Hello… You have a Brain Aneurysm

Posted by on Aug 22, 2016 in adventure, hope, prayer | 38 comments

Last month I couldn't spell aneurysm.  I've typed and spoken this word thousands of times in the last 30 days.  Yep, I have a brain aneurysm -- Crazy, isn't it.  It hasn't ruptured -- so that is very good. How did I find it?  Well, funny you should ask -- there's a story. I've had this weird vertigo for the past few months.  I feel like I'm falling to the left -- it's just a feeling, I don't actually fall. Finally I diagnosed myself with middle ear infection -- well, me, google and my medical training (which came from binge watching Grey's Anatomy).  A round of antibiotics was ordered -- by my doctor because strangely enough my Grey's Anatomy medical education doesn't qualify me to write prescriptions -- I KNOW!  Whatever. The antibiotics didn't do the trip so I headed over to the ENT to get a better diagnosis.  I determined that something most be going on inside my ears. ENT looked, tested and couldn't find anything.  "Let's rule a few things out with an MRI and then we'll do some more testing," said Dr ENT. Well, okie dokie!  But I'm on schedule.  Have things to do, no time to slow down. The next day I have my first MRI on my head -- gotta make sure there's nothing in there causing the left leaning stuff. I was CERTAIN that NOTHING was happening in my head.  Well, nothing that would show up on a screen anyway. And then I got the call -- "We found something.  We need to get a better look. We've scheduled you for an MRA tomorrow." UH, okay.  And I hung up. FYI -- apparently MRA is an MRI that looks at blood vessels. So that's how they found my aneurysm.  And it's a doozy -- as we say in the medical community.   See that gray bubble in the middle -- that's it!  and that big artery it's attached to is my right carotid artery. IMG_8983   So, I am fortunate that is was found.  And I'm also fortunate that I can have the aneurysm taken care of with a vascular procedure -- no need to shave my head and cut my skull open.  And that's a sentence I never thought I'd write.   And I have my very own vascular neuro surgeon -- just like Dr. Derek Shepherd on Grey's except that Dr. Shepherd is dead and my guy is very much alive.   My doc will send a wire through my artery into my head and put platinum coils in the aneurysm to fill it up -- and if you're going to fill up something, platinum is the way to go.  This will stop the blood from going to the aneurysm and no more risk of rupture. Personally I've never known someone who had or has an un-ruptured aneurysm -- but I've known a few who've suffered through a rupture and the outcome isn't good.  So if you have a story of a great outcome, please share.  If you have a story of a bad outcome -- don't share.  I'm doing my best to stay positive and think about all the amazing stories I'll get from this.  AND I'm using it to get favors from my daughters -- 'Hey baby, would you get Momma show eyelash extensions -- you know I have a brain aneurysm, right?"  "You and your sister be nice to each other, Mom has a brain aneurysm."  You play with the hand you are dealt. Recovery should be fairly quick and uneventful -- that's the two things I look for in a recovery.  I have the operation on Wed, Aug 24th -- I would love your prayers for me and for my family.  I know God has us in the palm of His hand.  He is my strength and my shield.  I trust Him.  He has this!


  1. My former sister-in-law had a brain aneurysm that burst while she was traveling from Tampa to Atlanta. They flew her via helicopter to Jacksonville, performed surgery, and she recovered beautifully! No complications! No ongoing problems! She’s living life as usual and doing just fine! Woo hoo! God had her and He has you! How wonderful they caught yours and can do this crazy type of procedure to fix it right up. That’s God in action! You and yours are in my prayers!

  2. No stories. Just love and prayers.

  3. My father’s girlfriend had several brain aneurysms successfully treated many years ago. She went on to live a long and fulfilled life. I wish–and pray–the same for you.


  4. So many prayers coming your way! And lots of love. Thank you for sharing, Mary. You’re right, God has got this. ??

  5. Lifting you up sweet friend. My Father-In-Law had one successfully operated on.

  6. Will be praying for sure! Hugs for you!!

  7. Our God is Good! What a story girl, thanks for sharing.
    Hugs to ya and prayers coming to ya

  8. Many prayers and blessing for you.As a nurse I have seen many great outcomes

  9. Mary, you know someone very close to you that had a ruptured brain aneurysm (and I couldn’t spell it either). ME. We have known each other for many years because my brain aneurysm ruptured nine years ago. I was rushed to UAB from Prattville after being taken to the ER with the worst headache of my life. I was immediately treated for a migrain headache even though I kept telling them I never had headaches. A male nurse took my late husband aside and told him to ask for an MRI. He asked and the doctor reluctantly did one. Of course I was immediately taken by ambulance to UAB. My aneurysm was also coiled. The only after affect I had from the ruptured aneurysm is a shunt in my head because I developed hydrocepalous (can’t spell It). No other problems. I had so many people praying for me. I was in ICU for nine days and out of work for 13 weeks. My hair had to be cut because of the shunt and so much blood in my hair where they drilled a hole in my head to release the pressure on my brain. I got on a line with others who had aneurysms and there were several who had theirs coiled before it ruptured. You will be just fine, but get that thing taken care of quickly. PS. I also had vertigo before mine ruptured.

    Your writing buddy, Connie

  10. I love you so big! I’m praying!!!!!

  11. Adore you. Especially all that delicious wicked humor woven throughout the hard. That’s my style, girl. ;) Love you. With you. It WILL be okay.

  12. Shellie shared your story with us. My sister has lived with an inoperable bran aneurysm for over 40 years, discovered when she had her middle child. She lives normally with no problems, other than the nagging thought that it’s always lurking there. You are truly blessed that it was found and can be repaired. Sending you lots of hugs and prayers!

  13. Sweetie, you and God have SO got this! Lots of prayers and hugs.

  14. Mary, you are in my thoughts and have my prayers for a complete recovery.

  15. Mary, I don’t know you, but I know Shellie Tomlinson and she said you need some prayer and encouragement. I can do both!

    Almost three years ago my beloved husband woke up, got ready for work and then started throwing up, had a horrible headache… he had a subarachnoid hemorrhage (I know you’ll underhanded, being a medical professional and all.)

    When I got him to the ER, the doctors and nurses did their thing, but they also started calling in the family. His prognosis was bleak.

    The next morning, the wonderful neurosurgeon performed the coiling procedure on him.

    They expected to keep hubby sedated a few more days, BUT he was doing so well that THAT very afternoon they stopped sedation, removed his intubation and he has only improved since.

    He was expected to be in ICU for 10 days, then step down for a week or more. He left ICU in SEVEN days and on Day 9,we went home. He went back to work less than five weeks after that morning he got ready.

    Since your aneurysm has not become a hemorrhage, your experience should be much less dramatic, but every but as successful. Not because you share the same neurosurgeon, but because we share the same Physician.
    I’m praying for you, dear sister, that every moment of this journey is so filled with joy and peace that worry has no chance to get started. May perfect healing be yours.

  16. Lots of prayers for you and for a wonderful recovery (may your physician be as easy on the eyes as Dr. McDreamy).

    P.S. We also have a vascular neurosurgeon on our list of family doctors for one of my sons. He’s an amazing man!

  17. Hi Mary. I’m a high school classmate and friend of Melinda’s, and I’ve followed your adventures with her for a long while now. You two make me smile… a lot.

    First things first, know that I’m praying. That’s the best and most powerful part of what I’ll type here. I know I join many in lifting you before the throne of the Great Physician.

    My mom, who is now 84, went through an extraordinarily similar thing two years ago. After a failed cornea transplant, she was sent for an MRI. They “found something”, and so they did an MRA. She had three aneurysms. The largest – a giant 3.5 cm thing – was pressing on the optic nerve, which explained the failure of the cornea transplant. She was admitted to the hospital and they did a balloon occlusion test to see if her brain could be properly profused with blood if they blocked the artery off permanently. She passed that test, and the next she had the same procedure you will have. Her surgeon said she’d have some super expensive jewelry in her brain with all the platinum coils, and she does!

    I can tell you the procedure was 100% successful, and she was discharged from the hospital the very next day! She had only a slight headache for a few weeks, but regular Tylenol took care of it. And this at 82 years of age. She still has the two smaller aneurysms that are stable and not posing any threat. We’ll watch those with scans every two years, but her docs don’t anticipate the need for any further treatment.

    Mom is fully recovered, and there is no residual side effect or problem from the procedure. It was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen when the neurosurgeon showed us the images of her post-procedure brain. There was only the very faintest shadow of where the aneurysm had been, but that sucker was GONE. We are so thankful and grateful to God, and I’m praying and believing your experience will be as great as hers. You’ll have a wonderful testimony of God’s goodness and faithfulness just like my momma.

    I’m looking forward to reading about your successful procedure. Blessings!

    Jennifer Castro

  18. My dear friend-if anyone can turn this into a blessing, a teachable story, a tool for graceful living — it is you. Praying so hard and loving my lifelong friend always. You have a lot of people in your corner (including The Father). Keep us posted! Hugs!

  19. Mary,
    Thanks for sharing and will be praying for you.

  20. Will be lifting you up in my prayers for successful procedure and a quick, uncomplicated recovery. Also for peace and calm for you and your family as you go through this time of anticipation. God bless and what a story you will have to share!!

  21. The date is on my calendar, and your pic is on my prayer board. Believing God for full and complete healing, and thanking Him in advance for His lavish love and care for you. Sending much love and a big hug your way, friend! xo

  22. Goodness, I love you girl. Praying for smooth recovery, with much pampering!

  23. Goodness gracious, girlfriend! I’m praying for you now and will let our P31 team know (if they don’t know already).

    I have a great story. It’s not about an aneurysm, but a brain tumor. My brother was diagnosed last year and the size of his tumor was a doozy. Emergency surgery. Doctors’ grim outlook. Nine hours on the operating table. Lots of prayers. And we got our miracle! My brother was expected to be in the hospital for a minimum of 2 weeks. He was released in 48 hours to go home and the doctors were floored. He’s doing great and I’m believing you will be too. We serve an awesome God who looks for opportunities to do the miraculous. He’s got you safely in wrapped in His arms, sweet friend. xo

  24. Well, the Lord is going out of His way to give you new material, cause there is no way He’s ready for you yet. You are not done making us laugh and spreading the good news of Jesus. Praying for you sweet lady!!

  25. Standing together with you and all our sisters here for Jehovah Rapha to bring perfect healing through this surgery and by His hand. May His peace flood you and His joy fill you during this time. I can already see that prayer is being answered by your post. :)

    We at Proverbs 31 love you!



  26. Ill be praying for you Mary!! So sorry you have to go through this but so thankful it was caught early and treatable without too many complications. Trusting God will bring you through the surgery and that you will have peace and comfort in your heart as you prepare for it. Hugs!

  27. Really Gina if you wanted attention you could have just stripped off naked and run down the street.
    We love you all and you will be in our prayers.

  28. What a miracle to have found this and how wonderful the treatment isn’t severe. I’ll be praying for God’s angels to surround you and His wisdom and focus to be in every medical professional you come in contact with.

    You are loved!!

  29. I have no story; but, I AM adding you to mine and my husband’s prayer list and we will be praying for you every morning. I know God is taking care of you and you will be just fine :-)

  30. I am a friend of Jan Ramshur. I am an M.D
    I also have platinum coils & onyx polymer in my head — 5 months ago was my last endovascular procedure. You have done great. You paid attention to your body & clearly God wants you to know about this. You can now take care of you ! These peocedures are a miracle — and a breeze to get through. If they keep you overnight like they did me, it is only to monitor that artery puncture site for a bit. We are so fortunate to have access to these procedures — our Grandparents & parents did not. Good for you doing this so very soon. You have only ONE aneurysm ! You will do great. Your neurosurgeon is one of a new generation. Be proud of yourself ! Before you know it, you’ll be waking up with the nurses all saying “you’re all done!” “you did great !” — a very delightful memory for me now ! Love them. They will take such fantastic care of you. Love Kathy Dully. Survivor !

  31. I am SO glad you are okay! How scary! But how wonderful is the mercy of our Heavenly Father!

  32. As my good friend Julie Barnhill posted, I also have had an experience with a brain aneurysm, but mine ruptured before it was discovered. I also work in the medical field, had no symptoms prior to the rupture, but by the grace of God have survived with no long term affects. The rupture was sudden and traumatic with the following symptoms occuring within seconds – unconsciousness, vomiting, severe headache, and extreme sensitivity to light. A CT scan diagnosed a subarachnoid hemorrhage. The cerebral angiography demonstrated the aneurysm, but the radiologist determined that the vessel was too weak to accommodate the coil and I underwent a craniotomy at which time they attached an aneurysm clip to the vessel to prevent it from rupturing again. I spent 21 days in Neuro Intensive Care with a drain in my brain to help remove the blood in the spaces within the brain. I also underwent 2 more cerebral angiograms & 3 cat scans. I returned to work within 75 days and while I have some minor effects, I am so very thankful for my recovery and overall health. When I visited with my Neurologist at 6 months he hugged me and said welcome to the 25% club because that is all that generally survive this medical event without severe long term effects. May you have a very positive experience Mary and recover quickly – so thankful it was discovered!

  33. Praying for you Mary! God’s got awesome plans ahead for you.

  34. Mary, thanking God they found it (I can’t spell it)! Praying the blood and name of Jesus over your body, mind and spirit. Believing for 100% healing and success. Love and prayers to you and yours.

  35. Sweet, funny lady, Mary! God has got this and he will continue to use you and your wonderful gifts and talents in service to Himself and His children. Prayers going up for peace of mind, for skill and mercy of your medical care team, quick and complete healing and restoration to your very full life!

  36. Praying for you and your family!

  37. One of my nieces suffered a ruptured aneurysm several years ago. The spiral procedure was used. She is well, lives a normal life, and has had no side effects. Love and prayers

  38. Hi Mary, Just found out you have a aneurysm and going to have surgery.I have been praying for God hands to be on the Dr’s..This is a miracle from God you found out before it busted..Your a beautiful person inside and out and God still has lots for you to do for his kingdom.I know everything going to tour out wonderful.You have made such a big impact in my life,you took me under your wing,loved me and treated me like we been fiends all our life.You may not know this, but you have made me laugh and put a smile on my face when life was really tough,That a gift from God .Everywhere you go you let your light shine for Jesus..I just read your out of surgery and all went great…Thank You JESUS for taking good care of my friend who I love dearly ..Praying you have a fast recovery.Hug and Love my friend….