Road to Recovery Pt. 1

Yesterday something very scary happened to me…again. I will describe the experience in a moment but need to tell you the journey on how I got here.

Back in October of 2016 I was diagnosed with an AVM (malformation of blood vessels) and it’s located in my brain. The hardest thing was hearing – Vonti you were born with this in your brain; however due to high blood pressure you are at a very high risk of something fatal happening –

I looked at the doctor like he just told me I had an inoperable brain tumor. He calmed my worries but not by much. Turns out the AVM could cause me to have a stroke or brain aneurysm if there is a brain bleed. What the hell you talking about doc?

Sitting there hearing this knowing that most people don’t survive either of those things. I was then given options on treatment. But all I kept thinking was; I’m in love right now, I want to have kids, a family of my own (backstory I come from an abusive household), a better career, have student loans to pay, want to buy a house, go on more trips, talk to my friends, laugh at myself, cry to someone or just give a stranger a hug…

My life flashed before my eyes and a bitter taste festered its way up my throat. Did I tell you I had anger issues? There is no fight or flight for me. Only fight and I was angry at my body for betraying me. Meanwhile the doctor is still talking options. So I listened and shut the hell up even though in my mind I screamed at the AVM. The Doctor aka Neurosurgeon said – Vonti we can do 2 things to prevent this. The first is we cut into your brain and carefully dissect the vessels so blood no longer pumps through them. So we make an incision into your skull – pause Doctor; I say- what is option 2?

He says it’s called the Gamma Knife and it’s a one day procedure of laser radiation treatment to fixate on the vessels and kill them over time. We strap head gear to you (yes the screws are put into your head) so you don’t move & we do the treatment.

Hmm so let me see – I could look like Frankenstein with a huge scar across my skull or option 2 of tiny pinholes on my forehead that will fade over time?

Well you know vanity won of course & I said let’s gamma knife the hell out of this damn thing!

Now what they withheld was the severity of the aftermath. I was put on anti-seizure meds in case it triggered something and here we are in the present day.

After spending months on anti-seizure meds I’ve suffered a few. Without any hesitation on my part I can clearly say; it is the scariest thing I’ve battled in my entire life.

Yesterday I’m sitting in physical therapy during my lunch break from work. The miracle they can do in an hour is mind boggling.  I’ve got a pinched nerve in my back from going too hard in the gym. Hitting them weights like I’m training for the Olympics. When you gain pounds just from walking by a donut shop you tend to be paranoid  about it. Haha

Anyway the chiropractor says lay on your back and put your feet up on the bouncy ball thingy (refer to Missy Elliot new video here).

Now I’ve been going to them for treatment since May 2016, 2-3 times a week. So this was supposed to be nothing. He cranks the muscle stimulators on my back all the way up & I stare at the light overhead.

Then the worse thing happens. I see an image slowly cross my vision. It looks like a freaking smiley face that floats on a sea of light across my sight. I close my eyes and the bastard is still there. Just cruising over my eyes until the speed picks up. I say a silent prayer that this is not happening right now!

But it is and I’m all the way in Manhattan. Many many miles away from my anti- seizure meds. They are sitting at home in my perfect apartment, on my perfect dresser of my perfect life.

I don’t know if you or someone you know has ever had a ticking time bomb in their head? Well I can assure you hyperventilating is the least of your worries. The motion sickness begins and everything feels like I’m swimming underwater. What makes it worse is my AVM (that bastard) is pressing on my optic nerve. So when I have a seizure I lose my eyesight in either one eye or both. It’s not fully where I go blind and a shroud of darkness descends on me. It’s loss of my peripheral vision. So that anything I read will now come out like this – “exit” reads xit, “bathroom”reads throom and so on and so forth.

I’m in full panic mode now. I sit up & start to have an anxiety attack in the little curtained room I’m in. While the seizure overtakes my senses, I ask for them to call an ambulance! The chiropractor who I’ve spent countless times joking with and consoling him through his own family situations is now – holding my hand as the tears stream down my face. A massage therapist also steps into the room.

He’s my crush or MCM always and he grabs me by the arm. I ask what does his shirt say because it’s supposed to say “adidas” but alas refer to my paragraph above.

I repeat this mantra to him of “what does your shirt say!!” as tears stream down my face and they both lovingly say – calm down Vonti we have you. It will be okay- I continue to feel the pressure build in my head. Many have not had the pleasure of being choked out. It’s pressure that builds and builds making you feel like your head is going to pop off and roll down the street. When I seize, that’s what it feels like to me.

A slow death itching to grab me & pull me under. So I cry myself in my wheelchair to the ambulance sitting curbside , in the ride to the hospital, through the ER doors and into the cat scan machine to make sure there’s no brain bleed.

You know sh*t just got real when they wheel you into the ER. So many people are lined up in the hallway but they skip them all; to take care of you.

After all, you’ve got a ticking time bomb in your head and the bomb squad needs to shut it down.

My seizure passed an hour before I hit the hospital but the aftermath lingers. Until this AVM dies a slow death I’m going to be on these meds for at least 2 years.

I say all of that to say this…Get the help you need and don’t be scared to face reality. Keep living and loving as many people as you can. Be angry, cry about it, talk to someone and know whichever way that it goes; at least you faced it head on.

The next time the bitch decides to show up maybe I will go sit in the corner and not freak out. She doesn’t always get to make me feel like it’s the end of the world.

You know…


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