On a bank holiday weekend in 2016, at the age of 26, Alex collapsed and was rushed to hospital unconscious. A CT scan showed that he had suffered a brain haemorrhage, and also revealed a 10cm arteriovenous malformation (AVM) across his frontal lobe.
Alex explains his diagnosis:
‘For anyone who doesn’t know what an AVM is, it is an abnormal tangle of unusually formed blood vessels in the brain. Over time, these vessels can weaken and bleed into the brain itself.’
This is exactly what happened to Alex - one of the vessels burst, causing a brain haemorrhage.
After emergency surgery and four weeks in hospital, Alex had a further set back following his discharge from hospital,
‘I came home and complained that my head felt like someone had placed a sledge hammer into it, to put it bluntly. The pain went from 0 to 100 in seconds, before I knew it I was being rushed back to hospital.’
Alex had another CT scan within 10 minutes of arriving which confirmed he had an infection.
He needed emergency surgery to wash out the infection but was warned that they would need to remove part of his skull, and that there was a risk that he could die.
In so much pain, I signed away, much to my parent’s disbelief.’
Alex was in theatre for over six hours. The next day his Mum had to break the news.
‘She said I had lost a part of my skull. At this moment I burst into tears and lost all the confidence I ever had. It has taken me a whole year to get my skull repaired with a ceramic plate at the cost of the NHS which I am truly grateful for. Although I don’t have my confidence back the most important thing I am grateful for is to my amazing friends and family who have constantly been therefor me throughout this difficult period.
I have had highs yet so many lows but one thing is I am going to leave you guys with is a quote which got me though each day - appreciate life, right here, right now!’