We’d like to share an inspirational story about a young man who was able to overcome an extremely rare brain condition few doctor’s believed was possible.
In 2011, Michael Wallace was diagnosed with Arteriovenous Malformations (AVM), a condition that afflicts less than 1 percent of the world’s population. He was told surgery risked a 60 percent chance of paralysis or even death.
Michael cried when he heard the news. His mother Anita Taylor told him “it was okay to be upset.” As they drove home, she told her son: “We’re not doing that surgery. You’re 22 years old, you’re healthy, and we’re not going to lose you over this.”
Wallace said his mother, “encouraged me to get a third and fourth opinion. She conducted her own research and sent me articles every day.” They eventually met Dr. Robert Hong, a radiation oncology specialist who suggested a less invasive treatment.
After months of successful radiation therapy with Dr. Hong, Wallace was ready to start his life again. While he received treatment, Wallace’s mother encouraged him to apply to graduate school.
After he recovered, Wallace moved to Chicago and began a graduate program in health communications. “I became interested in health and advocating for African Americans patients that are underrepresented, especially with conditions like mine. Many of the conditions that affect our community are silent killers.”
Last year, Wallace earned a Master’s Degree from DePaul University and currently works for a public relations firm; there is no sign of his AVM.
He gives Dr. Hong and his mother credit for his recovery, “She told me everything I’d been through prepared me for this; I wouldn’t have been able to do this without her,” Wallace said. “Rarely do people get an opportunity to reevaluate what they want out of life, and she reminded me that my experience wasn’t for nothing.”
Read the story here.