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Life after you or a loved one experiences a brain aneurysm may be different, but sharing your connection can provide hope to many others navigating recovery. We encourage you to share your journey, advice, and any other messages of support below.


Lisa Foundation

Shared Stories of Brain Aneurysms

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247 entries.
Jacqueline hicks Jacqueline hicks from Kennett square pa wrote on August 4, 2021 at 2:37 am
First I would like to thank my incredible Dr at John’s Hopkins, she saved my life. For the last couple of years I have been more tired than usual I have had headaches on and off. This year in January 2021 I slept on the ice and fractured my back. I was still able to work but weeks later my head was still hurting so I called my doctor and insisted on a CAT scan to see if I had a concussion and this is where they found buy my own for 7 cm cerebral aneurysm. I immediately of course googled best neurosurgeon In Johns Hopkins. I sent all of my testing and within a week I had a phone call , we set up a telecommunications visit and my doctor had already had a plan my surgery was scheduled for May 17 unfortunately three days before surgery I had tested positive for Covid, my surgery was rescheduled a month later. I had a clipping done my surgery went very well my doctor was very happy with my fast recovery she had told me that what she had seen because I did have a brain bleed amazingly enough my body healed itself. Six weeks postop I am still very tired, I am not a person who can sit still I’m used to going going it’s very frustrating. By the grace of god and prayers I am alive. I would like to know if other people are as tired as I am even after something as simple as a shower I need to lay down for a bit. Very scary but my Dr made this much easier for me. I don’t think my husband quite understands just how tired I am.
Elizabeth Rodriguez Elizabeth Rodriguez from San Diego wrote on July 11, 2021 at 4:34 am
I'll never forget that afternoon. I was getting ready for work and a call comes in on my cellphone. I check to see who it is and notice it says Scripps Health. Thinking it wasn't anything important (I work at Scripps hospital), I let it go to voicemail. After the third call, back to back, I pick it up and it's a nurse, asking if I knew an older woman with the possible name of Sherri. My heart drops. I say yes, that's my mother. She proceeds to tell me that my mom is in the ICU. She has an aneurysm that ruptured and bled into her brain and she's on a ventilator. They had already tried to insert coils but we're unsuccessful and needed my permission to perform brain surgery to stop the leak and clip a piece of the aneurysm. I told them to do whatever it took to save her life. Surgery was a success but unfortunately my mom has nerve damage and also amnesia. She recognizes people and can hold a conversation but it's obvious that any relationship or bond she's had with a person is gone. She doesn't know who to trust, doesn't remember certain people have died, can't remember my age or even how close her and I were. I am devastated because even though she's still alive, I feel like my mom died the day she collapsed. It has definitely been a struggle to try to help her regain her memory or for her to understand that I just want to help her. She actually told me that there's no way me and her could of been super close because I'm annoying. I don't know if me trying so hard is only making things worse. I've always been able to call my mom when I just needed to talk or vent. I'm 43 years old and realized I still need my mother. 😥🥺
Susan Thomas Susan Thomas from Virginia Beach VA wrote on June 30, 2021 at 7:08 pm
On September 14, 2018 I worked til noon. Came home, ate, took a nap. It was hot. Said I had to get up and wash my face. Barely remember it feeling like my head was going to blow off. Laid on couch, tried to throw up, laid back and eyes rolled up in my head. Husband called ambulance. I was out of it and don’t remember much for the next 17 days in ICU. Aneurysm burst, dr put coils in at Norfolk General Hospital. Then told I had stroke and had hydrocephalus.a few days later got a vpshunt in brain. Went to inpatient rehab one week. Wonderful therapists. Couldn’t walk at first , leg and arm wonky. Also blinded in one eye completely and other partly( Tersons Syndrome)have to give glory to the Lord for my recovery. Outpatient rehab, eye surgeries, went back to part time work the end of January. I was 68. Now 71, just cut back work a little more. Main thing is tiredness. God does answer prayers. Great granddaughter born in same hospital at the same time they put shunt in brain. Want to inspire people that obstacles can be overcome.
Kasi Harrell Kasi Harrell from San Antonio wrote on April 13, 2021 at 8:52 pm
April 5 2021. 7:28 Am I wake up put of no where and decide I'm going to check on my mom. She lives with me now. She is pretty active 71 years young. Does for herself. I just like to be around for those times she may need a hand. But this morning was not a normal one. I opened her door where I see her looking through photos she had been separating for a while. She say hi with a huge smile. I say hi back. I run to the restroom and go back in the room with her. There is a few minutes of silence while we both watch the ending of Andy Griffith. Then it happens. She screams as she hold her head and tells me to take her to the hospital. I throw sweats on and she has already changed her mind " Call the ambulance she mumbles at me. I do. " Please help my mom is screaming saying her head hurts.... BY the time ems arrives my mother has began to have a stroke. 9 mins! It took 9 minutes from the time it ruptured to her being in ems care. I tell them all I am aware of an aneurysm. Which helps them respond correctly and quickly. Tues April 6th. We find out there is 4 aneurysms. And this will mean surgery on the right side of her brain. She goes in at 230 pm. Feels like forever when the clock hits 8:31 pm and the doctor comes to tell me that she is sedated and will be for the next several hours but should be responding by the next day. April 7th. No change April 8th no change April 9th Doctors start seaming worried asking me if I have family to call, I should let them know she could pass at anytime. I panic. But I kiss my mama and tell her I'm not giving up and I will see her tomorrow. April 9th. Eyes still not open but both arms start moving and right leg. April 10th her eyes open. And she looks to be looking around. She listens when doctor say move your toes. April 11 more of the same eyes open but won't squeeze hand toes wiggled when asked. April 12th more of the same. April 13th I walk in the room where her doctor and nurses are standing around her. Her eyes are open so I say Hey mama I love you and she smiles! So I grab her hand ask her to squeeze. No squeeze. I ask her to to wiggle toes she does. I ask her to wiggle toes if she can hear me she wiggles them. She tries to move mouth I asked her to wiggle your toes if you are trying to tell me you love me, She wiggles those little piggies. Finally we have voluntary movement. Our story has just began but I feel like maybe if I document it my experience can help families. So stay posted for more.
Andrew Davie Andrew Davie from Alexandria wrote on February 21, 2021 at 10:00 pm
On Friday, June 29th, 2018, I was going to fly to visit my parents. My brother and his family were already there visiting. At the time, I had thought of getting my Ph.D. in creative writing, so I had applied to a bunch of schools and did not renew my contract at my most recent teaching position for students with attention deficit disorder and learning disabilities. Summer vacation was about to begin, and I could focus on my future later.   When I got to my gate, I started to sweat uncontrollably. When they called my group over the PA system, and I started to gather my belongings, my backpack was suddenly hard to lift. I remember thinking it was going to be a difficult trip, but everything would be fine once I got onto the plane. Maybe, I would take a nap. So, I disregarded the red flags, hefted my backpack, and started to walk down the jetway. The floor seemed to shift, and I remember I focused all of my energy on putting one foot in front of the other. However, while I was still on the jetway, I stumbled and fell to the ground. Someone told me not to move. They placed a crash pad underneath me and put a neck brace on me. I remember saying something like “I can’t miss my flight.” At this point, they laughed and told me not to worry. “I could always catch another flight.” After that exchange, I don’t remember anything. Reflecting on it now, it reminds me of a line from the book The Island of Dr. Moreau. “This man, it seemed to me, had come out of immensity merely to save my life. Tomorrow, he would drop over the side and vanish again out of my existence.” I was taken to George Washington University Hospital in Washington DC which I discovered later is one of the best trauma hospitals in the United States. I had filled out the emergency contact form on the airline’s website, so JetBlue called my mother and told her I had fallen down and missed my flight. However, those were all the details she had been given. My family wouldn’t learn about the severity of my “accident” until much later. Based on the limited information, I think my family had assumed I slipped, fell, and might be injured, but I would be in shape to continue my travels later that weekend.     However, in reality, everyone’s vacation would be cut short.     While I was at the hospital, my neurosurgeon’s physician’s assistant found my phone and called my brother. It turns out I had a ruptured brain aneurysm which had resulted in a subarachnoid hemorrhage. It was particularly large and on the brainstem. My family immediately made plans to fly to be with me. There’s conflicting information about mortality rates, and making a complete recovery, but the outcome isn’t good. After I was discharged, I was told 1/3 of people who experience what I had died immediately, and another 1/3 died on the way to the hospital. The final third suffer a lifelong debilitating setback. I realize this is 3/3rds, but it just proves how rare my recovery is. Had anything been different concerning my schedule, I probably wouldn’t have lived. In the film Fat Man and Little Boy, about the building of the first atomic bombs, J. Robert Oppenheimer says “A few miles closer to the sun, a few miles further away, none of this would be here. Just a cloud of gas or a block of ice and nobody to enjoy it.” He’s talking about how life exists on earth solely because of its exact location in the galaxy. Had I boarded the plane, been at home, been in the restroom, etc., none of the scenarios play out well. Unfortunately, however, things continued to go downhill. I spent the following nineteen days after my rupture in the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital. I was able to move, speak, and have conversations while I was there, but I have no recollection of any of it. All the information I have from that time comes from people telling me about it after I had been discharged. I needed to have a sitter watch me for my duration in the ICU because I got out of bed, fell on my face, and broke my nose. I continued to attempt to get out of bed and was able to remove attachments like the drain they had on my head. They had fitted me with restraints, but I slipped them like Houdini. At one point, I told everyone an assassin was going to come for all of us, and we needed to leave. My mother told me she had contacted the assassin, and he agreed not to carry out the hit. When my family asked for my password to access my computer, I refused to give it to them, and instead lectured them on the importance of protecting that information. In the ICU, I also contracted pneumonia and needed a filter since I suffered a blood clot. After nineteen days, when I was stable, I was moved to acute rehabilitation where I regained my cognizance. I stayed in the hospital for another two weeks for in patient rehabilitation. When I did any activity I wore a guard belt. I also had double vision. During the few weeks I was in the hospital’s rehabilitation wing, most of my physical activity happened in very short bursts. The bulk of my walks would be in the hallway, and my father would follow me with a wheelchair handy in case I needed to take a break. After I was discharged, I began outpatient therapy. I continued to wear the guard belt any time I went outside. My mother stayed with me for a few weeks. Those first few weeks took some getting used to in terms of sharing the apartment with my mother. Most mornings I would wake my mother up by vomiting. It got to the point where I began to sleep with a towel in my bed. I went to a gastrointestinal doctor who suggested it was a side effect of the surgical procedure I had had but would eventually subside on its own. Eventually, thankfully, I stopped vomiting. After a few weeks, my mother and I drove to her and my father’s house. Almost four months later, and I still have double vision, some balance issues, and sweet foods have a metallic tang. More than five months after the aneurysm, and I’m back to writing and trying to get my life on track. I did not get accepted into any of the Ph.D. programs to which I had applied. At the six-month mark, I continue to improve physically. I routinely work out, for at least thirty minutes, a few times a week. It’s incredible to think back to the time when I could only do physical activity for two-minute stretches. Some things will always be different from here on out. Typically, now, as opposed to before the aneurysm, I fall asleep without dreaming and wake up without remembering my dreams. The capacity to remember my dreams, along with the vision and balance, may not come back. Some might say this is an unfortunate turn of events or bad luck, but I like to remember what Ron Swanson, from the television show Parks and Recreation, thinks about luck; a concept created by the weak to explain their failures. Regardless of how I feel about my situation, it won’t change the fact it happened. Almost six and a half months later, and I’m back in my apartment. The most difficult part of this experience has been the isolation since I’m by myself the majority of the time. For the last week, the only contact I’ve had has been on the phone. I’m trying my best to remain positive, but it’s been tough. I broke down crying the other day and called my mother just to have someone else with whom to speak. I’m past the seven-month mark now. I’ve been substitute teaching at my old school, which is very surreal. It feels like I’m a prison guard and at any moment, the prisoners will riot. At times, it’s felt like the pause button of my life has been pressed and after an uncertain amount of time has gone by, the play button has been pressed. However, almost everything is different from the way I remember it. During these first nine months I made a lot of progress with my physical recovery. My double vision eventually went away, and I was able to walk without the guard belt or cane. However, there were still problems. My balance was off, and whenever I moved my head, it took time for my vision to settle. It’s the same sensation as when you step off of a merry-go-round. I had also not expected the emotional recovery to happen separately. Once the physical recovery began to taper off, I had to deal with unexpected overwhelming emotions. I saw a psychologist who specialized in post-traumatic stress disorder, and I began to take Prozac to combat depression. I also assumed this portion of the recovery would happen quickly too. It did not. Eventually, though, I felt stable enough to address the future. From January till June of 2019, I tried substitute teaching at the school I taught at previously, but it was overwhelming. So, in February, of 2020, I got a job as a tutor which was to start the following month. Finally, I tried online dating again. However, my inability to make emotional connections made that difficult. Also, at what point do you divulge you’ve had a stroke. It might seem like all of this could be unbearable, but I like to remember that comedy is just tragedy plus time. Enough time had gone by, that I could laugh at how my dating life began to resemble episodes of Seinfeld or Curb Your Enthusiasm. I also thought I would address my vision and balance issues, so I tried very specific physical therapy and acupuncture. My hope was that either would help to reset my vision and balance. Neither had that effect. Of course, the pandemic altered the landscape around this time, so my routine changed completely. My tutoring job never happened. Thankfully, last summer, my mother drove to pick me up and brought me back to my parent’s house. At least that way, I was guaranteed human interaction every day. I didn’t know how long I would stay with them, but we arrived in mid-June of 2020, and I’m still here. My vision and balance are still compromised, but I’ve adjusted to the point where it’s just part of my daily experience. I don’t typically remember my dreams, but sweet foods no longer taste like metal. All I can do now is move forward and make the best of the opportunities I have. The biggest obstacle continues to be my inability to make emotional connections. If I was a song, it would be “Comfortably Numb” by Pink Floyd. However, I’ve spoken with another brain injury survivor who experienced a lack of emotional connection. She said it was the final ability to return, but it eventually did. She theorized that during recovery, the brain focuses on higher order functions first; eating, breathing, etc. whether or not you can emotionally connect comes later. Of course, I could be completely wrong. These days, I have adapted the concept of Pascal’s Wager to suit my needs. If I were to basically give up when thinking about the future and accept things as they are now, I would have nothing to gain. However, if I embraced the uncertainty and tried to look at obstacles as opportunities, there’s infinite gain. I continue to read a lot of philosophy and certain precepts have helped me to adjust: One of the helpful mantras which have worked is “Find something purposeful and meaningful to live for each day.” If I attempt to consider what the next year, month, or week might look like it can get overwhelming very quickly. I sometimes fixate on uncomfortable questions that don’t have answers. Most of the goals I’ve had have changed, and many of life’s questions remain unanswered. Many of them are difficult to contemplate even without a brain injury. All of us are all in the same storm, but each of us is in our own boat. Taking it one day at a time, while cliched, has helped tremendously. My experience is similar to a passage I read about people who’ve been attacked by tigers and survived. “There are, scattered around the hinterlands of Asia and — increasingly — elsewhere, a small fraternity of people who have been attacked by tigers and lived… very rarely is there anyone in their immediate vicinity who fully appreciates what happened to them out there and, in this way, the lives of tiger attack survivors resemble those of retired astronauts or opera divas: each in their own way has stared alone into the abyss.” These days I spend my time recording podcasts that showcase heavy metal bands who need support, and I continue publish short stories and crime fiction novellas. Thankfully, my ability to write wasn’t affected. The recovery process in general reminds me of the chorus from the song “Opposites Attract” by Paula Abdul. “I take two steps forward. I take two steps back. We come together cause Opposites Attract.” Life rarely works out the way we intend. I’m reminded of a quotation from the film Greenberg, in which a disillusioned character is told by a friend something like “You’re finally ready to embrace the life you never planned on having.” It’s still easy to lose sight of the magnitude of what I’ve accomplished, but I remind myself of when my family told me of milestones like being able to use a straw and eat finely chopped food while in the ICU. Since I still have physical limitations, I never forget what has happened; but often it’s difficult to keep everything in perspective. Believe it or not, the movie Platoon, about the Vietnam war, has a quotation that applies to the recovery process “All you have to do is make it out of here, and every day the rest of your life is gravy.” However, the most profound quotations which help me on difficult days are from Buddhist teacher Prema Chodron, which I’ll paraphrase: “We can try to control the uncontrollable by looking for security and predictability, always hoping to be comfortable and safe but the truth is we can never avoid uncertainty. This not knowing is what makes us afraid, and it’s also part of the adventure.” “Things falling apart is a kind of testing and also a kind of healing. We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart… the healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, relief, misery, and joy,”
Patsy Lalak Patsy Lalak from College Point wrote on January 19, 2021 at 10:32 pm
On Nov. 24, 2020 I went to the neurologist for an eye twitching after my last migraine. My migraines weren’t chronic. I didn’t have a family history of aneurysms nor any kidney conditions. I probably was getting 5-6 migraines per year. I suffered mostly from sinus headaches which I went through sinus surgery in Feb 2020. Previously I was told that the eye twitching could be from lack of sleep and stress which I had. But once that was dealt with, sleeping better and managing stress, I didn’t understand why the symptoms were still there. That was my reason for seeing a neurologist to figure out was affecting me. He recommended an MRI and MRA, which I had on December 19, 2020. On December 21st, the neurologist called me to tell me I had three aneurysms two of which are cause for concern. I went to a specialist, Dr Kimon Bekelis affiliated with CHS of LI, Good Samaritan Hospital. I had a flow diversion performed on January 18th, 2021. Dr. Bekelis and his staff were awesome and calming despite my anxiety about everything. Next to come is bracing for continued treatments.
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Edward Edward from Rialto wrote on December 1, 2020 at 7:12 am
2016 turned our lives upside down after my brain aneurysm and stroke. I left my job in July after 11 years to open up my own business but before jumping into this new venture, I wanted to spend some good quality time with my son. I'm a single parent so I've also been there with and for my son but with the heavy workload I've always tried to balance out home and work life. So the plan was to spend good quality time alone and off we did after I left work. On September 16th, after a nice long hike with my son and our dog Buddy, we stopped at 7-11 for a Slurpee and headed home right after. I remember that I had a headache so I took an Advil, not too long after returning home, I told my son I was going to go and take a nap but at that moment everything changed. I just remember standing in the kitchen not feeling well so I pushed the Slurpee away and after that I woke up in the hospital 2 days later. My son told the doctors that he knew something was wrong after I pushed my drink away and after I did that, I passed out, fell backwards, and landed on my back while my head hit the kitchen tile, another blow to my head. Here is where I have a hard time believing and understanding the nastiness and ugliness of people, especially when it's your own family. I'm not perfect and I make mistakes but I was raised and I raised my son to always keep your word and when you shake on something, you keep that promise and let your yeses be yeses and your no's, no's, nothing in the middle. I've always been one to help my family and friends, maybe I helped out too much they lost respect for me. After the accident, it was my son who jumped into action and called 911 and he's been there ever since. Because of the nastiness of my family, mainly my mother, they were blocked from the ICU and hospital. I was in the ICU for a month and not a family member or friend paid me a visit or asked my son if he needed anything. After I was released from the hospital we had a long road ahead of us with rehabilitation and doctor visits, my son dropped out of school to care for me full time. I was renting a house at the time and my parents lived with me to help them out but tensions starting arising months before the accident. I started to realize the kind of person my mother was, a nasty Godless person who only cares about money but it's my mom and we have to love them, right? I started questioning my mother's role in my life and after the accident, tons of feelings and memories started to come together and connect. From the day I got home from the hospital until this moment as I'm writing this letter, she's gone out of her way to be nasty, loud, and rude. A year after the accident, my son and I lost everything, got kicked out of our apartment and my credit took a dump. Not having anywhere to go we had to ask my parents if we could stay with them, they said yes and it's been SO bad that the time I spent in the ICU was better than where I'm at now. My mom and pops make it a point to be as loud as they can because they know I'm sensitive to noises and vibrations. It's their way of telling us to get out. This after I welcomed them into my home. This past Feb 2020, she told me that she didn't care about my accident, she didn't care if it hurt, and gave me a punch in the leg. I've been there for a lot of people so I've asked many of my friends and family why didn't they answer their phones when my son and I called or offer any assistance. I asked them if I did something wrong or said something wrong but I never got an answer and now they've all disappeared. Now my son and I are at my folks home, my son is back in school and the folks want us out by the end of December. It is by the grace of God that I'm here alive. I'm a God-fearing man and as I said earlier, I'm not perfect but I have a heart and compassion for people and I try to always be nice to all and judge no one. My son and I are slowly getting back on our feet and we are hoping to save what we can to try and find a small place of our own we can rent. I'm grateful and thankful for the things I have and don't have and for life's lessons. I lost the ability to taste and smell, I'm very sensitive to noises, vibrations, I get headaches, I forget things, even as I'm speaking or writing. I get confused at times and other things that come after a brain injury but I'm getting better and I'm sure that after I move out from my mom's house and into a safe place, I will finally start to heal, relax and take a breath and continue to get stronger, healthier. God is good and I'm beyond thankful to him for being in our lives. There are 3 things I'm sure of and I don't question - I love God, Jesus, and my son. You don't have to add this to your guestbook or publish it, it just felt good to be able to write this and vent a little. So thank You for the opportunity. God bless you all.
Gina Gina from Savannah wrote on October 16, 2020 at 4:18 am
The year was 2001, I’m singing on stage at my senior recital and I notice that my aunt (also an opera singer) is not in the audience. Later, I come to find out that she has suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm. She’s strong, she survives and thrives through two craniotomies on either side of her head. This is my mother’s sister... Fast forward. The year is now 2006 and it’s right after the holidays. My brother, sister and I happen to be home at my parents house when we hear my mother screaming. My father is suffering from a ruptured brain aneurysm - not that we knew that in the moment. When your mother looks at you and says “don’t let him die” you feel relatively useless. But my father is brave and strong and has a giant head (which saved his life!) and he made it through his surgery. He’s on seizure medication for life but that seizure saved his life that night so we are grateful. forward....the year is 2017, the date November 21st. I had been struggling with a headache for a few weeks and decided to go to my GP. After he wanted me to take some pain killers and me saying NO I want an MRA, I was finally able to get one. He called me that day and have a brain aneurysm - I was driving and couldn’t breathe for the next few minutes. I couldn’t believe that this was happening again. Really? Seriously!?!? My babies were one and a half and three at the time and I was petrified. The next couple of months were a blur. Neurologists, neurosurgeons, tests, more tests....I was very torn on what to do. We moved across the country in 2018 and, as you can imagine, every time I worked out hard or got upset or stressed out I thought, “Is this the moment?” It was a constant in my mind, wondering, worrying. What if I was home alone with my kids and I dropped dead? ANYWAY....we moved to Georgia and I found a neurosurgeon that I liked immediately. Dr. Howington. Finally, a doctor I trusted. After many more tests we found out that my aneurysm was special - tucked away in my brain all comfy and cozy. It couldn’t get coiled as the neck was too wide. No stents either as it was right in a cross section of major arteries.....SOOOO craniotomy here I come! We scheduled my surgery for September 16, 2019. Remember all the other brain guys I went to see? Yeah they all said my head would explode at some point in the next 10 years so I figured I should get ahead of it before it actually did! Let me tell you - I’m completely back to my old self now. The Dr said I could be a poster child for brain surgery - “well great but no thanks”, I thought! Listen, life isn’t always better now or easier or perfect but boy do I appreciate more and enjoy more and love more then ever before. I’m so grateful for this life - this beautiful, crazy, wonderful life that I get to have. We only get one life and even in the horrible moments they are moments we get to live through
Stephen Morea Stephen Morea from Carle Place, NY wrote on October 1, 2020 at 5:34 pm
We were celebrating Christmas at my brother-in-law’s home in Connecticut. Linda’s birthday was Christmas. The day was always special. The whole family was there; her brother Raiph came up from D.C.. Ralph and Linda were the best of friends. She lit up every time she saw him. The children were playing in the basement. The adults, three sisters, two brothers and the spouses were together in the living room. Linda and I were sitting on the floor by the coffee table talking, laughing and enjoying a glass of Christmas cheer, when she collapse, unconscious to the ground. I picked her up and cradled her head in my arms. She opened her eyes and said to me, “I was going through a dark tunnel. Am I going to die?” I answered, “Of course not you just fainted.” then she said the last words I would ever hear her speak, “where are my babies? Are my babies okay?” I told her your babies are fine. They are in the basement playing. We called an ambulance and they rushed her to the hospital. In the hospital everything was haywire: her heart rate rose then dove, her blood pressure soared then plummeted, alarms rang, buzzers went off. Her heart stopped beating three times the first night. “Don't worry she can't feel any pain,” they said, but sweat still dripped onto her beautiful face when her fever spiked beyond what a body could stand, and she still trembled and shook when they packed her in ice to bring her temperature back down. I remember in her last days, even in a coma, on a ventilator, lines and tubes coming out of her everywhere, she still looked like an angel, silent, sweet sleeping angel. Seven days later when the neurosurgeon told me she was brain dead, I still held out hope. The next day the Resident told me the only thing keeping her heart beating was the ventilator, in a week or so her organs would fail and her body would deteriorate. I held on, praying for a miracle. Two days later my brother-in law and sister-in-law came to me and said “ that’s not her lying in that bed, you have to let her go.” Then I made the decision the haunts me even now, 28 years later. I removed her from life support. Linda was my raison d'etre. She was my world. She was so well loved that the entire town showed up at her wake, the church overflowed at her funeral. I raised my two young children alone. Because of her love and the foundation she laid, they grew to be wonderful people. I never remarried. Never even dated. I’m pretty sure her spirit visited me early on. I’m sure she’s in a better place, but still I suffer regret and guilt, feeling: if i had been a better husband, if I had known about aneurysms, if I had seen a symptom, a sign, if I had been more attentive, maybe I could have saved her. I’m so happy for those who have surived this disease and my heart goes out to the families of those that didn’t.
Jennifer Proper Jennifer Proper from Perry wrote on July 26, 2020 at 3:12 am
On 4/18/20, my husband was leaving the house in the morning to head to the store. He came back in and said he was starting to get a headache and came back in and took ibuprofen. Within minutes, the headache had turned into an excruciating headache and he began sweating and vomiting and turned very pale. I called 911 and within 15 minutes the ambulance arrived and I was told that mercy flight was 10 minutes behind them. Within an hour and 15 minutes he was admitted into the neuro ICU where he had a coil placed in his brain and was induced into a coma for 3 weeks. This is where he stayed for the next 2 months. This happened during the COVID hospital restrictions so we were not allowed in the hospital to see him for the next 2 months. On June 19th they called me to come in to the hospital to see his progress and decide if we thought we could handle him at home instead of him going to a skilled nursing facility. On June 25th, we brought him home to rehabilitate.... He cooked me dinner last night😁 7/25/2020
Marcie Freeman Marcie Freeman from Hastings wrote on July 11, 2020 at 2:08 am
At 25 3/12/ 1993 I delivered my 3rd daughter , immediately after delivery I had the worst headache a person could ever feel. I was rushed for a CT and told they could find nothing that would explain my headache.( that maybe I just wanted pain meds) why because Im 25? For 4 days I stayed in my hospital room with the curtains closed, in darkness, wanting no noise to be made, with a blood pressure of 175/130 for 4 straight days rising as high as 240/195 , on the 4th day my discharge day (day 4). My husband had taken a bunch of our flowers home as well as gifts. The discharge doctor came in and I begged him to find out what was wrong before sending me home. He said the CT was fine and I had nothing to worry about, most likely a stress headache and it would get better in time.. The nurse in the room asked if maybe a MRI could be done ? he questioned her opinion rudely. After much begging for what started to feel like my life. One was ordered a MRI was finally ordered followed quickly by an angiogram,and there it was plain as day 1 ruptured anersuym that had been bleeding out for 4 days. I called my husband to quickly come back so he could get our newborn daughter , since I was being moved immediately to the University Of Minnesota where that night I was placed in ICU while doctors tried to figure out what to do. The next morning I was moved to surgery to have a brain surgery after being told my chance of survival was less than 15% at this point . My skull was removed my anersuym was clipped, my brain was vaccumed of blood cells, a drain tube in my head was placed. Upon the U of M reading my CT for the first night they said they could see the bleed ,and it was just missed most likely because of my age.. I spent the next 3 days in ICU followed by a week in a regular room. My short term memory was gone, who I was as a person before that surgery was gone and still is. I had no idea who I even was anymore, that day I become someone different. I've since had 2 more brain surgeies another craniotmoity to fix another anersuym and recently a coiling and stent to fix a new anersuym forming on top of the very first clip from 1993. I still have 3 more small anersuyms that are watched yearly with an angiogram since my original clip is metal..That first doctor truly believed because I was 25 there was no way it was anything other than a headache. I wish things could have been different , maybe if it wouldn't have bleed for 4 days it wouldn't have stole who I was but maybe it still would have. I fear every headache I get. The fear of another ruptured anersuym is a daily fear . Each time I've had surgery 3vtimes now its stole part of who Iam or was. However I'm grateful for the amazing skill and care of my surgerons. Marcie
Jennifer Jennifer from Pittsburgh wrote on May 15, 2020 at 2:52 am
May 28th 2019, it happened. I spent the next month in the ICU. I don't remember anything, my oldest daughter found me while I was at home on a break from work. I'm a school bus driver so I had a 3 1/2 hour break. My daughter told me I was laying on the bathroom floor, crying and saying my head hurt really bad. Earlier, after my morning shift, I always take my 2 younger daughter's to school and they also said I was complaining about a bad headache. I do not remember any of this! My daughter called 911, they came and transported me to the hospital. They assumed I was having a stroke. My family met the ambulance at the hospital. My parent's said it was so crowded that I layed on a stretcher for 2 hours in the hall because they had no rooms available. After 2 hours had passed my father was really antsy so went to search for a doctor. The doctor finally came and told my family he believe I was having a stroke and they were waiting for CT to open so they could take me in. Another 45 minutes had passed before I was finally taken into CT. My mom says that's when all hell broke loose! They rushed me in a trauma bay, told my family they needed to life fly me to the bigger hospital because I had a ruptured aneurysm. At this point, a really bad lightning storm had rolled in and the pilot said it was too dangerous to take the helicopter up. They loaded me into another ambulance and rushed me to the next hospital. This hospital, thank God was prepared for me. I was immediately taken in for a few more procedures and then up to surgery. I spent the next 4 weeks in the ICU with about a 10% chance of survival. Things were really bad for the first 2 1/2 weeks, so I was told. I had 3 strokes, multiple vasospasms, my kidneys were shutting down, a touch of pneumonia (from laying in bed all the time), I had 7 angiograms and at one point I was intubated. My family was told to prepare for me not to come home. Somehow, by the grace of God, I pulled through. I can only remember about a day before I left for a rehab facility and even now, it's kinda fuzzy. I do just remember all the sudden being awake and very confused. I remember my mother telling me what happened but I just really didn't understand. I spent several weeks in the rehab facility because when I woke up I couldn't read, could barely walk or do simple things. My head was shaved, I hadn't eaten in almost a month and I was extremely weak. I was so annoyed because 5 hours a day I had to do physical therapy, occupational therapy in speech therapy. I was annoyed but those therapist we're wonderful and they got me back on my feet. After a few weeks I was discharged from rehab. I still had to have physical and speech therapy come to my house three times a week to work with me. I am blessed and happy to say that the only deficit I suffered was my eyesight got really bad. I'm okay with that, I just need to wear glasses for the rest of my life but it could have been so much worse! I eventually went back to work and was getting back to my normal life. This past March 4th 2020, I had a craniotomy because I also had two more unruptured aneurysms. They couldn't fix them when I was in the hospital because they needed to repair the one that ruptured before it was too late. I am still healing but I feel great! I had a frontal craniotomy and thank goodness I got it in right before covid-19 shut everything down. God willing, I will return to work after summer is over! I am blessed and thank God everyday that I have been given the second chance.. and that my children were given their mother back❤️
Ginny Ginny from Naples wrote on March 25, 2020 at 7:15 pm
It was a normal day like all others. I was outside working in the yard. I came in, had dinner at least I think. The whole day is now a little blurry. Later that evening, I went to bed. My husband was already in bed. I was not in bed very long, when one of our dogs needed to go out. I got up from bed and I heard a loud pop inside my head. With that everything starting spinning. I tried to rise my husband to no avail. I knew something was very wrong. The room was spinning very fast and I was nauseous. I laid on the floor and thank GOD I had my cell phone. I called 911 and told them, I think I’m having a stroke. I could hear the person speaking to me, but at this point, I could no longer speak. The last thing I remember is saying, Lord, I’m in your hands and passed out. When I awoke, I was in the hospital with a tube down my throat to breath and I reached up and the nurse was there and said, don’t touch, you have tubes in your head to drain the blood. I realize today the ambulance had come and awakened my husband and between the EMTs and the neuro surgeons, they saved my life. I had a brain aneurysm. I didn’t have a headache like so many say. I felt fine all day. Even when I heard the pop in my head, other then being dizzy and nauseous. I hadn’t any pain. When I told the Lord, I was in his hands, a wonderful, calm feeling came over my entire body, like I never experienced before. I was in the hospital for a month and then on to rehab. What this aneurysm left me with, and I’m very lucky, is some balance and memory problems. It’s been two years and I’m getting better with memory, but the balance is still off, especially if I move too fast or I’m tired or stressed about something. My marriage didn’t last after that and I now live alone, which is sometimes scary, but I still believe GOD has a plan for me and I trust him completely. I have had a few other complication these last few years, but they have subsided on their own. I’m doing very well under the circumstances, so I’m grateful and blessed.. Ginny Chambers Naples, Fl 34117 memory
Elizabeth Hawkins Elizabeth Hawkins from Atlanta wrote on October 12, 2019 at 3:22 pm
Hi there. Kinda long, I know, but I DO remember everything - well almost! It was June 15, 1992. I was married with a 5-year-old daughter It was my 30th birthday - my husband and I celebrated a lot. The day after my birthday, I was watching my friend's daughter while she worked. My husband was getting ready to leave town for business. I was on the phone with the cable company and mad as hell - I put my husband on the phone with them and went to the closet where I yanked a big box off the shelf to retrieve a receipt. I was VERY worked up. I was standing up watching my husband talk to them on the phone and all of a sudden I had a feeling of warmth rush over my head. I told him to get off the phone NOW and get me to the hospital. I didn't know what that feeling was - I just knew it didn't bode well. I went downstairs and waited by the car. Finally, I went back upstairs and he was still on the phone. I told him to call 911 immediately, which he finally did. The paramedics said my blood pressure was very high and that everything else checked out. I told them to go ahead and leave - except for a normal headache, I was NOT in any pain. Husband's partner came to the door and said they would be late - husband said what if he leaves and I drop dead? Wow- little did he know. Well, my friend came for her daughter, and my husband was able to leave. She asked me if I wanted a ride to the hospital. You see, I am a hypochondriac and I always had my head buried in medical journals. This time was no different! I kept thinking that, even though my head and neck were starting to hurt, realistically it must be a pinched nerve or pulled muscle from yanking that box down. Deep down I knew this wasn't the case though. I told my friend I was having a "subarachnoid hemorrhage," just to see what her response would be - and she chuckled, knowing me as a serious hypochondriac, and said I had pulled a muscle - but if I wanted to go, I needed to make up my mind because by now it was 7 PM and she had to get home. My intellect took over and I went. On the way there, I told her I was going to have a lumbar puncture (I knew all this because as it was happening, I was reading the medical book) But she still swore that I was crazy and said they would give me pain meds and send me home. By now, the pain is getting worse, but not intolerable. If I would bend my neck and cough it would radiate down my back. When I checked in at the hospital I sat down and started getting drowsy. I went to the triage nurse and told her with every bit of authority I could muster up that my brain was hemorrhaging and that I was about to pass out if they didn't get me seen asap. For some unknown reason they took me seriously and got me right back to the doctor. He gave me a full neuro exam and everything checked out fine! Pupils, balance, etc., everything. He gave me a cat scan and it came back NEGATIVE! He then ordered a spinal tap - for which I couldn't be sedated because of my already compromised consciousness. I THOUGHT I WOULD DIE - that was the most painful thing I had EVER experienced. My friend later told me that she went to the patient advocate to get an update and found out that I was being prepped for a "lumbar puncture." At that point she became worried. After the spinal, they told me that I was going to be admitted. I had "grossly bloody spinal fluid." On the way past the nurses' station, I used the phone to call my mom and let her know. That's when the nurse told me that I was very lucky: the doctor I saw was an intern, and that with all my tests being negative, most doctors would have never ordered a spinal tap - the only test that indicated a problem. I was taken to ICU and my friend left - thankfully agreeing to watch my daughter. I fought sleep all night as I was afraid of dying - by that time I knew my brain was bleeding - only no one knew why. The next morning at shift change, the nurse that was leaving gave me a shot and told me I was going to sleep. I did. A couple of hours later (10 AM or so), I was taken for a cerebral angiogram - a catheter was run from my groin to my brain and dye was injected into each quadrant looking for the source of the bleeding. By the time I arrived back in ICU, a neurosurgeon was waiting for me and told me that I had to have brain surgery for an aneurysm. I asked if I could schedule it for a couple of weeks out. He said it had to be done that day. When I asked him if I would be ok, he couldn't tell me - he told me I could walk out of the hospital and get hit by a truck, there's no way of knowing. What he COULD tell me, was that if I had chosen to NOT go to the hospital and stayed home and gone to bed the night before, I would not have woken up. I would have died in my sleep. The ONLY THING I COULD THINK ABOUT AT THAT POINT was my baby girl. I just knew I would NEVER see her again. I called my friend's office and left her a message - I had indeed had a subarachnoid hemorrhage caused by an aneurysm, and that I had to have surgery - and to PLEASE make sure my baby knows how much I love her. Always. She was at my bedside within 30 minutes! My mother's flight arrived while I was in surgery. I came through ok, no neuro side effects. What I was unaware of was that because I was at great risk of having a stroke within the first 10 days, I was kept in a semi-conscious state so my memories of that time period are fleeting at best. After that, I was put into a regular room. I refused pain meds because I figured that if they had fixed my bleed, I shouldn't be in pain... How crazy was THAT rationale?? Quick follow-up: I found out that I was pregnant with my second child about 4 weeks after leaving the hospital. There were only TWO chances at conception: multiple possibilities before my aneurysm, and ONE possibility after my aneurysm. The problem was that if this child was conceived before my aneurysm, there is no way it could be a viable pregnancy with all the stress on my body and all the drugs used during my hospital stay and surgery. Turns out, my son was conceived 7 days AFTER being released from the hospital. We hadn't planned for another child, but we were blessed with a perfectly healthy baby, and we now have a wonderful 26-year-old son who was obviously meant to be here!
Asia Martin Asia Martin from Saint Louis wrote on October 7, 2019 at 12:05 pm
Hello! My name is Asia and my experience opened my eyes in many different ways. My experience happened April 5, 2019. It was a normal day so it seemed. I got off work and picked my girls up from my mother. I was fussing at them to get their homework out and get started so that we can get ready for dinner and so on. I was in the middle of changing my then 6 month old on the bed, when I got a pop in my head. I became dizzy and staggered to the hallway. I screamed for my oldest daughter (6 years old). I screamed her name several times because I knew I was going to pass out and might now wake up. My boyfriend at the time was coming in through the door and he caught me as I passed out. When I woke up, the paramedics was asking me if I was able to stand so that I could get onto the stretcher due to the hallway being narrow. I was not able to move any of my limbs. I could hear myself talking in my head but was not able to form words. I finally got some strength to get up unto the stretcher chair. I was transported in an ambulance and I vomited the entire time. My head was banging beyond compare. When I finally got to the ER I just heard that the wait was over two hours. I waited in the waiting room in a wheelchair by myself where I urinated and defecated on myself the entire time. Finally a family member showed up and I was not fully coheriet. I do not remember getting any testing done but I did. There was not an ER doctor at that time. A nurse practictior released me with migraine medicine and my diagnosis was a migraine. I finally got to my mothers house and tried to sleep the headache off, which I did not. The next day, the ER doctor called me demanding that I return to the ER and do not wait because I had a spot on my brain. When I got there, he immediately saw me and said I should not have been released because I had a brain aneurysm and stroke. I would need to go into surgery and get coils place. Terrified much, I got the procedure done. I was in ICU for 3 days and on the stroke floor for 7. Those 10 days was the most painful days of my life. Although, I am grateful to be here today. My plan for next year is to start a local aneurysm walk. I want to educate people. I have lost relative from this and I want a change.
Adriana Herrada Adriana Herrada from Dalton,Georgia wrote on October 3, 2019 at 11:42 pm
Hello my name is Adriana I am from a small town in north Georgia my journey started in dec 2017 I wanna described everything but what I’ve been told is all blur for me I all know Is I was working my weekend job on a Sunday night and I started complaining of a headache and From there its has vanished from my memory but l remember coming home on the last week of January and my birthday was on the 6 th of February so grateful that I spend it at home cause a week later it had been several days without sleep and I was just not able to close my eyes I would close my eyes but I couldn’t fall asleep so a Saturday later I happen to feel really dizzy, nauseous ,and that headache that made me vomit all over my small bathroom my family took me into the hospital and after exams and ct scans they said what I was so scared to hear again “it ruptured again” I was rushed to the more advanced hospital and I literally had to learn everything again I left the hospital and my rehabilitation after 3 months
Robin swords Robin swords from Lorain wrote on September 27, 2019 at 4:33 pm
August 2012 I had a headache all day, was a cook in a nursing home. Went home, had a nap, had a good rest of the day with my kids. Went to bed at 9, work at 530 am. Woke up at 10 with an indescribable pain. Screamed for my daughter and her best friend. By the time they got to my room, 2 rooms away, I was on the floor covered in puke. They called my mom, she lives 5 minutes away and had just got to her driveway from bringing my 1 son home. She got there and asked if I could get up so she could take me to the hospital, I said I dont even know how I got here. They called an ambulance, my son james got mad and cussed at the screen door. This was Saturday night. Next thing I remember is waking up Monday and seeing my ex husband there with my kids. The next few weeks were a blur, there's alot I dont remember. But after 2 brain surgeries, one opening the head I got to go home. A few months later was my 3rd surgery. Last year I gave birth to a little girl right around the anniversary. Now 7 years later I have 5 kids (4 adults, 1 minor) whom I'm very proud of and 2 year old grandson
Jean Jean from Graham wrote on September 22, 2019 at 12:01 pm
I had terrific pain behind my right eye start on June of 2017. It would last about 30 mins and subside. This went on for 5 weeks. It did not happen everyday, it would start at night when I was ready to go to sleep. On July 12th my husband was taking be to the doctor with the pain in my eye. I was getting into the car and the most horrible pain I had ever felt, went thru my whole head. I have to say, child birth has nothing on the pain from a brain hemorrhage.We live 18 miles from town and my husband drove me to the doctor. The doctor gave me 2 shots to stop the pain and recommended I go straight to DUKE Hospital for an MRI and CATscan. My husband drove me to DUKE's emergency ward, where after we gave them our paperwork, we were told to take a seat. We were still sitting there after 4 hours and went to the desk to ask how much longer. We were told they could not do an MRI or Catscan. I would have thought they would have told us that when we walked in. I was told all they could do was give me Tylenol, so we left. Monday I called my Doctor and explained he would need to have me set up for an MRI. He said he would not do that and called in a prescription for migraine's, to the pharmacy. The Pharmacist told me I was an addict and to leave his pharmacy. I went back over to the Doctor and he told me to get out. At this point I had very little faith in the medical world. I went to my Chiropractor, he talked with me and asked if he could get an MRI set up for me. I said yes. He called to get an MRI set and they got me an apportionment for the day after and an appointment with the Neurologist for the next day after the MRI. He also called my insurance company and they denied payment on the MRI, said I did not need one. Since when do insurance companies get to make that call. (I took over 9 months to get the BCBS to pay for half of the MRI, after I send them my information from the Doctor Explaining my Brain Hemorrhage, 3 months later, my monthly insurance went from $369.00 a month, to $1014.00 a month. I had to drop my insurance) I went to the outpatient clinic and the Doctor there was great, he prescribed medicine to get my blood pressure down. I had the MRI completed, the next day and they called me within 1 hour and said I had a brain hemorrhage. I saw the Neurologist, the next day. He confirmed the brain hemorrhage and told me I was one of the few, who is still walking and talking and have continued to keep my company running. I have not had a headache since, but continue to take blood pressure medicine. I only take 2 1/2 milligrams now, just as a precaution. I will always be grateful to my Chiropractor, my Neurologist and the out patient doctor in Graham for helping me after, my Doctor, my pharmacy and DUKE turned me way. Most of all I am grateful to GOD for more time to spend with my husband, my sons, grandchildren and last but not least my cat. If you are having horrible pain in one or both of you eyes, see a doctor who cares and wants to help you, get a second doctor to see if your not happy with the first one. I am very grateful for the second chance a life.
Julie Julie from Carrollton wrote on September 21, 2019 at 5:58 pm
Five years ago this October, I had a ruptured brain aneurysm. I was 52. My husband and I were at a Kenny Loggins concert in a small venue, and I was next in line to meet him. (I'm not a regular concert-goer and I was so excited to meet the guy who had provided the soundtrack of my life). In front of me was our friend, a gastrointerologist. As I watched them talking, I experienced the horrible headache that so many have mentioned. I became weak and my knees started to buckle. My husband caught me and steered me over to a seat. Someone brought me a Coca Cola. I was woosey but still communicating. Kenny Loggins watching from afar and I remember wondering what he was thinking: did he think I was some drunk fan?. My husband and I talked with our Doc friend and decided since we were with 2 miles of a hospital that we would go on in. He called ahead and they were waiting for me. (He later said he thought it was just a precaution: docs look for the normal, they don't rush to drastic conclusions). I opened the passenger door of the car at the ER and once again I crumbled and the hospital staff met me and ushered me in. The ER doc immediately did a CT scan and confirmed bleeding on the brain. My husband and I were trying to grasp what was going on - the fact that this was serious was sinking in. He was having a hard time processing the information. Like so many, we had no idea what we were dealing with. I told him where all the "important" papers were at my office, including my will. The hospital tried to set up a life flight to Atlanta, but the weather was bad and they were grounded, so they called in an ambulance. I had an experienced crew, another lucky break. They instructed my husband to follow in the car and they stayed in touch with him during the trip. I was still conscious and remember the sounds and lights as we rushed past in the dark. I also remember their calm, strong voices as they worked on me and monitored my condition. I was still conscious when we arrived at the large urban hospital and then I checked out. Later I found that we had another stroke of luck: the doc who did my surgery was renowned in this area of medicine, he had been consulted by Grey's Anatomy and shadowed by an actor - if you watch the first season, the first emergency is a subarachnoid hemorrage. My surgery was what I would call a success since I'm still here. I had a ruptured aneurysm, one that had not yet ruptured, and one where the aneurysm had joined to another vessel. All were clipped. When I became woke up after the surgery, with all the bells, whistles and gadgets hooked up to me, I remember my husband's saying "you're ok, you're going to be ok". That was enough. So here I am, five years later and yes, I am ok - different - but ok. The recovery is a whole other story, but that is for another day. I'm just glad that after five years, I found a place, where there is someone like me; and that there is growing awareness, which will perhaps some day lead to prevention.

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The Lisa Foundation, a 501 (c)(3), is the leading private funder of Brain Aneurysm initiatives that directly or indirectly support awareness, education, research, and survivor support in the U.S.

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