On Diagnosis, Impossible Choices and Recovery

One of our members here has been provoking me to think about a brain AVM diagnosis: that sudden realisation that the world has changed and the way forwards doesn’t look anything like the road we trod until today.

And then yesterday, for some reason my wife talked about Jeremy Renner, the Hollywood actor who had a death-defying rescue from an accident with a snowplough and Hanif Kureshi who had a catastrophic fall last Christmas.

Then today, LA Times carries an article talking to Renner about the accident, life and recovery and in it he uses an interesting phrase:

Recovery is "a one-way street. There’s no other avenues to take. It’s not even [like] a piece of Ikea furniture — there are no directions. You go one direction: You get better. How easy is that? Just remember what you did yesterday, or couldn’t do, and then try to do it today.”

Yeah, not easy but a very positive mindset to have.

I looked upon my diagnosis in a (less positive, more perturbed but) similar way: suddenly life had changed: there was no going back. The only thing to do is to choose which way to go forwards, weighing up the risks associated with each of the paths. Sometimes the right thing to do is to watch and wait. Sometimes the thing to do is open surgery and sometimes it’s embolization or radiotherapy.

I just thought I’d share, in case it helps someone trying to make that impossible choice. We all hanker after the world pre diagnosis but there is no going back, only going forwards.

Lots of love,



Thank you Richard,

I really need that today.

For me, my AVM healed a 30 year rift with a family member. My avm discovery would not have happened (maybe) if I hadn’t switched careers and been in front of the person who recognosed the signs and symptoms. I could go on…recovery is forward, take each day as a blessing.


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