In Fort Worth,Texas; September 27, 1997, I was 23 in bliss for having just being married. The wedding was spectacular our honeymoon was breathtaking as we stayed in the middle of a glacier national park in British Columbia, Canada.
One and a half months later my husband and I were on our way to one of my jazz gigs, me being a vocal jazz musician, I started feeling really different. I could not feel my arms and my legs and then I felt a pop in the back of my neck, from there on I started to lose my eye sight. I told my husband, M.J., to take me to the emergency room. I knew something really bad was happening. At that moment I did not realize the severity of my situation.
I had a AVM that had ruptured. The hospital had never seen such a large AVM,the size of a tennis ball going 4 inches deep in the right side of my brain and they did not have the facility to operate. I was then care-flighted to Dallas at Zale Lipshy University Hospital. By then I was already unconscious. From there they first had to drain my brain free of spinal fluid & blood. They kept me heavily medicated so I wouldn't move or hurt myself. I experienced delirium which I remember because I would keep pulling the IVs from my arm. I didn't Know where I was and I had these tubes hanging from my head. It was terrifying.
From there they did a series of 6 arteriograms to shrink the AVM so they could remove the AVM without damage to my functioning parts of my brain. They had never tried this many procedures before. These procedures lasted over a three month period; with each time telling my husband and family I would not make it through. As I said this lasted for three months. During this time I had Thanksgiving, my 24 birthday, and Christmas. I could not walk, go to the rest room, or bathe without help.
Being a social worker to being unconscious and being the one whom needs the help was frustrating to me. While in ICU I was touching my hair and noticed that my hair was falling out. The doctors had never seen such a reaction and determined that the radiation from the arteriograms had caused my hair to fall out. Toward the end of my hospital stay I was walking around the hospital daily for as much as I could. I wanted to go home, but unfortunately we had no home to go to. Our family had to move everything in storage for us. My wonderful in-laws invited us to stay with them.
My cognitive skills were really bad and I could not drive for a year or a little over. After a month they discovered an aneurysm between my eyes and gave me the choice to do surgery again in a week or wait another 6 months. I took in a week; I had gone this far I have to keep going. So, within a week I was back in and this time really hurt, they broke my jaw and had to go under the brain to reach the aneurysm.
Because of racking up the hospital bills, I sought outside help, such as Texas Rehabilitation, and then to Easter Seals which helped me with all the disabilities I was experiencing. A month after I completed my program I was hospitalized again for multiple grand mal seizures which really put me back.
Today by the grace of God I am the most alert I have been since that day in November. I have started singing again. I will always share my story because God left me here to tell it.
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