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Heather's Story

Heather was 22 years old when she first began feeling pins and needles on her left side. This prompted to her to visit the emergency room where doctors found a brain hemorrhage and diagnosed her with a cavernous angioma — a small cluster of weakened blood vessels in her brain that can rupture and bleed.

UPMC’s Department of Neurosurgery scheduled surgery using High Definition Fiber Tracking (HDFT) to stop the hemorrhages.

“I am so grateful I have this healthcare available right outside my door… without this technology (HDFT), the surgery could have caused permanent paralysis.”

Recovering from surgery was a long process.

“Initially after surgery I had to relearn how to walk and how to sit up using the proper muscles and feed myself and bathe myself… but was made a lot simpler by (inpatient rehab at) UPMC Mercy. It was tough, but each step I got stronger and more confident and you know it came back pretty quickly.”

Now Heather is back to doing what she loves – riding horses. She’s also very excited about a big upcoming milestone – walking down the aisle. “It makes me feel really, really excited about what’s to come. If I can do this now, then I know I’m going to reach my goals eventually.”

Read more about inpatient rehabilitation at UPMC Mercy

Read more about Heather’s story.