Devastating Couple of Weeks

A few days after Christmas, we received news that Dave’s niece, Kim, had died of a massive ruptured brain aneurysm. It was bad enough we lost her at the all-too young age of 32, but once we found out the cause of death, it threw a level of other issues at me because I too, had suffered a ruptured aneurysm.

Why did mine rupture the way it did and why didn’t I die? Why? Why? Why? All questions one can’t answer. I have my own “whys”, her mother has her own “whys” as do many other people. Like most undetected annies, Kim didn’t know she had it and as far as everyone knew, she was very healthy and living an active, if not stressful, life at the time of her death.

There are so many people who survive ruptures, so many who do not and even the consistent threads that DO link some of these people together such as smokers, hereditary, age, women….aren’t consistent enough for people to instantly know they have an annie. Some smokers who have a history of annies in their families, never get aneurysms, while other families have multiple deaths and ruptures in their families.

It was just the irony of Kim having one when she was not a blood relative of mine and didn’t display any of the so-called “symptoms” that may, or may not, occur from an annie. She did suffer from migraines, but so do millions of other people and they do not have aneurysms, so one can’t say that was a “sign” for sure. My mother had migraines, both my sisters do, my aunt and myself. I’ve had two first cousins with annies and myself.  I wish my sisters and niece would get CTA’s. At least if you KNOW you have one, you have a fighting chance of surviving. If you don’t know you have one, and it ruptures, chances of survival decrease the older you get and obviously, the severity of the rupture, location and size of the aneurysm. So many factors
come in to play and it’s different for every person.

I started to look at it like suffering with an annie was something special and because the brain is effected, it’s just that much more serious than anyone else’s maladies, but truthfully, it’s no different than suffering a catastrophic heart attack or stroke, or being hit by a car. You may, or may not survive. Many are lucky, many are not and trying to figure out the “whys” can eat you alive.

As Dave says…”It is what it is.” and often times we just have to accept what “is” and move on no matter how terribly difficult it can be without those we love beside us.

Also today, I get news that my cousin Jennifer, who had been fighting a brain tumor since 1999 is close to death’s door. How painful it has been to read her brother’s posts on The Caring Bridge website about her battle and how terrible is must be for them to watch her deteriorate and not be able to help her in anyway. I know how helpless one can feel after watching my own father fade away from us for months. Jennifer has been so strong with her battle and always gave others strength. I pray God gives her entire family strength and comfort now as we wait for news.

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