Musician hopes to use her music to help heal others
In the spring of 2012, Lexy Greenwell was feeling like a normal 19-year-old student at Grinnell College.
A talented musician, Greenwell saw a bright future in front of her. She was in the process of auditioning for a music-themed show on ABC and was about to record vocals for a major record label when one day, seemingly out of the blue, she started experiencing double vision.
She went to a local emergency department where doctors first believed she might be suffering from a cancerous tumor. But upon further examination, doctors found that Greenwell had a hemorrhage in her brainstem caused by a cavernous malformation, an abnormal cluster of blood vessels embedded in normal brain tissue.
Despite this disturbing diagnosis, she attempted to continue with life as usual. However, after another hemorrhage, time was of the essence, so she and her family decided to visit Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix for treatment. They had learned about the work of Robert Spetzler, MD, from another patient and through the Angioma Alliance, a support group for patients like Greenwell.
After her examination, Lexy was scheduled for surgery almost immediately due to the severity of her situation—and it was just in time because a week before her procedure, she experienced yet another hemorrhage.
“I was in a wheelchair and couldn't walk without falling over due to dizziness and balance issues. The right side of my face was paralyzed, the left side of my body became weak, I had numbness throughout my body, and both eyes wouldn't move much at all. I was virtually immobile,” she recalled. “I was scared I wouldn't survive much longer."
The surgery was a success, and Greenwell felt the results immediately. Following the procedure, she spent time in the Deborah and Bruce Downey Neuro Rehabilitation Center at Barrow, receiving care from physical, occupational and speech therapists, before going home to Denver to continue her care as an outpatient.
“If it weren’t for the amazing people at Barrow, I would not be here,” Greenwell said. “It is such a place of healing, and there is an unparalleled community of support for each and every patient.
“They have given me my life back. Words cannot express my gratitude, appreciation and admiration for everyone at Barrow and the miracles they work every day.”
Music plays a significant role in Lexy’s recovery. Playing guitar targets her motor deficits, playing drums improves her coordination, and singing, rapping and beatboxing strengthen her facial muscles, which were paralyzed after her second hemorrhage.
Now, she wants to share her healing music with the world, and she does that through her YouTube channel, LexyBeatMusic.
She recorded and produced a cover song and video of the Gym Class Heroes’ song, "The Fighter," with her brother and vocalist Greg Kimble, which you now can purchase on iTunes. Greenwell is donating the proceeds of those sales to Barrow to help care for patients like her.
“This song is my thanks to all of the amazing people at Barrow for their incredible care,” she said.