Now that my family, closest friends, and co-workers know, I can let others know about my aneurysm news. I’m going to have my 2nd aneurysm clipped in January.
I found out in April, 2013, right before we left for Scotland, that my 2nd smaller aneurysm was actually visible on the original scans done in 2006 during my rupture of the other, larger aneurysm, but it was never mentioned to me in those immediate checkups with my old doctor. My current doctor indicated he felt we should start thinking about doing something about it. That scared me and certainly gave me pause about our trip to Scotland. Well..it was more like denial that anything was wrong. I was going to Scotland, dammit. Which we did!
The doctor said his office would call when we got back to discuss my options. They did call in June, but I wasn’t prepared to discuss it just yet.
Then, after our annual walk and run for Brain Aneurysm Awareness in September, I met some fabulous survivors and it gave me the strength to make a decision, so Dave and I met with the doctor at the end of September and the decision was made to proceed with clipping.
Several factors with regards to MY aneurysm and history, made that decision easier. I guess:
- I have a family history
- I have previously ruptured
- The 2nd aneurysm has grown in the last six years
- I’m still relatively young
- I have great health insurance
- I want to go to Scotland again!
Even though Dave and I are, sadly, quite educated on brain aneurysms and the treatments, we went armed to the meeting with quite a list of questions for the doctor. Dr. Ecker spent about an hour and a half with us and his recommendation was to go with the more physically invasive clipping procedure over the less-invasive endovascular coiling which I have had previously.
When discussing both options, he just had to many “if”s with the coiling and the aneurysm itself is more rectangular in shape than a balloon or bulb, which leads me to believe keeping a coil in the darn thing to begin with would be tough. The doctor agreed clipping would be more durable and stable than coiling in this case.
Since I have already had a compaction issue with my other larger aneurysm, which now has 20 coils, I really didn’t want to have to go through the endless checking and worry with TWO aneurysms now. I’m very confident that clipping is the way to go with this particular brain aneurysm
So, after surviving another catalog at work, I will be making plans for the surgery. It’s nice to HAVE the luxury of planning and a date for the procedure. With a rupture, there is no advanced warning. There is no indication you’ll be bed-ridden for months. There is no warning your family’s life will be changed for ever. The Brain Aneurysm Foundation has some great info for those who are curious.
By deciding to DO something about my aneurysm, I AM in control…not the other way around. Of course, I’m scared. It is open brain surgery, but meeting, and knowing other survivors has given me the strength to show this aneurysm who’s the boss. I’m one of the lucky ones because I know I have an aneurysm.
The doctor showed me my brain scans, drew me diagrams and showed me where the incision will be made. They shave just that part of the head, then remove a 2-3″ diameter part of the skull along my hairline around my left eye. They’ll isolate the aneurysm away from the artery and place the clip on it. Then close up the skull. Possibly a 2-night stay in the hospital, then home for a 6-week recovery period. It’s not an emergency situation so the recovery period is far less stressful and difficult, although fatigue will still be an issue.
I feel fine. There are no symptoms that something is wrong, and that’s the whole point of doing something now. Could something go wrong during the procedure? Yes, but the risks of that are far fewer than if I let the aneurysm continue to grow and HAVE to do something about it during a tramatic event. Been there…done that…bought the t-shirt Pedro.