Finally put all the details together to share with my fellow AVM/AVM survivor community + anyone else who has questions…this is MY AVM story!!!
My name is Minda and I’m a 35-year old twin mom. I was born with an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) on the left side of my brain that ruptured on February 17th, 2020.
A brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is a tangle of abnormal blood vessels connecting arteries and veins in the brain. The arteries are responsible for taking oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the brain. Veins carry the oxygen-depleted blood back to the lungs and heart. A brain AVM disrupts this vital process.
I didn’t know about my AVM before it ruptured, but in retrospect my mother and I had realized I’d had a seizure after giving birth to my twins in back in June 2014. Before my AVM surgery, I was also a long-time sufferer of migraines.
When my my AVM ruptured, I experienced severe headache, vomiting, and paralysis in both of my legs. I had frontoparietal intraparenchymal hemorrhaging (stroke) which affected the use of my right side. A hole was drilled in my skull and a drain was inserted to relieve pressure. A pre-op endovascular embolization was completed and the AVM was removed in a left parietal resection (surgery) about a week later.
At the time, I’d lost my ability to walk. I have now fully regained my ability to walk with only slight deficits in balance, vision, short-term memory. and I’m pretty much headache-free!!
I have very little memory of the week following my AVM rupture - I was rushed to the nearest hospital in Virginia Beach and transported via helicopter (Nightingale) to the surgical specialists in Norfolk.
I am now 5 months post-op, in physical therapy 2X’s a week, and my recovery is going well. I’ve had a total of 2 cerebral arteriograms (most recent on June 1st, 2020), with another scheduled for follow-up next year. Thankfully, I have been able to resume most of my normal physical activities. (My latest bike ride was 6 miles!!!
I thank God for the Sentara Princess Anne Hospital Emergency Department + Dr. David Shulmister, MD, my amazing surgeon, Dr. Wilson P Daugherty, MD, and the incredible team at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital! They are a fantastic medical team and it is truly a miracle that I survived!
[Brain AVM Aneurysm/Stroke Survivor Story - February 17, 2020] https://youtu.be/5uwrZS1GTx0