Some people close to me in my family have cavernous angioma. This malformation can cause bleeds that cause seizures, headaches, hemorrhages, and/or numerous other issues (Angioma Alliance, 2016). Some individuals who have this may even need brain surgery, which is currently the only cure for it (Angioma Alliance, 2016). When I was in high school, a close sibling had their first experience with this. After that, I had an MRI to see if I had any abnormalities as well. My brain was clear. I did not have any abnormalities.
For a few years now, my family has been extremely involved in this topic and “issue.” They organize and host a wine tasting for the past two years to raise money for the organization Angioma Alliance. Cavernous angiomas are rare with only .2% of the population being affected (Angioma Alliance, 2016). My family has the hereditary kind, which accounts for 20% of those with cavernous angioma (Angioma Alliance, 2016). My sister recently wrote an article about our family history.
Even though I may not personally have this, it obviously still affects me. On my car, I have a bumper sticker which reads “Because Brains Shouldn’t Bleed”. Since putting this on my car, I have received many questions. I give my spiel explaining what it is and how it is a part of my life. I appreciate raising awareness about things in my life – with this being one of them.
I recently had to take my car in for service, which I waited there for it. A half-hour later, a man came out and asked for me. He then asked about my bumper sticker. I learned that he too has cavernous angioma, and doesn’t know any else with it. He told me his story and then how when he saw my bumper sticker he had tears in his eyes.
I loved that he came over to me and spoke to me. I appreciated it more than anything, and I hope he did too.
This reminded me about the importance of sharing. It’s so easy to feel alone while dealing with an issue. Not everyone likes talking about something personal that it is happening with them, and I understand that. That’s why I feel that it is necessary since I feel comfortable to talk and share, that I do just that. I’m so glad that man came up and spoke to me about cavernous angioma. I am also happy that people reach out to me about anxiety, depression, or whatever they feel compelled to reach out to me for.
I’m going to continue sharing my life and my stories. I want others to know they are not alone. That I hope others should feel safe reaching out to me and sharing their stories as well.
Angioma Alliance (2016). About cavernous angioma. Retrieved from http://www.angiomaalliance.org/pages.aspx?content=62