Ashok Rajamani

AUTHOR + POET + ESSAYIST + ARTIST + ADVOCATE

ABOUT ASHOK

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reader talk
poetry
"words, brewed and unbrewed."
flash fiction
"stories, thumb-sized."
"why on earth would a brown american boy want to be an all-american star?"
essays
"Salman Rushdie uncovers the dream that imprisons."
"How a Drag King and the Carnival Stole the Show in the World's Greatest Poem."
fiction

brain/blindness 411

Diagram of AVM
THE DAY MY BRAIN EXPLODED reveals Ashok's experience surviving extreme, near-fatal brain trauma in 2000 -- namely, a massive subarachnoid hemorrhagic stroke.

The incident was caused by the sudden, orgasm-induced explosion of an unknown arteriovenous malformation (AVM) hiding in his brain.

AVMs are rare, congenital birth defects, affecting less than 1% of the population.

From brain-aneurysm.com: "An AVM is a site of abnormal connectivity between arteries and veins. It is basically like a tangle of worms, where the greatest concentration of worms in the central portion of the AVM (this part is the "nidus") is made up of abnormal blood vessels that are hybrids between true arteries and veins. AVMs are fed by one or several arteries, and are drained by one or more major draining veins; these feeding and draining vessels may be unusually tortuous (winding like rivers), and unusually large."

AVMs might be rare, but traumatic brain injury in general, or TBI, is hardly uncommon, afflicting millions of Americans yearly. Some astounding statistics:
-5.3 million people in the U.S. live with a disability caused by TBI.
-TBI-related deaths exceed AIDS-associated deaths and affect more people annually than AIDS, breast cancer, and multiple sclerosis combined.
Yet TBI research receives far less funding.

Although Ashok is still alive, the massive hemorrhage has left him with life-long half-blindness and epilepsy, among other deficits.

His permanent half-blindness is called hemianopsia, or hemianopia. It is the condition in which half the field vision is gone forever. In his case, it is the left side, since it was the right side of his brain which hemorrhaged. Hemianopsia can affect one or both eyes.

In Ashok's case, it has affected both eyes.

The other major result of the hemorrhage is the advent of full-blown epilepsy, one our most misunderstood neurological conditions. He has battled different forms of seizures, including tonic-clonic convulsions, commonly known as the Grand Mal, the most severe type of seizure. Thankfully, he has been seizure free since 2006, but it it is still a health concern that lives within. He encourages everyone to find out more information on this ailment, which has often developed a reputation based somewhat on myth and fear. His own experiences with epilepsy are documented in THE DAY MY BRAIN EXPLODED.

He is fortunate to have successfully survived these conditions. Many are not so blessed. It is his wish that, one day, we'll be able to find solutions to permanently heal and prevent AVMs and all brain injury, as well as find a cure for hemianopsia and epilepsy, once and for all.

Please click on this page's links for resources and more information on AVMs, epilepsy, brain injury, and hemianopsia/​blindness.