Update on AVM

Hi everyone!

I am just writing because it has been, what seems like forever. I wanted to post an update on my progress and share some of my experiences.

First, I was treated for a small AVM in my right occipital lobe (approximtely 2.1cm x 2cm). I was treated with the gamma knife, specifically Novalis Tx image-guided radiosurgery on May 24, 2011.

Since then, there hasn't been much to report. About 4 or 5 months out from treatment I had targeted headaches in the approximate area of my AVM. I had an MRI, but nothing looked abnormal, which was great news.

About a year out, May 2012, I had another follow-up MRI. There were no obvious changes, which at that point was expected.

I recently asked for another follow-up MRI in January 2013. I had noticed a spot in my vision for about 6 weeks. I was concerned about necrosis or a minor bleed; however, the MRI revealed neither. This is a blessing.

I did however, experience a temporary vision change during my MRI and again a couple weeks ago while working out. Both times, it looked like a puddle in my left field of vision. the puddle spread and spread. It looked like looking through fogged glass. Eventually it spread to my peripheral, almost like a c-shape. On the edge of my vision I saw flickering white and black dots. Both times it took about 15 minutes to go away.

The first time, my doctor believed it to be a reaction to the MRI contrast, as I am allergic. The second time I informed them of this issue, they decided for me to take precaution. No vigorous exercise or heavy lifting. There are so many variables with many of us that is hard to say what exactly is happening.

My doctor believes my brain is trying to adjust to the changes it is experiencing due to the treatment in May 2011. This isn't surprising since it can take up to 3 years to see results from this process.

I have noticed the spot in my vision a little more, which is good but also concerns me. It is good because that means the treatment is doing what is supposed to, but a little worrisome because it is impossible to predict what will happen with my vision.

I find myself trying to stay as positive as possible and trying to educate myself about the amazing brain! Read about brain plasticity. We are amazing beings and our bodies know how to heal themselves. I try to relax, since I have anxiety, but sometimes that requires a little help.

I have noticed some other things as well. On nights a get a good night sleep, my vision is much better, when I am drinking enough water throughout the day my vision is better, when I abstain from drinking wine my vision is better.

On a side note, I am currently in a new/old city. I am no longer in San Antonio, but we are closer to family now. My husband received a great job offer so we moved. I am still looking for a job, but no luck yet. I am trying to enjoy my time relaxing, reading, watching movies and cooking.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions. I know this can be a scary time for all of us, but trust your journey and I will try to do the same. Be well.


Thanks for checking in, Monica. I just happened to read today that occipital AVMs can cause a variety of odd visual effects because that is where we process our images. I hope your vision disturbances are temporary and resolve as the gamma does its work.

Thank you @dancermom, I appreciate the kind words!