A brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is a tangle of abnormal blood vessels connecting arteries and veins in the brain.

The arteries are responsible for taking oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the brain. Veins carry the oxygen-depleted blood back to the lungs and heart. A brain AVM disrupts this vital process, reports the Mayo Clinic.

The question is… when doctors discover that you have an arterial venous malformation at just twenty years old, and you need emergency brain surgery to address the crisis, how much of a disruption in your life-plan can you expect?

If you are Kimberly Valladares, the interruption will be minimal.

Valladares is majoring in nursing and minoring in public health at Caldwell University. As an intern at Hillside Senior Citizens Center, she has both been inspired and is inspiring to the senior residents there; who just love her infectious personality.

“They inspire me,” Valladares said. “They are older and they have gone through many life situations. And despite their aches and pains, they still smile and laugh… it gives me perspective.”

“Her (Valladares) story of recovery from a stroke and a coma touches all of us deeply at Caldwell University. We are grateful for the work she has done to enrich the lives of older adults in our community,” says Brenda Petersen, associate dean of the Caldwell University School.

That stroke and coma were the result of the brain surgery Kimberly needed, which put her in a coma for two days, causing vision and hearing calamities. She had to learn the basic skills to feed herself and walk all over again.

The Next Leap Forward

When Kimberly Valladares says ‘it gives me perspective’; she may well be saying that it affords her the opportunity to understand what is truly important in life.

We all need perspective. It is incredibly easy to get lost in the day-to-day bustle of your own problems. When you’re able to step back and see life through the lens of others who have different experiences and values – it is likely to impact your own life in ways you can’t even imagine.

Does your daily regimen support your yearly plan and does your yearly plan feed into your own life-plan? We get lost with all the distractions and urgent matters in our lives. All too often our ‘true’ priorities are at the bottom of the list. The key is to get those priorities back to the top of your list. Step back from all the clutter and think it through, write it down and create your yearly-plan and the daily action steps – the milestones that will take you there.

Take a lesson or two from the great basketball superstar Michael Jordan: “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

What is your perspective at this very moment?