WHEN Elizabeth Walker suddenly started speaking gibberish it was blamed on stress and hormones. “There was a dysfunction between my brain and my speech. I wanted to say ‘I’m going to get a cup of tea’ but a completely different word such as pumpkin would come out,” she says.
Elizabeth, now 33, had suffered from headaches and migraines for years but concern about her “funny turns” led her to visit her GP.
“He thought it was because my hormones hadn’t settled down after having my boys,” she says. “Jack was four months old and William was not yet two.”
The doctor suggested Elizabeth, from Sidcup in Kent, wait a year for her hormones to stabilise.
However she grew increasingly fearful about losing her ability to speak properly while responsible for two children and running her career consultancy business.
A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan revealed the problem: a spaghetti-like tangle of abnormal blood vessels in the area of the brain which controls speech and memory. These blood vessels, known as an arteriovenous malformation (AVM), lack capillaries to slow the blood allowing it to travel around the AVM with explosive speed, putting veins at risk of breaking and leading to stroke and brain damage.