I lead a so-called “normal life” except that my father, one day around 6 or 7 in the morning, had died of a brain hemorrhage at the age of 55.
I had wondered whether it had been an earlier trip to the mountains that had precipitated it (or some imagined sexual activity); we did not know nor did any doctor we had spoken to. His blood pressure had not seemed an issue.
With that kind of history a radiologist friend had recommended that I get an MRI of my brain, and I did: an AVM was present, like a knot of small vessels.
The neurosurgeon wanted to operate – either the regular way or with gamma knife. All of it sounded scary – I wanted to leave my brain alone. A neurologist friend had told me that if it were asymptomatic, not to touch it. The AVM could have been present all of my life and may have remained stable until old age.
And I kept thinking of how surgeons may think of surgery the way butchers think of cuts…
Later, I found out that one of my paternal grandfather or great-grandfather had died of a brain hemorrhage and so had one of my father’s sisters.