An emotional week


I don’t know where to start, but this week has been really hard and extremely emotional. Monday morning the kids, Lisa and I flew out to Denver, Colorado to visit Johan. He’s been going thru an intensive treatment program at Marcus Brain Health Institute, and this last week was a family week where I joined in for a lot of sessions. He’s still dealing with post concussion syndrome, and the last months have been really bad. Something needed to happen and I’m so thankful we found this new amazing place. It opened up in March and they treat vetarans and athletes with brain traumas. Johan was actually their very first athlete.


First day when we came was a great day, so nice to see each other again. Second day – terrible and we got in to a huge fight. Probably normal in most relationships, but when you have an brain injury it adds up, and it becomes SO not rational. The brain just can’t paus and take a break when it’s overloaded and can’t recover. He bounced back to a very dark and sad place. However, I’m glad it happened while we were there. The amazing top of the line team at ‘The Marcus’, handled the situation so professionally, they rescheduled his and my schedule completely the day after to treat him as best as they could. You could feel how they all genuinely cared for Johan, and also me.


He was teamed with three vetarans, and they have all become very close to each other, sharing their stories and situations. For me it was also great to get together with the other wives, same there sharing our stories along with LOTS of tears. I have not been crying this much in a very long time.


So as I said, it’s been very hard, but also GREAT! They have a really good approach where they target all different aspects of PTSD, everything from auditory processing, balance, vision and tools to deal with dark thoughts of depression and ways to learn how to calm down with meditation and mindfulness, and to be proactive to give themselves a longer fuse.


We are for the first time very hopeful for the future and Johan feels much better from when he started the treatment. It’s not gonna be easy, but now he has a plan on how to go forward and can also start to work out slowly again, we have learned how to handle different situations better, and the doctors and therapists are still there for us and will continue to follow up. I’m super proud of my husband for getting his lately lazy butt out there!!

Oliver and I outside the clinic.

Living with a husband with a brain injury is not easy, it’s like a rollercoaster. But I am doing my best to get us to a better place, not only for us and but also for our amazing boys that deserve the best!!

In sickness and in health ♥ I love you Hunny ♥

49 thoughts on “An emotional week

  1. Tomi December 27, 2018 / 3:17 pm

    Hi, thanks for sharing your story. I do hope that things are turning good to you. I have some personal experience from brain problems (large surgery in 2014) and there is one thing I would like to share with you when going through bad days: brains need a LOT of time to recover (years, not months) and it means that you need to stay strong and persistent. Stay strong!


  2. Chris Nelson December 25, 2018 / 5:55 pm

    2. HBOT: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy is egregiously underutilized b/c it is not profitable as opposed the pharmaceutical pills… getting high quality oxygen to the brain can be very helpful with types of brain injuries (60 sessions is suggested, then reassess on a permanent basis).


  3. Chris Nelson December 25, 2018 / 5:45 pm

    1. Watch out for side effects from prescription drugs like oxycodone (re pain killer) that can effect emotion and in particular can make one feel ‘hopeless for the future’. It’s the drug not (Johan) the person. Someone wouldn’t want to make decisions b/c of a drug side effect.


  4. Paul Swartzinski December 24, 2018 / 11:30 am

    I just read this for the first time and would like to offer my support to the Franzen family by letting them know about a program in Louisville, Colorado that helped me tremendously overcome a Traumatic Brain injury in March 2012. i was going through all of the symptoms that Johan is going through and my doctor suggested I try Hyberbaric Oxygen Treatment. This entailed sitting in a Oxygen chamber for 1 hour a day for 40 days consecutive. Within one week my headaches were gone and my overall demeanor had improved. After 40 days I no longer had bouts of depression and being in a very dark place.

    I am a huge Red Wing fan and loved watching Johan play hockey with the best team on the planet. I was sad to see him retire. If the Franzen family wants to learn more about Hyberbaric Oxygen Treatment they can visit the Rockie Mountain Hybarbaric Institute This treatment greatly improved my life and maybe it will help yours.


    • Domenic Stanghini December 25, 2018 / 2:04 pm


      If you have not tried Homeopathy for brain injuries and depression you should recommend it to him. Find a Homeopath close by or give me a call. Good luck


  5. BWyatt May 30, 2018 / 10:48 pm

    All the best from me too! As tough as it probably was, thanks for sharing. I’ll be sure to check your blog for future updates, as Franzen was one of my favorite Wings when he played. All those clutch goals he scored in the 2008 and 2009 playoffs will be remembered by us Wings fans. He was a huge part of that 2 year run!


  6. A hockey mom May 30, 2018 / 5:44 pm

    Dear Cissi,

    You are brave and strong 💕 A true Scandinavian woman , with ”sisu” for bringing this important topic up.

    I really hope that the rules and regulations would be changed so that the concussions would be taken more seriously and seen as a real health threat. The awareness of the team doctors should be better in my opinion.

    Brain damage is the worst kind of injury you can get from sports.. a nightmare for any sporter and his family.

    I wish you strength and patience on your long journey. You are proud of your husband but dont’t forget to be proud of yourself as well.

    Kram och tusen tack. Krya dig!


  7. Jim May 30, 2018 / 12:51 pm

    Lots of love and Support. Mule will always be one of my favorite RED WINGS. Prayers for the entire family.


  8. Anonymous May 30, 2018 / 2:17 am

    Blev väldigt berörd av ditt inlägg och vill bara sända alla Styrkekramar till dig och Johan och era familjer


  9. Shawnn Smark May 29, 2018 / 6:23 pm

    The Mule was a staple for us Red Wings fans and I can say we all share in support of Johan and your family. An athlete is not made without the love and sacrifice of his coaches and teammates and more so his loved ones and family. Please take take and know you are all in our thoughts. Go Wings.


  10. Debbie Trainor May 29, 2018 / 4:56 pm

    I can help him!!! I’m working with a few other retired professional athletes (NHL AND NFL) right now along with 1000’s of others and they are seeing amazing results!!! One of my clients has advanced ALS (former hockey player)….and his depression is totally in check now.

    Please shoot me a message. I’ll send you a bottle for him to try. He doesn’t need to suffer this way.


  11. Jonathan Rivers May 29, 2018 / 4:22 pm

    In 2007, at the age of 20, I was new to hockey and began to play and started to follow the Red Wings. Johan quickly became my favorite player. In 2008 my friends and myself were fortunate to be on hand to watch the game 4 sweep of the Avs as we live near Aspen. 4 years ago my I took my daughter to her first hockey game vs the Avs and it was bitter sweet as Johan was Player of the Game and it would be the last time I would see him play live. After the game I got to meet and get some signatures of some of the team on my daughter’s little sweater but right when Johan came out I immediately ask him for a signature and flipped around so he could sign my #93 and got my daughter’s signed as an afterthought.

    Please pass on my best wishes from Johan’s #1 fan in Colorado! Get well Mule!


  12. Sara St. John May 29, 2018 / 11:53 am

    Hej. Såg artikeln i Aftonbladet och kände att jag måste höra av mej – för det finns hjälp att få. Har du hört talas om Neurofeedback och framförallt NeurOptimal neurofeedback? Jag är svensk, bor i LA och jobbar som neurofeedback trainer sedan 5 år tillbaka. NeurOptimal förbättrar hjärnfunktionen på ett naturligt sätt och vi ser enorma framsteg för dom som lider av TBI/Brain Injuries/Concussion. Hör gärna av dej om du vill ha mer information. Se videos och läs mer här:


  13. John May 29, 2018 / 9:33 am

    It’s so hard to go from being on top of the world to feeling worthless. I was once a soldier, a pilot and very proud of what I had accomplished. But then a simple accident changed that forever. I refused to believe I was hurt and just kept going, even the medical people said I was fine, but I wasn’t. After 18 years I had to leave, no retirement, just a big check. This was during wartime and the guilt I felt for so long crippled me emotionally. I couldn’t even look at a helicopter fly by and not break down. I felt worthless, and the loss of former friends I’d served with just kept adding up. It took years to come to terms with it. I made more money in ’02 in the military than I ever have since and that didn’t help either. But I was lucky to see my kids grow up at least, and I see my destiny lay elsewhere.
    When you work so hard to get somewhere and then lose it all in what seems an inexplicable reason, it takes a long time to deal with it and the added issue of loss of function especially in the mind must be beyond belief. If I had experienced brain injury too I wouldn’t have made it. I never spoke to most of my old friends, I avoided the whole issue as if I never had been that person before. I let well-meaning but self-serving medical staff medicate me when that wasn’t the solution for me. I decided to get off the meds and deal with it as best I could. It’s been hard but very worth it. I now volunteer with a museum and share my experiences with people from all over the world. I’m helping rebuild a helicopter I used to fly in the 90’s back into the air. It’s really helped me. I’ll never be able to do what I did before, but I can now look and accept what happened and remember the good times and the bad.
    I hope that you can find peace as we will always remember the great memories that he gave us.
    All the best!


  14. arnolesaint May 29, 2018 / 7:32 am

    Hi, I just discovered your blog as this article was relayed on the Detroit News Sport pages. I really miss watching the Mule playing for the Wings. I understood he was not going to play again, but I had no idea things were this bad and so tough. I wish Johan and all your family all the best.

    Best wishes from France !


  15. John J. May 28, 2018 / 8:15 pm

    Sorry to throw this out there. I’m not a doctor but saw a video regarding checking testosterone levels of those with PTSD. I pray this helps. Good luck.


  16. Vlad May 28, 2018 / 7:55 pm

    On many levels, I empathize and identify with Johan’s demeanor and tribulations throughout his public life. Cissi, the greatest challenges lie ahead for your family and you, yet, to your credit, your fight shows no sign of abating. I admire your courage and candor in sharing your experiences like this and hope this gives you an outlet for your feelings. Med vänliga hälsningar!


  17. Paolo Iacobacci May 28, 2018 / 6:17 pm

    Loved watching Johan play and we are praying for a full recovery. God Bless you and your family. We look forward to continuing to hear good news about Johan’s recovery. All the best.


  18. Alen May 28, 2018 / 5:11 pm

    Hemskt att läsa. Hälsa krya på dig till Johan från hans gamla tv puckslagkamrat Alen.
    Önskar hela familjen styrka så ni kommer igenom detta helvete
    Med vänlig hälsning, Anders Ahlqvist


  19. Susanne Björkegren May 28, 2018 / 4:29 pm

    Hej! Jag lever oxå med min man som fick sin traumatiska hjärnskada för 14 år sedan, med extrem hjärntrötthet som följd. Det är verkligen inte lätt för dom att leva med detta men vi är otroligt viktiga för dom, ju mer vi lär oss om det desto bättre blir vardagen. Det gäller att ha struktur och verktyg till att hantera det!
    Otroligt talande och vackra bilder i ditt inlägg! Tack för att du lyfter detta stora problem! Jag önskar dig o din familj stort lycka till! 💗


  20. Janet silverberg May 28, 2018 / 4:28 pm

    We played golf with johan at training camp a few years ago! What a great guy! Hope he feels better soon ….


  21. Anonymous May 28, 2018 / 4:18 pm

    Thank you for being so brave to share your story. Prayers and hugs bring sent your way. Stay strong!


  22. Andreas, Stockholm May 28, 2018 / 2:37 pm

    Har följt Johan hela hans karriär och det är ledsamt att läsa hur livet har förändrats så mycket för er som familj. Bra att ni sökt hjälp, hoppas ni får bra verktyg för vardagen. Jag önskar dig och familjen allt gott och hälsa Johan att det är många som tänker på honom.


  23. Ulla May 28, 2018 / 1:39 pm


    Jag följer och tar del av en metod som heter EFT. Den har använts för många olika sjukdomar och stress tillstånd bl a på krigsveteraner och posttraumstisk stress.
    Man har gjort en stor insats i samband med skolsljutningen i Sandy Hook.
    Du kan läsa mer på the tapping solution och syskonen Nick och Jessica Ortnet som gett ut böcker och håller i programmet. Det är tom godkänt av försäkringsbolag som rehabilitering.
    Hoppas på tillfrisknande.
    Ulla från Värmdö


    • Brad May May 28, 2018 / 2:51 pm

      Please know that The Mays’ are thinking and praying for you, your family, and of course Johan. I loved playing with Johan and golfing with him too in Liverpool. He’s such a great guy. Hope to see you guys again soon.
      Brad and Brigette


  24. Arlene Redmond May 28, 2018 / 1:26 pm

    Mickey and I are keeping your family in our prayers. So Hopeful to have an action plan! Thank you for sharing your challenges and struggles. We can all learn ,when someone speaks 💕💗

    Liked by 1 person

  25. AJ Petronzi May 28, 2018 / 12:44 pm

    It makes me sad to hear that you’re still struggling. I always enjoyed interviewing you in the dressing room after games. You always were willing to answer our questions and I always appreciated that.

    Back in July 2014 I suffered a concussion playing in a beer league at my local rink. It was somewhere between my 4th and 8th concussion in my life. After a couple weeks I was back to normal, but about 6 weeks later the symptoms started. I’ve had post-concussion syndrome before. This was different. I woke up in September of 2014 and suffered through the symptoms daily until August 2016. What changed for me was a friend of mine, whose a chiropractor and holistic doctor, told me about a study done in Finland that showed a link between migraines and ethanol vapor. It turned out my laundry detergent, my shampoo, soap and many other things in my house contained ethanol. I eliminated all these things from my life and after a few weeks the symptoms were gone. I’m not saying it’ll work, but I tried it because I was out of options. All I could do was come home and lay on the couch, while my kids begged me to play with them.

    I hope maybe it helps you. I’ve been there before, but this has persisted longer for you than it ever did for me. I hope you can find a solution to get back to playing with your kids and living your life.


    • Anonymous May 28, 2018 / 5:20 pm

      This is terrible advice.


      • Anonymous December 25, 2018 / 5:10 pm

        How is it terrible advice? Maybe it will help, go educate yourself.


  26. Bill May 28, 2018 / 10:07 am

    Love your blog. Wishing you all the best.


  27. Joseph S Goldman May 28, 2018 / 10:03 am

    Be strong..All the Best.


  28. steph3010 May 28, 2018 / 9:05 am

    Best wishes to all of you. Johan is one of my all-time favourite players. I’m sad that this wonderful sport has injured him and has such impact on the whole family. There is so much more to life than hockey and this situation is such a good example for it. I hope this treatment is the turn to something better, i wish all of you all the strength and power.


  29. Judd Dowhy May 28, 2018 / 8:27 am

    I wish you all the very best. Even though we have never met I am sending much love and many hugs from my family to yours. Stay strong and continue to love each other.


  30. sundayrising May 28, 2018 / 8:15 am

    God bless you and your family, and may the healing go well for all of you.


  31. Ricky May 28, 2018 / 3:46 am

    Vi håller tummarna för stadig återhämtning och tänker på er. All styrka till er!


  32. Kerry Fraser May 27, 2018 / 10:08 pm

    Wishing the entire Franzen family the strength & blessings to persevere through the terrible effects of dangerous blows to the head. Prayers for a full recover. Hockey careers have a relatively short timeline compared to watching your children grow to adulthood, walking a daughter down the aisle, playing with grandchildren & enjoying an empty nest with your best friend & soulmate in life! Time is long past to examine the Big Picture…


  33. Travis May 27, 2018 / 9:28 pm

    All of us over at the redwings sub on reddit are thinking about you, Johan and your family. We all wish Johan the very best and thank him for all the years of wings Hockey he blessed us with. Get Well soon Mule!


  34. Jessica May 27, 2018 / 5:32 pm

    Du är fantastisk som delar med dig! All styrka till dig och din familj!


  35. Dina May 27, 2018 / 3:53 pm

    Blessing and best of wishes for all of you. Hope this new treatment can help him . I have a cousin with ptsd and i have seen his ups and downs as well as darkness and light. It hard on everyone involved. Your such a beautiful strong soul and all of you deserve the best. HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY❣💐 🌹


  36. Maria May 27, 2018 / 3:23 pm

    Girl I just wanna say I love your blog. Sending prayers your way during this hard time. Stay strong and positive. I love your dress can you please share where you got your whole outfit.


  37. Margareth Slöjdare May 27, 2018 / 2:20 pm

    Älskade Cissi! Försöker förstå hur du har det men kan inte fullt ut! Känner för dig-känner med dig!
    Du är en fighter! Tycker Såå mycket om dig, glöm aldrig det!
    Kram Margareth 🙋💜

    Skickat från min iPhone

    27 maj 2018 kl. 20:11 skrev <>:

    franzenresidence posted: ” I don’t know where to start, but this week has been really hard and extremely emotional. Monday morning the kids, Lisa and I flew out to Denver, Colorado to visit Johan. He’s been going thru an intensive treatment program at Marcus Brain Health Institut”


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