In February, a good friend and amazing mama went through an experience that changed the lives of her family, her children, her community. She had a brain bleed, later attributed to reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome, a condition that is frequently missed in post-partum mamas. It's a condition that led to symptoms that seemed a bit beyond what she'd experienced with her other pregnancies but not urgent in the days leading up to the bleed. But as those days led on the pain increased and she experienced a couple of days of headache and intense neck pain, unable to turn her head. On the day she realized that this level of pain was just not right, she sought medical advice and was sent home with a diagnosis indicating a need for rest. Within an hour, she lost consciousness and was being sped to the hospital. I am sharing the nature of her experience because, as noted above, this syndrome is not often diagnosed. It's missed. Many medical professionals do not have this syndrome (reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome) in their front pocket when they're helping post-partum mamas experiencing severe headaches. Reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS) is a rare condition that occurs as the result of a sudden constriction (tightening) of the vessels that supply blood to the brain. The main symptom of RCVS is sudden, severe, and disabling headaches that are sometimes called “thunderclap” headaches. Strokes or a bleeding into the brain may or may not be present. For this mama, she knew something wasn't quite right and the level of pain she was experiencing in her head was beyond any pain she'd felt before. The road she and her family have been on since February has been intense, all-consuming and heartbreaking. But these months have also been filled with hope, so much love, family and a village, all coming together to support this mama during her fight. She is home now with her husband and children. She is again a part of the everyday fabric of their lives. She is present. She is strong and quite frankly, fierce. She has fought every step to get where she is. She is stubborn ha! and has not allowed the result of this misdiagnosed syndrome that nearly took her life, to change the woman she is. It makes my heart so happy to see her with her babies. It made my heart so happy to see her yesterday, four days past the final surgery that returned her body to it's complete self and to get a hug from her that was so full of strength and love. Lady, you are purely and simply Amazing.
These are some of the families who surrounded you, members of your village. Through these mini sessions, they supported you and your family as you focused on recovering and returning to you and to your family. To these families, thank you from the bottom of my heart for seeing this chance and taking a small leap to support this mama as she fought to be herself again!!