I’m so glad to have found this community of people whose lives have been impacted by brain aneurysms. My mother, who was 82 years old at the time, was diagnosed in 2012 with a large aneurysm in her left frontal lobe (“off the ACA”) and treated endovascularly with coiling. At the time, she had been fainting, which was why they did the CT scan.
After the coiling, she had only one followup scan, and was told the coiling had been successful. Then, 6 years later, in August of 2018, she suffered a bleeding stroke from the site of the aneurysm and lost movement in her right leg and the ability to speak. The aneurysm had grown from 1cmx1cm to 3cmx2.5cm, and was now considered a “giant, partially thrombosed” aneurysm. Her neurosurgeon described it to us as a growing tumor-like mass that would continue to wreak havoc on her brain, and recommended a pipeline procedure which could hopefully isolate it, allowing it to shrink.
Unfortunately, the bleed had been too extensive for the doctors to recommend surgery, so we settled for palliative care for mom and thought the end was near. She had many horrible months from August through the spring of 2019, but eventually, she began to speak and gain strength, and now she can sustain the wheelchair and talk easily with us! She is still in nursing care and incontinent, but she can play bridge (her favorite pastime), order us around, and complain about the nursing home staff. She has come a very long way and is nearing the anniversary of her bleed last summer.
The one big question we’ve been left with is “what is mom’s aneurysm like now?” Since she hasn’t had any scans since the stroke, we don’t know if it continued to grow, stayed the same, or even shrank. We only know that she is still with us, and with the exception of not being able to use her right leg, almost back to normal. It’s a real exercise for all of us in living each day as it comes.
So no matter how bad things might seem after a burst aneurysm, they may get much better. Multiple doctors told us to prepare for mom’s death, but we are very grateful for how things have improved this past year.