One year ago I entered the operating room to undergo an experimental brain surgery for brainstem tethering. There are only 2 case reports in the world and both didn't end well. My neurosurgeon and I felt a bit defeated and hesitant given these grim circumstances, but we both knew this was my only chance. As the anesthesiologist put me to sleep, with a tear rolling down my face, I took in one last deep breath to the depths of my lungs and knew it was either a new chance at life or my last breath. Fortunately surgery was successful, but unfortunately it returned only 6 months later. So in February I had my 6th brain surgery and sadly suffered a stroke to my brainstem during surgery. I woke up unable to function from the neck down. My entire life has changed knowing this can return at any time and my future will always hold brain surgery. I made myself a promise to live out each day to the fullest. To enjoy life before it is too late bc many ppl don't realize we aren't promised tomorrow. I've had some symptoms suggesting I may of had a mini stroke or my body is wanting to relapse or this might of returned. My doctors want more imaging of my brain to see what is going on, but knowing they could find something I'm hesitant. It's frustrating to have come so far and see that, again, everything can be taken away from me as it has been over and over. So as I sit here I have no idea what tomorrow holds, but as for today I will breath in this San Diego air deep into and out of my lungs thankful for even being here. Thankful for "now" and thankful I didn't pass away in surgery or end up needing a tracheotomy like they thought I would. I have a dream to be a doctor and I will fight until it comes true. #medschool #feedingtube #gbutton #neurosurgery #neuroscience #nurse #surgery #chiari #stroke #doctor #dysphagia #physicaltherapy #speechtherapy #brainsurgery #tetheredbrainstem #inspire

One year ago today I had surgery for a permanent feeding tube. Having to look at everyone eat while I wasn't allowed to have anything by mouth was extremely difficult to get used to, but after my last couple of brain surgeries and months of speech therapy I am blessed to be able to swallow now. This feeding tube helped save my life as my body was in a starvation state when I presented to the hospital and my heart rhythm was being affected to the point that I could have gone into cardiac arrest. I more than likely will have to have it for life, but this tubie has gained a total of 34lbs and I couldn't feel better! Now back to studying πŸ˜·πŸ“š #medschool #feedingtube #progress #gbutton #neurosurgery #neuroscience #nurse #surgery #chiari #stroke #doctor #dysphagia #physicaltherapy #speechtherapy #brainsurgery

Raising awareness one magazine at a time! Check out my latest story: https://issuu.com/ibuildmagazines/docs/bayareahw0617/12 #raisingawareness #brainsurgery #stroke #brainsurgery #medschool #doctor #nurses #physicaltherapy #chiari #feedingtube #gbutton

β˜€οΈπŸ‡ΊπŸ‡Έ#fourthofjuly

Thankful for my health and all the progress I have made to be able to enjoy days like these. Celebrating Gabriella Adalia's Baby Shower with my friends! Can't wait to meet and spoil you! Congrats Juan and Jenny! πŸ˜˜πŸ‘ΆπŸ»πŸŽ€

This chapter of my life is called happiness! Weekly hospital visits with a very special doctor has completely transformed my life and I couldn't be more thankful. Although facing tough decisions, we must never lose hope. #nevergiveup #brainsurgery #chiari #tetheredbrainstem #neurosurgery #medschool #premed #nurse #doctor

"Be brave". || Brain surgery will always be in my future, that I can not change, but I have been working with someone to help me find joy in my life despite what my future holds with this last diagnosis and despite my current limitations from the stroke. I will never have a normal life and that's ok. Accepting that my journey will never end has been difficult and all I can do is keep fighting and live each day as if it is my last bc we never know when it will be. Ironically I am the happiest I have ever been. I am at peace with what God chooses and in full acceptance of what my future holds. So where have I been recently? Trying to live my life to the fullest in between hospital visits. Be happy in the moment. That is enough. #progress #bethankful #livelife #brainsurgery

Just got back from the hospital and trying to give a thumbs up to the winner! Congratulations @stephyvetteee DM me for details! Thank you all for participating. Be on the lookout for future giveaways! And yes I am back on continuous feedings through my feeding tube. I am starting to loose the weight we worked so hard to gain. Lots of doctor visits added to my already packed schedule. πŸ₯πŸ’‰πŸ’Š#feedingtube #gbutton

"You are your only limit". || I have proved some of my doctors wrong so many times bc I am stubborn/crazy enough to think I can do the impossible. Almost 4 months ago I was told I'd never drive again, but today I drove for the first time. I have one leg and one arm that has intact strength and proprioception and that's all I need to drive. My heart was racing as I took the wheel from my dad in the school parking lot, but determined I kept on. It's going to take time to be able to drive with others on the road, but today validated that no one can put limits on me except myself. Follow your gut and never stop working for what you want. P.S. thank you daddy for literally risking your life with me and letting me behind the wheel. When mommy says no, daddy says yes! πŸ™ƒ #claudiastrong #brainsurgery #stroke #nevergiveup #medschool #nursing #hospital #premed #wheelchair #womeninmedicine #physicaltherapy #chiari #progress #inspirational #optionb

To the woman who has been my eyes, voice, ears, hands, feet, who has carried my heart when I couldn't be there giving and helping those in need all these years at the same time we ourselves have been going through so much, Happy Mother's Day. Not once complaining, not once questioning our own situation, but instead always following God's will. You are a true example of selfless love. #mothersday #myinspiration

Multiple brain surgeries and hospitalizations have been a part of my life for the past 6 years. Some years I've lived in the hospital more than in my own home. Bc of my health I may not be able to be the neurosurgeon or surgeon I've dreamt of and have worked for since I was a little girl. But in two years I will be a doctor and I have to be thankful for that.
No matter what you are going through this book @optionb was hands down the best at helping me learn to accept what we can not change and make the best of our situation. @sherylsandberg made herself vulnerable and through it has helped so many facing adversity. Pick it up. It will change your life.

When Option A is not available, kick the shit out of Option B.

#optionb #sherylsandberg #adamgrant #brainsurgery #medschool #womeninmedicine #rolemodelmonday #strengthinscars #premed #medschool #womeninsurgery #brain #nursing #physicaltherapy #physicianassistant

Many people have been asking how I'm doing. Overall doing great! My last brain surgery worked! I'm now able to swallow and no longer using the feeding tube, my vision has returned to normal, the pain is gone, and the blackout episodes I was having are gone.

As far as the stroke, I'm now starting to walk more on my own and trying to avoid the wheelchair when I'm able to. My gait is a bit off and I fall off balance frequently, but we are happy with my progress. My right side of my body was more affected so it is lagging behind. The function in my hands is very limited. I can feed myself using my left hand and can hold some items, but not much other than that. Since my right hand at the moment is basically non functional we are going to turn me into a left handed person for now.

I've been low key on social media bc I was having a hard time adjusting to being home after being in the hospital for so long. Being home was a whole new world to me and a bit overwhelming. It has also been hard being around ppl who aren't doctors, nurses, hospital staff or patients. Overstimulation can cause my brain and body to basically shut down so I've been following strict instructions from my doctors.

I start my outpatient therapy and hospital visits soon! Thank you for all the concern ❀️ #nevergiveup #stroke #chiari #chiarimalformation #claudiastrong #medschool #premed #nursing #womeninmedicine #disability #wheelchair #physicaltherapy

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