A stranger offers hopeBY PATRICIA ANSTETT
Ronda Collier brings her own story of hope to people with arteriovenous malformation.
Nine years ago, Collier, 44, of Ann Arbor survived the same type of AVM that left Julie Legner Anderson in a coma, and she has recovered almost fully. Fortunately for Collier, her AVM was discovered -- in a part of her brain stem that controls thinking and the heartbeat -- before the tangle of veins ruptured.
Collier is well enough today to run a company that makes salvage yards more environmentally friendly. She also exercises regularly, goes sailing and travels. She has some residual weakness in her left hand and some vision issues that keep her from driving.
After hearing about Anderson's case from the friend of a friend, Collier signed on to Anderson's CarePage and left encouraging notes.
Anderson's sister, Kathy Sipple, saw Collier's messages and asked her to visit Anderson at the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan. She met her last fall.
"I told her to keep the faith; keeping hope is most important," Collier said last week. "I told her not to listen too much to what people say you won't be able to do. We know so little about the brain. I recovered much better than I expected.
"They also tell you there's no improvement after two years, but I feel I continue to improve."
Collier reads Anderson's CarePage daily.
"There are days I walk away saying, 'Yes!' pumping my fist, and there are days when there are setbacks and I cry and say, 'Why so much for this one family?'
"I have such respect for her family," she said. "I just feel I've lived with them. I didn't know this family before and now they are very dear to me."
What is AVM?BY PATRICIA ANSTETT
Arteriovenous malformation, or AVM, is a defect of the circulatory system, often caused in utero, that creates a tangle of small arteries and veins that can rupture and bleed. These tangles in the brain and spinal cord are called neurological AVMs.
AVMs of the brain and spinal cord affect 300,000 Americans.
Symptoms include headache, blurred vision, slurred speech, vomiting, stiff neck, muscle weakness, loss of sensation in part of the body, fainting, drooping eyelids, altered vision, facility paralysis or change in mood.
Most people with neurological AVMs have few significant symptoms, though some can be fatal. Surgery is the typical treatment.
For details, go to www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/avms
Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes
And that's that.
I know what your thinking... why put books that are Kindergarten and 1st grade... well as far as it gos when you first get home after an AVM... at least an avm of the left side of the brain they help.
Until recently I still had some very basic education CD's on my computer. They helped.
Okay now I'm going to go... yall take care.