A parents worst nightmare

My story started when my daughter Jessica was 12 years old. On March 13, 2007 Jessica got a really bad headache along with sensitivity to light, and nausea. The next day I brought her to the pediatrician and she was given medicine for migraines. After three days and no medicine seeming to relieve the pain, her doctor ordered a CT of the brain (this saved Jessi’s life by the way). That Friday evening her doctor called with the results and told me that we needed to get to children’s hospital right away, he said that Jessica either had a brain tumor or an aneurysm and that neither of them is a good thing. After meeting with the resident on call she told us that sometimes when a scan is read the doctor may make mistakes when reading it, she seemed very optimist and wanted to order another scan since she did not have access to the pervious scan Jessica had taken earlier that day. Soon after returning to the ER room, the resident called my husband Terry and me out into the hallway, I could tell by the change in her disposition that something really bad was wrong. She confirmed that it was either a brain tumor or an aneurysm and that things didn’t look good at all for Jessica. The resident then told Jessica that she had something in her brain that wasn’t supposed to be there but that she didn’t think that she was going to die that night. At this point I think every ounce of life was drained from me. All night Terry and I worried if our little girl would make it through the night. It was the worst night I ever had in my life. Negative thoughts haunted me all night long. The more they haunted the more I prayed. At this point we didn’t know that the first miracle was already performed. It was not until Saturday when a neurologist came in and told us that she had a brain aneurysm that had rupture but it did clot itself off. He told us that she was a lucky little girl. As you all know the chances of surviving a rupture aneurysm are not too great. Children’s Hospital was not equipped nor had a doctor that could treat aneurysms so an Interventional Radiologist from West Jefferson Hospital, Dr. Robert Dawson, came to see her on Sunday. On Monday, she was transfer to West Jefferson so an angiogram could be preformed. After Jessica went into surgery her doctor came out with bad news, things did not look good for Jessica at all. The aneurysm was a clover shape around the Circle of Willis and the doctor wasn’t going to be able to put the coils in the aneurysm but something had to be done. There were two options.

Option 1: Jessica would go back to the surgery suite, get lightly sedated, and then a catheter would be sent through her femoral artery to the site of the aneurysm where a balloon would be inflated near the area of the aneurysm that would be occluded with a clamp. At that point the doctors would be looking for changes in her vision, smell, hearing, speech and movement loss. Before any clamping would be done the doctors would inform Terry and I what losses she would have and then she would have a craniotomy. She would lose use of her brain that wouldn’t get blood flow due to the clamping. If the losses were unacceptable then they would have to look at option 2.

Option 2: Jessica would be sent for a very risky surgery in another state. This surgery would entail by bypassing the artery in her brain. Jessica would be on a heart/lung bypass machine for the duration of the surgery which could last up to 2 days.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would be faced with these kinds of decisions in parenthood. Well after trying for option 1 the doctors informed us that clamping was not going to solve the problem and was longer an option. Before going any further Dr. Dawson wanted to regroup with the other doctors around the country that he spoke with earlier. The game plan was that she would be transfer to a hospital in Chicago and a part of her brain was going to be removed and we would have to decide which part of her brain she would no longer have. What a decision for a parent to have to make. Well Dr. Dawson wasn’t happy with that option so he tried several different approaches but everyone failed. Every day that went by the chance of a re-rupture was increasing; the time was ticking and we were afraid time would run out. During this whole time the prayers for Jess never ended. I can remember one day Dr. Dawson came in and said “I have to do something; I am running out of time”. He then took her into surgery again and when he came out with a sigh of relief and said that the clover aneurysm turned into three separate aneurysms in which he would be able to coil that was the second miracle. This is when he said that he was going to church the next day to pray, I knew what had just happened. God had listened to ALL of our prayers and placed His healing hands on His child. I knew that no matter what happened that God would take care of Jess. Dr. Dawson started coiling the rupture aneurysm. After the coiling of the rupture aneurysm he started placing coils in the second largest aneurysm. It took several months before both were 100% occluded. As for the smallest one, well if coils were placed in this one it would give Jessica a stroke and at her age this doesn’t sound like a good idea. So every year we go back get this one checked out to see if there are any changes in it. In our recent visit this past June the doctor said that there is a blood vessel growing around the aneurysm that is trying to bypass it. This is a good thing. Hopefully for Jessica’s case it will fix itself.

Now let’s talk about Jessica recovery. For the first couple of years she has had complication such as headaches, blurred vision, double vision, numbness. I also want to note that her coiling for both aneurysms took place over the first year, a little bit at a time. Since 2009, she has been pretty much symptom free. Praise the Lord.

Jessica has never allowed this obstacle in her life to stop her from moving forward in her life. Throughout junior and senior high school she has played volleyball, softball and ran track. She will be a high school senior this year and is looking forward to going to college in the future.

1 Like

Tears here ... Not sure if what all Jessica went through...or how she never lets this obstacle stop her from living her life...God Bless all of you...~ Thank~you for sharing your story...~ Colleen

think Janice,

This is such a great and inspiring story ,what brave young lady you must be so proud of her . As parents of four children and a grandparent of five we couldn't think of a worse position to be in, you never ever expect in your wildest nightmares you would be faced with the decissions you have faced, it just goes to show the fight for life is strong in all of us, and what a brillant man that surgeon must be.

Best Wishes to your daughter and to you and your husband. John & Sue


I read your story with tears in my eyes and want to thank you for sharing your story and allowing us to become a part of your family's journey.

You are truly blessed with your daughter surviving such an incredibly unimaginable happening for a 12 year old.

Best of wishes to your daughter and your family for continued good life and I will keep you all in my thoughts and prayers.


This is a wonderful survival story! I truly needed to read it. It gives me so much hope for my future. I am 35 yrs old with 2children on earth and 1 in heaven as of 1/22/12 and I have a wonderful husband. I have so longed to be with my daughter in heaven. But I realize that God has also spared my life. I had a rupture annie in oct. 2011. My fear has just about stopped me from living my life. I want to thank you for sharing your amazing miracle. Please tell Jess she is truly a walking and talking angel right here on earth.

Thank You again for Sharing ~ you have truly inspired me to Live Life to the fullest!

God Bless you and your family!


Tiffany since this happened to Jessica I totally look at life in a different light. There is not a day that goes by that I do not realize that each day is a blessing from God. At one point when Jessica was in surgery my husband and I was in the chapel praying and we both came to the conclusion that she was His child and if He needed her in heaven then we wouldn’t want it any other way. By no means is this want we wanted but we knew that God would be there for us, helping us to cope with our lost. Around that same time is when things started to turn around for Jessica. Your faith in God will get you through life, never let go of your faith. I am so sorry to hear about the lost of your child. God must have needed an extra angel to look over your family. One day you will be in heaven with your baby once again but now is not the time. You are still needed here on earth. As for as your little angel, don’t worry he/she is in God’s hands. You really can’t ask for any better than that. Now stop what you are doing and hug those two wonderful kids and husband of yours and count your blessings. If you live every day like it is your last you will be blessed with happiest. God has already blessed you and your family but i will ask Him for a little more.


Thank you Janice! Your are an awesome parent. My husband and I told God the same thing about our daughter, and apparently Alecya was ready to go with him(she was special needs she couldn't walk or talk but everyone who met her learned so much from her ~ She touched a lot of lives without saying one word. We Loved Loved Loved Loved her so much but God knows best. She is probably still running and playing and talking in heaven with her new body~ that we told her about!!

I thank you so much for your story.

God Bless and please tell Jessica I said she is a blessing to know about!!!!


Hi Janice,

Thanks for this powerful testimony! It is so wonderful to read how your prayers were answered and how so many obstacles were overcome. Thanks be to God for the physicians and care givers that treated her and for her amazing recovery.

This September i will celebrate 43 years as a survivor of a ruptured aneurysm. When Jessica reaches my age, she wil be 50 year survivor!!!

May God continue to bless your family.


thank you for your story, May God bless you & yours-so happy she is symptom free & that you know how blessed you are since many of us have deficits-thanks again-

Tears here too!!! Wonderful story, can't wait to hear more about you and your daughters journey. Prayers to all of you.....now I have to go blow my nose.... :)

I am almost 3 months post coiling for an unreptured annie. Jessicas story is so moving and as a parent of a 14 year old daughter, I cant imagine how scary that was for you. Jessica is a reminder of just how lucky I am to be here and that the challenges that are faced compare nothing to the true gift of life! Thank you for sharing and I have a feeling that Jessica is going to continue on to inspire all of those around her....she sure made an impact on me!