Anne at Wadi Rum, Jordan

I flunked a jump rope course in 7th grade and washed out of college PE. Exotic travel was the stuff of dreams for a klutzy bookworm like me—until I married Jack and embraced the world of adventure travel, taking tea with erstwhile headhunters in Borneo, bunking with a stone age tribe in Papua New Guinea and climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro.

But at forty-eight years old, I was zapped by a stroke caused by an obscure and unpronounceable autoimmune disease that turns my blood to sludge. (It’s called antiphospholipid syndrome–APS.) In an instant, I could no longer remember my address or how to dial 911. I couldn’t hold a fork, write my name, or tie my shoes.

Battling APS, I also faced a lifetime of autoimmune flares and bleeding scares. I walk a razor’s edge between blood that is too thick, threatening another stroke, or too thin, risking out-of-control bleeds.

My long road to healing—and return to adventure travel—is chronicled in my almost-completed memoir, Scrambling Back: One Woman’s Quest to Return to the Wild After Stroke and Autoimmune Disease.

My stories about adventure travel, stroke, and autoimmune disease have appeared in local and national publications including Good Housekeeping and Stroke Connection magazines and on the American Heart Association website. My work has also appeared in the Best Travel Writing.com, GeoEx.com, Wanderlust and Lipstick, Southern Sampler, and Passion Fruit.com digital magazines, and ten anthologies, most recently Wandering in Cuba: Revolution and Beyond (2018).

I’m honored at the recognition my work has gained. In Fall 2017, Scrambling Back was a finalist in the William Faulkner/William Wisdom literary competition in the non-fiction book category. My writing has also been honored with multiple awards from Travelers Tales (2015-17), and the Soul-Making Keats Literary Competition (2015). My essay about ongoing brain damage from my stroke won first place at the 2018 Book Passage Travel Writers Conference.

Anne & Jack glassing for bear in Alaska

Even with a damaged brain and the constraints imposed by the blood thinning life, I never considered giving up travel and I still venture to remote regions from Alaska to Burma, Iran, Syria, and Uzbekistan. On my website JunglePants.com, I write about my ups and downs as an adventure traveler with health concerns and, on this site, AnneSigmon.com, I blog about life with memory loss, blood thinners and autoimmune disease.

Before my stroke, I enjoyed a twenty-five-year career in public relations and marketing. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area with Jack Martin, my husband and No. 1 travel companion.

A note on health information presented on this site: Quite obviously, I’m not a doctor. On this site, I blog about my own experience as a stroke and autoimmune patient. And, I present news and resources from trusted sources in the hope that this information will be of help to readers. But every patient is unique, and every case is different. Always check with your own health professionals before adopting any new treatment strategies.

A note about the photos on Anne Sigmon.com: Jack and I both love to snap away when we travel.   I’ve had fun digging into our travel archives to find pictures to brighten these pages. They don’t have anything to do with stroke or APS or autoimmune disease, but I hope they lend cheer and visual interest to the site. They also remind me that I may have APS, but it doesn’t have me.