I chose to no longer be the victim
I was an active 21 year old college student when I began experiencing symptoms of Spinal AVM for the first time while out for a run. I had my first resection surgery only weeks later. We were told it was a success but shortly after, while pregnant with our second child, I began to experience symptoms again. Surgery was not an option until the pregnancy was farther along. By the time surgery was safe for the pregnancy, too much damage from the Spinal AVM had been done on my spinal cord. After two major surgeries, a new "disability" of paralysis, a new born baby, and two years of rigorous physical therapy I was left feeling defeated and broken. After hitting rock bottom and plenty of time spent pitying myself, I chose to no longer be a victim. I began to see my wheelchair as a tool that I use to accomplish my goals, instead of an embarrassing limitation I was burdened with lugging around. I'm now competing in local triathlons, volunteering in the local rehab hospital with new spinal cord injury patients, working towards a degree in counseling, and raising my two very healthy toddlers with my husband!