Andrea finds great comfort in her individual connections with everyone and wants to be reassuring us each personally, but she has admitted that reporting the same news bit by bit via text, email and phone is really tiring.
A small number of Andrea's close friends in LA will be maintaining Sternie Central on a regular basis. Feel free to comment on any of the posts, and include questions or personal notes. Andrea will occasionally post too, when she's feeling up to it.
Andrea has been diagnosed with AVM (arteriovenous malformation), a congenital disorder of the connections between veins and arteries in one spot of her brain. It's most likely something she has had since birth, and she needs to have it surgically closed or removed to prevent any possible bleeding or hemorrhaging, which would result in a stroke.
Since February 07, Andrea has been having some hallucinations, which she experienced at the time as deja-vu episodes or memory lapses; we now know these were seizures, caused by her AVM. Last Thursday morning, September 20, she woke up with an unusually heavy numbness in her K-T (left) leg. Per Rinat's instructions, she went in to her General Practitioner, Dr. Denise Freese, at UCLA Santa Monica. In wanting to rule out the possibility of a stroke, Dr. Freese, thank G-d, ordered the full round of tests for Andrea, including a brain MRI. The MRI shocked us when it showed a lesion on the left side of her brain, in the temporal lobe, that needs prompt attention. She was immediately given an anti-seizure medication called Dilantin, to which she had a violent adverse reaction; she was then put on oxygen and eventually transported in an ambulance to the UCLA Medical Center ER in Westwood. She stayed in the ICU for another 2 nights, hooked up to an EEG so they could monitor her brain activity, which continued to appear normal and seizure-free throughout her stay. She was released on Sunday, after a spinal MRI showed that her spine was free of any lesions. (This still leaves a question open about whether the K-T is related to the AVM.)
On Wednesday, September 26, while adjusting to the new anti-seizure medication called Keppra, Andrea experienced shortness of breath and more weird pain in her left leg, she felt lightheaded and very weak. Coley & Andy had stopped over for a visit and didn't like what they saw, so after a few phone calls, they took her back to the ER in Westwood. After another day of tests that came back negative (see Wednesday's blog), she was released. It seems that all her symptoms were traceable to the Keppra medication.
In any case, Andrea is feeling extremely blessed and grateful to have learned about her brain lesion early, before any bleeding or hemorrhage occurred. She is scheduled for surgery at UCLA Medical Center in Westwood with Dr. Neil Martin on October 23. Her first consultation appointment with him will be October 15. Andrea is currently in good spirits, but tired from the all recent activity, and from the Keppra, so she has been at home in a restful state, under friends' care. She expects to be up & about, with things back to normal, around the end of November. She is also scared, and finding a lot of comfort in the incredible support coming her way, and she is seriously leaning on all the love and prayers she is receiving.