Kate feels like a monster
|When Kate was 12-years-old she had a brain aneurysm. The location of the tiny clump of blood vessels that burst open was in her brain stem. Right around the area that controls speech, sight, breathing, heart rate, mobility and much more. In technical terms there are many different ways of saying it. It’s called a left midbrain cavernous hemangioma with a secondary hemorrhage, or an AVM, whatever that stuff means. One day she was a normal 12-year-old girl from Podunk, Wisconsin and overnight she was turned into a monster from hell, at least that's how she felt.
This is how the whole story goes...
One morning she woke up seeing double. Kate can still remember telling her mom her right hand and foot were numb and tingly too. Kate’s mom and dad just thought she slept on her eye wrong so they sent her to school. Not knowing she was bleeding in her brain. I mean, would you think a 12-year-old girl was having a brain aneurysm? Kate sure didn't know what the heck was going on. That morning she was walking into lockers and she had trouble writing since she was right handed and her hand was numb and tingly.
Kate’s teacher noticed what her symptoms were and that they were getting worse so she sent her to the nurse. The school nurse, Kathy was a special kind of stupid. Kathy obviously didn't believe her. Seeing as how Kate went to her office quite a number of times. Finally on the third attempt Kathy said she would call Kate’s mom and gave Kate an ice pack to put on her head, like an ice pack was going to help. She then told Kate she could go home and usually Kate would be pumped that she got out of school but as she sat waiting for a ride she came to the realization that something could seriously be wrong with her. As Kate saw her grandpa and mom pull up she was relieved, she was back with two people that loved her and believed in her. They rushed her to the eye doctor, of all doctors and he did all sorts of tests. After being in the doctors office for five hours he sent her home because back in '98 they didn't have the capabilities to figure out what was happening to her. So Kate had to wait while she was literally bleeding from the inside. The next twenty days it seemed she had a doctor appointment everyday. One doctor thought it was this, the other thought it was that. Until a specialist from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota said let's try an arteriogram on Kate's brain and see exactly what we’re dealing with here. An arteriogram is a scan where they shoot colored dye into your major artery in your groin, not just into your regular veins like in an MRI. After that the Mayo clinic and everyone knew what it was. They told her it was called an AVM aka altra-venus-malformation, smack dab in the middle of her brain. Now, since all the doctors knew what it was you'd automatically think surgery time, but, no. No doctor would touch her. They said it would be way too risky of a surgery. After 3 or 4 months Kate went back to school as her symptoms were subsiding and the doc from Mayo clinic said there was a .00009 % chance it would happen again. Boy, was he ever wrong.
Kate was 18-years-old now and sick of having a stroke once a year and sick of having the underlying feeling that something real bad was going to happen one of these times – until it did. She had another stroke so Kate, her mom and dad went back to the doctors in Marshfield this time. They told Kate you have a choice, either get this out of your head now and DEAL with the consequences or don't remove the malformation and SUFFER the consequences. Sounds quite harsh but it was the hand she was dealt. Well, she chose to go "all in" meaning, she chose the surgery to have them take it out.
Now, this was a difficult surgery and it was not to be taken lightly so her parents found the best brain surgeon in the world and flew her all the way to Arizona for surgery. The surgery was at a place called Barrow Neurological Center. The same place Muhammad Ali had a foundation for people with Parkinson's. Right after the brain surgery Kate was in a hospital in Arizona for a week. She seemed fine there. Then they flew her back to a hospital nearby where she lived for a month and a half and the day they sent her home she started having severe tremors (shaking) in her right arm and leg. It debilitated her so bad she couldn't walk. Kate’s mom and dad immediately called the doctors and they recommend they take Kate to physical and aquatic therapy. First she tried every pill in the book to help her stop shaking. Kate even tried something called Botox, which Dr. Hinder thought would help. No luck there either.
While Kate was the doctors’ personal guinea pig she went to physical therapy three times a week and aquatic therapy twice a week. Imagine someone’s head being unscrewed, shook about 500 times, thrown off a ten story building and then screwing it back on. The dizziness was horrible at first but luckily she got over that. On top of all that they wanted to start her walking again. One day Kate’s therapist at the time, strapped her into " the superman sling”. It was the same machine the Hollywood therapists used on Christopher Reeves to get him walking again after his accident. You all know who Christopher Reeves is, right? He is the man that actually played Superman in the old Superman movies in the 1970's. Well, Kate started getting stronger and stronger and she actually did start walking again with some help. Soon she got so strong she could walk by herself but her balance still wasn't there. Kate would have to keep on working on it and practicing. In the mean time she did what any decent person would do and kept her faith that someday she would get better. Kate prayed and went along this roller coaster they call life. Kate was still the same Kate inside so apparently it did not debilitate her brain too bad.
Kate remembered everything and everyone from her past, Thank the Lord. Kate’s friends from high school came to visit her sometimes but after a while she guessed they just got sick of it and ditched her. Kate couldn’t blame them though, they were young and dumb. Thankfully Kate had a great family. There was one friend though, one friend that never left her side. That was Sara-Jane. They are still good friends to this day. SJ for short, went to a different school than Kate and she was absolutely the funniest person Kate had ever met. Whenever Kate needed someone she was there.
SJ always said they would do something great for mankind someday. Kate had no idea SJ would be telling the truth.