West Tennessee Mom Fighting Brain Cancer Celebrates Mother Day
GIBSON COUNTY, Tenn. - It has a special mothers day for Kristie Wilke, a mother of six, who has been battling stage four brain cancer since January.
"About four months ago, I didn't know if I would live or be here this day," said Kristie Wilke.
Wilke was diagnosed brain cancer after years of migraines. Doctors found an aggressive tumor the size of a baseball and quickly moved her into surgery.
"When he (the doctor) gave me the results, he almost cried because it was very large and had obviously been there for years, but nobody had found it," said Wilke. "With the surgery they talked about a 30 percent chance that I would have major speech problems and a 15 percent chance I would have problems with the right side of my body. But when they met me afterwards, they said 'you're perfectly fine and you don't need us anymore.'"
Wilke had 75 percent of the tumor removed. While she was recovering, her community came together with local fundraisers.
After surgery and weeks of radiation, she survived with what doctors told her was "a sliver" of the tumor left. Family members said her recovery is nothing short of a miracle, made possible through the outpouring of prayer and support they have experienced since Wilke's diagnosis.
"It's definitely a renewed sense of hope," said husand Eddie Wilke. "We wouldn't be where we are today had it not been for all of the fundraisers and community support. It's like a 'weight of the world is off of your shoulders' kind of moment. Because literally three months ago, we were bringing her home from the hospital, and we'd have to help her up the steps. Now we know that she is okay."
The Wilke family told WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News that her illness has shed light on new perspectives they vow to live their life by.
"We would sit at home at night and watch TV while the kids were outside playing," said Wilke. "Now we sit outside and watch them play. It sounds like such a silly thing, but you don't want to miss out on any moment. You are not promised tomorrow, so you just want to soak up every second that you can with your kids and don't let those little things get in the way of enjoying your life. You never know when it could be over."
Wilke's battle is not over yet, as part of the tumor still remains. She said she hopes to return to teaching kindergarten one day after she has completely healed. There is a fund set up for the WIlke family at any Farmers and Merchants Bank underneath the 'Michelle York Account.'