Meryl has now decided that she can include a bit more
of her personal history on this page, in the hopes that it can serve to
help out others that are searching for links.
In the summer of 1995, just before she started 8th grade,
Meryl suffered a Grand Mal seizure on the last day of Summer School. Aside
from being a major embarrassment (falling down in front of - and on - your
friends is not considered too cool) Meryl ended up in the hospital having
one test after another done. She fell asleep during the CAT scan,
dozed a bit during the MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and really truly
hated the angiogram. The results? The doctors found that Meryl had
a congenital condition known as a cerebral arteriovenous malformation in
her left temporal lobe. This was a cluster of veins and arteries
that had bled - probably several times before (on the scans you could see the calcium deposits from prior episodes - even though she had been asymptomatic).
Meryl was just 12 years old, but discussed the options
with the Neurologist in a close-to-adult manner. The two questions
uppermost on her mind - how much of her long blonde hair would they shave
off - - - and could she still have pizza for dinner if the surgery was
in the morning! The need for the surgery was apparent - without it, or some other intervention , she would probably bleed again - and the blood would pool in the speech centers of the brain. Even anti-seizure meds would not stop that process - just keep the seizures from alerting us to the fact that it was bleeding...
Meryl pulled through the surgery VERY well. The surgeon
had only shaved the front part of her hair - up to the top of her head.
We had French-braided the rest - so at least it all held together. In retrospect,
maybe that part wasn't too good of an idea - because we couldn't wash her
hair for many days after surgery, and all the long hair that had been shaved
was braided in with the rest! After three days in the hospital, Meryl
came home. Eyes swollen, a bit of a headache, but all-in-all not too bad.
Meryl spent the following year growing her hair back,
and taking doses of dilantin to stave off any further seizures. A whole
year, and she only overdosed on dilantin once! She slowed down a
little on physical activities - but kept up with the piano and singing.
The rest of her hair got cut shorter - something she had been wanting to
do for years! Her Dad was in the Ukraine during most of the excitement - we told him that on his return, we were having NO flack about getting her hair cut short!