MANASSAS, Va. (WDVM) — Through the eyes of many she is looked at as warrior. Kristina Schnack Kotlus, a mom of three, survived two brain cancer diagnoses.
“I was originally diagnosed in 2013 with a “Posterior Fossa Ependymoma” and Posterior Fossa is the back part of your head. It just started off with really bad headaches,” said Schnack Kotlus.
Schnack Kotlus said the symptoms got worse over time, leading her to find a new Neurologist.
“I ended up having 16 hours of brain surgery, at Georgetown and followed that up with six weeks of radiation at Duke, then in 2017 the tumors came back in my spine spreading down the central nervous system,” said Schnack-Kotlus.
Schnack-Kotlus said after doing a full year of chemotherapy, she still home schooled her children along with the help of her mother. From that process she said she became more organized.
“The biggest thing for me has been our philosophy of education, which is my job is to empower my children to learn. When they’re little you teach them to read, teaching them math skills, and everything like that but as they’re older it’s more about encouraging them and pursuing their interest. It’s more about discussing with them the books we’re reading” said Schnack Kotlus.
According to the American Cancer Society, about 18,020 people will die each year from brain and spinal cord tumors; but Schnack Kotlus lived to tell her story. Three words she uses to describe her defeating this journey are fortunate, hopeful and excited.
Schnack Kotlus also released a book to help other cancer patients deal with their difficult diagnosis.