You Get News That An Old Friend From High School Just Had a Stroke

Emotions are racing and you move from shock, sadness, to concern.

Your NOT SURE EXACTLY what happens to the body when someone has a stroke, but you know enough to associate the word with a terrible medical event.

Majority of us would respond exactly the way I just detailed when hearing about MOST major medical events.

The word recovery ALMOST NEVER enters the mind. Fixation on the event itself set’s precedence, and we can’t fathom what a person going through a serious medical event endures after the onset.

A few major medical events and their possible recovery and treatment paths:

  • Cancer leading to chemotherapy treatment.
  • Stroke requiring open brain surgery leading to post-stroke rehabilitation.
  • Arthritis leading to infusion treatments.
  • Rare form of liver disease leading to transplant wait list. After transplant comes months of immunosuppressive medications to prevent the body from rejecting the new liver.
  • Vestibular(balance) disorder leading to balance retraining through vestibular rehabilitation.

These major medical events require treatment protocols in attempt to heal the body.

These recovery modalities are often times painful, emotionally devastating, scary, physically taxing, ongoing and are accompanied with a slew of other unpleasantries.

This months 12-12-12 project, learning about brain AVM, has had a lasting impact on me.

Project member Sarah had TWO STROKES before the age of 35, YET that’s not where her story ends. Sarah had to endure several months of rehabilitation to gain her independence.  She is left with daily physical reminders of the stroke.

SO when you hear that someone is going through a major medical event, find a way to support them beyond your initial shock. They are working to hold onto who they used to be while accepting the reality of a life that has been drastically altered.

Sarah shared with me an awesome blog called Hope Heals. The blog chronicles the life of a woman names Katherine Wolf and her message of hope after suffering from an arteriovenous malformation.

This video is the PERFECT example of how a major medical event can turn a person’s world upside down.

Much love,


A Tangled Web Arteriovenous Malformation Weaves

When your arteries and veins abnormally tangle, a web of deceit begins brewing forming AVM nidus.

Shout out to Mayfield clinic for helping break down the complexities of arteriovenous malformation (AVM).

This is what I was able to understand…

It’s understood that blood flows from the heart, through your larger arteries to the body’s cells.

Arteries: Carry oxygen-rich blood away from the heart to the body’s cells

The arteries branch until they form into a capillary.

Capillary: Any of the branching blood vessels that form a network between the arterioles and venues.

A bed of capillaries is formed, and the powerful exchange of oxygen and nutrients takes place.

That blood travels away from the capillary bed back to the heart through your veins.

Veins: Return oxygen-depleted blood to the lungs and heart.

The AVM tangled web of blood vessels and arteries connect directly LEAVING OUT the critical capillary bed. So you get arteries that are in a feeding frenzy and enlarged veins form.

An AVM can rupture. The bleeding also can be held responsible for a possible stroke.

The risk of AVM bleeding is 2 to 3% per year. Death from the first hemorrhage is between 10 to 30%. Once a hemorrhage has occurred, the AVM is 9 times more likely to bleed again during the first year.

I found a GREAT VIDEO of Dr. John Hudson and Dr. Ted Larson giving a brief overview and discussion on AVM’s and treatment modality.

It’s 8 MINUTES OF SOLID AVM EDUCATION. Definitely worth a listen.

(Heads up: volume is low!)

Much love,

Worst Case Scenario At A Job Interview

At 22, Sarah Levis dressed and ready to impress headed into a job interview. Little did she know she would have a “small stroke” in the middle of her job interview! Talk about job interview nightmares.


It started with a tightness in the base of my skull, and within five minutes I had developed the worst headache I’ve ever known.

Sarah was diagnosed with a brain AVM (arteriovenous malformation), which according to the Mayo Clinic is “an abnormal connection between arteries and veins”.

Looking forward to spreading awareness about this condition.

Much love,