Angiogram Results

I had my six-month angiogram checkup of my aneurysm yesterday. It was an early morning, having to leave at 5:15 to be there at 7:00 in the morning.

I didn’t sleep a wink the night before. Partly due to being nervous, the noisy wind outside, and possibly eating that orange and power bar at 10! I couldn’t eat anything after midnight, so I tried to eat something later that night.

It was odd being back at Maine Medical again. Some memories were brought back. Some pleasant, some not so much, but at least I was arriving under my own power this time!

Around 7:45 or so, I was wheeled into the operating room. I have been here before, but didn’t really remember it. I was barely awake when I had arrived back in Oct, so I asked a bunch of questions and watched as the team was getting ready to perform the procedure. Fascinating.

They went into the same artery in the groin where my previous angio-gram and the coiling was done. It was quite painful when the initial shots and  insertions were made, but after that I never felt the catheter only the inks being injected and the heat and other sensations they created.

One time they had informed me I might see lightening over my left eye. Sure enough…there is was!! A small sprinkling of brightly colored lightening in my left eyeball! Odd and strangely neat all at the same time. I kept my eyes closed the entire time. I was under mild sedation and pain killers so I could respond to them to hold my breath, etc.

Everything went fine until they tried to insert an angioseal into the puncture wound. It didn’t work, but by God, Dr. Kwan TRIED! As a result, he had to pull it back out and put a regular plug in which meant more pain and more pushing. It was not pleasant. He said next time he would NOT use the angioseal. Thank you!! LOL

Dr. Kwan was able to read the xrays during the procedure and tell me right there on the table that everything looked great. The fear I had was that the aneurysm would have enlarged in some fashion or the coils would start to pack down leaving a space between the coils and the outside of the annie OR that he’d find another annie or something else of interest. He found none of that thank God. And it was great to finally hear
that and to know that my sinus issues were just that…sinus and not brain related.

I have read on some occasions that people had head and pain issues misdiagnosed as sinus when they were really annies, so I was really, really nervous a new annie had popped up somewhere. Nope, just my blasted sinus.

Because Dr. Kwan could not use the angioseal, I had to spend four hours in recovery after the operation. The seal would have cut it down to two.

The main issues were to keep my leg straight and flat and do not lift my head. They only raised it about 30º and that was it.  My sinus were bothering me too, so I had pain from the puncture and pain from my head. I took the opportunity to lay there and rest….like I had a choice anyway!

Dave stayed with me and cut up a sandwich for me to eat and helped me drink some liquids so I wouldn’t choke on them which would have been bad. He has been so fantastic the past six months. I’m very lucky and I know it.

Once the four hours were up, the nurse got me right up on my feet to test the vertical waters. I was quite wobbly, but not too bad. Sitting down was painful. Anytime I creased that area of the groin was painful. Sitting and moving my leg was pretty painful. Still is today, but not as bad.

I got dressed and we were home by 3:00. I called my family back in NY to give them the good news, but couldn’t sleep yet. I hopped on the computer, ate something then started to fade around 8:30 after putting ice on my puncture site and taking a vicadin. I slept like a baby.

The last six months have been a a kind of uneasy anticipation of this six-month test. It was so hard to know if every headache, numb finger, eye ache, neck ache, and onset of fatigue was still related to the original annie, or if something new had popped up. This was a huge relief and now I feel I can get on with my life again. A huge, huge relief.

It still doesn’t mean something down the road could potentially develop, because I AM at risk, but for this annie, at this moment…it’s good.

As my friend Julie from the message boards reminded me in a poem she and I both posted separately:

“…I am no longer waiting for
The other shoe to drop;
It already did, and I survived…”

Thanks to reasons I don’t know or understand, and God guiding Dr. Kwan’s careful hand, I survived.

6-Month Angiogram Tomorrow

Tomorrow is in my 6-month angiogram to look at the coiling done in Oct. and to check on its healing progress and although I’ve been told the procedure itself isn’t that bad, I’m more worried about the results of the test than anything else.

I wouldn’t have been as worried had I not felt so lousy the last four days. It started on Sunday with head, ear, neck and eye pain and discomfort. I”m sure it’s just sinus, but because I just had a CT scan on my sinus last week and everything looked okay, my mind starts to think it’s something other than sinus….the brain.

Once i kicked my other sinus infection, I was feeling pretty good and exercising and eating better, but since this has hit, exercising is out of the question due to the discomfort in my head and I haven’t had much of an appetite….so now I’m scared.

People will tell me things will be fine, but how can one not be nervous, especially when I’m not feeling very good suddenly. If things look fine on the angiogram then I’ll know for SURE it’s sinus or allergies, or a tooth problem…or…..I don’t know! But at least I’ll know what’s NOT.

I’m just tired of feeling like crap. I have had one angiogram before, but it was right before my coiling and I was pretty out of it. I do remember when they injected the ink. I felt a very hot sensation in my face, but that’s about it.


From the February 24th, 2007 issue of Science News.

Aneurysm risk may get passed down.

A heightened risk of having a brain aneurysm seems to be passed down in some families, and the life-threatening rupture of an aneurysm appears to strike earlier in a succeeding generation, a study finds.

An aneurysm is a ballooning of a blood-vessel associated with weakening of the vessel’s walls. While most brain aneurysms never rupture, those that do cause bleeding stroke and are fatal up to 50% of the time.

Past research has shown that about 10% of people who develop a brain aneurysm have a relative who has one, a significantly higher proportion than among people in general, say Daniel Woo, a neurologist at the University of Cincinnati.

Woo and his colleagues contacted 35 families with a history of brain aneurysms. They found that children of a person with a brain aneurysm that ruptured faced twice the risk of having a brain aneurysm than children whose parents had aneurysms that never ruptured. The risk showed up even though the younger people smoked less and had lower blood pressure.

Moreover, aneurysm ruptures in the second generation occurred, on average, at age 41, whereas the ruptures struck parents when they were 56 years old on average.

The search for a genetic defect that could explain the increased risk is under way, Woo says.

Meanwhile, any of the several brain-imaging techniques can detect brain aneurysms, Woo says. “In a family with a strong history of ruptured aneurysms, you might want to test the offspring at a young age.” he adds.

More Family Stuff

Over the past week or so, I have been in contact with my cousin who had coiling done on an un-ruptured aneurysm a couple of years ago. I was encouraged to hear her sister had had an MRI and everything looked fine, but unnerved by some info I don’t believe I was ever told, or I had forgotten.

My great grandmother died in her fifties suddenly while doing laundry and my grandfather’s sister died while brushing her teeth. I don’t believe, due to the lack of medical advancements at the time, either were diagnosed as aneurysms, but it certainly gives one pause given the fact I have two first cousins who had annies, and then myself.

It’s been nice connecting with her. She had one annie coiled and does have another one that they are monitoring, but luckily there has been no change and she won’t have to go back for another two years for a check up. She was very lucky to have it discovered before it ruptured.