After nearly collapsing on stage in Roanoke, Virginia over the weekend, country star Drake White is opening up about a health condition he was recently diagnosed with.
In an interview with People, the 35-year-old revealed that he was diagnosed with an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) in January. According to the Mayo Clinic, an AVM is described as a “tangle of abnormal blood vessels connecting arteries and veins in the brain.”
“It was basically stealing blood from my brain,” White told People in July. “The neurologist told me that I should be thankful it was caught in time, because it could have caused a stroke.”
Since his diagnosis, White has been visiting his doctor regularly to undergo embolization procedures in an effort to cut off the blood flow to a number of vessels in his brain. His last procedure was just four days before his on-stage scare. While it remains unclear if his near-collapse was related to his condition or his recent procedure, the singer/songwriter had already decided to share his diagnosis with the world.
“I’m not telling this story for me,” he explained to the publication. “Someone needs to hear it and God wants me to share it. It will help people believe in miracles, and I will feel that energy. The world needs that kind of energy right now.”
White’s health scare began over the winter when he came down with a headache that he couldn’t seem to shake.
“That morning, I had worked out and went to a lunch meeting, and that’s when the headache started,” White remembered. “By 2 p.m. I was in bed seeing spots in my left eye, and that’s when my left side started going numb. I tried to sleep it off but woke up with the same intense headache.”
White and his wife, Alex, made their way to the emergency room where his condition puzzled doctors at first.
“The true nightmare is having something wrong with you and not knowing what it is,” he admitted. “Nobody could tell me what was wrong.”
After several tests, including an MRI and an angiogram, White received his diagnosis of an arteriovenous malformation. Doctors told him he has likely had the condition since birth.
“The next thing I know, there is a guy walking in with the word ‘neurologist’ on his nameplate,” White said. “He told me, ‘You have a mass in the back of your head. It’s treatable, but it’s going to take a while.’ It was at that moment Alex and I said to each other that whatever it is, we would battle through it. Our faith went into overdrive.”
White began to undergo procedures at Nashville’s Centennial Hospital. White says his neurosurgeon, Dr. Robert Mericle, believes they have “knocked out 75% of the mass” to date. They hope to have the mass completely wiped out by the end of the year.
This battle with AVM has left Drake White a changed man.
“My attitude is better. From the moment I found out, I refused to see it as a problem. Rather, I chose to let it inspire me and help others. I have to think I’ve been going through all of this for a reason,” White shared. “Everyone is going through something. You have to treat every person like it could be their last day. Not to be all sunshine and rainbows, but all of this made me appreciate all that I have and all that is to come.”
Fans can keep up with Drake White on Instagram.