Angiogram and Results

I had my four-year aneurysm check-up angiogram yesterday. Had to be at Maine Medical Center at 9:15, so we left the house around 7:45. I couldn’t eat or drink anything so, of course, today I woke up with a horribly dry and sore throat. Figures. Despite an earlier weather report of snow showers, it was just cold and sunny, so we had good traveling weather.

Dave and I arrived at Maine Med right on time and were quickly whisked into the radiology patient recovery area where I was promptly told to strip out of everything and put on the lovely johnny gown. Oh, they’re so attractive. The wonderfully funny nurse, John, arranged to get me a water swab so I could at least wet my dry throat.

I was hooked up to an IV and blood pressure and oxygen monitor then taken into the operating room. As I was wheeled in, I heard some amazing music being played. They had on the Rat Pack station from Pandora Radio. LOVED it! It was around 10:00 when I started to be prepped for the procedure to sounds of Tony Bennet and Frank Sinatra belting out standards.

I was moved onto the narrow table surrounded on one side by large monitors. Arm guards were positioned to keep my arms on the table and out of the way and I was hooked up to multiple sensors as well as a strap place over my forehead to keep me from moving my head. My groin was shaved and I was introduced to at least four or five different radiologist, including Bernie, who was my “bartender” with the meds. I didn’t go with any med prior to being wheeled in and I REALLY regretted that when the Dr. began inserting the catheter. The worst pain I’ve had at the beginning of an angio. Next time, I ask for meds, and more meds….and some meds too. OUCH!

I’m not sure how long the actual procedure took. I DID get some meds when I was experiencing the pain, so I was a tad groggy. Had to take deep breaths and hold them on many occasions for pictures to be taken. So I was awake for the whole thing. One injection of dye was almost painful in my head and part of my tongue felt a little numb, but it didn’t last long.

Once the procedure was done, I was unhooked from all of the sensors and one of the radiologist had to hold strong pressure on my incision area on my groin. We chatted about Buffalo weather and the Bills. It helped pass the time of having a stranger hold your groin! LOL

At around 11:00, I was wheeled back into the recovery area. Dave wasn’t there, but one of the nurses said that Dr. Ecker  had spoken to Dave “at length”. Uh, oh…that didn’t sound promising! And I thought when Dave came around the corner, he looked pale.

Dr. Ecker came in shortly after Dave and informed me there did appear to be problems with the coiling in the aneurysm so something would have to be done, but that he’d discuss that with us at the follow-up appointment on Monday. Then he divulged a 2nd, smaller aneurysm was discovered above the initial aneurysm. This one was about 3 mm (1/8″). My original one was 11 mm (1/2″). This was shocking. If I had one in 2006 for my last angiogram, wouldn’t they have said something about it? If it wasn’t there, then it’s not a good sign that one has developed in such a relatively short span of 2 years. The Dr. had told Dave that this smaller annie had a wide neck too and it might not be a good candidate for coiling.

So, not only do I not know what’s going to happen to the original annie (Or Big Annie), but I don’t know what’s going to happen, if anything, with this new little discovery (I’ll call her Little Annie)

I know Dr. Ecker had mentioned possibly adding more coils to Big Annie, which isn’t that highly unusual, and it’s far less dangerous because it’s not a rupture, but he had also mentioned clipping, which means a craniotomy and that’s a far more invasion process that involves removing part of the skull and having open brain surgery. But that’s with the original annie. Now this 2nd one comes into play. Goody.

I have been introduced and read storiesabout many people who have multiple aneurysms and my own cousin is living with two un-ruptured aneurysms that they’re simply monitoring, which might be the case for me with Little Annie. So, it’s not that highly unusual for people to have multiple aneurysms and the positive take on this is that I KNOW it’s there and we can do something (hopefully) before it ruptures unlike last time.

My fear is not the surgery at this point…it’s the outcome and having complications during the procedure that would require a longer recovery period or prevent me from doing my job or driving. I was VERY lucky with my previous rupture that I was not dealt with life-altering deficits – which could have easily happened and could still happen. I have a lot of faith and trust in Dr. Ecker and excellent staff at Maine Med. They were fantastic to me in 2006 and I know they’ll take good care of me
this time…for whatever I’m going to be dealt with. I’m still very, VERY thankful that Dr. Ecker is here in Maine and we don’t have to travel to Boston.

I wish Dave didn’t have to go through more crap with aneurysms. He has been such an angel and powerhouse during all of this. I’m sorry he has to “suffer” as well.

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