My Journey Through Surgery

I found out I had a brain aneurysm approximately 9 years ago when having a headache that didn’t go away for 3 weeks straight.  I was documenting the pain level in a journal and what I was eating for my doctor and boom, got blurry vision.  Called my nephrologist ( I also have PKD or polycystic kidney disease) and went to the ER.  Long story short, after a MRI it was believed I had an aneurysm, whether or not it bled was still to be ruled out.  I had a lumbar puncture, and angiogram and no bleed. Aneurysm officially documented and we’ve been following it since with MRIs.  The approximate size is 2-3 millimeters and has been stable. Fast forward to March 2016 and I was getting myself ready to have the aneurysm clipped.  Sounds easy enough, but it required that I have a crainiotomy so they can go in and re-direct the blood flow away from the aneurysm and back to normal flow.

It has been a whirlwind of emotions the last few months, not going to lie.  You know the saying stop and smell the roses? Well, I have taken that very literally and make it a point to really stop and take in the littlest things around me because I realize how grateful I am right now for everything and everyone around me.  For those of you out there who are going through this surgery or have loved ones going through it, there are definitely moments of darkness.  I can openly admit that November and December were really hard months to get through.  It took me till mid January to really wake myself up and turn things around and it started with talking about the surgery.

It is a little over one week post surgery as I write this and I am surprised how much energy I have.  The last week has flown by with lots of rest, little food, and lots of love.  I was in the operating room for approximately 4 hours, and everything went smoothly.  The doctor did explain that he looked for other areas that may be forming aneurysms, because if you have one, you are most likely to have more now or in the future.  He found two other vulnerable vessels and fixed those while I was in surgery.  I wasn’t able to really talk or see out of my left eye, but gave plenty of thumbs up to everyone who asked how I was doing.  I was definitely in pain, but was well controlled for the most part with IV and oral medications.  Ice packs were my savior. Just the cool touch to my left side of the face was so soothing and needed while I was healing up until this point in the process.  I stayed in the ICU overnight and was able to move to the inpatient floor the next morning.

My left eye is completely open again, still swelling and bruising but I can see again! Also the left side of my face is still swollen and sore- specifically around my temple.  I have energy, and walking around more and more everyday.  Luckily the weather is gorgeous and I can walk outside, and eventually down to the beach.  That is my next week goal.  To give you the whole picture I had a piece of bone removed that went from the left side of my head above my eye, down to the eye, and cut through the temporal area and temporal muscle.  There they were able to access the aneurysm(s) behind my left eye.  It was then clipped with 2 clips, two other areas reinforced to prevent future aneurysms, bone was put back in place with 3 titanium plates and 18 screws, and finished off with 49 staples.  I am taking each day at it comes, requiring less and less pain medications, a few naps, and plenty of rest.  This has been such a journey that I decided to blog it to help support myself emotionally, as well as hopefully help those out there dealing with an aneurysm and have no idea what to expect or have anyone to talk to about it.  If you would like to read more about my journey feel free to visit my blog and share with others.  I am an open book and hope to shed some light into this surgery and look forward with hope and strength.  -A, 35

Know someone going through something like this? Let them know you care with a card and one of our journals to help share their own story.