It was the final semester of my senior year at the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University. I was having the time of my life, yet my entire life was still ahead of me. I was completing my final economics courses and preparing my thesis to punch my ticket out of college.
The next thing I remember, I woke up in a hospital room surrounded by family members. “Brain aneurysm” is the phrase I remember hearing repeatedly. I had an arteriovenous malformation that ruptured and required an emergency surgery. I was minutes away from dying.
With tremendous help from the medical staff and rehabilitation departments, I survived, but my life would never be the same.
In my road to recovery, the hardest struggle was accepting my injury and its repercussions and working my way back from square one. Instead of starting a career, becoming a homeowner, and searching for a lifelong companion – like my peers were doing – I was relearning how to walk, speak, regain balance and retrain my short-term memory that was lost from the procedure.
It has now been eight years since my life-changing aneurysm, and I am proud to be working full time at a group home with people that have suffered from traumatic brain injuries as well. Every day, I am using my experience to help shine a light on how this injury is a specialty rather than a handicap.
I could not have made it through without all the encouragement and love from my family, friends, professors and even strangers. All of these individuals hold a very special place in my heart. If it wasn’t for their continued faith and support, I would not have made the full recovery that I was blessed to gain back.
My shining star through all of this has been my older brother, Brian Eder, who united his two passions – family and golf – to honor my life-changing medical condition. Six years ago, he created the Birdies 4 Brains event, where dozens of Minnesota foursomes golf 100 holes in one day. In its first six years, the event has raised more than $300,000 for Minnesotans who have been impacted by brain injury. I encourage people to donate at www.b4bmn.org to support this incredible event.