Sherman’s Anatomy

Gabrielle Sherman, Conifer senior, was diagnosed with CNS Vasculitis in January of last year following a seizure that resulted in hospitalization.


Gabrielle Sherman

Sherman spent a week in the hospital following her seizure. She has to undergo monthly infusions in order to keep the inflammation in her brain reduced. “You sit in a hospital for seven hours, getting a drug just pumped in for seven hours,” Sherman said.

In January of this year, Conifer senior – Gabrielle Sherman – had a seizure that led to a shocking discovery. The doctors told her that she had a condition known as CNS Vasculitis, otherwise known as an inflammation of the brain. The condition, while treatable, has no cure.


“A couple months before I started getting migraines,” Sherman said. “I wasn’t too concerned about it.” 


One night in January that all changed. At work that day, Sherman started to experience the effects of another migraine. Thinking that nothing was wrong, she drove home. She never made it home, because she got lost in her neighborhood. It was at the point that she ended up in another person’s driveway, on GPS, hopelessly confused. She called for her parents to pick her up.


“They thought I was on drugs,” Sherman said.


Sherman had had no drugs, other than a nausea pill, that day. Her younger sister, Brooke Sherman, found her convulsing on her bedroom floor later that night. 


“[My parents] called the ambulance,” Sherman said, “By that point I had been seizing for about 10 or 15 minutes.”


She was transported to the Children’s Hospital in Highlands Ranch but had to be transferred to Aurora due to a lack of the proper equipment at the first location. Once there, the doctors conducted a brain biopsy, discovering her condition.


Sherman spent a week in the hospital before she was cleared to go home, but she was at only the beginning of her journey towards recovery. She would have to undergo a series of drug infusions and steroid treatments to reduce the inflammation.


“Junior year was kicking my ass. I came back and I had all this homework and I couldn’t remember certain things. A topic that was introduced by the teacher to me, I couldn’t remember,” Sherman said, “I had trouble remembering things for about four months.”


Sherman’s teachers worked with her to try to help her with the school work. They would often go over quizzes and homework, in order to help Sherman with the content she was forgetting. This year, the school put her on a 504 plan, which would include potentially allowing for her to use note cards on tests.


“I was really appreciative of that,” Sherman said.


The infusion cycle ended in June, having effectively ended the inflammation of her brain. That was not the end of Sherman’s struggle with CNS Vasculitis, however. Towards the end of July, she underwent a check-up MRI, revealing that the inflammation had returned.


“We’re going through this process all over again,” Sherman said.


Her second round of infusions started on Wednesday, August 31st. 


“I was very sad when I heard that it came back. But I’m learning not to just focus on that because when I was, I wasn’t in a good place,” Sherman said, “I feel like I’m doing better, it’s hard some days but I am getting myself through that. I’m hoping to just keep doing that.”