AVM Survivors Network

What do survivors of AVM'S do for work?

I have a brain AVM and have been told by surgeons that “if anyone tells you they can operate they are kidding themselves” because of the size and location and depth of the AVM. So I have made the decision not to operate until I pray that technology improves.
But what I’m feeling lost about is what people with AVM’s do for work. I have been doing a bachelor of Human Resource Management which I started before discovering my AVM but now im questioning everything and what I should do for a career because my neurologist said I should not get stressed to avoid another bleeding. And to my knowledge I don’t know if Human Resources is a profession with a lot of stress.
So I wanted to know if others are/were in the same boat and any advice. also for reference im in my mid 20’s. Thank you for the support

Nice to hear from you Angeeee. You ask a tough question and one that is rally individual and how one manages. I think the stress part is directly related to blood pressure which poses the risk when elevated. The managing of the stress is the tough part in any profession, and often those dealing with people can cause it to elevate. I used to have a highly stressful job with over 200 people within my area of responsibility. I loved my job but it could be stressful for sure, but secret being loved my job. After my bleed I learned to manage my stress much better, and recognize as it was elevating. I worked in that job for two years post bleed and have retired. I guess thats a long way to say, find something you love to do and learn to manage stress! Easier said than done but I love the saying to find a job you love and you own’t have to work a day n your life. I think that goes a long way to managing stress. Take Care, John.

1 Like

In a way I was in the same position as you were and still some what am. As for my AVM story my AVM did rupture. Didn’t no I had one when it happened but after my first surgery I kept having seizures. So the doctors did more test and they found 3 small blood clots that were triggering my seizures from my rupture. So ended up having 3 more surgeries. My story is kind of long. It damaged me with short term memory loss. So you could say multitasking is the hardest part for me. As for the job I have now it’s welding. It’s payed by the hour and you could say it’s sort of seasonal. Mostly Summer and Fall.

Hi Angeeee, I would agree HR can be quite stressful at times as I have worked close with those departments in my working life.

I do think that any job can be stressful as it depends on the individual, employer and the environment you work in. In this day and age there are several sectors within HR that cover different aspects of a company etc so I personally wouldnt waste all that education and give it up… at the end of the day you have to be comfortable with what you do in life and you are still young enought to change your mind if that makes you happy, however you may want to test the waters first before changing your mind completely… God bless!

1 Like

I also have a brain AVM that is too dangerous to operate on due to location and size. I haven’t had a bleed since I was 4 or 5 years old (I’m 35 years old tight now). I work as a youth protection social worker (HIGH STRESS) but I am passionate about it and I have always been a calm person. I have learnt to disconnect from work when going home which helps. I think it really depends on your nature and how you handle stress. I feel like I have sacrificed enough for the AVM (not having children, not smoking, not drinking) I did not want to stop doing what I love.

Hi Angeee! I had several surgeries before I had a Craniotomy to remove the AVM from the right side of my brain. As a result I am paralyzed on my left side and have suffered a few seizures. However I returned to work 3 months after my surgery. I am a HR Director and have been before and after my surgery. Of course the job can be stressful when you have to deal with many personalities daily. However I have learned that nothing is more important than me and my health. I have learned to prioritize and always stay ahead. Your job doesn’t make you, you make the job work for you! I hope and pray that you make a decision that you feel comfortable and secure with. Take care!!!


Hi Angeee. I’m an admin manager in a university. It can be fairly stressful and I have to remind myself to calm down and try to relax. I have anxiety issues but seem fine other than that at the moment. I have been in my current role for 20 years now and can honestly say I’ve never really thought about whether certain careers are dangerous for those with AVMs. I can’t imagine doing anything else though personally. And I would have thought that on the whole a HRM job a lot less risky than say a firefighter or police agent or even a gardener!

1 Like

Have you tried a specialist for embolisation? My son was in a similar situation and his large AVM is being completely eliminated by embolisation. He is undertaking no.3 and hopefully it will be completely gone . It is much less invasive and you have max 2 days in hospital. Good luck!

Hi Angie and all of you, my AVM was discovered in 2011 after a car crash. The doctors that are treating my case said that they wouldn’t touch me. My case is asymptomatic. Do I have no pain or discomfort at all. I am taking Kepra 3times a day, I am an English teacher. Working with children, young people, university students, professionals and any one who wants to learn English.
During all my time working I never have any problems. Always tell my students about my case.
On my experience with the AVM my life as as normal as can be.
Please all take care. God bless you all


I got accepted to work at the Home Depot in Tewksbury mass. Seven months later they said “sorry we don’t accept medical marijuana patients. Back to the drawing board. But it was a legitimate job offer. So I’m very enthusiastic

Hello Angee,
I think people react to situations with a different degree of stress. Stress is subjective. I think AVM survivors must have anormal life and supervise their AVM progress and signs when no intervention is suggested. If you like what you are working on, follow your ambitions for your career, and try to have a normal life. I think what is the most stressful is to think that you have an AVM and where would that lead. This is more stressful than anything else in life. When we discovered our daughter’s AVM at the age of 9, accidently, we decided to give her a normal life, but this had changed our priorities. The main priority became to be happy and have a happy home. she has a similar situation like yours where no operation is suggested. a large AVM in the eloquent part of the brain. We are waiting for the technology to provide a solution meanwhile, she finished her Masters degree, worked in stressful environment, lives in another country and a very happy young lady.

Follow your dream, be loving and be happy.


Hiya. I am a servicedesk guy for a software product. The biggest stress in my job are the idiots in charge but I started not caring as much and put myself first. Keeping mindful of what I am doing is part of it: Is this email worth the trouble? Should I be doing someone else’s job while they are not doing it properly? Should I be going that 110% when just 90% is enough? Getting angry is a bad thing so I avoid people who upset me if possible and recognose the bait they give me. Once I started just doing what it took to do the job and nothing more then I have about 50% less work and 100% less stress. Meditation has helped somewhat. Light exercise clears my head (just walking for 30 minutes). Having a good matrass, eating sensibly. It all added up for me.

Hi Angeeee,
Human resource management is such a broad field. You could be writing HR strategy for a multinational company or recruiting for a small private business. You have so much choice within this field as to your specific job. You can choose the level of stress you wish to be exposed to, the type of job, the type of company, the working hours, the location etc
Every job has stress, you can’t avoid stress completely. It is up to you to learn to manage your stress (and there are a lot of resources out there to help you do that).
Don’t give up on your dream, it’s not as if you wanted to be an air hostess, skydiver or FBI agent :slight_smile:
My only advice is that when you do get a job, please make sure you negotiate an excellent benefits package in regards to medical coverage, sick leave and disability benefits. Knowing you have this covered will greatly reduce your stress levels.

1 Like

I worked in customer service for many years(30). Most of it was very enjoyable. As far as the idiots I was cleaning up after, they were begging for my help because the customers loved me. You can do anything you feel you can do. Assess your strengths and weaknesses and take it from there. I had my bleed at 16-at 22 I began my customer service work. I was a cashier until I was 22. I also worked in plant nurseries keeping greenhouses(which I loved).

1 Like

Hi Joanna, I also had an avm removed on the right side of my brain. My left side is/was affected as well, but I regained movement of my left arm. I don’t know how you returned to director-level work after your surgeries, wow! Your post reminds me that I need to take better care of myself, and that my health is number 1. Talking to people still stresses me out, but I hope to be able to get past it at some point.

Hey Angeeee, I thought I’d pass on what was given, check out https://choosework.ssa.gov/about/how-it-works/index.html. that the social security offices ticket to work program. Might be worth a gander. Blessings!

Hi slowcatharsis! You will, it just take time. One thing I had to learn and still is work in progress. is Patience. For 36 years I was very independent, then in one day my whole world changed. It took some time, crying, anger and embarrassment. Soon I conquered it all. I am the same person as before but with slower mobility. With time you to, shall do the same. Just be patience.

1 Like

I am an AVM survivor. I work as English bilingual teacher for more than 25 years. I use to teach in the UK, in London where I worked for nearly 14 years, then moved to Asia Malaysia I worked there for almost 10 years, now I am in my hometown Colombia in South America. Still teaching. The doctors said please do not stop doing what you love and if you are good at is even better. So here I am doing what I love.


Thank you very much John for taking the time to answer my question. I appreciate your insight.

Thank you for taking the time to respond @John_O . I wish you the best of luck on your journey