Caregiver Around the Globe, Carol Fahnestock

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Carol and Erin FahnestockOn Father’s Day, my 23 year old daughter, Erin, got a horrible headache and threw up. After a short time her dad decided she should go to the ER. She was transported by ambulance to the hospital.  Initially they had her coded as a drug overdose (no idea why) but a PA came in the room to check her and went to get her uncle who was the ER doctor.  He walked in the room and knew immediately that she was having a neurological event and called Neurosurgery in.

They took her up to CAT scan and discovered the AVM and that she was bleeding.  They placed a drain in and life flighted her to a trauma center about 60 miles away.  She spent 14 days in ICU, had four CAT scans, two angiograms, an MRI, and an embolization.  Her AVM was in the center of her brain so they could not remove it.  After going to two other hospitals, we ended up at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia, PA. Dr. Jabbour tried to further embolize but was unable to so it was onto Gamma Knife surgery.

On October 7, nearly 4 months after the bleed began she had the Gamma Knife procedure.  She had an MRI last week and we head to Philly in April to find out if the radiation is doing it’s job.  She returned to school for her Masters in Early Childhood education in January and other than some short term memory problems and a blind spot, she has recovered.  It could take another 2 years until the AVM is completely scarred over, but thank God, she appears to be getting on with her life.

Erin does have some depression, but I think that comes with the territory. She enjoys movies, country music, shopping, and traveling. We have actually gone to a few concerts after her recovery – we saw Lonestar, Brad Paisley, Thomas Rhett and Garth Brooks. We also saw Chase Bryant, he brought her backstage before the concert! You can watch Erin’s reaction here. She was shocked!

Although she still suffers with some short term memory loss, she was so strong throughout this whole event. I’m so glad she is here with us with little to no deficit. I’m not sure I could have been as brave as she was, she continually amazes me. 

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