When Wendell Holloway was diagnosed with an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) in the late 1990s, he was determined not to let it change his active life.
A tangled mass of abnormal blood vessels, an AVM can cause headaches and dizziness, but the greatest risk comes from a hemorrhage.
Over a six-year period, Wendell experienced four episodes of bleeding and the intensely severe headaches that go with them. But he did not want to undergo surgery - his only treatment option at the time - because of his risk of blindness or the loss of right-side function. Then he learned about the Gamma Knife. He underwent the procedure one morning at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, which destroyed the AVM, and he was home that afternoon.
He still enjoys telling people that he went to Starbucks the next day for his usual cup of coffee. "When people wanted to know what the Band-Aids® on my head were for, I had fun telling them that I had brain surgery yesterday," he says.