Helen Davies is a stroke survivor. During the creative writing sessions at Helen's local Headway group she recounted her story to share with us.
“My brain injury story started about 10 years ago with a strange noise in my right ear like a type of tinnitus. After about two and a half years of doctor’s appointments ended in an MRI, which showed up the problem and I was diagnosed with an AVM.
“At that time, it was an ENT Specialist who gave me the news. He told me it was nothing to worry about, he didn’t really know what he was talking about, and, of course, after being told about it, Mr Google became my friend for a little while (he wasn’t my friend really) he just scared me!
“Fast forward a little bit, I had an appointment with a neurologist. He explained to me that – due to the location of the AVM – my only option was Gamma Knife; I had my first round in March 2015.
“After that, it was a waiting game for it to work. It takes about 4-5 years to work by turning the blood vessels into scar tissue.
“At just over 4 years on 8th June 2019, I was running on a Saturday morning when I suddenly had the worst headache imaginable. I’d almost finished my run, but I had to sit down, rest and wait for my friend.
“She figured out that I might be having a stroke! I don’t remember much after that! My friend was right, what had happened was, my AVM had ruptured – bled badly and that was causing a stroke.
“I was taken by ambulance to the Prince Charles Hospital in Merthyr Tydfil and after a little bit, was transferred to UHW in Cardiff where they put me into a coma for a few days. The stroke affected my left side, and I was unable to move my leg or my arm.
“Thankfully I don’t recall any of this part. What I do remember are crazy hallucinations and thinking that my 13-year-old daughter was always in bed next to me with something wrong.
“After being in UHW for about a month it was discussed that I be moved to Rookwood Hospital for physio and rehabilitation – I had to learn to walk again.
In saying all of this I was extremely lucky to be alive. I try my best to be thankful every day. And I now walk everywhere!
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