Jul 10
Rosella , Posted on SUPPORT NETWORK Blog

Proud to survive a Stroke, Brain Aneurysm & AVM

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As I was growing up I always had horrible headaches but thought they were only migraines.  I was running a 5K race in the fall of 2002 and  was close to the finish line but collapased and was taken to a local hospital. The doctors determined I had an Anterior Venous Malformation and Brain Aneurysm in my left frontal lobe  which needed to be repaired as soon as possible to avoid a stroke.

My journey started  in Januart 2003  at the age of 37 after having surgery to fix the AVM and Brain Aneurysm and learned I had suffered a stroke.   Unfortunately the doctor who did my test after surgery accidentally inserted air into the tubes and caused several TIA strokes which affected my short term memory. It seemed ironic that I was having surgery to prevent a stroke but an accident caused the stroke. I was happy to be alive and wanted to go back to just being "me". My husband and daughters were very supportive and I recovered and went back to work within 6 months.  I did not tell many people at work or friends and relatives that I was a stroke survivor because when I did they treated me so different.

As I recovered, I  trained for and ran the San Diego Rock 'n' Roll Marathon-26.2 miles in 2005 while fundraising $4086 to donate to the American Stroke Association. After that I went on to help coach many other runners for years do their own first 5K races and half marathons.

I have become passionate in helping other stroke and brain injury survivors through my volunteer work with Strides for Stroke, Steps for Stroke, Albany Medical Center and the American Heart & Stroke Association.  I now feel proud to be a survivor and help other people so they do not feel they have to hide their challenges from the stroke.

  • Jodoher2

    Hi rosella..thank you for sharing your story...i would like to ask a bunch of questions...if you have the time to message me....thank u...john

  • Johnn

    My brain AVM ruptured back in 2000 when I was at the age of 10. Was at home with my parents and told them I had a very bad headache. They figured it was allergies because it was the early the month of May. My AVM was in between my temporal and parietal lobes of the brain. When the bleed started the first thing to go was my vision. Went blind and then the pain got so bad that I blacked out. Was put in an ambulance then taken to a local hospital. They didn’t no what to do so then was flown to the hospital in Louisville Kentucky. Had  emergency surgery to stop the bleed but then had to wait for the swelling to go down to remove the blood clot that had formed from the bleeding. After 2 months of therapy and a lot of scans the swelling had gone down to where I could see again and they could do surgery. The surgery went well and was then sent back home but kept having seizures. At least 2 a day. They weren’t the big ones but more of the type where I couldn’t respond or speak for a moment. The doctors then sent me to St.Louis children’s hospital for more scans and found 3 small blood clots in separate areas that were triggering the seizures. I then ended up having 3 more surgeries. Was in the hospital for 3 months in 2001. After the surgeries they tried to reduce my medication but had a seizure so they then kept me on my pills. Have been taking the same amount ever since 2001 and have gone over 10 years without having a seizure.  As for my physical health it’s great. In high school played golf and was in track. I ran the 800 meter and did high jump. As for the biggest struggles I have from my injury are short term memory so problems with  multitasking and for my physical health bad right peripheral vision from my injury. 

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