For the past 6 months I have felt so alone dealing with my diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. My family and friends have been very supportive, but no one can really understand the trauma of being diagnosed with an aneurysm unless they have experienced it.
I feel like a new door has opened. Sharing my experiences with others would be very helpful in dealing with the emotions associated with my recovery. I am currently being treated for post traumatic stress disorder, which is one of those after effects of surgery that physicians neglect to mention.
I am a very active woman. I have a husband, three small children, teach high school biology, and coach recreational soccer. To be diagnosed suddenly at the age of 34 with an 8mm cerebral aneurysm was a shock. I have had migraine headaches since I was 12 years old. On August 4, 1996, I awoke in the morning with a severe headache, neck pain, and vomiting. My husband rushed me to the nearest emergency room, where they diagnosed me as having a severe migraine, even though I told the attending physician and nurses that this was "the worst headache I ever had in my life", and that I knew it was not a migraine headache. They sent me home with a prescription for Ibuprofen.
I took it upon myself to see a neurologist, and after an EEG, and 2 MRI's I was diagnosed with an 8mm bi-lobed berry aneurysm on my right opthalmic artery. I was referred immediately to an outstanding neurosurgeon, Dr. Curtis Doberstein, at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence Rhode Island. I had a spinal tap, an angiogram, a balloon occlusion test (another angiogram), a CT scan, and an ultrasound. After careful deliberation, Dr. Doberstein consulted with me and my husband, and presented me with the option of a relatively new procedure called "coiling". This procedure would save my eyesight in my right eye, and was a more "pleasant" alternative to a craniotomy. Because of my age and otherwise good health, I was a prime candidate.
The actual surgery was performed by Dr. Richard Haas, on staff at Rhode Island Hospital in Interventional Radiology. I am told that the aneurysm is 100% occluded, and that the surgery was a success. I went back to work three weeks after the surgery (although I was VERY tired). I had a follow-up MRA on March 10th, and have my 6 month follow-up visit with my neurosurgeon on March 18th. I am hoping for a good prognosis.
I owe my life to these talented physicians. I thank God every day that I am alive, and have a new outlook on life. I am a survivor.