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Rachel's Story

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At 25 years old, I was in the prime of my life. Traveling to multiple countries/cities for work and maintaining an active lifestyle. In the summer of 2019, all of that started to change. I started noticing some weird neurological symptoms. I tried to see a therapist, but it didn’t help and things kept getting worse until I finally saw a neurologist.

Thursday, September 19th 2019 was the date of the MRI that changed my life. They found a strange image on my scan and rushed me to the hospital. I was diagnosed with a cavernous malformation (cavernoma) on my brainstem on September 20, 2019. Basically, this was a vascular tumor or cluster of blood vessels that were bleeding and putting pressure on my brainstem. In four months, I underwent a total of three brainstem surgeries with a series of strokes in between.


New Year’s Eve of 2019 was the date that I woke up from my third, life saving brainstem surgery. After a few more weeks in the ICU, I spent two months at a rehab hospital, then began outpatient rehab at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, which derailed my therapy plans for the first few, most crucial months.


Although everyday may not be easy, I’ve learned that everyday is not a guarantee, so I’m thankful for both the good days and bad days. I hope to use the time gifted to me wisely and hope to be a light for those who need it.

With Love, Rachel

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