DSS- Karen Francis

Dementia Success Stories:
“How we made a difference for self and those around us AFTER diagnosis”

A dementia brain-storming project by participants of PWD Perspective newsletter
Compiled and edited by Truthful L. Kindness (yes it is legal name)

  1. Label:  Karen Francis
  2. Previous/current occupation(s?): Social work (MSW), kitchen and bath designer/interior deisgn
  3. Nation, & state if desired: Pennsylvania, US
  4. Age at tentative diagnosis: 46
  5. Year of diagnosis: 46
  6. How long for definitive diagnosis:
  7. Type of dementia: not specified – I have seizures, short term memory loss; problems with concentration/thinking, depth perception and balance as a result of a traumatic brain injury
  8. Since diagnosis, what one or more action, success, or accomplishment do you take pride in? I am consulting for 2 companies as their “dementia expert” since I’ve spent most of my professional life working with the dementia population. I continue to run support groups and part of the Alzheimer’s Association public policy committee for Pennsylvania. I am still Co-Chair of the Adult and Aging Advisory Committee for Lehigh County. The year after my head injury, I organized a caregiver conference with over 400 in attendance.
  9.  t think she realizes that I taught other people about disease, illness, injury to the brain before I sustained the TBI. I understand what has happened to me. My neurologist says that sometimes she thinks the depression I feel is because I understand what has happened to me, I understand my prognosis. She always tells me to stop thinking so much and relax.
  10. What do you wish your specialist Physician knew about dementia? My neurologist says that sometimes she thinks the depression I feel is because I understand what has happened to me, I understand my prognosis. I understand the radiology report and findings. I understand how poorly I have done on my cognitive exams. I think she really knows me as we were friends/colleagues before I needed to start seeing her.
  11. What do you wish your family knew about dementia? I think my children fully understand that I am changed and know because they’ve been around me more than anyone else in my life, what challenges I face. I don’t think my sisters or my mother believe there is anything wrong because my wounds have healed on the outside. I know that boyfriend who has known me since we were 11 years old and knows me a well as my family is in denial. He really doesn’t understand what the doctors have told him. He too thinks that because I can still talk about things we did when we were in school and church when we were kids , because I can still have an intelligent conversation (most of the time) and talk about things I have known, learned over the years, that there is nothing wrong with my brain. My MRI say differently.
  12. Date (Year-Mo-Date)…3/9/2015

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