Meeting Challenges

I was 29 when I Hemorrhaged from a brain aneurysm. At the time (about 3 months before the hemorrhage) I had started to again, get what I thought was chronic migraines. I was and am a migraine suffer. I did go to the ER twice for pain management when my migraine medication failed to work. They never did any kind of head scans,due to my history of migraines, but i have been told the second time I came in one should have been done. I spent almost 2 months with a migraine that would not go away. July 17th 2001 I was walking through my house to the garage to meet my mother and stumbled. The next thing I knew I was grabbing my head due to the most painful feeling I have ever experienced and then blacked out. The next thing I knew there were 2 EMT officers knelling beside me. I tried to answer their question, but it was like I had had a stroke, only the left side of my body was working. I was taken to the hospital and was given a cat scan. It showed that the space between my brain and skull was filled with blood. I was transfered to another hospital with a intensive care neurology center. I was in the hospital for two weeks where my aneurysm was coiled. I know that I was blessed to survive the aneurysm and also survived without some of the awful conditions that this illness can cause. All of my hair fell out, the pores simply opened and release my hair from the root in order to make space all of the hemorrhaged blood. I also had some cognitive issues, but I spent 4-5 years rectifying that issue and was able to go back to school. When the aneurysm happened I was applying to medical school. When I went back to school I had to do all of my requirements over again because, the others had expired. I am planning to start medical school fall of 2013! It was not easy getting to get to this point, but it has been worth it! I am truly blessed with a second chance, which is why I would like to become active in my area and help new survivors both old and young, but especially the younger survivors that like me were about to begin the careers that they had decided to start and find themselves having to put off what was supposed to be the best time in their lives.

If I can be of help to anyone dealing with going back to school or trying to go graduate school and who has been told, as I was, that it was not possible after the aneurysm, please feel free contact me.

Thank you,


Wow -very inspiring. I am now so interested in reading everything I can about neuroscience - not that I understand it all! Good for you and best of luck, stamina and all those big and little things that seem to get in our way sometime!! MJ

My wife was told the same thing by a specialist at a rehab hospital back in 1994. She spent the next 14 years believing what she was told was true. In 2009 I finally convinced my wife that I didn't believe it because of all the progress she has made. She finally agreed to meet with a vocational rehab specialist (not employed by that facility) who arranged computer training for her. Today she readily agrees that what she was told back then negatively impacted how she approached life. She now a wiz at Powerpoint and Excel programs. Now if we could only figure out how to eliminate all her migraines we could safely say she's back to her old self!

Thank you for you well wishes. I know it is going to be a challenge, but I am not only studying for the test. BODY,MIND, and SPIRIT. I workout, I study and I go to church to recharge for the week to come. Take care,


Dear Ed,

Thank you for sharing your wife's story with me. As I said I was 29 when I had my Aneurysm, but what I didn't say was it happened on July 17....My birthday was August 3. I was such a drama queen about turning the big 3 0. The day my mom wheeled me out to the dining room and I say that cake I cried my eyes out. I LOVE BIRTHDAYS!! Soon after I began to have the chronic migraines. I had had them as a teenage, but these were in a class all by themselves. So, I totally know what your wife is going through. I am sure you have a neurologist. She should ask him/her about the drug verapamil. It has stopped the chronic migraines. The medicine is prevention taken every night before bed. I still get migraines, but if I can catch it at the headache stage I take a migraine medicine called Axert 12.5mg or Frova 2.5mg. Hope some of this information is help full.

I am so inspired by the fact that your wife ignored the "specialist". I remember when I went in to see the specialist it was awful. I graduated from college with honers and I found myself unable to quickly identify or remember what was just shown to me. After calculating my score I was told that becoming a doctor ,which has been my dream since I was a little girl, was not a option any more. I to went through a period angry and believing what I had been told. finally, one day I just opened a science book and started reading. I had to take all of my requirements over again and I sit for the MCAT this summer. I WILL BE GRADUATING WITH AN MD IN 2017!!! And I promise you Ed that I will be the specialist advocating and supporting my patients. I will be that doctor that both your wife and I needed. Take care and keep in touch.

Thanks again,



Although I'm a guy, I'll say "you go girl." If you end up practicing somewhere in PA we'll be sure to sign up. My wife was fortunate to have had earned her Bachelor's and Master's degrees prior to the rupture and clipping. She still retains all the knowledge for her occupations. It's just so sad that she got really bad advice early on. But I guess in 1994 medical knowledge was rather slim for TBI patients and everyone was generally grouped together. With respect to her migraines we and her Doctor's need to figure out a plan to remove five stainless steel sutures holding her bone flap in place. It's a risky procedure given the epoxy type glue used to cover over the sutures. Presently she takes Maxalt Melt 10mg tabs that are sometimes effective if taken early and the triggers aren't excessively high. She shares some of the same experiences as you with respect to age at onset and early head pain. We have strong reason to suspect that the early headaches were the result of the aneurysm lesion formation because it wasn't large enough to show up on a CT scan at that time. Tens years later and much fewer headaches, it went BOOM! I watched tonight Gabby Giffords announcing her resignation and the retrospect ABC covered and it brought back so many memories of my wife's recovery. Sadly, even though she was at a renoun brain injury rehab hospital, they offered so little resources for her post rehab recovery. Her post surgical migraines were chalked up to "it'll get better over time." Well, It never has and she was left to flounder for many years to recover, find herself again, and suffer from these agonizing migraines. All totaled, she has lost 1,961 days to headache/migraine pain since we started actually tracking the days in 1999.

Sorry, I guess this was my little bit of venting.

Wow you are something else ! What that something is I don't know . lol . I have been a stay at home mom for 11 years . I have 2 boys and I had been waiting for my youngest to start school before I entered the working world. My annie ruptured may 5, 2011 4 months before he started school. Its been 8 months since my annie ruptured .Now that I can work I'm afraid too. I forget things ALL THE TIME . I studder when nervous or overwhelmed and when talking to someone I know what I want to say the words are there in my mind they just come out wrong. Which is so embarrassing. I'm afraid of failure afraid to look like an idiot .but if this was one of my boys talking like this Oh I'd have a mouth full for them .I need to take my own advice . I'm just so afraid. I admire you , you are quite the example I'd want to set for my kids.No I will not be attending med school (lol) but you are and after this .I'm sure you have some issues so some extent due to the rupture . How do you deal with them under the pressure ?

Wanted to share with you at 23, I haqd a ruptured aneursym. Nine months after my onset and recovery I started college; six years later I obtained my Master's degree. I am now 48 and am blessed every day I am alive because a couple of times I almost didn't survive. Although my left side is paralyzed I cannot imagine myself any other way. This May I will celebrate 25 years. 1987 seems like a lifetime ago!

thank you i appreciate you sharing that.