I am … a Survivor.
Five weeks ago my life almost ended. It could have ended or it could have been changed in a big way. I had a stroke at 25, with no history of high blood pressure or any kind of health issues. Both sides of my family also have no history of ANY health problems, not even stroke. Election day I was at my brother Kyle’s apartment where I was watching TV, I had just attempted to do a yoga move that normally comes easy. I felt as if I had no control over my body’s movements. Figuring I was just hungry I took a shower and sat on the couch to watch TV while ordering Jimmy Johns. My phone screen, which I normally see perfectly, was totally blurred and out of focus. I was blind. My arms and hands did not listen to my brain. I considered for a moment that I had been drugged but took that off as a possibility since I had been completely alone for hours. I called my friend Lilly who I expressed to that I was blind and that something was wrong, maybe I should head to the ER later that day if it didn’t get better. She told me she was on her way to pick me up to drive me to a nearby Urgent Care. Her bossy nature probably saved my life. At Urgent Care the nurse did typical stroke neurological tests, which I passed with high functionality, but she still thought I had a delay in the way I was performing the tasks. She strongly suggested I go via ambulance to the hospital. That was shocking to hear. The CT scan and MRI it showed I had an AVM. I had a craniotomy four days later. During my recovery at an in-patient facility, I learned to walk again, and began feeling my brain regain connections between neurons that had been lost to the stroke. The human body is truly amazing. My recovery became a time for reflection, to look at all aspects of my life and decide what is really important, wanting to surround myself with people that bring something to my life, which enriches it in some way big or small. Assessing everything and seeing if I was making the most out of a second chance. Every day I fight to regain mental and physical strength to get back what I lost to my stroke.