Cassie's AVM the day that everything changed

I picked her up from beach practice in Newport beach, on 6/5/10, we talk about practice. She tells me as I am driving, I have a headache, I need some tylenol and a shower, understandbly so, she had been in the sun and working up a sweat. But on the freeway I notice her slouch in her seat and looks as if her body left side just went limp, as we exit the freeway she thinks her leg is asleep. When it does not respond to the slamming, I ask her to hold up both her hands and she can not, lift the left one. We are on the way to the hospital and Cassie asks me hysterically am I going to be paralyzed for the rest of my life? I had no answer for her as I was not sure what was happening to her. I felt HELPLESS! I took her to St Joe’s in Orange got her into emergency and they saw her immediately. After blood tests, and cat scan to rule out what they wanted to rule out, the doctor comes in and tells me, are you Catholic? I say yes, perplexed, okay we have a chaplin on the way, do you understand what I am saying? I was still perplexed. Then they explain she has had a stroke and what caused the stroke could happen again any moment, and things do not look good. Of course I flip out and leave the room, having a panic attack and hyperventalating. I am confused, she is 13 years old? My husband comes and I tell him the news and he does what I do. We pull it together quickly, a family relative comes to give her a blessing the nuerosurgeon comes in and speaks another language to us as we never heard of this AVM. He tells us she needs surgery immediately, no if’s ands or buts. She goes to get the Angiogram and then they prepare her for surgery. She was very emmotional and I kept telling her hey, do you want to go see Toy Story 3 and Eclipse, to get her mind elsewhere, she says yes with a very unsure sound in her voice. She has her crainiotomy, goes to the PICU at Choc and she is woken up the next day. She tells me she has double vision. She starts hallucinating and vomiting. She is confused and we have to tell her what happened the day before, she is very emmotional. I have to re-assure her this is the best place for her until we are good to go home, when ever that will be? She gets transported to St. Jude’s for accute therapy 6 days later. During her stay at St. Jude’s she walks again on her own, very slow but she does it. She leaves St. Jude’s on 6/23 and starts her out patient rehab on 6/25. She attends rehab 3 times a week at Choc and has really accelerated in her recovery. She starts school soon and can not wait to see everyone, as her school year was cut short. Our family stayed strong and we had alot of help with our 2 other kids. I would say mostly she is trying to get all her strength back. She walks and jogs on a treadmill but forgets to use her left hand at times. This day changed our life. We will never take anything for granted again! Her friends made her a facebook page, and they sent cards and visited to lift her spirits and she had so much love and support and so did we. We are truly thankful for it! I am so happy she is still with us and we can not wait to see her play soccer again, that is what she loves… We are truly blessed! She as my husband says is a rock, boy did I learn so much from her… I admire her!

So glad that she Cassie is doing well. I can’t imagine how scary that was for you on that drive. You should be proud of yourself for getting her where she needed to be! I’m sure that entire thing was crazy for your family and obviously for her. It’s great that she has had such a quick recovery and that she is still making strides to regain her strength, independence, and her teenager spirit. And what wonderful friends she has to help encourage her through this tough time. She is a lucky girl to have so many wonderful people surrounding her. That is the BEST thing she can have. I know! I’ve had it to, and it can make all the difference in the world.
I hope that everything continues to go well for Cassie and that she keeps on inspiring you and others.

:slight_smile: Shalon


Isn’t it amzaing how quickly your life can change? How the unimaginable becomes your reality in the blink of an eye? And how our children show us how strong the human spirit is and how much they have to teach us about never giving up?

I’m so glad to hear that Cassie is doing so well.