Am I the Only One That This Has Happened To?

OK, so based on all research that I have done, those that have an AVM in the brain have had it there in some form or another since birth or very shortly after being born. Since I had an AVM deep in my L. temporal lobe, it’s supposedly been there my whole life. I did not have it diagnosed until October 31, 2001, but I had been suffering severe symptoms for a good 5-6 months before the diagnosis, and have had minor symptoms as far back as I can remember, but never thought of them as anything major and had no reason to think otherwise.

I AM going somewhere with this!

I have always been a reasonably bright guy (not trying to brag) and have been fortunate to have a fairly even balance of traditional “right-brained” creative/artistic abilities, as well as typical “left-brained” logical/scientific abilities. As some of you may have read in my first blog entry, I was left with quite a few difficult things to overcome following my surgery; both physically and mentally, and I was initially very frightened by the thought that my musical abilities (which are a very large part of my life) may have been impaired. Upon picking up my guitar for the first time in almost a month after having my surgery, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that aside from a few cobwebs, I was right back where I had left off. This was very pleasing, especially since everything from my short-term memory, to physical balance, strength, language skills and even the way that different foods had changed and something as complex as manual dexterity and musical rhythm had remained in-tact.

Now here’s the part that I have really been trying to get to… Within a matter of days after picking up the guitar again, I discovered that my abilities had not only maintained the same level, but they had improved. I was able to do things that I had never done before. No, it wasn’t like it was some type of miracle and I wasn’t suddenly some type of musical genius, but it was something that I was able to notice. I went to one of my follow-up psychological evaluations and was sort of embarrassed to ask the doctor, but I asked him if I was just crazy and making this up in my mind, or if it was a legitimate thing to have happen following brain surgery. He told me that I was not crazy at all and that it makes perfect sense from a medical standpoint. He said that being a right-handed person, the left hemisphere of my brain was likely to be dominant. The fact that I had a significant trauma to my left temporal lobe that is likely to have played a role in my mental development as a child, that the right hemisphere most likely tried to compensate for the functions normally handled by the left temporal lobe. At the same time, the L. temporal lobe was not completely unable to process functions, so the two sides were sort of “competing,” in a manner of speaking. Upon having the AVM and the surrounding damaged tissue removed, other parts of my brain were both asked to compensate for the duties of the tissues that were removed, as well as given a chance to “show-off” their abilities that were previously shadowed by the areas surrounding my AVM.

Logically, it makes sense, and I have actually witnessed it myself, but I have never come across anyone else that has had similar things happen. So I am curious… Has anyone here that has had a brain AVM encountered anything similar? If so, I’d love to hear your story!


That was a great discovery to find you could play better! I have never heard of that either, but all the better for you. There can be so many negative affects from AVM’s; it’s nice to hear about positive things happening to someone.

There is someone on this network, who played a lot of guitar in New York. You might want to check out his movie, Life. Support. Music. It’s about his journey back from an AVM he didn’t know he had. He had to re-learn how to play the guitar. After seeing what he went through and came back from it’s amazing he’s playing. But it’s a great movie.

Good luck in the future,


Do you know the name of the movie? I’de love to watch it.


My doctors explained to me that because of the AVM some parts of the brain dosant get the blood supply it should . So it does now make sense to me . I’m happy for you .

Mike, yes, AVMs do often (usually) have negative aspects and mine was certainly no exception. The noticable improvement in my guitar playing abilities was certainly a perk, and I didn’t mention this, but even with my visual impairment, my artwork; mainly pencil/colored pencil drawings, also became something a bit more prominent. I will have to see if I can take a few pics and get them into my profile.

On the down side, my ability to write lyrics to accompany my songs has greatly diminished, as has my willingness to put the extra effort into trying to get any of my writing ability back.

For anyone that is interested, I do have a couple of links to some of my music.

Here’s one of the band that I was in back when my AVM was first diagnosed. I did a small percentage of the writing and only a small part of the guitar performance, though I did do all of the vocals:

Here’s a link to my current “band,” which is really just a solo project. I do have a page with all of the lyrics to the songs on my previous CD. Not all, but many of these songs were directly inspired by the difficulties I was having emotionally as a result of my AVM:

And finally, a link to the same band where you can listen to a few full songs: