I Survived a Brain Aneurysm In My 30s
“An aneurysm is an enlargement of an artery caused by a weakness in the arterial wall. A brain aneurysm can leak or rupture causing bleeding into the brain and can be life-threatening (https://www.nhs.uk/).” A brain aneurysm is also known as cerebral aneurysm.
8 months ago
My writing was awful. It looked like a child’s scrawl. I was writing some notes out for my partner and he told me he couldn’t even read it and that he would do it himself. I remember being upset as I had always had good writing. I couldn’t understand however hard I tried why my hand wouldn’t write neater.
We were going for lunch, my whole family including my aunt and uncle from France. It was a lovely lunch and great to catch up with everyone. After lunch, my sister rang me, she was worried about me as she thought my face had dropped on the one side. I hadn’t particularly noticed anything but thought it was maybe down to tiredness.
The following day I went to put my shoes on and fell over. I just fell like I had no control over my limbs! I am known to be a little clumsy, but I am not normally that bad. I felt a bit stupid that I just fell over like that, so I rang the doctor and quickly got seen that night.
I had a brain aneurysm!
After lots of scans and tests, I was diagnosed with a giant cerebral brain aneurysm and was admitted to the hospital. Nope, I couldn’t just have a normal size one, it had to be a giant one! You see, in my life so far, I never seem to do things simply!
Apart from the weird feeling in my arm and feeling a little unbalanced, I felt totally fine, so staying at the hospital was hard. I couldn’t use my computer as wifi was awful and I was just stuck in a cubicle with a bed and no window! The first ward I was on was full of geriatric patients and I was the youngest on the ward. My family, friends and partner kept me entertained and every hour he was allowed, my partner was there by my side.
Staying in the hospital
The first week I spent at Hereford Hospital, before being transferred to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. It was only when I arrived here did I realize how serious my situation was. I was told that if the aneurysm was to rupture, I would die. Simple as that, there would be nothing they could do.
At the time leading up to my operation, I didn’t really think about how serious my situation was. I felt pretty much fine so it was hard to wrap my head around this place I was in. From the 1st of December, the trajectory of my life and the things I had planned had all changed.
The hardest part was seeing the pain on my family’s faces and the worry from my friends. I was the one going through it but seeing their worry was so hard. I couldn’t take that from them, apart from being as strong as I could. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time I have had health problems and worried my family. I was told I had cancer at 29 (it wasn’t cancer in the end, but that is another story!)
On the 11th of December (my beautiful little sister’s birthday) I had a five-hour operation to stent and coil the aneurysm. They were able to perform the operation from going in at my groin rather than going in through my skull. I’m grateful I didn’t have to have entrance through my skull as the recovery at the groin was much quicker and I didn’t even have stitches!
Before the operation, you have to sign a consent form. There was a chance that I would come out of the operation with visual impairment, meaning I wouldn’t be able to drive again and that it would affect my life considerably. Also, obviously the usual risks of the operation. That upset me quite a lot because the thought of losing some of my sight was just unthinkable. My partner kept saying that you will be here, alive with sight differences and that is far better than not being here. I understood what he was saying, but at the time it upset me that I couldn’t control what would happen and I wouldn’t know how I would be until I woke up!
Up to the moment before I went into the operating theatre, I had been so strong. The only time I got upset was when I knew I was being admitted and couldn’t see my dog! Gosh, I missed him! But the few minutes before my operation, I was distraught! Saying goodbye to my Partner and Mum was so ridiculously hard. I didn’t think about not waking up, I knew I was going to wake up and see them again. I wasn’t scared about that but really scared about who I would be when I awoke. It is also horrible having to say goodbye to loved ones, watching them walk away while you go to the unknown.
Just before they put me to sleep, I was trying so hard to think of wonderful things and stop crying. I didn’t want to wake up crying as I had heard that how you go to sleep under anesthetic is how you will wake up. I thought of the beach with my partner and dog and the family meal we had recently had. And I didn’t wake up crying (just cold)!
Eight months have passed and I am pleased to say I am here, doing my best to live life, cherish moments and make memories. I, unfortunately, suffer from severe head pain most days, which they believe is another condition that unfortunately has gotten worse since my operation, but I’m trying to live with it.
Therefore, if you are reading this, my advice would be to not ignore the symptoms. Any symptoms, even if you think you are being silly just get them checked. I am the lucky one because it got detected before it burst. Some people don’t get that opportunity. An aneurysm can have many symptoms, some similar to a stroke but if you aren’t sure about anything, get it checked. I felt fine, no headaches or blurred vision and if it wasn’t for my sister noticing my droop, I probably wouldn’t have called the doctors.
Symptoms of a cerebral aneurysm are many, and they vary. While this is not an extensive list, here are some symptoms you should look out for.
- Changes in consciousness
- Facial pain
- Visual symptoms
- Focal neurologic complaints
- Respiratory dysfunction
- Cardiovascular instability
- Epistaxis (nosebleed)
The main point here is that if something doesn’t seem right, if something feels off, then you should urgently seek medical help.
Life is short! Yes, it is so damn short, so make the most of every single moment. Cherish the little things, laugh often, love hard and smile. And remember “when it rains you have to look for rainbows and when it’s dark look for the stars” – Oscar Wilde .
Short Article Review
- I was so lucky!
- Brain aneurysms can affect anyone.
- Look out for any warning signs and differences in your health.
- Some symptoms don’t seem to be that serious.
- Life is so short – make the most of every moment!
The information in this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your healthcare provider regarding any questions you may have about any medical condition.
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