Erin D.


My Experience With Stroke

My name's Erin and I am 17 years old. On March 8, 2012, I suffered from a hemorrhagic stroke. My day at school went just like any other day and I can remember being so excited because it was finally a nice day meaning that I could finally go for a run outside. Everything was completely normal right up until that night. I was at a meeting and got the worst headache I've ever had in my life and by the time I got home from the meeting, I couldn't talk or move the right side of my body properly.

Having a history of headaches made my parents and I think that this was probably common. We had never known anyone who had a stroke so we didn't know the symptoms. I went to bed that night thinking what I had was just a headache. The next day, Friday, I didn't go to school and it wasn't until my mom got home around 3:00 p.m. that I decided to go to the ER.

The minute we walked into the hospital, they got me in immediately. We had a few cat scans done and within 25 minutes they had the pictures of my head up on the wall, revealing a mass of blood in my brain. I was not prepared for any of that, seeing as how I thought I was going there for some medicine to help with my migraines. I can't explain how scared I was when the doctors all walked in and said that they had bad news. My heart sank.

Fortunately, I was given some of the best doctors and nurses at UMASS Hospital and I could not have asked for anything better. Ultimately, I ended up having an AVM in my head that ruptured. The AVM, as far as anyone could tell, had been there since I was born and this could have happened at any time. I was extremely lucky that it happened when I was a teenager because I was able to recover really well from the brain surgery. The neurosurgeon preformed a craniotomy to remove the AVM. He had told me that things like talking and moving could potentially get worse after surgery. Luckily for me, things got much better! Within two days after the surgery I was able to talk a lot better than I could before and I could do simple things like draw or text message my friends.

There are absolutely no words that can describe how blessed I was to have such wonderful doctors and nurses. They saved my life and I am so thankful that I had them watching over me through the whole ordeal. Today, I'm able to do just about everything that I could do before the stroke and I'm thrilled. For such a terrible experience, it couldn't have ended any better.


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