To Know the Odds

     A routine eye exam led me to a referral to be seen by a neurologist.  It was here that I was told that I was exhibiting symptoms of a stroke.  Immediate scans were taken of my brain, where I was diagnosed with a level 5 Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM), an enlarged Vein of Galen, and two fistulas. This is not a diagnosis that any mother of a 6 month old wants to hear.  Next, I was off to meet a neurosurgeon who I was hopeful would save my life.  On March 11, 2014, I had brain surgery to correct one of the fistulas.  Two months later, I was in pre-op getting ready for my third procedure to inspect the results of my surgery when I discovered that I was pregnant, again.  Surprise!  Tears of joy and fear flooded my cheeks as I tried to swallow the news that I was going to have another baby in the midst of everything else that I had going on in my life.  I didn’t know whether I would even make it through another pregnancy, much less live long enough afterwards for my children to know who their mother was.  My risk of hemorrhage was extremely high.  Couple this with the added strains of pregnancy on a woman’s body…it doesn’t take a neurosurgeon to tell me that my odds were not good.   

     Don’t feel alone if you don’t recognize the terms in the diagnosis from the first line. After scouring the internet for the definitions to some very long medical terms, many of which I had never heard, and praying without ceasing, I had nine long months, plus several months nursing, to help me come to terms with the fact that this was my lot in life.  On one hand, although my surgery had probably saved my life, most of my physical issues were unresolved. On the other hand, I now held something in the palm of my hand that had changed me forever—knowledge.  I had finally been given answers to why I have had lifelong migraine headaches, dizzy spells, and loss of vision. Knowledge is a very powerful thing.  Nothing had changed about how I was made.  The AVM has been present in my brain since birth.  The other issues brought on by the AVM were still there.  The only real difference was that I know held the knowledge that I was wonderfully and, albeit, uniquely made. 

     It was right before my second daughter was born on December 30, 2014 that I was introduced to essential oils.  My mother-in-law gave me a Young Living Premium Starter Kit for Christmas.  Not really knowing where or how to begin, I just started diffusing.  I knew that people had been using plants for their therapeutic properties for centuries.  Truth be told, at this time, I really just liked the smell of the oils.  Having a new baby in the house along with a nineteen month old is hard enough on its own, but by March 2015, I began experiencing daily, debilitating migraines due to my body settling back into its normal rhythm.  The pain was especially unwelcome on top of my postpartum blues.  Not being able to take any medication because I was nursing, I began looking into natural remedies.  It was then that I bought my own PSK and joined the Four Seasons team.  I discovered two oils that became an immediate staple around my house: Deep Relief Roll-On and M-Grain.  Those two little bottles became a source of such relief to me.  After applying Deep Relief to my neck and temples, and diffusing M-Grain, a calming sensation would flow through me in about ten to fifteen minutes.  That is record time!  The more I used the oils, the better results I got.  Furthermore, the more I learned about the oils, the more invested I became and the more I wanted to share.  

     Today, I am a living with a level 5 AVM, an enlarged Vein of Galen, and a fistula in my brain.  I do take daily maintenance medications to help keep the muscles in my neck and head relaxed and my blood pressure low. There is no cure for my condition and surgery is too risky. I have used my knowledge to help advocate for stroke awareness.  Less medicine is good medicine, and most days, I am able to find the relief I need from my oils without having to take pain medication.  I realize that there are no oils that will cure my malady, however, there are lots of oils that will enrich the time that I do have.  For me, it is not about the quantity of life I have, but the quality.  Never compromise quality and always pursue knowledge!