Woman With Half A Brain Tells Incredible Story Of Hope

October 13, 2009

Virginian (ChattahBox) – Fore years Michelle Mack lived her life without any clue as to what was going on inside her mind. It wasn’t until 10-year-ago that she was diagnosed, and now the 37-year-old is reaching out for understanding.

In some kind of pre-birth stroke or accident, Michelle lost the entire left side of her brain.

It was not a problem that was known at the time, though from the moment she was born her parents knew there was something wrong. They just had no idea what.

As she grew older, Michelle had fairly normal language skills, graduated high school, and was able to get a data entry job working for her church. Living at home with her parents, she has done extremely well for herself.

But she wanted to know what was wrong with her, what made her become confused in new surroundings, or effected her higher deductive abilities and motor skills.

When a series of tests were done to determine the cause of the problem, her doctor and parents were shocked by the results.

“We were surprised to see the extent of the lesion in her brain, which basically took away the left side of her brain,” Dr. Jordan Grafman, chief of the Cognitive Neuroscience Section at the National Institutes of Health, told CNN.

“There’s some very deep structures remaining, but the surface of her brain, the cortex is 95 percent gone and some of the deeper structures, structures that control movement, are missing. These are all structures that are important for movement, behavior, cognition.”

“Michelle has fairly normal language abilities, certainly basic language abilities, she can construct a sentence, she can understand instructions, she can find words when she’s talking, but actually she has some trouble in some aspects of visual-spatial processing.

“It’s quite possible that in her learning, in her development, when the right hemisphere either took over or developed some of the language abilities that it cost her in some of the skills that are normally mediated by the right side of the brain.”

The most amazing part of the whole story is that she is getting better. While she will need help for the rest of her life to function, she is seeing improvements in those areas where she once lacked.

In the meantime, she wanted to get her story out to the public, to alert them to people like her.

“I wanted to do this so people like producers, photographers and security guards and police officers learn about people like me,” Michelle explained.

“That I’m normal but have special needs, and that there are a lot people like me, so that they could be more understanding.”

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