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  • Writer's pictureSurvivor or Caregiver

TBI One Love Survivor Mererid Rees

Hello Everyone. My name is Mererid but everyone calls me Mez. I am 28 years old and I live in a small town in Wales, UK. My story begins in Dubai, where I was 26 years old. I had been working in Dubai as a performer for 3 years, on the 4th year I got promoted as team leader of my group. One day I went for breakfast and I was discussing all my hopes and dreams with my friend and afterwards I walked to their car ready to get a lift back to my accommodation.

Here is when it goes absolutely blank for me. Apparently I go back to my accommodation, got the bus to work, did my team leader duties and I was laughing and joking until I SCREAM and slowly collapse to the floor, the stage manager came rushing in and got me to repeat my name and where I was until I didn’t respond anymore. They described that the life was draining out of me and I turned grey all over, the light behind my eyes went and I was sweating profusely. Before they knew it I was put in an ambulance and I was on my way to hospital. No one knew what was going on, apparently there was a doctor/surgeon on call that said he thought I had a ruptured aneurysm from an AVM.

 Now my company manager had to get hold of my next of kin to let them know about me and ask if they could fly out. My sister was my next of kin so she had to organise a PCR fit to fly test to be able to fly (as it was still the height of Covid). Her story is just as wild with what went on her end. The results came back, they were POSITIVE. So she couldn’t fly out so it was up to my brother to come out, he sorted out the rapid test that you do 3 hours before the flight and it was all good so it was go go go. He came to visit right away, he got more of an understanding and got shown scans of my AVM that was deep in my brain (the thalamus) and that and aneurysm had burst and that’s why I collapsed and was in pain. I would always complain of a headache when my brother visited so he ok’d for me to have a drain put in. Then another day my brother and my sister (on Skype) had a meeting with the neurosurgeon and they said that they needed to operate and how they were going to do it, as if they didn’t it could be fatal. My brother and sister accepted this and now it was a waiting game.

 I came out of surgery and they said they just stopped another aneurysm from bursting but apart from that they managed to embolize the aneurysm and partially embolize the AVM. Every day was different from the surgery but when my sister came out I moved to the critical care ward so things were looking up. Now I had to wait for the drain in my head to run clear so they could start making plans to get me back to the UK. I was in Dubai hospital for 5 weeks, flown back to the UK where I had to go through A&E to get a bed in the hospital. I was then isolated for two weeks, so I spent Christmas alone then just before new year I got moved to the stroke ward. Here I was for 7 months before I got discharged into my own flat. This is where the hard work started, I was still in a wheelchair but I was determined to walk. I had physio, OTs, psychologist, hydrotherapy, you name it I had it. Now just two years later I’m living a relatively “normal” life. I have right side weakness, I have little to no feeling in my right side, double vision, hearing problems but none of these side effect will ever stop me. I’ve been given another chance at life and I’m grabbing it with both hands.

I am so grateful for life and I am grateful for my strength and resilience that have kept me going!


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