Your purpose in the journey of life

I am 65 years old my total seizure due to an AVM the size of a walnut in my left temporal lobe occurred 26 years ago. At that time the diagnostic tools and treatment methods that you have available to you today and the incredible information that that you have available to you on this site was of course was also missing. So i was left to work out a common sense approach to my life.
Obviously the first 12 months after my untreated AVM bleed was the most critical, i had lost weight and did not gain weight for 12 months as my body focussed all its efforts on repairing the brain damage and re routing new nerve connections. My aphasia reduced and i read a dictionary each day relearning words and their meanings, i also listened to a lot of radio discussions and parliamentary debates.
I modified my diet reducing fat and salt consumption, i only purchased small quantities of good quality meat and cut as much fat off before cooking. My reasoning was that if i had to take ACE inhibitor blood pressure drugs for the rest of my life then it was obviously important that i did everything within reason to help in keeping my blood pressure under control. i read all food labels and purchased and grew vegetables in season in my area and substituted animal protein for tofu and beans. As a result my cholesterol readings have also been very low as a bonus. I asked my body what it considered a reasonable weight to lift and used any mechanical device available to reduce the loads i had to lift.
A negative consequence of anxiety condition and obsessive compulsive disorder i developed after the AVM bleed was that I became a workaholic so that i had not time available to think about myself. i became hooked on my adrenaline rushes, i knew that this was not good for me but i hated taking Benzodiazapam (Xanax) and other anti anxiety and anti depressants and so chose the adrenaline rush as a lesser evil.
On weekends i built a rock house on the side of a mountain, hunted rabbits with my dog,rock climbed and fished and cared for my son each second weekend and acted as a Scoutmaster during midweek for his and his friends benefit.
Then i began a search in the alternative lifestyle movement for answers to the reasons for life.
I travelled the world in my search, in India on the Ganges river i saw the love and devotion that male family members lavished on their hands on cremation of their loved ones on the burning Ghats. Observing and smelling this reality of mortality and the ritualistic importance of facing death with a hands on approach snapped me out of the western cover up of death in expensive funeral parlors and the western myth that ever increasing complicated medical treatment can provide immortality. As a control freak i was also retrained by my experiences in India where human beings manage survive in a system of total anarchy.
My next foray into a parallel world was to join Dr PATCH ADAMS and hid team of CLOWN DOCTORS in the orphanages and children’s cancer hospitals in Russia.
I was accompanied on two such trips by an amazing high profile social justice lawyer from Australia who had undergone many AVM removal surgeries. What we learnt from Patch and his Doctors was that to give to others unconditional love results in you receiving back a tenfold return of joy and happiness to your very core.
I also sought out THICH NHAT HANH a wisdom exuding Vietnamese Monk at one of his retreats at the DEER PARK, San Diego Buddhist Centre. PARALLAX PRESS publishes many of his books and a good prime is a book titled HAPPINESS.

So 17 years after my AVM bleed i had an MRI scan of my head carried out at a Veteran’s Hospital as part of a POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER program. A neurosurgeon who checked the scan showed me and told me that if i had not told him about the AVM bleed he would have assumed that the scan was of a person who had not experienced such an event.
The only evidence was a faint residue of iron from the original walnut size area of blood.

So all i can suggest from my experience that for people with stable AVM bleeds that cannot be operated on that your body will adsorb the blood and heal the area over time.
But you need to read every label of any drugs prescribed to you and research the possible side effect that could indicate that the dug can induce bleeding, do not take asprin.

Enjoy the process of being alive, smell the roses, hug your loved ones and anyone else in need and tell them you love them constantly. This process should help you open your heart to the possibility of a joyful existence and steer your thoughts away from any end to this wonderful journey you have been given the privilege to exist in.

Love and peace to you all from Digger from Down Under

Wow. I guess I do not have to tell you to Carpe Diem! What an incredible journey you have experienced!

What an awesome post, thanks for sharing, I believe this gives everyone hope on this site!

Oh, Digger…Even though I have a hard time reading about your journey…I had to made myself slowly read what you wrote!

I had my brain bleed 3 1/2 years ago - left temporaly lobe and am constantly trying to keep working on making my brain better. I love the idea of reading the dictionary to learn all the words I don’t remember and can’t understand. THANK YOU! I know have learned so much from what you wrote…Thank you, Digger. As Barbara said…WOW

Love and peace to you as well! Louisa

There was so much said in your post and your experiences humble me (for lack of a better word). It really does speak to the power of love especially for those who have their own often terrifying AVM journey. (I especially liked the advice to hug loved ones… it seems we never do this enough). There is hope and thank you so much for this post.

thank you for sharing!

This was an unbelievable post and I thank you with all of my heart for sharing your journey with us Digger - what strength you had in moving thru this trial in your journey!!! Thank you so very much for taking the time to share this with us and certainly does give me much hope :))))!!!


Louisa please bear with me as i get used to the way in which this site operates. i did write up a much too lengthy response to your question re a different approach to funerals.
i must have clicked on the wrong button and the material went west into the air, actually i hope thats where it went because it was too long.

So to begin again, i was not allowed to grieve properly for my father’s death and after i saw the wholistic way in which Indian people and the way in which indigenous people in many cultures deal with their grieving and which our western culture has dropped unfortuneately i decided that i needed to grieve for my mother who was about 80 at the time in a different manner.

Unfortuneately i had to use my regained human skills before that time was apon me because my beautiful 34 year old neice died of cancer leaving 9 year old twin girls behind.

So i did not hesitate i took my niece the twins and my mother to Australia’s version of Disneyland. The twins now just graduated still use the photographs we took on that journey as part of their memory of a joyous time with their mother.

So the twins sw their mother fade away over 12 months of pain and they were very much part of the funeral process. They saw their mother in he coffin they saw the coffin be lowered into the earth and they pushed earth in on top. They created an artwork on the mound of earth remaing made of rocks and wild flowers growing in the rural cemetery where she is buried.

My mother died in a a rural hospital at the age of 93 and i helped lay her out with two nurses. We washed her body and my son who sat in the corner of the room and i told funny stories about this generous loving woman who had washed our bodies many times more than we ever did hers. We clasped her hands around a holly twig from her favourate tree

We went to the undertaker the next morning and told the man not to paint mother’s face up just to let her rest in peace in a ntural way.

i had to go along with my siblings in relation to the church service but at least my son and i had the privallidge of saying our farewell in a hands on fashion.

When my father in law died his wife only wanted a conventional process but haing learnt from me what was possible my partner insisted i her father’s coffin being brought home to his home. The family has Irish ancestry so the process fitted in well with the laying of the body in the house for a wake.

So we wheeled his coffin into his bedroom and a large number of us sat around toasting his life with champagne and telling funny stories about him.

At the catholic church 2 sons and their children and cousins played the most amazing music for the service, my Californian brother in law new to the family joined in on an electric guitar. It was a stupendous send off and his wife was so pleased about what had taken place, that is taking her out of her comfort zone in bringing his body home that of course it became her idea.

I know that in the capital city that i now live after moving from the country there are many small undertakers who are prepared to let you become involved in the burial process you just have to push them after all they want your business.

You did a grand and noble thing to provide advice for that young girl who is full of angst Louisa.

Regards Digger.

Thank you for sharing, it sounds like you had a very profound spiritual awakening. It really is all about the journey and not so much the destination. I’m kind of trying to work out some things in life and I’m hoping to have as wonderful a journey as you have, with as wonderful an outcome, too!

If anybody is in the San Diego or Southern California area, there is a day of mindfulness at the Deer Park Monastery in Escondido on Sept 25, no registration required:

Nicole if you are able to go to this day i would certainly recommend that you and any friend in need of emotional support make the effort.

i notice that THAY is going to be there this is the name that the monks use for THICH NHAT HANH.

He is in his eighties and when i was at Deer Park he had just recovered from a serious lung infection.

So to be able to see him at all is a wonder i thought he would just stay in PLUMB VILLAGE in France where he has been based since exile from his homeland.

So to be in THAY’S presence and to hear his wisdom is so special, videos of his teaching are available but to actually hear the man in the flesh is uplifting.

I had tried to meditate for many years and it was the first time that i glimpsed what medication can be lke when i was at Deer Park for about 4 days with THAY.

THAY has studied all the ancient teachings in the various streams of Buddhism and had simplified the central precepts that he thinks are relevant to us in this age.

His teachings in Vietnam have been taken up by such a large number of young Vietnamese in Vietnam that the
communist government has suppressed his monks and their work in Vietnam.

While on the one hand the Government outwardly shows religious tolerance so that they can enter the World Trade area.

Thich Nhat Hanh was a contemporary of the Monks who self imoliated during the war to try to get the Diem Regime to treat their people more humanely and to bring about a peaceful settlement to the war.

Onother amazing female Monk who in my opinion has worked at a more grass roots level than Thay is Sister Chan Khong she was also at Deer park when i was there. She has written a most wonderful book titled “LEARNING TRU LOVE” this is about her life and how she has helped the Vietnamese poor to cope with the war and its effects on her country.

Thank you for posting DEER PARKS link, Digger.

Thanks, that was Great to read! My AVM was only 2 years ago, a rupture in my right temporal ! I am still so frustrated and dissappointed every day. While some days are better than others, reading your history was a motivating and positive lift. Thank You, Nicole