Portrait: Bridget

I was 25 years old. I was married to the love of my life; we had an 18-month-old daughter and I was also 24 weeks pregnant with our son when I felt a "POP" in my head.

A Little bit about Bridget: 

The year was 2016 & I was 25 years old. I was married to the love of my life; we had an 18-month-old daughter and I was also 24 weeks pregnant with our son. I was super active at the time. I was an avid hiker, and I also worked outdoors as a beverage cart girl on a golf course.  

One evening I went on a hike with some friends and all of our children. A hike I had done many times as it was one of my most favorite trails here in Tucson. About a mile into the hike, I bent over, and I felt a “POP” in my head. Suddenly everything started spinning. I got so dizzy. My mouth went completely dry, nausea overtook my body, and I suddenly got the worst headache of my life. Somehow, I managed to hike back.  


Importance of an early diagnosis 

My husband took me to the hospital and I explained what had happened to the nurses. I was hooked up to an IV bag, given some Tylenol and they told me that I was most likely dehydrated. I was told to go home, to get some rest and to keep my fluids up. The drive home would be the last few minutes I would remember for a while.  

My condition quickly worsened and I had lost my ability to speak. I knew something was horrifically wrong, but I couldn’t voice it.

I started hitting and kicking everything in the car trying to “warn” my husband that something wasn’t right. I felt as though I was about to die, but I couldn’t tell him. My husband carried me into bed to let me rest, just as the hospital staff had advised. Later in the night I tried to get out of bed and took a bad fall. My husband took me back into the hospital and insisted on a CT scan being done. They immediately saw that my brain was bleeding. I spent three weeks in the ICU, it was rough but the huge silver lining of all of this mess was when my baby boy was born via c-section at 37 weeks perfectly healthy.  


What kept me motivated in recovery 

I had a long road to recovery, but my kids were my ultimate motivators! Now almost six years later and after undergoing radiation…I recently celebrated the news of my AVM being gone!  My cerebellum was affected, so one of the remaining effects is that I get dizzy incredibly easy. Once the dizziness starts, the nausea tends to kick in right after which can make me feel miserable at times. However, overall, I can’t complain! I have done some amazing things since my stroke that I would have never dreamt of. I am so grateful for every day I get to be here! 

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