I was 35 years old when the inoperable arteriovenous malformation (AVM) in my brain was first diagnosed.
After years of headaches and cervical pain (which I later found out were small cerebral hemorrhages), and after years of being told by doctors that I suffered from stress headaches, migraines and poor coping skills, the undiagnosed vascular grenade in my head finally blew.
I lost the feeling and movement on the left side of my body, and the vision in my left eye doubled – I saw two of everything. I lost my balance and my co-ordination. It was a hard thing for a previously healthy young woman – a mother, nurse, wife and go-getter – to deal with.
Time, rehabilitation, physiotherapy, a lot of sweat and tears … those losses all came back – maybe not as good as they had once been, but they came back.
That was 18 years ago. A lot has happened since then.
Over the years, as I experienced repeat bleeding, endured radiation and battled brain swelling, I lost and rebuilt many many things.
I lost my career (I was a military nursing officer), my husband to divorce, my confidence – and more than just a little bit of who I was.