Her “migraine” turned out to be an AVM

Chantal Poole’s story: “It could have been fatal”

Chantal and daughter side by side

After a diagnosis of AVM, or arteriovenous malformation, Chantal Poole underwent urgent surgeries. Today, she is working and living life to the fullest as a mother to her five-year-old daughter.

An AVM, or arteriovenous malformation, is not something 18-year-olds usually worry about. But one day Chantal Poole, who had suffered from migraines since she was 13, had what she thought was the worst migraine of her life. It turned out to be a brain AVM that had caused a bleeding in her brain.

An AVM is a tangle of abnormal and poorly formed blood vessels that have a higher rate of bleeding than normal vessels. AVMs can occur anywhere in the body.

“That day at work I had a totally different pain,” Chantal says, “It was so bad that I lost vision in my right eye and I became weak. When I got off from work I had to sit in the lobby until my mother came and got me. I couldn’t drive because I couldn’t see.”   Continue reading

How an arteriovenous malformation changed one man’s life

Men's Health Week: A story about one family's dedication to their dad/husband

Tom Sell 1 ORIGINAL blog

The Sell family celebrates at the wedding of eldest son, Jay.

No one who knew Tom Sell would have predicted he’d be faced with a health issue, let alone one that would impact his life so significantly.

“Tom was one of the healthiest-minded, most active people you’d ever meet,” says his wife, Laurie. “It was his mindset to always be healthy.”

But one day in 2006, while running on a home treadmill, Tom experienced extreme pain in his right eye and on the right side of his head. Laurie came home to find him in the bathroom, asking for an ambulance.

An unexpected diagnosis

Tom’s diagnosis was an arteriovenous malformation or AVM — a burst blood vessel that caused massive bleeding in his cerebellum, robbing it of oxygen. A ruptured AVM causes what is known as a hemorrhagic stroke. Continue reading

Caring for arteriovenous malformation (AVM) patient

Laurie Sell never gives up hope as she helps her husband work toward recovery

caregiver heart blogLaurie Sell credits faith and a sense of humor with keeping her and her husband pushing forward after Tom, in the prime of life, suffered an arteriovenous malformation or AVM — a burst blood vessel that caused massive bleeding in his cerebellum, robbing it of oxygen. An AVM is also referred to as a hemorrhagic stroke.

The active 51-year-old husband and father of two was quickly airlifted from his local hospital to the University of Michigan where doctors performed surgery. Tom spent the next 2½ months at U-M, unable to eat or swallow and breathing with the help of a ventilator.

When an AVM occurs, vessels typically burst at a weak area in their walls, often at a bulging spot called an aneurysm or a tangled web of abnormal vessels. AVMs can occur in different organs of the body, but brain AVMs are the most problematic, often causing stroke-like results. Continue reading