Thank you Todd for creating this wonderful foundation in honor of Lisa. My family and I know too well of this silent killer. Our lives will forever be affected by this silent killer "an aneurysm". On 4/12/15 My husband Vincent died of right subarachnoid hemorrhage caused by a rupture. We had just had a wonderful family day at an amusement park and while settling in to bed all I can remember is my husband grabbing on to the right side of his head and falling over while I screamed for my children to call 911 as I started CPR. Our lives will never be the same again. There were signs now that I can remember, the headaches, the pain behind the eye, the feeling light headed. He was diagnosed on 3/28 with syncope and referred to a cardiologist. If I only knew then as much as I now know perhaps he would still be here. My only hope is that for the rest of my life I can honor him and raise our children while he guides me in spirit and raise as much awareness of the little everyday signs that can forever change a families life. Thank You The Smolski Family.
I am 53 years old and just stumbled upon this story about Lisa Colagrossi and ended up at this webpage. I have been having severe headaches since July 2016. One lasted 13 days before I finally went to the ER. Nothing helps these headaches which always start in my neck at the base of my skull. They then seem to go thru my head and land behind my eyes. The sides of my head never hurt. Only the back and behind my eyes. My doctor tried a migraine medication which did nothing. He finally ordered an MRI of my head and neck. They both came back normal. Since then I am still having the headaches at least one a week and sometimes up to three a week. I am very sensitive to light and my neck feels like it becomes a steel rod sticking into my head. I have been told to just take 1-2 hydrocodone every six hours and sleep. These headaches are different than any I've ever had before and I know something must be causing them. My question is "Is it possible to have an MRI (with contrast) and still have an undetected aneurysm?" Usually I can take 2 hydrocodone and some nausea meds and sleep for 8-10hrs and I'm better. Thank you for this page and for making people more aware.
The last thing I remember was collapsing outside of the waiting room. I was heading inside the ER but never made it. It started two days before with a seemingly innocent headache. I took some aspirin like I usually do and went about my business, then went to bed. When I awoke, the headache was worse and for the next two days I was pretty much taking an overdose of over the counter headache meds every time to no avail. The headache kept getting worse and worse. I couldn't focus on anything but the pain. My head felt like it was going to pop. Finally, I called one of my friends and he came to take me to the hospital. Like I said, that's the last thing I remember. I woke up in a room. I was in a bed wearing a hospital gown and my head hurt so bad. There was this fluid build up that rippled when i moved my head. I had no idea who or where I was. I couldn't remember anything. Nothing. My mind was literally blank. So, with effort, I manged to get out of bed. I left my room and an Orderly found me wandering the halls. When I saw him I panicked because this wasn't the first time I woke up. I had done so many times before but always somewhere different and always utterly alone. Not a soul around anywhere. And suddenly there he was. Well, he managed to get me back into my bed and later that morning a different Orderly came and took me see a man whom I would come to know as my Neurosurgeon. His name was Dr. Krauth. Apparently, I had suffered from a Neural Arterial Aneurysm and I had spent nearly a week in ICU recovering and almost another two weeks in the Rehabilitation Unit I woke up in. Amnesia is one of the worst things to experience. I was surrounded by friends and family and I had absolutely no idea who any of them were. Dr. Krauth said the memory loss should be short term but when it would return was unknown. After some time he decided my amnesia was permanent and told my parents to make arrangements for me in a long term care facility because it was unlikely I would recover. Well, that never happened because a few days later I woke up with total recall. My NS was as baffled as everyone else but it happened. There's a lot more to my story than I have space to share. Suffice to say, I am fully recovered. This was over 20 years ago and I remember it like it happened yesterday. I never want to be that afraid again. I never want to be that alone again.
I am John, Christina's husband. Christina is 43 yrs old and a mother of 7 children. On the morning August 29th 2015 I found Christina (Tina) laying on the garage floor. As a prior EMT I knew that she did not have much longer to live based upon how I found her. I immediately called 911 and she was transported to our local hospital in which it took them about 40 minutes to realize that she had suffered a massive subarachnoid hemorrhage. Our hospital did not have resources to help her so they asked where I wanted her to go, I told them Mayo in which Rochester, MN is an hour from where we live. I asked if they could get the helicopter but due to the fog they were unable to fly so she had to be transported by ambulance. Mayo had told the physicians at the hospital how to prepare her for transport and what medications to administer. When she finally made it to Rochester they immediately placed a drain tube into her scalp to release pressure and begin to remove some of the blood. I was informed that she had a very minimal chance of survival and was asked if I wished for them to continue to provide life support. of course my answer was to do whatever they could possibly do to maintain her life. After a few hours they took her into surgery to see if they could coil off the aneurysm, in which they were unsuccessful due to its size and the fact that there was 3 lobes coming off of it. They placed another drain tube in her scalp so she had one on each side of her brain due to the large amount of blood. They told me this was a grade 5 hemorrhage and that even if she could possibly survive, she may be severely handicapped. She spent 19 days in the ICU and an additional 29 days on a recovery floor where she was then transferred to a long term care facility. In December of 2015, I prepared plans for her care and modifications to our home to bring her home. On February 10th after modifications were complete and needed items were purchased we brought her home and she is now cared for by one of our daughters during my work hours and I provide cares the rest of the time. She has no short term memory, has moments of confusion, and has many physical handicaps but has began walking with assistance using a walker or by holding onto our hands. She has made great strides and I am so grateful for her still being here today and for how far she has came. For over a year before she had the hemorrhage, she had many headaches in which she had seen her Dr's and a few emergency room visits for. They even performed a CT scan after I requested that they check her brain to see if there was something causing the headaches at one of her ER visits, but because it was just a normal scan, they did not see the aneurysm because there was no bleed at that time. A couple of months later she also developed vertigo and was seen for that but only provided medication to help alleviate the vertigo. My wife quit going to the doctors after 10 months because she said that her Dr made her feel as if she was just seeking medications. Please do not allow medical staff to deter you if you think you need further testing. I wish I would have went back and demanded further testing after the vertigo started and now am extremely regretful for not doing so. Their lack of concern for the symptoms almost cost her life and possibly disabled for life and there is nothing we can do about it now. Please pay attention to any warning signs and heed immediate medical help from a professional, knowledgeable provider.
On Father's Day 2016. my daughter, at the ripe old age of 23, had an aneurysm within an AVM rupture. She had a horrible headache, threw up, and had a seizure. She was transported to the ER and coded as a drug overdose, never has she done any drugs. Fortunately a PA went into to see her and noticed that her left foot was posturing. She got the ER doc and they immediately sent her for a CAT scan which showed she was experiencing a brain bleed. They immediately inserted an EVD and life flighted her to another hospital. She spent 13 days in ICU and they were only able to embolize the aneurysm not the entire AVM. They could not do surgery due to the location of the AVM so we are off to Jefferson in Philadelphia on Friday for a Gamma Knife procedure. Hopefully in 1 1/2 to 3 years the AVM will scar over and she can cease worrying about another brain bleed. Scary, but she is still here with only a blind spot in her left eye to show for it. But no one at 23 should be worrying about dying, aneurysms are scary.
I lost my daughter to an undiagnosed brain aneurysm. She was 25 years old. She had no major health issues. The day she died she complained of a slight headache, not a severe one. She took some advil and went upstairs to take a nap. She never woke up. This has devastated the family. I just hope people read some of these posts and get help.
Thank you, I just wrote an entry about my husband but wanted to thank you for bringing awareness to this diagnosis and the importance of early detection. I am so sorry for the loss of your beautiful wife, Lisa.
My husband, thankfully, is still alive today. About 8 years ago he was in nursing school at aged 50 while working full time. He decided he wanted to fulfill a life long dream of helping others. Well, something was not quite right. When he went in for a regular check up, he was talking with the receptionist about having headaches and memory off. She shared how she lost her husband due to a brain aneurysm some time back. He thought she was nuts when she told him mention to the doctor He almost didn't, but he did. He went for the test and, low and behold, he had a brain aneursym and was referred to Columbia Presbyterian to a nuerosurgery consult. He was luck. It was not the size that bothered the surgeon but the location. Well, he went in for a craniotomy and it could not be clipped because his was attached to a main artery wall. Even more the reason why he needed to get in. So, 8 years ago, they successfully capped the aneursym with muscle flap from his scalp. To this day it is still in tact, has not grown. Had he not had this done, surely I would be righting this as a widow and not a lucky wife. Please, please do not ignore the warning signs. Get checked out.
My daughter, Brooke, was 11 years old. She was a competitive dancer, at the studio upwards of 15 hours a week. She had just started middle school and was taking advanced classes. She was so driven and I was worried that she was wearing herself thin but she always had so much energy and was so healthy. The day before the burst, she had a cold and sore throat and was coughing a lot. I took her to the doctor and we tested for strep, etc. and he remarked about how healthy she was. The following morning she woke up feeling great, we had a lovely conversation about life, ate breakfast together and she went into her room to get ready for dance rehearsal. We heard a noise behind the closed door and it sounded like she fell. Within moments I was at her side. She was unconscious and not breathing. After dong CPR and calling 911 she till wasn't breathing. She went into cardiac arrest. We later learned that there was an aneurysm right at her brain stem. It burst and immediately cut off her breathing. She was gone in an instant. A vibrant, healthy child. Gone. People think it can't happen to a child, but she had recently hit puberty and there is some data that suggests that there is a hormonal connection. People think it can't happen to them - or to someone they love - but it does when you least expect it. We have no family history. We've been scanned since - all clear. The mystery that surrounds aneurysms and their cousins, AVMs is a shame in this day and age. More money is needed for research to understand them and to prevent bursts. Thank you for this foundation. Please let me know how I can help. https://becausebrooke.com/2016/09/26/whats-luck-got-to-do-with-it/
13 years ago, I had a brain aneurysm. Thank God, I happened to be working at a local hospital, in the Radiology Dept., and was having severe headaches that landed me in the ER several times, only to be told that it was probably stress. Fortunately, for me, the Radiologist in my dept., insisted that I have an MRI done immediately. Two hours later, he called me with the news. I had an aneurysm that was ready to burst. The next week, I had surgery to clip it. The neurologist that performed the surgery was the best!! Again, Thank God, today I am living well, no after effects, and truly feel that I am a walking miracle. Today, I caution anyone who tells me that they are having headaches, please see your Dr. immediately, and INSIST on having an MRI done. A CT scan will NOT show an aneurysm.
A few months ago, I had a brain aneurysm that ruptured. I was at work and felt dizzy. It was late, so I thought to myself "I better get out to the hallway where people can see me or they will find me here dead in here tomorrow morning". As I stepped outside, I fainted and a co-worker found me. Thank God he called 911. That's when the worst headache of my life hit me. It was as if someone was hammering my head. My family was told 80% I would not make it. I am very thankful…I made it! At the same time, my husband was in the hospital having brain surgery for Parkinson’s and my mom recuperating from a stroke. You don’t expect these things to happen to you, but when they do, you see all the great people that surround you and you are very thankful. Staying positive and being grateful, helped me move on.
April 27 1992 I was 22 years old and indestructible...so I thought. I was out for a jog about a mile from home and felt the most painful pressure/headache that is so unexplainable, I stopped turned around and started walking home, By the time I got to the end of my street, I started vomiting which happened 3 times, I had tunnel vision and seemed like I couldn't hear anything. I got home, my mom took to me to the hospital and after a catscan, they found the culprit right at the base of my brain...5 days later, they operated. I lost my sense of smell and my short term memory is just aweful which is very frustrating but in the big picture I cant complain. I am married now and have a beautiful daughter. Life goes on!! I am kinda glad in a weird way to be a part of a group that survived. God bless all of you!!
My name is Tina. I am still a mother to 3 (and so many) and "Nonna" to my rockstar, a wife, a sister, a behaviorist, fiercely loyal friend, and above all a very grateful Christian. I had 2 aneurysms and a brain tumor a year ago July. One of those ruptured causing the mama of headaches (for 6 or 7 days) that I could not shake with Tylenol or motrin or aspirin plus a "shuddering" of my body like the chills when you have the flu. I called the doctor the next day & because of a 2 cancer history & caution, they sent me for a C-scan. Fast forward through 3 hospitals, MRIs and MRAs-brain surgery a year ago July, clipped the aneurysms, cleaned the damage which afforded me the opportunity to live. I have resumed my life the way it had been very active and busy. On my knees, I thank God each and every day for this, for Dr. Solomon and all the people involved with him-God's angels, Dr. Kristin, my family, my work family and my friends. I am blessed to be a living miracle and a positive reflection of the power of prayer. Sharing my story is my way of holding hands with those who may need it as support, consolation or just because. Blessings all around
I read many of the other entries in the guest book. Unfortunately, my story is not one of survival. 9 years ago, my 40 year old husband died suddenly of a ruptured brain aneurysm while I was pregnant with our second daughter, and our older daughter was 10 months old. He had been having headaches for about a month or two prior to his death. At the time, we thought it was due to a change in his work schedule, and the hectic life of having a baby and one on the way. He had made an appointment with a neurologist, but it was scheduled for a week after he died. He had a history of slight high blood pressure, but the doctor didn't think it was bad enough for medication. In retrospect, many of the signs were clear, but at the time it didn't occur to me that anything could be seriously wrong. After he died, I found out that my husband's grandfather and uncle had died of the same thing, though at an older age. Although our girls and I are doing well now, and I have since remarried, I wish we had known more about it at the time and perhaps life would have turned out differently. I applaud this foundation and it is my hope and wish that many more people can be spared with more education and awareness. RIP David, we love you!
Hello survivors of these crazy aneurysms! I am 35 years old. I was 28 when I had my aneurysm (s). It actually happened on New Years Eve. Me and my at the time boyfriend were getting ready to go out on the town. I complained that I had a horrible headache to his mom. She gave me some Tylenol and we left! I'm driving and before I knew it I passed out behind the wheel. My boyfriend got us pulled over and called 911. The ambulance came and picked me up and took me to the nearest hospital. From there I got care-flown up the Zale Lipshy where Dr. Welch aka the best NeuroSurgeon took care of me! I am a little biased but in all reality he is my guardian angel! I was in the hospital for 14 days and got released. I went back to see Dr. Welch for a checkup to which he told me I had another aneurysm and wanted to know when I would like to come in for ANOTHER surgery. Well of course immediately! I didn't want what happened to me the 1st time happen again! So I went in for that surgery. That surgery, unfortunately, was unsuccessful due to the location of the aneurysm. It was located where a few other blood vessels met up. Soooo, I had another surgery. This surgery lasted up to 11 hours and was by far the scariest one. Dr. Welch took an artery out of my arm and totally rerouted my "the wires in my brain". After 11 hours under the knife, the surgery was successful! Shortly after I got release I could go back to work but I also had to go to therapy. I would go to work in the morning and then would leave to attend therapy in the afternoons. I did this for about 6 loooong weeks but at the end of it all I was very thankful. I ended up having short term memory loss but thankfully that was all that I had. I still have "short term memory loss" but nothing Iike it was back then. My work has been wonderful working with me since all of this happened and by the grace of God I work in a hospital!
I had three aneurysms. Two of them the doctors fixed. The third one they are still watching. Lisa's foundation asked that if you had aneurysms, you write about it. Well, here I am. I was at work when it happened. I just grabbed my head. The pain was unbearable. This is where the long haul begins. It was Dr. Jonathan Brisman who did the surgery. It took 6 weeks in the hospital and another week in rehab before I came home. My right side was completely numb from my head to my toes. I couldn't write. The doctors who have helped me through the years are Dr. Wirkowsky and Dr. Friedman. They are neurologists. I couldn't talk at all. I have seizures each month, but they are watching them. It took a long time, but I'm in better condition than I was seven years ago. The date it happened was May 23, 2009. I think Lisa was a remarkable person, and I couldn't believe she died from the same thing I had. I look back now and think maybe she was looking down on me. My husband is helping me write this.
I am Heather: An impossible situation becoming a possible miracle My name is Heather, and at the age of 33 on February 5, 2009, while taking a bath I felt a striking pain at the base of my neck on the right side that rang like sirens in my ears. I did not know what was happening to me. I continued to bathe and 30 seconds later I was struck on the left side like lighting. I got dizzy, and I was scared. I screamed for my 13-year-old daughter Kaysha to call my mom as I attempted to put my clothes on. I made it to my bedroom where my daughter was on the phone with my mom. As I laid on the bed quietly, suddenly I had an urge to use the bathroom and knew I could not make it to the bathroom alone. I attempted to go by myself, but I collapsed to the floor. I could faintly hear my daughter telling 911 my momma is on the floor. Anything remembered by me after this point are just snapshots and was told to me by my family. EMS arrived and transported me to Tulane Medical Center emergency room where several tests were done which confirmed I suffered two ruptured aneurysms. The doctors inform my family I suffered two ruptured aneurysms and they needed to perform immediate surgery to implant a drain in my skull on the right side front to remove the fluids and blood that flooded my cranium during the rupture to stop damage My family agreed to this surgery, and it lasted for two hours. Shortly after this surgery the doctors informed my mom ruptures caused severe damage to my brain and they needed to coil my aneurysms through another medical procedure. The doctors predicted I had a 10% chance of survival. My family agreed to the proposed surgery in hopes that it would save my life. I was prepped and taken to surgery once again for almost four hours. The news of my successful surgery spread throughout the hospital; I was referred to as the “miracle girl.” I received so many visits from doctors, nurses etc. who thought it was totally remarkable that I lived since I was predicted to have only a 10% chance of survival My mom wanted me to know just how special this situation was so when we arrived home this is what she said to me. “Heather, you are a miracle because God chose you to survive something that most people do not. You survived a situation that you were given 10% a chance to live. The night you were transported to Tulane Medical Center you were one of three women admitted into the Emergency Room that night with brain aneurysms. Heather, you were the only one who lived to tell the story, you are a MIRACLE!” I am truly grateful to be alive! Within a month I was rid of the walker, wheelchair, and potty. I suffered from a deep depression as a result of my situation. More than anything, I was ready to get back to my norm. So I worked hard and diligently so that I can once again do the things I enjoyed doing. It was one hurdle after another to jump, but I continue to work on becoming healthy. Today, I am proud to work in Mental Health as a Peer Recovery Support Specialist advocating for my clients and in college majoring in psychology.
In 2006 I received a call at work from my pcp informing me the scan I had done due to the change in headaches showed a brain aneurysm. Off to see neurosurgeon #1 in Portsmouth. He said he could do it but since it's in the center of my brain once my brain is exposed it would be hard to find. Rather than play search and destroy in my brain we thought it best to see another surgeon so off to Mass General in Boston we went. I had my first craniotomy shortly after. After about a year it was life as I had known it pre-aneurysm. In April 2009 I was diagnosed with 2more aneurysms, one on each side of my brain. Between may and end of June 2 more aneurysms grew. I had them all clipped in multiple craniotomies by July 4th weekend. One craniotomy was a receipt because 29 days after an aneurysm was clipped it hemorrhaged. I learned then clips were not 100% protection as I thought. In 2011 it was time for a scan to make sure all my aneurysms were behaving. Unfortunately it showed that one of the clipped aneurysms had grown it's twin out from the end of the clip that had flipped behind the original aneurysm. Thankfully I had it done on a 3-D scan or it wouldn't of been seen because it was hiding. Along with that one I was diagnosed with 2 new aneurysms in my carotid artery behind my left eye. The 6 aneurysms in my brain are clipped and the 2 behind my eye haven't been treated yet.
On Easter 2014 I was not feeling well. Went through all the motions of a family Easter Sunday. Monday morning I went to work. I don't remember anything about the day but my husband tells me he found me late at night very sick. He went to take me to the er and I passed out. Once at the er I started having seizures that's when they found the 1 ruptured and 2 nonruptured anuerisms at that point I was airlifted to a hospital in Richmond to undergo emergency surgery during the next 23 days I remained in icu and had another stroke and another surgery. I have 3 anuerisms all three are coiled and 1 has a stent. I have 3 children. My youngest is now 12 and autistic. This has been very hard on my children as most of you know thank you for reading my story
My story started when I was about 25 (1988) with symptoms that were stroke-like and head pain. I was in the hospital for a week getting all sorts of tests done and they determined I had a migraine... This happened a few more times in my life and those were also determined to be migraine. It was frustrating as well as scary to have strange symptoms and not know why... and then be told that I am making a big deal out of nothing. In 2010, I had the same type of symptoms again and headed to the ER. The doc only did a CT and sent me home saying it was a migraine. The next day, I begged my GP to order an MRI because of the family history of aneurysm and my ever increasing migraines (in frequency and intensity over the prior year). He is a compassionate man and he listened. The MRI came back clear but about 1.5 weeks later, my GP called me and said that they looked at the images again and saw a shadow. Turns out I DO have an internal carotid aneurysm (as I suspected) and it was 1.5cm (giant) in my cavernous sinus area between the brain and the meninges sheath by the Circle of Willis. Between that time and my first surgery in August of that year, it had grown to 2.5cm. I had 4 stents and 2 coils done by a phenomenal neurovascular surgeon (Dr. Demetrius Lopes in Chicago). Then in Oct 2010, I needed 2 more surgeries to add 3 more coils then 11 more coils to the same aneurysm. I seemed to be improving then in April 2012, I began having constant pain again and changes to my vision. In March 2013, I had a fourth surgery to add a Pipeline inside of the existing 4 stents. Total: 5 stents/16 coils I have quite a few neurological, visual, brain issues as a result but I thank God every day that I am still here. I believe that there are gifted surgeons who do remarkable things to save people with aneurysms but the after-care kind of gets lost in the shuffle. Thank you, Todd, for starting this foundation in honor of your beautiful wife. You will be helping to bring awareness to untold amounts of people about aneurysms! Thanks for letting me share my story!