I’m writing a memoir.
Not mine. This is for someone who is much more interesting: Lisa Lester. Lisa is a dear friend of many years, and the most inspiring person I know.
Lisa is a Canadian singer/songwriter from Winnipeg, loaded with talent and best known for her album I Have Arrived, recorded in Nashville. She is also is a wonderful storyteller who asked for my help in putting her words to paper.
And what a story Lisa has to tell.
On January 6, 2018, Lisa was singing on stage in Winnipeg in front of hundreds of people when she suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm. What followed was a harrowing night in and out of consciousness and then a seven-hour open brain surgery at Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre, led by neurosurgeon Dr. Anthony Kaufmann to stop the bleeding and save her life. Lisa credits her faith in God and the power of prayer and angels for the miraculous journey to her full recovery.
Two weeks after surgery, Lisa went home from the hospital with a tender scalp that had been stitched back together with staples, “like a zipper up the back of my head” she said, but a full head of hair. “That was so considerate of the medical team.”
She needed no physical therapy, and suffered no permanent health repercussions. And though she needed months of rest and healing to get back up to her usual busy schedule and her duties as a marketing executive with Style Manitoba Magazine, she was back to writing songs on the very day she got home from the hospital.
“The words, the melody, they all flow together into me at the same time,” she told me. “And the first song that came to me is called A Bridge of Halos. That’s how I felt when I was in the hospital, like I was walking on a bridge of halos. I am deeply spiritual, and always have been. I felt people praying for me and sending me strength. I could feel those vibrations and knew that I was going to make it. I knew I was coming back.”
As a writer, I feel both humbled and challenged to play such an important role in helping Lisa get her story into print. It is also a joy to be working with her. Over the last year I have recorded several hours of interviews with Lisa and will be sharing clips from time to time. In this one, recorded in Winnipeg earlier this month, Lisa recalls the process of choosing the songs for her first album, Take Me Away.
Lisa is now on a mission to save lives by raising awareness of the warning signs that point to brain aneurysm.
Primary symptoms of a ruptured brain aneurysm:
- sudden onset of the “worst headache of your life”
- nausea and vomiting
- stiff neck
- intense sensitivity to light
Other symptoms may include pulsing pain behind one eye and blurry vision.
Lisa proudly serves as an ambassador for the Lisa Foundation, the leading organization promoting awareness and education for brain aneurysms.