My name is Sarah Savell and when I was 9 I had an Arteriovenous Malformation(AVM) rupture in my right frontal lobe. When I was in PE at school I went to the office to call my mom. I called my mom because I had a really bad headache. When I got in her car I started screaming because my head was hurting so bad. She brought me to the Childrenís Clinic in Moss Bluff. Then I was brought to Memorial Hospital in Lake Charles by an ambulance. Thatís where they gave me my first CT scan. Then I was airlifted to Women and Childrenís Lafayette Hospital and I got a second CT scan done there. I was put in ICU where they monitored me over night and that is when my doctor induced me into medical coma that lasted for 6 weeks.|
This is when I began a journey of four brain surgeries. The first brain surgery was when they inserted an inter-cranial pressure monitor. The second surgery was a 9 hour process in which they removed a large piece of my skull and cleared out any clots and attempted to remove the AVM. But only small sections could be removed out of fear of causing more damage than necessary. The third surgery was shortly after my 2nd surgery and my intubation removal. A mishap occurred during the removal of my ICP monitor and a piece of the monitor broke off in my skull and had to be removed. Lastly, my final surgery followed an angiogram a year later in 2014. They discovered that my AVM had grown back and the Doctor was confident that he would be able to totally remove the AVM. Now Iím on a routine maintenance check every year to check for an AVM re-growth.
My real struggle was not when I was in the coma as this was in Godís hands, the faith of my family and the care of the Doctors and Nurses. My struggle started when I woke up and found that my muscles had almost completely deteriorated and I could not do simple functions such as scratch my nose much less think about walking. From this point I endured several treatments of physical therapy in Lafayette to get me moving and hopefully fix my drop foot condition. Shortly thereafter, I was transported to Texas Childrenís Rehab floor on September 18th 2013. I was given a strict schedule and began the process of weaning me off my strong medications. I underwent physical, occupational and speech therapy as well as try to reintegrate into a school setting. All this was really tough for me to do because I had trouble thinking and concentrating on things. Weeks of therapy really helped me walk, talk, and feed myself among other things that normal kids my age take for granted. I was discharged from Texas Childrenís on November 22nd and spent Thanksgiving with my family.
In conclusion, I suffered a severe event that has a very low survival rate. Those who do survive often live with lifetime disabilities and face future surgeries. Although I had to repeat 4th grade and attend 6 months of therapy Iím very fortunate that I have no major disabilities and I can simply enjoy being a kid. This is my story and thank you for taking the time to learn about me.