Amie Behave is a former brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM) patient and current weightlifter. Her journey to getting better helped her find the motivation to care for her own health and those of others too.
In 2015, at age 26, Amie Behave started to notice abnormal health issues. Inside her own head, her voice felt too loud and everyone around her sounded as if they were shouting. Amie recalls this sensation, adding “the last thing I remember is looking at the floor and having deja vu, then I woke up sitting on a spare bed with a paramedic in front of me.” Amie had experienced her first seizure. Due to her age and seemingly good health, the hospital wanted to dismiss Amie’s seizure but thankfully as Amie’s mother, a nurse, pushed for further tests, Amie had an MRI scan.
Brain AVM, or arteriovenous malformation, is a condition where abnormal blood vessels become tangled to connecting veins and arteries in the brain.
The tangle of blood vessels prevents veins and arteries from being able to carry oxygen-rich and oxygen-depleted blood from the heart, brain and lungs efficiently. An AVM can occur anywhere in the body, but most commonly it develops in the brain or spine. Doctors are unsure what causes them. The American Association of Neurological Surgeons state that AVMs arise during birth.
The results of the scan changed Amie’s life completely.
The MRI revealed an unknown mass on her brain and Amie was soon diagnosed with AVM.
After multiple doctor’s appointments and scans which threw Amie into an 8-month turmoil, she was finally given a date for her major brain surgery. During the 8 months of waiting, Amie confesses her mental health became “pretty bad, for quite a long time.”
She confesses that “I ended up convincing myself I was definitely going to die.”
Due to anti-seizure medication, Amie’s memories of the surgery are quite scattered. The date of the surgery was pushed back on three occasions, adding to the anxiety of waiting. When the day eventually did arrive, Amie arrived at the hospital and accounts the surreal experience of “calmly driving to a place where may be the last place you’ll ever be.” Moments before her surgery, Amie asked herself one important question…
“What legacy can I leave behind?”
Thankfully, the surgery was a success. Although she had regained her health, soon after the surgery Amie experienced serious depression. After months of depression, Amie sought medical help and gradually worked to regain her mental health and improve her wellbeing.
Amie, who still finds the experience incredibly emotional to discuss, reflects on her experience stating “waking up from something like that and realising you didn’t die, really makes you appreciate life and how precious it is.” Inspired by her newfound appreciation for life, Amie trained to become a personal trainer so she could run her own business, began training, competing in bodybuilding shows and fulfilled her desire to travel more.
Amie’s success as a bodybuilder has given her a new determination, and she claims nothing could un-motivate her. She advises, “if you want something, if you want to achieve something or you want to try something… you should go and do it.”
The decisions you make today can influence what your health will be like in the future. Investing into your own health and wellbeing now is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
What would you want to achieve in your life if you had unlimited motivation?
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