Sung to the tune of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” starting with the 4th day….
“On the 17th of January my neurosurgeon gave to me:
- 53 dissolving sutures
- several plates and screws
- one titanium clip
- and a dent in the side of my head.”
Yep…that’s what happened a year ago today when I had my 2nd brain aneurysm surgically clipped. It hadn’t ruptured, which was a far different situation from my other aneurysm rupturing in 2006. This second aneurysm, although a riskier procedure, was more of a preventative. Because I’m susceptible to ruptures, lost my sister Dori to a ruptured brain aneurysm that was about the same size, and this second one was starting to grow, everyone felt it was in my best interested to go ahead with the procedure. Get the darn thing before it got me.
Now, don’t get me wrong…the decision was not an easy one and one I didn’t take lightly. Not only did I know the risks going in, but I also knew how the decision and any possible bad outcome would effect my family. That being said, once I DID make the decision, it was “LET’S DO THIS!”. I wanted it done sooner, rather than later, but my work schedule prevented a quicker date with the surgeons.
Having a doctor who you have confidence in and who has been inside your brain before was a huge plus. He didn’t force me to have the surgery. I could have waited if I wanted to, but I think we both knew my specific risk factors were significant enough to have the surgery. I already have 20 coils and one stent in the other brain aneurysm – what’s one more tiny clip and a few pins and screws?
I won’t go through the minutia of the surgery again as it has already been well documented in this blog, but I’m doing well. I still have issues with fatigue, my scalp feeling numb and odd aches and pains on my skull from time to time when I got overly tired or for other reasons I have yet to determine. Open brain surgery is very scary and certainly risky. I’m one of the lucky ones. Even with the dent and bumps in my head, the alternative is worse for everyone in my life.
I have a “Brain Aneurysm Survivor” sweatshirt that I wear occasionally. Some people might find that self-promotion a little tacky. If a breast cancer survivor walked by me with a shirt saying ‘Breast Cancer Survivor”, I’d give them a thumbs up, perhaps a hug, and certainly congratulate them. I don’t EXPECT any response when I wear my sweatshirt, but it’s something I’m proud of and if it initiates a conversation with someone who may not have a lot of knowledge of brain aneurysms, perhaps I can even save a darn life.
So, on today’s 1st anniversary of my newly acquired brain bling, I don’t know what to call it. My previous anniversaries I have call my “annie-versary”. Annie for aneurysm…get it? But what does one call the clipping anniversary. A clip-aversary? A craniot-iversary? A bling-aversary? I guess I’ll just called it “a year out” and wear my “Brain Aneurysm Survivor” sweatshirt to work.