Firstly, I cannot express how much of an honour and privilege it was to meet with a fellow survivor. One who has challenged life, and is now living it to it’s fullest.
Personally I had not talked to another survivor, only those who are connected to someone who has experienced an AVM or aneurysm, but it truly was an amazing and peaceful experience. It felt like I was talking to a friend I had known for years!
Brendas journey was not an easy one. She lived a very busy life looking after her family and worked numerous jobs to keep them afloat. She started to experience symptoms such as severe headaches and blurry vision, and had reached out to a doctor. Sadly the doctor misdiagnosed her and sent her home with pain pills.
A few days later after, Brenda went to sleep, an unknown AVM burst and she found herself on the floor of her bedroom. Her partner at the time suggested to go to the hospital. She felt that it was just a migraine. She was feeling quite ill and thought it would be best to stay and let it pass while walking around her house. Eventually she was taken to the hospital, where she came ill, which it did relieve pressure within her head, and was given a CT scan.
She was kept in a darkened room to avoid the bright lights, and was given the results that she indeed had a congenital AVM that had ruptured. It was also then when she found that it had slowly been bleeding for 3-5 days prior.
Brenda was then transported to Royal Columbian Hospital where she was placed in an induced comma for the doctors to perform an angiogram, and shortly after to perform surgery in order to clip the AVM.
Over the next three weeks, Brenda was under watch for any potential strokes, but she was determined to get out. She regained the strength to walk to the halls of the hospital, even though the nurses said she needed to rest, but her ultimate goal was to get outside the doors to have a smoke. She knew that once she stepped foot outside, she could go home.
Finally, one day, Brenda made it outside the doors of the hospital, sat on the bench, lit up a cigarette, and passed out. When she woke up, she sadly found herself back in her hospital bed.
Eventually, Brenda did make it out of the hospital safely, and it was eye-opening time of her life. She went back to work earlier than expected due to being restless at home, but also looked back at the stress she endured before the rupture and knew she needed to make some changes. Luckily at this time the doctors reassured her that the AVM would not come back, and if it did, it would be a new one.
She eventually took a five week leave to explore the Sunshine Coast, no car, just a bag. Brenda did some soul searching and realized she needed to make changes in her life to eliminate the drama and stress, and she did.
She moved to the Sunshine Coast six years ago and was unexpectedly reacquainted with a past boyfriend from when she was 15 years old. They’ve have now made a new life for themselves here on the coast, recently married, and she couldn’t be happier.
Brenda was lucky enough to walk away from this ordeal with only a slight blur in her peripheral vision, and has now regained the feeling and movement of the right side of her face from where the surgery was performed.
Personally, it truly was an incredible experience for myself to meet such an inspirational woman, full of positivity and life. In her words “Live the best life you can and don't let fear stop you from living, loving and experiencing!”
For more information: https://www.atimminsphoto.com/awareness