Happy MLKJ Day, everyone! The kids are out of school and all is quiet in the house. I figured I would take a few minutes to post an update on me.
You may or may not remember that a little over a year ago, I was diagnosed with two brain aneurysms that were both on the same artery as my left eye. The largest one was close to the eye and the smallest was kind of branched off but connected to that artery, if that makes sense. The largest was also irregularly shaped. Due to the shape, not so much the size, and my strong family history of aneurysms (2 paternal aunts, a paternal uncle that died from a brain aneurysm rupture and my very own brother), it was decided that we needed to be proactive and do something about these time bombs in my head.
My AWESOME doctor (seriously, I love him…he’s the best ever) wanted to do the Pipeline Embolization Device, or PED for short, rather than the regular coils and clamps that are usually done to patients in my situation. It is still relatively new in America, only having been approved by the FDA in the past three years or so (they’ve been using this device in Europe for a lot longer). Rather than filling up the aneurysm with coils, but leaving the aneurysm intact, the PED is, according to Emory:
“a metal device, ranging in size from just 10 to 35 mm. Using an endovascular approach, the PED is placed across the “neck” — or opening — the aneurysm with the help of a catheter placed inside the blood vessel. This procedure disrupts blood flow to the aneurysm, causing the blood to clot and, over a period of months, the aneurysm to be reabsorbed by the body.”
It reminds me of a slinky. Seriously.
Anyway, I had the PED placed at the end of May, 2014. Last week, I had my 6 month check up (two months late) where I underwent a cerebral angiogram….and received the best news I’ve had in a very very long time: The smallest aneurysm is completely GONE!!! The largest aneurysm is nearly gone!!! They could barely see it on the screens! Isn’t this amazing?!? My doctor said that it should be completely gone within a year; that the reason it is taking longer is because it is on the same artery as my eye (whereas the other was kind of branched off). He took me off of Plavix and he said it should heal faster now, since Plavix prevents blood from clotting. I still have to take low dose aspirin and get another angiogram in a year, but that is a small price to pay!
God is good, y’all!!
If you have a family history of brain aneurysms, please tell your Neurologist and have them check you for aneurysms with an MRA, or if you have been diagnosed with having one, please don’t put off getting it repaired. According to Emory:
“A cerebral aneurysm is a weak spot in the wall of a blood vessel within the brain, characterized by an abnormal ballooning or widening of the vessel. In the United States, a brain aneurysm ruptures every 18 minutes, and nearly half of these cases are fatal. Of the patients who survive, approximately half will never regain full physical function.”
Scary, huh? I’ve included an infographic showing the symptoms of a brain aneurysm. Help spread awareness!