Mother seeking answers regarding Son's behavior after surviving ruptured aneurysm

I have an 18 year old son, who survived a ruptured brain aneurysm to his right frontal lobe when he was 13 years old. It is a miracle that he is alive and I am very grateful. He is having some issues and I am unsure as to whether they are post aneurysm related or just basic teenage behavior. If these things are happening because of the aneursym, I want to be more understanding to his actions. If they are not, I can continue to handle them the way I have been which is with tough love. I am hoping that some of you can give me some insight.

He is a very sweet and caring individual and would not do anything to hurt anyone some of the times. Other times he is very sarcastic, hateful, nothing is ever his fault, illogical, and angry. So basically, he is either thinking logically and makes sensible decisions or is thinking illogically and makes decisions that he should know will have consequences. He graduated High School last May and did not find a job until October. He was supposed to start school in August but told me the day before he was supposed to start that he was not going to go to school. He had this job for 2 1/2 months and just got fired. He had apparently called in to work on several occasions with different excuses. I had told him on several occasions where he told me he was going to call in, not to miss work. I told him if he got fired that I would not allow him to live in my house. I was trying to make him understand the severity of getting fired from his job. The day he got fired, he called me at work and told me his back was hurt and he couldn't go to work. He is kind of a complainer so I told him to go to work and that if he did call in and he got fired he would not have a place to live. Guess what? He called in 5 minutes before he was supposed to be at work and they told him not to come back. This is just one example of the type of illogical things that he does when he knows there will be stiff consequences. He says he forgets things very easily. I am not sure if his rational/logical thinking ability is impaired or if this is just being a lazy teenager. He is also pretty immature for his age. Any suggestions or help comments would be greatly appreciated. I love my son very much and want to do whatever I can to help him be successful in life.

I had an idiopathic annie in 05. Am 58 & my conservator (80 year mother) put me in an ‘assisted living’ here in south Mississippi. Everyone is 10-15 years older than I am. SOUNDS like he is using his health history as an ‘excuse’…I say that because we have ONE young man here who IS in his 20’s & had a brain tumor. Brian works VERY hard to do whatever he can. Be it helping someone or just sitting & carrying on a conversation. He also is an EXCELLENT piano player & plays from memory. Can you afford counciling? (misspelled) MANY people use health ‘issues’ … I have a ‘short-term memory’ but have trained myself to use a ‘day-runner’ & take notes (sometimes A LOT more than other… I wish U the best & I WILL add yall to my prayers, seriously. I try to check this site each evening (when I can FIND it) OR feel free to E me: ■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■ My net ‘nic’ is sILVER bELLE (Yes, spelled tHAT way) My prays WILL be with you.

Thanks Marianne. I really appreciate your response. He has been in counciling since about six months after the surgery. The counselors we have used have both said that they believe that he can succeed but it will take extra efforts like using a day runner and planning. I think you are right about using it as an excuse but I just wanted to make sure that I am not being too hard on him. I am trying to make sense out of his behavior and help him in the best way possible, even if that is tough love. I believe that I have done everything that I can to prepare him for the world that is ahead of him but I wanted to make sure that I was not missing something that would make all the difference. I guess I am "grasping" for some answers where there may not be any other than what we have already been told. I can see on this forum that others have way bigger issues to have to live with than we do. His story is an amazing one and many miracles took place in order for him to be here today. I just pray that he will one day figure out why God allowed him to have a second chance. I would really appreciate your prayers. You will be in mine also. Again, I really appreciate your response.


What follow-up testing has your son had these five years? Does he have a neurologist? Has he been given the neuropsychology testing, extensive vision testing w/a neuro-oph, hearing tested?

There are so many symptoms we survivors have that are the same/similar and so varied by location of the aneurysm; its size and the hemorhage level/volume at the time of rupture; if any nerve damage, etc.

I have wondered about the impact on a child's brain, not fully developed, and their recovery results. For adults, presumably, we had a fully developed brain...

Recovery can be horrendous; I cannot imagine having had to go thru this as a child. A friend's daughter was born witha disability (my apologies, cannot say the right word) who is still at home at 40, went thru disablity work function, which I think has been stopped w/the current economy.

Please share more... you likely have done anything/everything....Forgive my getting emotional for anyone in recovery; and, thinking of a child is overwhelming.


Hi Pat,

Thanks so much for responding to my post. He has had follow-up appointments with the Neuro Surgeon and has had CT Scans but does not have a Neurologist. I took him back to the Surgeon in August and they did a CT and all was fine. I was unaware of any types of further testing that could be done. I will check with his doctor and ask about those tests.

I never really thought about his brain not being fully developed but that could have an effect on him. I am not looking for excuses for him and we have tried very hard to teach him not to use this as a crutch. He has some pretty big issues with impulse control. He does not think about the consequences of his actions until all is said and done. He then will realize that he shouldn't have made that decision. I also don't want to be suckered and taken advantage of. I want so desperately to help him to become a well rounded member of society, but I am fearful that he will end of making a really bad decision that will get him into trouble with the authorities.

Here is Colby's story.

He was 13 and was in off season at school. He played football and they were working out in the weight room. It was the hottest day of the year so far (it was April 17th). They were working out in a room with no air conditioning so it was probably 100 degrees in there. He started feeling sick and dizzy and asked the coach if he could go get a drink in the locker room. He went in and laid on the bench and said he had the worst headache. This was his last class of the day. My husband was picking him up from school that day (Miracle #1 - He was home that day). When my husband arrived at the school the coach met him at the car and told him he needed to come inside because Colby was sick. Colby was vomitting and could barely get to the car because of weakness and an extreme headache. My husband brought him home and it took us both to get him out of the car. He kept wanting to just go to bed. We checked his temperature which was low (like 96 degrees), his blood pressure was high but his pulse was low. (Miracle #2 - My husband had been checking his blood pressure daily and Colby wanted to check his, too so we knew what his normal pulse and blood pressure were). He kept vomitting. I assumed that he had had a heat stroke but his vitals did not make sense. We called his doctor and they said that he would probably need fluids and we should probably take him to the ER because they were about to close for the day. Colby wanted to go to bed (if we had put him to bed, he would not be alive today. This is a common mistake made by many) and my husband wasn't sure that it was necessary to take him in, but I was convinced that he needed fluids so we drove the 70 miles to the Children's Hospital in Dallas. It was around 5:00 pm when we were travelling through Dallas and we made the trip in less than an hour, which is unheard of at that time of day (Miracle #3) . The triage nurse got us right into a room (past an very full waiting room) (Miracle #4). Within a couple of hours, Colby had had a CT scan and they found the bleed on the brain. They were not sure if it was an AVM or an aneurysm at that point. We had to wait until the next day and he had an angiogram. Once they decided that it was an aneurysm, they decided to transfer him to Zale Zipshy Hospital because they have surgeons there that were much more experienced with these type things. They said that when his brain started to swell, it swelled so fast that the pressure pinched the bleed and stopped it from bleeding (Miracle #5) .Aneurysms do not typically happen to children. The next morning he went into surgery and all went well and his bleed was clipped.

I disagree with your son using his health history as an “excuse.” Not that something like that is not possible. I am not an expert but he has a frontal lobe brain injury. I don’t know what type of counselor he is seeing but there are counselor’s who deal with our type of problems. If this were my son, before I made any harsh changes in either of our lives, I would seek the proper evaluation and help from professionals and then take it from there. He had a ruptured aneurysm in his frontal lobe at 13 years old. I was 47 and the impact on me was somewhere between moderate and severe. Please don’t give up on him. If you do, who will he have to support him? I hope this helps. I know of one neurologist group nearby with neuropsych testing and the counselors specializing in different areas all in one office so there is help out there. Take care.


Donna provided some good input. Which artery had the aneurysm?

How long was he in the hospital?

Did he have any therapy while there or any followup Rehab?

The neuropsych testing is so important...I can only imagine (pretend?) that some testing would have been done before he returned to school... and/or sent to counselors...

Did you notice any change in his school tests / grades? Did any teachers ever address it?

Then, check out your state's sites on potential available assistance. A friend's grandson has cerebral palsy (think correct term) and had help from very young i .e. 11-12 years old. Then, when they moved to another state, he had to go thru more testing to get into that state's program...well, after their acceptance of his status.

Search websites w/ "children with aneurysms" and similar words as perhaps you can locate other parents who have experienced what you have. Also check TBI... ruptured aneurysms are without question an injury to the brain; just somewhat of a different format. Then Search on "frontal lobe" , the name of the artery, brain development, etc.

Another friend's minister's nephew had an aneurysm rupture @ 9 years... Carol is off to her family now. When she's home I will ask her if she knows status and/or if they would be willing to connect with other parents whose children have had aneurysm ruptures.

Many of us adults cannot return to work; or have changes / limitations in the hours and/or the job functions. It would be so traumatic for him to not be able to maintain a job...I wonder if you could in some way approach the company that hired him to help determine the reason for dismissal...

Then, please check out your medical insurance policy for how long he will be covered on yours... etc..

Hi Pat,

Thanks for the imput. I can't remember the artery where the aneurysm was located but I will find out and do some more research. He was in the hospital for 27 days. He had some physical therapy to help rebuild his strength, but nothing else. The first time that I have heard of the neuropsych testing is from you ladies. I am going to call his doctor tomorrow and see if I can get a referral to get those tests done.

As far as school went, he actually had a milder disposition at school than he did before he had the rupture and his grades were better. I will do further research on those areas and see what I can find. It can be overwhelming. I appreciate your response and your concern.

Hi Brenda, wanted to let you know I emailed friend, Carol, who is home (in another state from me) from her activities. I hope she will be able to ask her minister about his nephew sometime soon. It would be great if parents could get connected...

Can you start a group or a blog looking for parents of children with aneurysms?

Will write more later...had to do this before it slips...


I have to agree with Donna 100%! As the Mom of an 18 yr old, my heart just goes out to your son and to your family. It is so difficult to be a teenager these days, to have a brain injury on top of it…well I can only imagine what he is going through. As a survivor, I can only give my opinion based on what I went through…but I would really consider some type of counseling, for the entire family and a good neurologist at a large teaching hospital who deals with children. It is easy to judge an aneurysm survivor, because they “look” back to normal, but it is sometimes a very difficult, long road to recovery. My best to all of you.


In reviewing this site, came across a Johanna Weidenfelder who notes (if I remember this right) she is 29 and had her aneurysm rupture when she as 12...

She may be a great connection for you...perhaps you already have connected...

Friend, Carol, has not gotten back to me if she could contact her prior pastor about his nephew....

Please keep us informed...


Thank you Kim. I know everyone is entitled to their opinion but when I read "SOUNDS like he is using his health history as an 'excuse' " I was extremely upset. I have dealt with numerous medical issues over the past 15 years and have done well with acceptance but I still have trouble accepting how my frontal lobe injury has affected me.

Also I can see this child saying that he forgets things easily because I had a "photographic memory" and now I just can't remember. You almost have to live it to understand. Some things I remember and others I don't and it is random what I retain. This is why I refer to myself as the "New Donna" because Donna prior to aneurysms no longer exists. I am 52 just imagine being 18 and having to deal with this.

Brenda and son, you are in my prayers. Take care.

Thanks so much. I will try to contact Johanna.

We had a appointment with a Neuropsychologist last week and Colby will be undergoing his Neuropsych testing tomorrow. I am looking forward to getitng the results and moving forward. We will be alternating weeks between him having individual therapy and all of us attending family therapy.

I will keep you informed about what we find out. Thanks so much for all of the support that has been given. It has helped tremendously.

My prayers go out to all of you ladies, as well.



Hugs to you and hope you can connect with Johanna..


This is wonderful news. I am so happy that Colby is getting tested and that everyone will be going to therapy. I hope that all goes well. Keeping Colby and family in my prayers.

Keeping you all in my prayers! Please keep us posted. Take care, Kim

Good evening,

Being a rupture survivor, a mom and step mom(to a child with special needs)I found your letter interesting. Being seen and tested by a neuropshy. is a wonderful first step. It was my dr who said"yes you are different now. You are a new person. Take time to get to know the new you". Regardless of the test results, the truth is he and you are different as a result of his aneurysm(dad to). It takes time,pains taking time. Trying to change too many things at once is difficult for anyone but espically difficult for someone in our situation. Forgeting is normal under the circumstances. Fatigue,physical and mental is also normal. It been eighteen years for me and I still have to watch those issues daily. High activity or lots of sound often makes it difficult to process/remember. To me, it sounds like you,have a little bit of everything going on. Figure out the one thing that would make the day go better. Then work on stratigies for that one thing. Ex....if its limiting stimulation then perhaps working half days or a slower paced job. Being able to take regular breaks is vital. I still take naps several days a week. Let people know what your dealing with. Then they can make adjustments that help to grow rather than blame or misunderstand. Take time to get to know the new son and focus on one skill at a time. Keep in touch. warmly, Gail


First, thank you for your response to Brenda...then, you have 18 years experience....Congratulations and more....

Your 18 years in itself has to be rewarding and encouraging to so many of the young ones (-60)

who are in recovery and/or the monitoring / decision process.

Will you please share more with us on your past 18 years? I expect that you must have had surgery at that time. I know one woman who had surgery for an aneurysm about that same time frame; and, is doing remarkably well. I did not know she had ever had aneurysm/ treatment...until after I had mine.

Then, please forgive me if you have provided your data earlier...I do not have the capacity to locate it.

I have such compassion for the young ones. Astonished when a friend called about her minister's nephew. Another friend's d-i-l has a sister who also had an aneurysm in her early 20s...

Again, thank you for responding to Brenda...aneurysm treatment is so critical to us all; and generates so much more for the young ones.


Hi Gail,

Thank you so very much for your input. I so appreciate the things that I am learning from the wonderful people that are willing to share. I am trying to be patient and understanding. Colby has seemed to be pretty much back to normal for years now, but it appears that some of the things that he is experiencing might just be related to his "brain injury". The information from this forum has given me hope. I can not express how grateful I am for that. We are waiting on the result from the neuropsych testing and counseling appointments so I will keep you updated on his progress. I am glad to know that you are doing well after 18 years. That is wonderful.

God Bless,


I have carefully read your original post and quickly scanned the
Numerous thoughtful replies. Unless I’m missing something it
Appears that nobody is considering what you describe as normal
For his age behavior.

I would not feel right if I did not suggest that perhaps his behavior
Is simply normal for a teen struggling to find his way in life. In fact he
Sounds way better than the way I was at his age!

Maybe it would be a good thing to step back for a bit and put aside
The deep theories and consiracys. This of course is simply food
For thought and something that is only my uin-educated opinion.

Sometimes teenagers will just be teenagers.