Proud to survive a Stroke, Brain Aneurysm & AVM
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.