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Patti G.


My journey with cavernous malformations, CM's, throughout my brain began in 1987 when I was presented with a first-time generalized seizure, secondary to a brain hemorrhage from a CM. Cavernous malformations, also known as cavernous angiomas, are malformed thin-walled blood vessels, which resemble a raspberry. It is estimated that 1 out of every 100 to 300 people will present with cavernous malformations, with symptoms of seizures, stroke-like symptoms, headaches, and hemorrhages.

Between 1987 and 2010 I have had 4 bleeds requiring surgery in various locations of my brain. My recent surgery on March 9, 2010 was in my right thalamus (on top of the brainstem). Because of the deep eloquent location, involvement and bleeding of this thalamic CM, I have met greater challenges throughout my recovery, including two weeks in acute neuro rehab relearning to walk with a cane and coping with numbness and unusual sensations on my left side.

Neurosurgeons specializing in the treatment of CM's are in a subspecialty within the specialty of neurosurgery and it is not uncommon for patients to go outside their geographical area, as I have done, for treatment. Presently, surgery is the only treatment for cavernous malformations. As a 51 year old survivor of this often devastating cerebrovascular disorder, I can only hope for more research, awareness, and future treatment options, and try to live my life to the fullest.

Doing the best I can within my limits one day at a time, with my loving, supportive husband by my side.


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