Winning The Stroke Lottery
I am the person that never wins contests, lotteries, or raffles. If there was a small chance of winning a given thing, I had not ever been the “lucky winner”. So when I had a stroke from an AVM that had hemorrhaged at age 25, imagine my surprise that I was the ONE in 200 to 500 people that are born with an AVM. The day of my stroke, 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 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, that 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 lift me up and bring something to my life, enriches it in some way big or small. I began assessing everything and seeing if I was making the most out of a second chance. I do consider myself lucky because I beat and survived a stroke and craniotomy, and pushed my mind and body to its potential until I regained the ability to walk and use the left side of my body. I discovered the strength of my own body and mind, and for that, I won the biggest lottery of life.