My name is Tamela Wagner from Kansas. My artist name is Tamela Blessed.
I am blessed because in 2011, I was told that a large bleeding CA in the pons of my brainstem would be impossible to remove, so to “live every day to the fullest”. I wouldn’t take that for an answer and continued on for 3 months hoping and praying. You see, my sister passed away in 2003 in her sleep of what we were told was a seizure. When I was diagnosed in 2011, it brought more light to exactly what happened to her. She was here one day, gone the next. I had anxiety going to sleep and not knowing if “today” would be my last day. By the grace of God, I was led to Dr. Spetzler at Barrow Neurologist Institute. He didn’t only successfully remove the brainstem cavernous malformation, but located one on my spine (t7c1) and removed that one just four days later! Nothing is impossible!
I had very few deficits after this “impossible” surgery, with the worst being double vision in my right eye, which was almost completely corrected by having strabismus surgery.
I did have a long road of recovery with therapies to get back my strength. The spine surgery was the hardest to recover from. During my healing process, I found Art! It was a way for me to express my joy and praise to God for giving me a second chance at life!
I make it one of my life purposes to spread awareness about this terrible disease. I create “Blooming Brains” to help share my story of hope. The clusters of blooms and buds represent a Cavernous Angioma bleed or the possibility of having one. Some of my brains depict the chaos that happens inside and outside of the mind with a diagnosis. I place a butterfly in my creations to represent the hope I have for a cure and healing for anyone who is suffering from any kind of neurological disorder.
People told me time after time how blessed I am, so the name stuck. I sign every piece of art I create with Tamela Blessed because the front of the canvas isn’t about me, but that, With God, all things are possible! Beauty can stem from darkness, so never lose hope or give up
Unfortunately, my family has been hit hard by this incurable brain disease. As of now, there have been seven of us diagnosed and all female. Males do carry the gene but so far have not been symptomatic. I pray answers can be found with the research that the Alliance supports.