It has been a year since my mother passed away. She died on April 3, 2000 at the age of 53. I had been to this site shortly after she passed, and read many of the stories. But every thing was too recent and it was too painful to write about my loss. I haven't been back to the site since, but decided to tonight. It's unbelievable how many people have had to become familiar with the word "Aneurysm". I think it would be a very healthy thing for me to share my story with all those who care to hear it.
My mother had been visiting her friend in Europe, and developed a horrible headache while over there. She flew all the way back to New York with this headache. The day after she arrived back home her headache was still unbearable. Mind you, this day...was her 53rd Birthday. I bought her some Excedrin Migraine and let her rest in the bed. Then she got up to use the bathroom and the next thing I knew, she was calling me into the bathroom, and said that she couldn't hear in her ear,then all of a sudden...she started having a seizure. I was terrified and started crying, but I immediately put my thumb in her mouth to keep her from swallowing her tongue. Thank Goodness for cellular phones, because my then 3yr old son, got me my phone,and I was able to talk to 911 and never leave her. After what seemed an eternity, she came to and started vomiting profusely. The paramedics came and she was able to walk to the bedroom and lay on the bed.
I was absolutely a mess at this point, and I remember her saying "Stop it and calm down, you are making me worse!" We took her to the hospital and waited almost 3hrs to get a CT scan. When it was finally done, they said they noticed a mass in her head, and it could be a tumor or an aneurysm. We had her transferred to Mount Sinai Hospital to the Neuro ICU. The following day at 6:30 in the morning, they did an angiogram which lasted approximately 6-7hrs. I sat there all day in that waiting room. When the doctor finally came in, he took me into a room to discuss what they found. He told me she had a Giant Aneurysm and that it was too big and because of it's location, they could not coil it. He told me that they would have to open her up and try to clip it, but started throwing words at me like...vascular spasm, strokes and bottom line not making it through the surgery. I remember running out of the hospital with my father and screaming at the top of my lungs in Central Park "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!" I was not ready for all of this, it was too sudden. I had to pull myself together, because she was awake and alert. This was so terrifying and I had to keep my cool for her. She had such a positive attitude to this whole thing, that when they told her about her condition, she was concerned about her hair being shaved and whether she could go back to work in a week? I was like, "Mom, you are having brain surgery in the morning, don't worry about work".
That night was so hard for me, I remember standing outside her room, hysterically crying, and wanting to run in there and tell her how scared I was, but not wanting her to see me so upset. She was allowed to have something to eat,so she asked me to get her a vanilla milk shake and something sweet. :)
The morning of the surgery, I walked her to the operating room, and told her how much I loved her, and she said "I'll see you in a little while". I heard her telling the nurse that I was a worry wart. That was the last time I saw my mother's eyes open. She was in surgery all day and about 5 o'clock the neurosurgeon came to tell me, they had a lot of complications and it wasn't successful. She kept bleeding every time they tried to clip it, and there was too much swelling. So they medically induced a coma, to give her brain a chance to rest. The following day, they told me that they wanted to partially coil the aneurysm, and put her at somewhat of a safe zone until they could finish the surgery. So the next day she was in surgery again for the coiling, which took 8hrs. Another torturous day in that waiting room, which became my home all those days. That night after the "successful" coiling, they lifted Mom off of the sedative, and she was responding to sound and touch. I think that was the last time (or I truly hope) that she was responsive and aware.
The following morning, her pupils indicated that her brain was swelling, so they took her to emergency surgery to reduce the swelling. She made it back, and we just had to wait and see. At this point, they hooked up this monstrous machine to her to monitor her brain movements. I can't begin to tell you how many wires she had coming out of her, for this medicine or another. anyway I won't go through each day, but with each day there was another problem and with each day, she fought and came back from all these procedures and emergency surgeries. But 9 days after being admitted to the hospital (on her birthday) she suffered from a Pulmonary Embolism. They took her down to the O.R. to insert an umbrella and try to stop the clot, but were unsuccessful. They said that they lifted her up from the sedative and she wasn't responding. I sat in the waiting room with all my family and friends, while at least 15 staff members tried to save her, and at 10:03p.m. I looked at my father and said...she's gone. And sure enough they came in right after and said she didn't make it. That was the most painful experience I ever went through.
I have been in therapy since last year to deal with this. Those 9 days were so traumatizing to me, I lost 15lbs and aged in that one week. I can still hear the sounds of the monitors, the beeps when the medicine would run out, I could describe every inch of that waiting room. Sometimes I wish I could be hypnotized to forget that week. I still feel cheated that my Mom was taken too soon, but I try to tell myself that she probably wouldn't have survived that whole thing and been normal. Her brain went through too much. And she would have been miserable if she had to be dependant on anyone. This past month was incredibly hard for me, I went through every day thinking last year this time, she was still alive.
My mother and I were so incredibly close, she was my friend, the sister I never had and then my mother. I feel a heaviness in my chest when I think of her being gone. It is so very difficult, but having this web site has been somewhat of a healing tool for me, and I want to thank everyone who has had the strength to share their stories with me.
Mom I miss you and love you with all my heart!!!
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