Why I’ve Been Quiet for Six Months

Posted by on Jul 21, 2016 in Michigan Author, Non-Fiction, Science, Self Smart, writing | 10 comments


December, 2015:
My first two books, GROUNDHOG’S DILEMMA and
DRAW WITH A VENGEANCE (under the pen name, Helen Wrath), were published.

January, 2016:
I had a stroke.

I was in Boston at the American Library Association conference, attending for the first time not only as a librarian, but as a published author. I had a line at my booksigning event, dinner with a book promoter, brunch with my editor, coffee with an agent – and just before leaving for the airport, I lost all the peripheral vision on my right side. My husband called an ambulance and I spent four days at Tufts Medical Center recovering from an ischemic stroke.

I seemed to be slowly healing well, but in April I started having tremors and seizure-like episodes, up to eight a day. The four Michigan neurologists I saw were stumped.

Dr. Leung, the neurologist who treated me at Tufts, emailed to ask if he could interview me – he’s conducting research on young stroke survivors and I just barely still qualify as “young”! After the phone interview, this kind and generous doctor asked if I had any questions for him. I described the weird episodes, and he said, “If you’re ever in Boston, I’d be glad to see you as a patient.”

Off we drove to see Dr. Leung. Turns out I have epilepsy and most likely I’ve been having small seizures for years, maybe decades. (My friends used to tease me in high school about how I’d zone out. I was even diagnosed with a sleep disorder years ago because I’d have these odd, trancelike episodes that left me exhausted.) Having a stroke lowered my brain’s threshold for tolerating these electrical disturbances, hence the new tremors.

Now I’m on anti-seizure medication, and I’ve had only 3 small seizures in 15 days. If I hadn’t had the stroke while in Boston, I wouldn’t have seen Dr. Leung, and I might have gone on battling seizures without medication.

To make a long story longer, I am gratefully on the mend and will soon be bombarding your computer with more picture books that are just right for preschool – grade 3. Putting my entire life on pause while I healed made me realize how passionately I love what I do – writing and sharing great books for kids. Thanks for reading with me!




  1. Oh my goodness!! Glad you’re doing better. I noticed we hadn’t seen you around in a while 🙂 Miss you!

    • Thanks, Becki! I’m missing my library pals, too, and hope to be back soon!

  2. Kris, I’m so glad you’re on the mend. Did not know about the epilepsy. Thank God for Dr. Leung, and that he was able to diagnose it and put you on the path to healing!! Yay for doctors who go the extra mile for their patients.

    • Thanks, Rachel! Dr. Leung changed my life in January and in July, and I am so very thankful!

  3. Glad to hear you are on the mend, and finding your stride again. You are such an inspiration, and your positive outlook is contagious!

    • Thanks so much, Emily!

  4. Hi Kris,
    I came across the article by chance (God’s will?). I am so happy that you are on the mend.
    I had wondered for many years if there was a family connection to my son Christopher’s epilepsy.
    Maybe there is after all.
    Take care and God bless you and your family.

    • Hi Pauline!
      I didn’t know Christopher had epilepsy. We should compare notes.
      Much love to you and yours,

  5. Kris,

    I stumbled upon your website by accident researching of all things, groundhogs. An image of a groundhog wearing glasses popped up in google images and I was intrigued and clicked on it. I guess it’s true what they say about it being a small world and all, because there you were in print, Author Kristen Remenar. I read your blog entries and was heartbroken to hear that you had suffered from a stroke, but so happy to hear that you are healing and doing well.

    About three years ago I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and went through a grueling 6 months of Chemotherapy. By the third treatment, I was completely wiped out, I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s around that time when a curious “side effect” of the chemo kicked in and I started to vividly recall/dream about events, memories from my past that I had long forgotten. One of these memories was of a little girl that taught me a song about ants marching down into the ground, to keep out of the rain… we were trying to keep ourselves occupied while making the trip to a Tiger’s Baseball game, riding in the back of a van, sitting on the floor. Oh, the days before car seats. How did we all survive?

    That song stuck with me, and each time I would get a treatment, the memory/song played in my head, but with one less ant. I thought that with each less ant, there was less cancer in my system and that I might get through this. Well, eventually I did, and have been cancer free for a few years now. It’s kind of silly, but I made myself a promise that if I ever got a chance to thank that little girl for the song, I would. And, by chance or fate, I think this is my opportunity.

    So, thank you Krissy, thank you.

    I am so happy for your success and everything you’ve accomplished. You’ve always been a shining star. Hard to believe that so much time has gone by. I wish the best to you and yours.

  6. Your comment absolutely made my day! I remember the ant song and riding around on the floor in the back of the van!

    I am so sorry that you had to go through those rough chemo treatments. I’ve seen how painful and exhausting they can be. So glad to hear that you are cancer-free. No more ants, boom boom boom! May it always be so.

    Thank you for finding me here and for reaching out. It means more to me than you know.

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