I have found this site by accident tonight, and think its great to have a place where so many people have the same issues that I face every day... that kind of sounds bad, but its nice to know I'm not alone, I guess is what I am trying to say. I have found in the short time I have spent on this site, my story is very different from others here. I don't remember a time where I was AVM free. I have had mine for over 22 years. My childhood was spent going from hospital to hospital here in Phoenix. I missed many holidays, sports games, and other experiences due to my illness. Even worse, once my friends found out, they either ran away or treated me like I had leprosy. I quickly learned to keep it a secret from EVERYONE. Only my parents and immediate family knew.
My surgeries number near 200. I have had every test performed trying to diagnose my AVM in the mid 80's. The climax of my illness was in 1989 when I was at Scottsdale Memorial Osburne Hospital in AZ, getting ready to go to San Francisco to see a specialist. I woke early the morning of my flight, still in the ICU (thank God) and told my mom who was sleeping in a chair at my bed side, that I could taste blood. The last thing i remembered was her telling me to just open my mouth, and let it fall out. A giant wave of blood hit the blankets, and splashed back into my face. I quickly lost counciousness from blood loss and went into cardiac arrest.
With out a doubt, i would be dead today if it were not for me being in the ICU. I was rushed to the OR while they continued CPR and placed a metal coil in my right upper molar, that had been literally blown out of my head from the AVM rupture. I was given a transfusion and spend the next several months in the PICU.
I went to go see Dr. Wayne Yakes, and was his first patient being treated for an AVM at Sweedish Medica Center in Denver. I have been going there for 20 years now. My AVM, I am glad to say, is no longer life threatening. I have had 100 treatments from Dr. Yakes or one of the newer Docs in the group. Its sad when you have been seeing a Doctor for an AVM so long, that you were there when his RN was new, and is now retired!!
I owe my life to Dr. Yakes and the ENTIRE team of PA's, ENT, Pre-Op RN's, Anesthesiologists, and others. Because of them, I live a normail life with NO restrictions. I have been a Firefighter/Paramedic for nearly 10 years here in AZ, and aside from some relativly minor side effects, am no worse for wear!