By Annette P. Gomes, Warrior Care and TransitionDecember 12, 2017
ARLINGTON, Va. - Sgt. Aaron Averre is a walking, talking miracle…Shortly before Christmas of 2016, he suffered his first of many seizures.
"It started with headaches in December of 2016. I didn't think much of them, we work hard as Soldiers and often times it can create physical discomforts. I was feeling especially tired after being released for Christmas break and decided to lay down," Averre said. "My next memory was being surrounded by Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services in my home. I didn't recognize my wife, I couldn't tell EMS who I was, where I was, and given all the disorientation, I became combative toward the people trying to help me."
As Christmas day approached, Averre found himself at the University of North Carolina Hospital undergoing emergency brain surgery to remove a mass in his frontal lobe. The surgery was successful.
Averre returned home with what he called the "world's most expensive mullet", 42 staples and a plate in my head. The recovery has been taxing on him, both physically and emotionally. After having such a serious procedure there were inevitable complications that Averre had to overcome.
Just three days later, Averre found himself back in the hospital after he collapsed at home from chest pain. Pulmonary embolisms were found in his lungs, in addition to a form of tachycardia, an extremely rapid heart rate.
"I lost most of my memory after the first seizure and only recall faint images and sounds during the emergency care. It was unknown if my memories would return or if I would literally have to start over," Averre said of his experience. "There was also a very real concern as to whether I would survive the brain surgery. This was especially hard on my wife and family. My mother flew from Washington State to North Carolina, uncertain that I would be alive when she got here. The emotional toll during everything was infinitely overwhelming," Averre said
With his family's unwavering support behind him and his determination, Averre began to get better. He credits Womack Army Medical Hospital, the UNC Hospital, Cape Fear Regional Hospital, Intrepid Spirit TBI Clinic, and Cape Fear Valley Cardiology for his ongoing recovery. He also credits Fort Bragg's Warrior Transition Battalion for being a "Godsend."
"The Fort Bragg WTB has been the biggest blessing for my recovery. I am very fortunate to have had the unwavering support of my previous unit to send me here. The WTB has provided me with expert level medical care monitoring, physical activities to aid in recovery, internships to assist with skill retention, and emotional support for myself and family," Averre said of his experience with the WTB. "The civilians, cadre and command team of the WTB have ensured that no matter where I transition to, I will be prepared."
Determined to always find the silver lining in a cloud, The Washington State native says he and his wife, Tonya, will experience another miracle in 2018.
"I'm a stubborn person with a strong will to live, I still have a lot to accomplish in this life. It truly is a miracle for us to be expecting a beautiful baby girl this January. I am blessed to have such an amazing wife and family."