Last September marks the 15th year anniversary of the event that forever changed my life. It all started on a winters night at my parents house in my childhood. It was a school night and my sister and I were just getting tucked in for bed, I was 9 years old. My parents, in the living room were watching the 9 o’clock news as usual when they heard me call out to them.The world went dark for me at that point. All I remember was that my head was in a massive amount of pain before loosing consciousness. My parents tried waking me and with no success they rushed me to Primary Children’s Hospital of Salt Lake City, UT. The hospital staff quickly got me into the emergency room for an emergency brain operation.
After my surgery I was put in a medically induced coma. The doctors let my parents know that I sustained an AVM (arteriovenous malformation), which in short, is much like a stroke. 10 days later, I had another AVM and was operated on yet again. Even though the odds were stacked against me, I made it through the second surgery. The doctors said that I am very lucky to be alive and that if my parents didn’t get me to the hospital when they did, I very well could not have made it.
Recovery was anything but easy. In fact, I remember it being extremely frustrating. It was like I hit the re-start button on life and had to teach myself how to do everything all over again. The days laying in the hospital bed I “played pictionary” on a white-board in the recovery room with my parents. I lost my speech due to the AVM so that was the only way I could communicate with them. Physically, I could barely stand and required help to get up and down to use the bathroom or on and off the wheelchair.
To the doctors and staff that were apart of the entire process I am a walking miracle. Today, those hospital days are in the review mirror. I regained my ability to speak with persistence and the help of speech therapists. I learned how to walk on my own with determination and the help of physical and occupational therapists. The love for hiking and basketball helped me recover…there is a whole other story about that.
Today, although I do nearly everything with one hand, I am alive and that is worth every frustrating moment on the road of recovery.
I am Elliot, a AVM / TBI Survivor and a Brave Babe.
I love and accept myself.