Brain Aneurysm Support Community

Incidentally diagnosed with 2 aneurysms

Hi there. I was recently diagnosed, incidentally, with 2 “small” aneurysms; a 7mm left internal carotid and a 6mm left anterior caroidal (sp?). It took 2 MRI’s, an MRA and an Angiogram to see them clearly. I’m a busy father of two small kids, ages 7 and 3, and I work full time as a Police Sergeant in a large metropolitan city. Becoming a dad was scary. Over 12 years, my job has been sometimes scary. But this, by far, is the most terrified I’ve ever been. It’s a very complex kind of scared that mixes fear of my own mortality with fear of leaving my kids fatherless and my wife a widow. That, mixed with fear of the unknown, what could go wrong, and fear of no longer being able to be a policeman.

I’m set for an endovascular surgery on June 20 and that day can not come fast enough. I’m told it will involve coiling or stenting; maybe both- he’ll “decide when he gets in there”. My “Interventional Craniovascular Radiologist” seems really confident, which is encouraging. He teaches this procedure around the world. Performed over 26,000 craniovasulcar angiograms. “Non-emergency” they say. They say I’ll wake up in ICU, then an overnight stay, 2 weeks rest, and I’ll be good as new; no restrictions. My neurologist said he’s who she would request for herself or any of her family. I should feel pretty good but the truth is I still worry.

Reading through some of the posts on here has me a bit concerned about the “after”. Maybe I’m putting the cart before the horse by worrying about that right now. But things like fatigue and mental acuity are things I can’t struggle with to be a policeman. Is there anybody on here that had an ideal experience with surgery? …“overnight stay, 2 weeks rest, then good as new”?

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Hi! The emotions you’re feeling before surgery could have been written by me last year almost word for word. At the time of my surgery my kids were 6 and 3 and I feared leaving them without a mom and my husband without a wife. I think that the biggest thing is having trust in your surgeon which you seem to have and believing that you will be ok. I can’t speak to your surgery because I had a craniotomy to clip my aneurysm but it went exactly as they said…a few days in the hospital, back to work at 6-7 weeks. If I didn’t tell anyone I had brain surgery they would never know…even 2 months after my surgery. I know everyone is different so I never want to give false hope, but I do want to give sincere hope as someone who had a successful surgery and recovery. For me, there has been emotional healing involved so I would be prepared for that. Best of luck to you on the 20th!

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Thank you, Elizabeth, that is awesome to hear! Staying positive is a challenge for me, as I deal with anxiety and depression too. But I’m very conscious of it and try not to go down rabbit holes.

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Hi , I am glad to hear that the aneurysms will be treated soon , it sounded like you are in a very good hands and it’s a good news too. The most important right now to go through the surgery , recover … and then you will see how the things are …
I wish your procedure to go very well, the best possible way !

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Thank you!

First, thank you for your service for protecting our communities. We are fortunate to have people like you who risks their lives everyday to protect us.

Selecting a Neuro-Surgeon who projects confidence, teaches at research hospital and performed thousands of these procedures is exactly the Surgeon that you want. For this type of procedure, it really makes a difference living in a major city as it attracts the best and brightest Neuro-Surgeons. However, please allow time to recover. Endovascular surgery to coil/stent an aneurysm is major brain surgery. Even with the top Neuro-Surgeon in the country, there can be complication beyond his control.

I would start a journal including your daily routine including mental stamina. I would also try some of the memory/cognition testing that you can find on Luminosity. After the surgery, continue the journal as you recover. If you feel tired with mental stamina or other issues with your senses (touch, smell, vision, hearing, balance) possibly start to work part time until you fully recover. Like my old Yoga teacher used to say, “listen to your body”

Think of yourself as the luckiest man alive that it was caught before it ruptured. Good luck. I hope that you have a successful surgery and full recovery. You will be in my prayers.

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Thank you too for the kind words! Also, great suggestion about the journal. I hadn’t heard about Luminosity but I will check it out.

It’s not lost on me how lucky I am to have caught it before a rupture. The hardest part of this is the waiting. And constantly wondering if the slightest headache, sneeze or cough will be the end of me. But the doc and his PA insist that I “live a normal life” (within reason, I assume… meaning no bungee jumping). So that’s what I’m trying to do.

Hi! I had my surgery done 7 months ago. I am 46. My aneurysm ruptured while I was at work. I was not a candidate for coiling so I was clipped. The surgery went well, no complications and I stayed 11 days in hospital. The emotional part is the one that you have to be prepared to deal with. I overcame mine by going for walks all the time, morning and evening. with my husband or my daughters and when I say walks i mean 7-8 km one month after the surgery.
Some nights were difficult. Reading before sleeping helped a bit. There is a book written by Penny Freeman, A Brain Aneurysm survivor’s story of life after…a rupture. This book filled me with hope and it is a good read for all who have been impacted by brain aneurysm.
I don’t want to jinx it but I have to share with everyone that I am feeling good especially after my vacation. The amazing people in this group reassured me that I will be safe to fly and I did. The vacation time with my family lifted my spirits. I went to the beach and I enjoyed every moment. I was overcome with joy because I had no problems with flying and I felt the same way as I was before rupture.

You are going to be good. Feel free to express your concerns, fears, worries with whoever you are comfortable with, trust your doctor, remain positive and enjoy time with your family.

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Hello - I wish you the best on the 20th. I had coiling/stent in 2011 and it was difficult afterward. Everyone is different - some people do great and others take awhile. I took awhile. I was in NICU for 2 days then released on the 3rd day. The fatigue was bad for a month or two afterward and I had to just surrender and rest. Don’t feel bad doing this if you need it and don’t expect to go back to work within 2 weeks. Give yourself time to heal - this is major surgery and they are reconfiguring your brain (somewhat, at least that is what all the professionals told me afterward). The best advice I can give you is don’t rush back to work. You will do great. I know this is one scary thing, but know that the rest of us are here for you.

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First hug that family of yours! It’s not easy being married to a cop. I’ve worked with a lot of LEAs, learn relaxation breathing. My last two coilings were a breeze compared to the rupture. You probably already know if you have an allergy to the dye. And I don’t have anymore after effect issues with a coiling than with an angiogram.

Thank you so much for being willing to put your uniform on and assist the people in your city. I have been in some pretty dangerous situations with LEA, so I understand when we become afraid of what we can’t control. Like your skills in the field, use those with yourself. Talk yourself down, try to keep the adrenaline steady, don’t drink too much, make sure you’re hydrated and you might want to be mindful of NSAIDs. Ask your doctor.

Make sure on the 19th, you are well hydrated. And this might sound dumb, but make a promise to your wife. I had promised someone years ago we would dance in the streets when we are 80 (Charlotte used to have a street jazz festival and two women in their 80’s were dancing in the street). It was the second thing I remembered when I woke up from surgery. I try very hard not to make or break promises.

Also, keep an ongoing list of your questions for your doctor. Let your family add to those questions if they want. I just hand the phone to my Neurosurgeon. I have to remember to keep it from shutting down lol, most times I give her the code. Give yourself a set time to dwell on the what if’s and do everything else you want and need to do. You will do fine, trust the experience of your doctor. Keep us posted!

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Wishing you all the best in your procedure. I had the coiling/stent procedure on Dec. 5, 2018. Like you, I was terrified during the days leading up to it. The doctor who performed the procedure was confident and when it took place I just wanted to get it over with. I was discharged from the hospital the next day and I did experience tiredness longer than the 2 weeks you refer to. June 20th is almost here You will be fine. Please keep in touch.

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Thank you all for the thoughtful replies! It’s encouraging to read how you’ve all persevered. I learned a few tricks over the years to deal with anxiety. I even have an app for that lol (“Breathe2Relax” on iOS if anyone is curious). I’m sorta reconnecting with my faith also, which has been beneficial. My hope is that I not just survive but am able to continue supporting my family doing this job I love.

Sarge, Ask your doc or a dietician in the hospital, how much protein you will need daily after your procedure. Three main things are rest, water, and protein to help your brain heal. Oh and follow the weight limits. Be safe!

And thanks for the app suggestion, I’m going to pass it on to a young friend!

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Chris,

I wanted to say also that yes, we are so very lucky to have found out about our aneurysms before they ruptured but the flip side of that great fortune is the anxiety for months until surgery of worrying that it will rupture. I remember being afraid to
carry my kids around or chase them around the yard. I didn’t ride roller coasters with them when we went to an amusement park. It can be hard to hear that we’re so lucky because sometimes that can lead to feelings of intense guilt if you don’t feel grateful
every second of the day. Let yourself feel everything that you’re feeling and all emotions we feel as humans are totally justified in this situation. For me, it’s taken me the past year (June 6th is my one year mark from surgery) to really unpack everything.
I had many periods of survivor’s guilt (my boss died from a ruptured aneurysm just as I was being diagnosed with mine). After surgery, I wanted to start running again and of course felt nervous and came across an article that really helped me https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source=web&cd=&ved=2ahUKEwit9sr_nMjiAhUSnOAKHU-sAAAQzPwBegQIARAC&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.forbes.com%2Fsites%2Fanthonynitti%2F2013%2F05%2F09%2Ffive-years-after-a-brain-aneurysm-fear-of-dying-cant-make-me-quit-living%2F&psig=AOvVaw3ftTp5PjhsnwyANPUnoXjr&ust=1559476549860410

My anxieties weren’t quite as severe as his but there was enough that made me feel understood. You have a very stressful job and I’m sure have experienced so much trauma as it is and to add this to it compounds it all. I just wanted to make sure I emphasized
that it’s ok to be totally freaked out and you’re not alone in worrying you could widow your spouse or leave your kids without a parent. I’ve relayed this story on here before but at my very first appointment, my husband and I got up to leave and my neurosurgeon
opened the door for us. He paused, closed the door, stared into my eyes and said you are going to be completely fine and you are the one that has to believe it. I leave you with his words as they served as a life raft for me leading up to surgery and I hope
they help you as well. (((Hugs))) and good thoughts to you.

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Ok, I sure will ask about that stuff. As far as weight limits, do you mean my body weight or something else?

That was a great article to read this morning. Thank you for that! Your doctor’s advice sort-of echoes what mine said about continuing to live a normal life. I imagine doctors in this field are pretty familiar with the common psychological impacts on patients like us.

Ok,Yes this is scary but you have got this!!! You are young, I am assuming, in good shape (you are a cop.) You are having endovascular surgery…way less invasive!! And it sounds like you have a good support system.
I have 4 brain aneurysms…2 found 15 years ago-one of these treated with a pipeline stent in 2011. No problems with the procedure. a bit of a headache and super tired but back teaching 2nd graders in 2 weeks. In 2017 at a post procedure check up they found 2 more aneurysms and treated both of them with a pipeline stent. Much longer recovery with loss of smell, taste, short term memory issues. Mostly all resolved within a year. I was 65 at the time of the procedure.Only one left…waiting to measure it’s possible growth over 1 year. Probably will have to have it clipped if there is growth.

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Sarge, with endovascular procedures, the doc goes through an artery either by way of your groin area or in your arm. When the doc removes the catheter that guides the coils and such, they use a closure device, I call it a plug. You will be limited to how much you can pick up, run, etc for what is a short amount of time but doesn’t feel that way. Stick with that weight until they give you the all clear! Don’t be like me (on one of them ) and end up on rest with more rules for a much longer period of time. Learn from my mistakes :slight_smile:

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Gotcha. I remember that from the angiogram. Thank you!

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*[quote=“ccw7993, post:1, topic:11830, full:true”]
Hi there. I was recently diagnosed, incidentally, with 2 “small” aneurysms; a 7mm left internal carotid and a 6mm left anterior caroidal (sp?). It took 2 MRI’s, an MRA and an Angiogram to see them clearly. I’m a busy father of two small kids, ages 7 and 3, and I work full time as a Police Sergeant in a large metropolitan city. Becoming a dad was scary. Over 12 years, my job has been sometimes scary. But this, by far, is the most terrified I’ve ever been. It’s a very complex kind of scared that mixes fear of my own mortality with fear of leaving my kids fatherless and my wife a widow. That, mixed with fear of the unknown, what could go wrong, and fear of no longer being able to be a policeman.

I’m set for an endovascular surgery on June 20 and that day can not come fast enough. I’m told it will involve coiling or stenting; maybe both- he’ll “decide when he gets in there”. My “Interventional Craniovascular Radiologist” seems really confident, which is encouraging. He teaches this procedure around the world. Performed over 26,000 craniovasulcar angiograms. “Non-emergency” they say. They say I’ll wake up in ICU, then an overnight stay, 2 weeks rest, and I’ll be good as new; no restrictions. My neurologist said he’s who she would request for herself or any of her family. I should feel pretty good but the truth is I still worry.

Reading through some of the posts on here has me a bit concerned about the “after”. Maybe I’m putting the cart before the horse by worrying about that right now. But things like fatigue and mental acuity are things I can’t struggle with to be a policeman. Is there anybody on here that had an ideal experience with surgery? …“overnight stay, 2 weeks rest, then good as new”?
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