Being ‘in a bit of shock’ is normal. The dr’s deal with this sort of thing everyday, but for us, the patient, it ain’t quite that ‘normal’. The dr’s need to have that disconnection or they would become burnt out real quick BUT again for us, we don’t have that disconnection, we can’t be so nonchalant, for us it’s real, VERY REAL and shocking. We know this because we have been there too.
“They did a T3 MRI (?!)…” OK, so here’s a bit of an explanation for you. The strength of the magnets used in MRI’s are measured in a unit called a Tesla (T). A T3 is twice as strong as T1.5 (Normal MRI) and the stronger the ‘T’ the clearer the images. Along with the strength of the ‘T’ the images can also be enhanced with a dye which is injected intravenously. So that’s basically what they mean by ‘T3’. ‘T3’ is the clearest image an MRI can give.
‘Waiting for the report’ In really, really basic terms radiologists are photographers, they take the pictures, then they interpret what the pictures show and write a report on what they see. Then you see a specialist, in this case, a neurologist, who has a bit more knowledge in regard to brain structures and the location of anything of concern.
‘…but he found a small Aneurysm…’ When it comes to the brain, anything abnormal is of concern to the patient. We often don’t hear the word ‘small’, we hear ‘aneurysm’ and go PANIC, that’s pretty damn normal I can assure you. And without any great advice given by the medicos, for 90% of us we consult ‘Dr Google’. Dr Google may be OK for general information BUT for a diagnosis, it’s too general and that can sometimes send us into a major panic. This is why you need to consult a neurologist, who can assess your specific situation, rather than a generic/general opinion via Dr Google.
‘But really, I’m just not sure if I can see it!’ and this is also very common. There are a few differing types of aneurysms, some can be obvious to the untrained eye, like a balloon on the side of a vessel. Where some may be like the thickening of the vessel walls and often for the untrained eye can be damn near impossible to spot. The location of an ‘abnormality’ is also very important. For some, ‘annies’ can develop where the vessels split and branch off, for others it can be where the wall of the vessel is thinner. Some can be on major vessels, where some can be on more minor vessels, all of these factors (size, location and type) can have an impact in regard to a course of action.
Also for some people they changes in the vessel may have taken years to change and the annie can be considered stable enough not to operate on or disturb. This is often why a ‘wait and watch’ approach is adopted. If there is no change with the annie over the waiting period it may be considered stable enough to leave it alone, where if there is a rapid change it maybe decided to investigate further.
Jenniferlgro (above) speaks of an angiogram. This is where the medicos insert a small camera into the vessel to have a view of the annie itself, viewing it from inside assist them to assess it’s type, it’s size and the risk of a rupture. I can guarantee you if the annie is small the very last thing you want is a unnecessary neurosurgical procedure. Sure, neurosurgery may ‘fix’ the annie, but it can unleash a whole range of side effects that can be lifelong and life altering.
And finally, ‘Sorry for all the questions’. Do Not and I mean DO NOT be apologising. This sort of thing is stressful for anyone and we ALL understand and comprehend this because we too have been there. If ANYONE tells you to simply get over it, they have never been in this situation and they simply wouldn’t have a clue. You have questions and that’s normal, we all did, we all do. Trying to deal with it all on your own is damn near impossible and who better to ask than people who have been there. So come talk to us. We know from personal experience, not a university textbook.
Merl from the Moderator Support Team