Surviving SpinalAVM in Singapore!

Growing up in sunny Singapore in the Katong School by the Sea, I’m a free-spirited Patrician born in the post independence era. Life’s been pretty good to me despite the usual twists & turns for most part in the first 54 years of my existence.

After returning from Cambodia, my last teaching stint in SCIA as a pioneering Gr 1-9 faculty, I started experiencing difficulty in my bladder & bowel; & walking became a laborious task even as I strive to work in HopeHouse with the De Lasalle Brothers of St Patrick’s Community where I was nurtured.

It was a scary, dark phase and it did occur to me to make my alma mater my resting ground. Yet the love for my family & friends kept me going. In early Feb 2020, I lost all confidence in walking safely and sought out my eldest to bring me for a lumbar x-ray ordered by my endocrinologist.

I am fortunate he was in office early and I got to see him. Thus began my metamorphosis into a SpinalAVM Warrior @55, joining a 1% in the world with this very rare genetic and crippling condition.

A battery of major medical tests culminated in a T4-7 opened surgery to dissect 3 AVMs out. Took 20 months of physiotherapy amidst channeling on the Healthcare Conveyor belt of SGH (5weeks), OCH (5weeks) & a Chinatown Care Home (2.5 years) before I was discharged in untidy manner home with my walker, wheelies and my scooter!

It was a major psychological, physical & financial battle (on-going), to reintegrate back into the Land of the Living, after a 3 year absence from family, Church and society in Kg Glam where we’ve resided for 33 years!

Sheer grit, silent contemplations & patient love became my mainstay even as I continue to be stronger & better with the help of pain meds, mindfulness methods, acupuncture, continued rehab twice weekly and even weekly chiropractic treatment session, managing family, mobility, bladder & bowel as well as chronic fibromyalgia issues.

The alternative option would have been an easy return to a nursing home, have assisted living and fade away. Such is not for me! I have much to do, to surmount the living environment for wheelies, to regain respect & dignity even as a PwD and live life meaningfully with dreams of travel, a SpinalAVM Foundation to assist fellow warriors & their families to alleviate life’s pains a little and live to a 100! I’m on my way!


Author: Vincent LOW

SHC1803 Thru Russell Wong H J and Founder. 20yrs in Intl advertising. Teacher since 2007 in Montfort, TKGS, St Pat and GES school. Lecturer with Polytechnic. Currently Digital Marketing Practitioner. Grew up in a Hokkien Peranakan family in Katong. Married with 3 grown up daughters. I enjoy action movies, music, swimming, cycling and travelling. Have plans for a International School in Thailand providing quality education and life skills. Member since 3rd Mar 2018.

7 thoughts on “Surviving SpinalAVM in Singapore!”

    1. Thank you Freda!
      I’m alive, healthy & good! I use a walker, wheelie and also ride a scooter wheelchair. Best of all, I’m also retired by SpinalAVM! The only thing that sucks is chronic pains! But I manage!

    1. Oh so yours is congenital anomalies… it is very common nowadays. My grandson had congenital heart defect… but what to do? we have to accept life as it is and make the best out of it.

    1. You’re welcomed Ma’am! Just wanna share that SpinalAVM is a condition present at birth and can manifest at any age. Also, it’s a crippling condition and we can be aware of to ensure we don’t end up with a deadly stroke!

Leave a Reply