Woman, 23, is diagnosed with ‘a ticking timebomb’ brain bleed

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A young woman discovered she’d been harbouring a deadly brain condition since birth when she collapsed while on a night out.

Jade Henderson, now 23, from Hartlepool, was thought to be a healthy 22-year-old when she fell to the ground within minutes of meeting her friends in Hebburn, South Tyneside.

She was rushed to hospital where she spent ten days fighting for her life in a coma after ‘a ticking timebomb’ brain bleed was found inside her head. 

Medics discovered Jade had an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) – a tangle of blood vessels which disrupts blood flow and oxygen circulation – and that she’d had it since she was born without anyone knowing about it.

Three more AVMs have since been discovered in Jade – who had to learn to read, walk and talk again after first leaving hospital – which will need careful treatment and monitoring. 

Jade Henderson (pictured), now 23, from Hartlepool, was thought to be a healthy 22-year-old when she fell to the ground within minutes of meeting her friends in Hebburn, South Tyneside

Jade pictured in the days before her collapse last year

Jade Henderson (pictured left, recently, and right, last year, before her collapse), now 23, from Hartlepool, was thought to be a healthy 22-year-old when she fell to the ground within minutes of meeting her friends in Hebburn, South Tyneside

Jade (pictured with her mother Sharon) was rushed to hospital where she spent ten days fighting for her life in a coma after 'a ticking timebomb' brain bleed was found inside her head

Jade (pictured with her mother Sharon) was rushed to hospital where she spent ten days fighting for her life in a coma after ‘a ticking timebomb’ brain bleed was found inside her head

Her mother Sharon Henderson, 50, who was told Jade probably would not survive, said: ‘She died twice on the table. Her heart stopped beating. She had a stroke as well.’ 

‘They asked me if I wanted to come in and say goodbye to her. I was in a daze, I was trying to be normal for everyone else but my daughter had this silent killer and there was nothing I could do.’

Jade added: ‘All I can remember is waking up on a high dependency ward and asking for chips and gravy.

‘I couldn’t believe it when they told me what had happened to me. I thought they were joking.’

Jade collapsed at around 7pm on November 9 last year. She was first taken to South Tyneside Hospital and then transferred to the Royal Victoria Infirmary where surgeons operated until 4.30am the next day.

Medics discovered Jade (pictured before her injury) had an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) - a tangle of blood vessels which disrupts blood flow and oxygen circulation - and that she'd had it since she was born without anyone knowing about it

Medics discovered Jade (pictured before her injury) had an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) – a tangle of blood vessels which disrupts blood flow and oxygen circulation – and that she’d had it since she was born without anyone knowing about it

Three more AVMs have since been discovered in Jade (pictured in hospital after her operation) - who had to learn to read, walk and talk again after first leaving hospital - which will need careful treatment and monitoring

Three more AVMs have since been discovered in Jade (pictured in hospital after her operation) – who had to learn to read, walk and talk again after first leaving hospital – which will need careful treatment and monitoring

They found that Jade had an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) which disrupts blood flow and oxygen circulation – and that she’d had it since she was born, according to Sharon.

WHAT ARE ARTERIOVENOUS MALFORMATIONS?

An arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is a specific term used to describe a tangle of blood vessels with abnormal connections between arteries and veins.

High pressure arteries containing fast flowing blood are directly connected to low pressure veins, which normally only contain slow flowing blood.

This means that blood from the arteries drains directly into the veins – without stopping to supply the normal tissues in that part of the body with essential substances like oxygen and nutrition.

Over time this can lead to the normal tissues becoming painful or fragile.

It also means that the AVM gets progressively larger over time as the amount of blood flowing through it increases, and it can cause problems due to its size.

Finally, it may also mean that the heart has to work harder to keep up with the extra blood flow.

Some doctors describe an AVM as ‘a ring road that bypasses the high street of a town’.

Traffic (or blood) will use the bypass rather than the high street which suffers as a result.

AVMs are thought to affect approximately 1.4 in every 100,000 people.

Source: Great Ormond Street Hospital 

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AVM’s only affect one per cent of the UK population and most cases are men. The AVM had burst in Jade’s head. 

The next day, she was rushed back into surgery with another bleed and had to have part of her skull bone removed, said her mother.

Experts have since discovered that Jade has three more AVMs which need careful treatment and monitoring to get rid of.

Jade needs gamma knife radiation treatment at Sheffield Hallamshire Hospital, where she’s set to be treated on September 10. 

Incredibly, because the rupture happened on the left side of her brain, it may have saved her life because a bleed on the other part could have been fatal.

Jade explained: ‘The cognitive side of the brain is the opposite side to what you write with.’

Cabin crew member Jade, who now has aphasia (a condition affecting her speech), dyslexia and a loss of part of her eyesight, remained in hospital from November 9 to December 18 and had to learn how to read, write, walk and talk all over again.

She was allowed home over Christmas and New Year and then went into rehabilitation where she stayed until a week before the pandemic restrictions started in March.  

Now, Jade, who is determined to live each day as it comes, and her mother have spoken out to raise awareness of AVMs during AVM Awareness Month.

Jade said: ‘You don’t know AVMs are there until you either have a bleed or you get really bad headaches and go for a CT or MRI scan, or an angiogram. I want to help others. I am so grateful to everyone who helped me – family, friends, everyone.’ 

Mother Sharon told of the day her daughter’s life was changed so dramatically, recalling: ‘No one is aware of these things. It is a silent and deadly killer.

‘Jade was a normal healthy 22-year-old doing all the normal things that 22-year-olds do. She loved dancing. On this day, she had gone to meet her friends and phoned me at ten to 7 to say she had got there safely.

‘At one minute past 7, I got a call to say she had collapsed. She had complained of a headache and her ear popping and then she collapsed.

Her mother Sharon Henderson, 50, who was told Jade (pictured recently) probably would not survive, said: 'She died twice on the table. Her heart stopped beating. She had a stroke as well.'

Her mother Sharon Henderson, 50, who was told Jade (pictured recently) probably would not survive, said: ‘She died twice on the table. Her heart stopped beating. She had a stroke as well.’

‘When I got to hospital, they took me to the family room and told me it was really serious. They told me I might be walking out of here without her. I was walking around dazed like I was not there.’

It was down to the quick intervention of her friends at the scene and the expert help Jade received in hospital that she survived. 

Sharon added: ‘They told me that if it had been 10 minutes longer, she would have been dead. Everyone who came to her aid deserves to be praised.’

Sharon also praised the hospital staff at South Tyneside and the RVI and said: ‘I can’t thank them enough. It is down to them that she is still here.’

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