My AVM: The Extended Story

I first remember getting migrain headaches as young as five years old. But my mother remembers me telling her my hair hurt alot, when I was younger then that. All I realy remember about them though was going to the ER, getting a shot or a prescription, and then going to get ice cream…

Later on in about around the third grade, my teacher began to be worried about the headaches, and also believed that because my concentration wasn’t too good, and I would “day dream” I might have add So we tested with riddilin for the add. That just made me shaky and left me a little enoyed, I’m not sure how, but some how I knew I didn’t need that. This is about the time I believe, my mother had begun taking me to the pediatrican about the headachs. All I remember her doing was pressing on my sinuses and asking me if they hurt, then sending me off with a prescription for Sudifed. My mother was a heavy smoker when I was a child so along with the migrains of corse my sinuses hurt. So my teacher started having me tested for a possible brain tumor. I was put through several tests including eeg’s and CT scans. But nothing ever showed up, at least nothing that I was ever made aware of. I’m not sure if they ever were able to do a CT with contrast though, as I had rolling veins as a kid, and the dum dr.s coundn’t get a vein…

As we skip a head again a couple years, this is where the real “fun” stuff starts. It was about the begining of Jr. High, by now I’m already an acward kid. I remember waking up one morning in September of 1996 with a bad migrain, (my mother and I were used to this by now so we didn’t have much of a reaction), My mother told me to take something for it, and I could take the day off of school, as a kid I wasn’t gonna argue with that. So I did, and went back to bed. I remember waking up later and the migrain had gotten so bad to where I was throwing up now, (again not unusual for the type of headachs I get). So we set off to the ER, Yeah!! more drugs (All sacasim intended). After what seemed like an eternaty in the ER, I finaly get seen, a PA says their testing a new drug for migrains, so they give me two shots, make me wait for observations, and send me home with a prescription for Tylenol with Codien. Ok no changes in headach, nausa subsided though so I took some tylenole and laid down on the couch for a nap. Again I woke up nausas and went to throw-up, yuck! I didn’t relize it but my mother fallowed me, and I colapsed in her arms in the bathroom. This I would assume is when the paramedics were called. When the paramedics arrived, they assumed it was a reaction from the Codien in the Tylenol, and tryed to convence my mother that I just had a realy bad headach, that everything would be ok, and that I didn’t need to go to the hospital. I’ve been told I was coharent at the time, but barly remember it, mostlikely because I was more focused on the pain. So after arguing with the paramedics my mother and the neighbor convinced them to take me, just to be faced with more attemps of rejection and denile while we were once again in the ER. So in the ER my mother had to convence them to do a CT scan.I have a hazzy memory of waiting in the hall way at this time. When they finaly do the CT, the Dr. told my mom that she was right, and that I had hemoriahging, in my brain. After that I was taken to Enloe Hospital in the city of Chico a few miles away from Oroville. Our hospital was not equiped for taking care of this kindof situation. Even now our hospital is a still behind in technology, and we realy don’t have a pediatircs unit…

Things get a little hazzy about here. Between the pain and the morphine, it’s hard to remember all of what went on during the time in the hospital before my surgery. I’m still waiting to get more information from my mother, my family, and my friends that where involved at the time. Hopefully some day I will have all my facts in order, and beable to fill the gaps.

I believe I was told that I spent about two weeks in the hospital. I rember early on in my stay at the hospital, waking up one night and no one being there. When I called the nures she had told me that my mother and family where out in the waiting room, and that my mother was worried about me. Unfortunatly for the nures, I think my Grandmother might have lectured her about telling me that. But thanks to God was actualy vary at peace with the situation and remember comforting my family, by letting them know that Jesus was taking care of me. I realy wish I still had this faith now. Well during my stay in the hospital I had an Angiogram, and maybe an MRI. I believe this is how they discovered that it was an AVM that had ruptured, and had caused the bleeding in my brain. The Dr. explained to my mother that it was like an anurism, and that it had caused me to have a stroke. I remember someone telling me that I had had a stroke, and being nieve and a bit of a smart ass, I replied, “don’t only old people have strokes.” :o) At some point during this time they had thought I might need a blood transfusion, I guess I had lost alot of blood, but I don’t recall them ever going through with the it.

At one point in my stay in the hospital, I had a visitor that was had been a pastor, but wasn’t ours he was just a friend of ours. And when he came to visit me he had laid his hands on the affected part of my head and prayed for me, like the do in the bible. My Grandmother & others have told me, one day after this friend had done this for one of the nurses came into my room and tried attempted to wipe of the camara lens several times with out any success. She apprently told my family that the the camara was showing a shadow over the side of my head in wich the AVM was and thestroke had accured. My Grandmother said that it was like an angle was there healing and watching over my head.

By the results of eather another Angiogram, or the one from before, the had pinpointed the AVM, and had set in with a plan of action, which was to do a crainiotomy. It is my understanding that the Dr. explained that his plan was to remove the AVM and the surounding tissue that was damaged by the blood. Looks kind of freeky when you see it on the later MRI. The surgery (as I recall) only took about nine hours, starting in the late afternoon, and lasting until after midnight. What I remeber of it is being wheeled into the room, being given a the mask to breath from, and then drifting off to sleep. During the surgery I remember dreaming about Steven Kings, The Langileers, you know the part where the Langileers chase after the plain and you can see thier teeth grinding, I vividly remeber this part because of the drilling sound of the teeth. I later on came to believe that I may have been hearing the sound of the instraments being used during the operation. I know this might freek most people out, but I can’t help but finding it very interesting.

I can’t recall exactly about what time I woke up from surgery, but I do recall my Grandmother telling me I looked like ET with my head all wraped up and the glowing pulse ox monitor on my finger. :o) I remember a strange scince of beeing tide down to the bed, wich I came to realize was just tubes and what seemed like rolls of tape. They realy liked their tape there seemed like I was picking it off for days, maybe weeks after I left. I was kept only for a few days of observation after the surgery, with the promise that if I did well, that I’de be released by the weekend. During these days I remember more visitors, walks around the halls, and some preporations for my release. I remeber them taking toobs and things out of me, I found it kind of cool to watch, but I think it made my aunt quizy. :o) One of my visitors in which was my Father, which I hadn’t seen since I was around two years old. I guess apparently prior to my surgery, my Mother had decided to call him, and get him up here from La. because, she wasn’t sure if I was going to make it or not. Lucky for us I did because this spark our relationship together.

The day before I was schedualed for release, I was finaly alowed to take a shower. Thank God, because the sponge baths were strange, and the nurses weren’t hot at all. :oP Any way so with assistance from my mother I got a good shower, but there was a little bit of a complication at first. Aparently I wasn’t ready for over onehundred degree water wich is about my favorite shower temp, I remeber the water feeling strange due to the numbness and baldness of that side of my head. I thought the heat was enjoyable until I almost past out, about giving my mother a heart attack. And that was that, they almost pushed back my release date due to that, but some how dicided not to in the end.

Only three days after my surgery I was released and able to walk in to church on sunday. I believe it is a complete marical from God that I am even around, let alone walking, talking, functioning like most normal adult my age, some might think I’m older sometimes. I thank God everyday for what He did for me.
I got away with about ten pounds of candy (wich I think I finished in about one or two weeks), a half a dozen baloons, and some a few months off from school, not too bad for a kid. I found that while I was in the hospital, that numorus people from numorus churchs, and places (through the Enternet), had been praying for me. I also found out that while in the hospital a friend of mine had won a bike and gave it to me. The things some kids have to do to get a bike, and meet their Dads. :o) I think I might have gone a little bit over board though. Thank God all I had to do to get a car was marry the right guy and have a baby :o), but that’s another soga, or story. I think because I was so young I didn’t realy understand what was going on. It is only now that I’ve begun doing any research about it.

Anyway this dosen’t end here… I was suposed to take dilantin as a precation, for about two years, but I think that only lasted maby two months, because it made me break out… I had many falow-ups after words. One was to take out the stiches, ouch, I think there where only nineteen, but I have to check my sorces on that. One was blood work, wich I found creepy because it was schedualed for Oct. 31st, wonder if they were real vampires :o). And another was an Angiogram, I remember this being very boring and anoying. I’m not fond of bed pans :o(. As I was only the genny pig and not actualy invovled in any results I only no one thing. That was that the Dr. wanted to continue monitoring me for several years, (YEAH!) because the Angiogram had revealed, a small shadow that they wanted to make sure it wasn’t anything.

The Dr. wanted me to have an anualy check up around december every year for about five to ten year, I can’t realy remember. My mom wasn’t good at remembering to make these appointments, so every year for about two to three years I would reminde her, and we would go. The last one I remember I think I was about forteen or so, my aunt went with me this time insted of my mother, because she was working at that time. Dr. had decided that the next year he wanted me have an MRI prior to my appointment with him. Well during that year my Mother had gotten involved with an insurance through her work that made us need an approval from their primary physician. So through the mixup of legal mubmo-jumbo, and through the destraction of her job and her new marriage, some how my mother let it be forgotten, never to be thought of again until I became an adult…

Years past. I made it through highschool, got married during my sinior year, and graduated in spite of everyones lack of faith. Sure I always had it in the back of my mind that I could have another one of these things, but I never realy had the insurance to cover anything, and I didn’t realy care. It wasn’t until I became pregnant with my son Logan that it realy started to worry about it. And thanks to the state assistance during my prenancy, I was able to go back to my nurosurgen to make sure I’de beable have my son natrualy. He told me that he didn’t think there would be any problem with that, and that after words he wanted to see me further and have that long lost MRI I was suposed to have years ago. Well because my insurance only covered my prengancy, it was over after I was no longer prengant. So it took me about two years after Logan was born, until I finaly had a job that offered insurance, and I finaly was able to get that dumb MRI. So after waiting so long and then two weeks or so after the MRI, my nureosurgen finaly said that he didn’t see any thing on the scan that worried him. He said that the shadow that they had seen prior wasn’t there anymore.

Thank you for sharing your story with us, Monica.

Dear Monica, what an amazing story. Thank you so much for spending your time writing it. My son just had his second craniotomy (July 4th), he is doing great. His doctor also want to monitor him for the next five years. I am happy you are free from this nightmare. Your baby is gourgeous. Lots of love. xxxx

No problem guys. I’ve started my mom working on her virsion of the story. She knows more of the technical details than I do. It feels strange being on the kid end of it, now that I’m an adolt. :o) I’m praying for everyone on here. Love ya’ll.

Thanks for telling your story…it helps!!

Your story is very inspirational. Do you still have symptoms since your craniotomy?

Looks like it’s gonna be a while before I can get my mother rolling on my avm story. She seems to be in a very strange track lately. She’s giving in more to her depression. I’m pray’n she’ll get out of it quickly.

umm… sypmtoms, don’t recall, replying to that its been too long. Um, I still get migrains, farther appart & not always as bad. I’m starting to connect my forgetfulness with the whole thing, still not sure if thats that or just me & being buisy with kids & all.

Hey Monica, same place with where my AVM was… i remember when i was young… i day dream alot too… im glad you’re ok now…hope your mom is better now…