My success story

~ sorry for the lengthiness ~

In April of 2012 I had a serious case of vertigo, so bad that I couldn’t even walk. My family took me to the ER. I first found that I had a blockage in my heart (probably from smoking for 20yrs) so a heart attack was first suspected by the doctors. I was also checked to see if I was having a stroke, had an MRI for that. While waiting for the results of that I had an echocardiogram and a chemical stress test. This was all within a 24hr period.

I first found out from the echo that I had had a previous heart attack. Didn’t even know that I had one ……and then the news from the MRI that I had a brain aneurysm. Truly wonderful day!

The aneurysm had to wait as my heart was the first priority. Off to a cardiac catheterization! That turned out pretty well as the blockages weren’t enough to require a stent. The cause of my previous heart attack is still a mystery to my docs. Now, off to find a surgeon for my aneurysm….

Was referred to Dr Tamargo at Johns Hopkins. What a wonderful surgeon! I instantly felt such confidence that he was the man for the job. He felt that a craniotomy and clipping was the best way to go and I felt no apprehension over this. After all the craziness that I had been thru nothing really surprised me anymore. I first had to have an angiogram which ended up revealing another aneurysm, fortunately, in the same area so that would be clipped as well.

After all this it was about 2 months from my ER visit till the actual brain surgery. Yes, it’s not easy waiting to have this done but I was very confident with my surgeon plus my family and friends were worried enough for me!

My surgery was successful, no complications other than the typical recovery time and some vision problems for the first couple of weeks. I joked that I looked like Beatle Juice after 42 staples and a shaved head but I knew that would all heal in time. Between God and my wonderful surgeon I was out and about in 2 ½ weeks and back to my full time job in 5 weeks.

I’m still having my heart closely monitored and am on cholesterol medicine and a low dosage of lisinopril. Quit smoking, changed my diet, walk every day and am hoping that my heart condition will improve.

I can honestly say that I truly feel blessed, had it not been for my vertigo I never would have gone to the hospital and who knows what could have happened. My surgeon had told me that one of the aneurysms was very irregular and he felt that it would have ruptured within a year.

My friends and family ask me how I feel about all of this and how hard it must have been for me and I tell them…… yeah, some things are a little more difficult, my memory at times, maybe I have a little less energy and yeah, maybe my hair won’t completely cover my scar and I’ll have to wear some kind of hairpiece forever and who knows, my brain could take 2 years to completely heal but I can honestly say….life is so much more meaningful to me now, I thank god everyday and truly feel like I was given a gift, I’m not a victim…I’m a survivor!

Hi Valerie,

Thanks for sharing your miraculous story. For your quality treatment and great recovery, I say, Thanks be to God!

Take care.


hi Valerie! what a wonderful success story, I'm so glad you're getting the medical services you so desparetly needed,you are truly blessed. i'm so happy for you that it did not rupture! congratulations on quiting smoking- thats great! Praying now for your heart improvement and strength to keep up with the daily grind-i'm betting the heart will improve with all the positive reinforcements your doing, thanks for the story it was very inspiring-scary BUT courageous, uncertain BUT HOPEFULL, damaged BUT BLESSED etc etc. Keep the faith your doing great!

Thanks Carole and Ron for your replies and well wishes. All the support from this site really has helped me maintain a positive attitude, so you all are helping me as well!