In 2009 I had a ruptured brain aneurysm. My husband was out of town and I was on the phone with him. It hit suddenly. While on the phone I collapsed. My husband could hear moaning sounds but thought one of the kids was playing a trick on him. He had no reason to believe that his seemingly healthy wife would have a ruptured aneurysm. Laying on the floor I could not move or speak. My three teens were in the living room and I could not do anything to let them know I was there. I picked the phone up beside me but my husband was gone. Finally I made it up and walked into the hallway. The kids knew something was very wrong. I went in the bathroom vomiting uncontrollably. In tremendous pain I walked to the hallway and fell to my knees grabbing my head and screaming. For awhile I lay there and the kids said I did not appear to be breathing. I awoke choking on my own vomit aspirating it into my lungs. My kids called 911. My son rolled me to my side. You could hear the rattling in my chest. The ambulance arrived and I could not answer any of their questions correctly. We got to the hospital and they found I had a lot of blood in my brain causing pressure on the brain stem. They did not think I would make it through the night, but I did.
It was a miraculous healing. I spent 30 days in NICU with every complication they were most afraid of. I lived through that. The coils compacted and the aneurysm refilled. After that I was referred to one of the best surgeons in the world in the treatment of aneurysms. It was in a rare location and I needed someone who could perform the surgery successfully. I developed hydrocephalus and am shunt dependent. I am on my way to my fifth brain surgery in two years. The shunt has malfunctioned causing over drainage. Now it is hard to use my limbs, hard to speak, and hard to walk but I know that I will be healed again. I know this new shunt will reverse these stroke like symptoms. This has been a long, hard battle that I would climb again and again. It has changed me for the better no matter my struggles. It allowed me to realize my son had a deadly AVM (arterial venous malformation). It also allowed me to get my daughter help for an arachnoid cyst of the brain. All my battles are worth it because I am triumphant in the end.
We as a family are stronger than ever. There is nothing we can’t handle. I give God all the glory because for all medical purposes I should not be here and in this good of condition. I am a member of the Joe Niekro foundation. It is a foundation that promotes brain aneurysm awareness. For anyone with headaches in one spot of the head or new headaches that are out of the normal, sporadic high blood pressure, or sensitivity to sun, see your doctor and insist on a MRA. Those were my symptoms. They can vary according to where the aneurysm is located. If one ruptures the odds are not in your favor that you will come out alive with little to no deficits. 50% die within minutes of a rupture, and up to 50% of those who make it through surgery will eventually die, the remaining can have long term disability. Only a fraction make it with little to no deficits. Even though I have struggled I am among that small percentage who made it with little deficits. I want to share my story to promote brain aneurysm awareness.
The informational content of this article is intended to convey a personal experience and, because every person’s experience is unique, should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional healthcare advice.