as at the Department of General Psychology at the University where I study. I am specializing in Neuropsychology. Being a single mum with three kids, three rabbits and three guinea pigs, surprisingly enough, I currently have no hobbies and little spare time.

My residual medical problems from my tumor have grown into a collection. Last scan there was a new discovery, an arachnoid cyst on the cerebellum and a suspected residual moid capsule on the 8th nerve.

I am deaf in one ear, have no balance on that side, ataxia, residual spastic hemiparesis, and I have an illness called dystonia in my right arm and a little in my leg (through surgery no. 1). It’s a fun illness- painful and makes you look like a total freak. Luckily treatable with botox.

Now it is 2013, I am older at 35, maybe wiser (jury is still out), and still going strong. . .Kate Konnecke

Update:    Kate did meet her goal, finishing her Neuropsychology studies at the university and is currently working in a Berlin hospital with patients. Recently in 2016, with persistent medical problems and current MRI’s predicting regrowth of tumors (epidermoid and arachnoid), she had a 3rd surgery.