On a recent visit to Betty Brinn Children’s Museum in Milwaukee, Elise Krause showed the non-stop energy of a typical 4-year-old, covering every square inch of the exhibits.
“She’s so friendly and outgoing. She’s a very strong, very strong little girl,” said her mother, Kate Krause.
“They told us that your daughter has this rare malignant brain tumor, and with treatment she could live maybe a couple of months to a year or two,” said Kate Krause.
Her parents agreed to go through with a clinical drug trial after the first treatment failed to work.
“She’s never known to be sad, she’s never known to be scared,” said Kate Krause.
Twice a week, for close to 2 years, Elise had to take chemo through a port in her chest, while her family and medical staff hoped the latest round would be successful.
Since the new drug worked, Elise was able to finish her treatments about a year ago, and now visits Children’s Hospital for an MRI every three months.
Her latest scan was clean, leaving her pediatric oncologist at Children’s Hospital, Dr. Sachin Jogal full of hope.
“I would look at her leading as full a life as anybody else, and she’s already proving it,” said Jogal.
Jogal says the tumor covered about half of her bain.
“I think relatively speaking, I’m very amazed,” said Jogal.
It’s a rare form of cancer, known as glioblastoma, and the odds of surviving weren’t good.
Elise’s father looks back on the last four years of her life as a true story of strength for a child who didn’t know any better.
“She’s never known to be sad, she’s never known to be scared,” said Steve Krause, father.
During the experience, the family turned to a web site, www.caringbridge.org as an outlet to update family and friends on Elise’s progress.
Their story reached friends they never knew they had from across the country, and into parts of Canada, as people continued to share the messages with others.
“A lot of people are like, ‘how can you do it, how can you go through it. Well, you don’t have a choice, you have to. You can sit there and complain, and why us, why us, that’s not going to make anything better,” said Kate Krause.
Elise is doing better, and like any girl her age, if full of spirit and curiosity, as she’s seen playing with her younger brother Ben on this day at the Children’s museum.
Still, it’s a parent’s job to worry, and Kate Krause is forced to balance optimism with a cautious future, knowing the chances of the cancer returning are high, and the disease could return even stronger.
“However old she is, I’m always going to think that, I’m always going to think in the back of my head that something could come back,” said Kate Krause.
As for Elise, she’s busy doing what most of us should all be doing; living life.
“We just look at every day as a blessing,” said Kate Krause.