Second Apt. A couple of questions

44 yr old Husband/father of 3...14yr (G), 12yr(B), 9yr(G). Found Aneurysm Incidentally...6mm fusiform on right vertebral arter just before it junction with the left to form the basilar artery. first Question...If the normal size of the vertebral artery is 3mm does this mean that a "6mm aneurysm" would make that artery a total of 9mm in diameter, or, since he is calling it a 6mm aneurysm, is it 6mm total diameter therefor 3mm larger than normal?

2nd Question. Is this part of the brain that would equate to automatic fatality if rupture occurs?? also is it more or less complicated to repair in this area?

3rd...How do you deal with the immense fear and appear strong for you wife and kids??...(kids don't know) Im so afraid it will rupture before my next MRA which is July 7th.

My aneurysm was found by accident when I was having trouble with a sinus infection. I had to wait 6 weeks for surgery. They thought I could wait because if it hadn’t ruptured by now it could probably wait till they could fit me in in six weeks. Because it was so close to my left eye there was a chance of blindness - which didn’t happen - thank goodness.

What helped me with fear was my faith - I’m a Christian. God and I did alot of talking and that focus till surgery was life saving for me. I am a single female and had to depend on family and friends for help. I’m not a Bible thumper, but it really was my faith in God that helped. Lots of positive thoughts and prayers gave me the strength I needed to get through it. I had alot of support through my friends and family. Yes, there were a few middle of the night panic attacks. But I really tried to concentrate toward the good all the time and not get depressed or scared. Very hard to do, but what else is there?

If I can be of any help contact me at ■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■. All the questions about the size and shape, and problems with rupture, etc. you should ask your doctor (neurologist or neurosurgeon). If you haven’t seen one of them yet - call them and ask, people were very helpful with this part of it. Let me know if I can help you through my experience. I had no one to talk with before my surgery.

I can't really answer to the first two questions, but the third I can absolutely identify with, and hopefully offer some insight or advice.

I also was very afraid after my diagnosis--but was unwilling to show fear and wanted to be strong for my family. In the initial stages I thought it best to keep the diagnosis to myself. I waited until I had all the information and had made an informed decision about what to do before telling anyone. I think this helped me immensely because I was not being bombarded with questions I didn't know the answers to by well meaning people who really would only have made me think the worst.

In dealing with it myself, there were certainly other challenges. These I felt were best to face head on. I was afraid, due to the location and size and my age that I would lose my vision either from rupture or the surgery itself, or that I would become a burden on my SO any my family, or of course, the worst could happen. While these were all valid concerns I was able to comfort myself with the fact that I was actually far better off now, than I was a few months ago when I didn't even know it was there. Here is how I figure that. A few months prior to my diagnosis the aneurysm was still there, I just didn't know about it. It still could have ruptured at any time, but I wouldn't have known what was happening and I am certain that my treatment would have suffered while doctors attempted to find the root of the problem. After diagnosis, though, if my aneurysm ruptured, I at least would know what was happening and could be treated immediately. To me, at least, knowing that despite how I felt emotionally, I was actually in a far better situation than I was before was heartening. By just knowing about the aneurysm, my battle was half-won and I was ALREADY essentially on the road to recovery.

Next came the realization that I was doing everything within my power to remedy the problem. By following up with an MRA and seeing the surgeon and discussing my potions I was able to take control of what I could in the situation. That also helped me to fight my fear--I was not powerless.

Lastly, I put all the remainder of my faith in God and in my surgeon who I trusted completely. If he wasn't scared, then I had no reason to be. I was reassured by my surgeon that once the surgery was completed, I would be cured. The aneurysm would be GONE, not just treated, but GONE FOREVER. I could get on with my life and never have to worry or be afraid. I really was able to focus on that.

I really hope some of this helps. Please feel free to contact me if you want to talk in more detail, or have questions.

All the best, good luck at your MRA.


Hi Brad,

I am sorry you are having to go through the stages that most... if not all of us go through when diagnosed with aneurysms. To say it is not terrifying at first, would be all of us though I am sure there may be an exception or two...are filled with fear....but ....the more we educate ourselves and ask questions the more we become empowered to fight to be well again. The journey begins with us being calm and positive.

It is good to talk to your wife and while the fear need not get out of the norm is normal to fear the unknown... you will be gentle with the children and how much they should know, but always keeping in mind that you are lucky they found this now...This is how I handled it it with my children....It is a must to look at all the positives! They found it....they can fix it....and you can have a near normal life after this.

I had a craniotomy September 2011. I you, had a fusiform.....but also had assorted other aneurysms...The fusiform was 15mm....I had three aneurysms clipped during the surgery ....and I also have three small on the opposite side which are being monitored. Surgery was done on the left carotid artery. .

The fear that this will rupture is the first thing that happens when we are diagnosed, but try to not think of it in a way that makes you nervous to the point that this is the the one thing we should avoid...

I know this is all new for you, I am not too familiar with the placement of your aneurysm but truth is that today is a miraculous time in the world of neurology..... stay strong and look to the blessing that is having had this found....Once they figure out the treatment or procedure for will be calmer and will see that the future can be lived fully.

I am not sure if this has been helpful, but I wanted to share with you a bit of my story to perhaps give you a perspective from someone that had a similar aneurysm. I will be going in for an angiogram soon to check the smaller aneurysms being monitored...I have lived with the three aneurysms (4mm each) only on the watch and see list. Truly after a time we go on with faith that all is good and life must be lived well.

I wish you happier times ahead and hope your fear will be tuned into great hope and faith that all will be fine for you and your family.

I wish you peace of mind and heart...


PS/ If you would like more information please feel free to email me at ■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■

Okay, here are my thoughts, as someone who's just been through this class of drama:

1) the size question is not clear-cut. First of all, the "normal size" is just an average, it may not be "normal size" for you. Second, the measurement of an aneurysm can vary-- mine was estimated at 4.5 mm one time, 5 mm once, and 6.2 mm once, depending on the day and who was measuring and whether it was the MRI, MRA or angiogram they were looking at. Third, you need to ask the doctor, or look closely at your lab report, to clarify what they mean by 6 mm-- my suspicion is that's the total measurement, but they need to explain it. You also will remember from high school geometry that the area of a circle or the volume of a cylinder does not change in a linear relationship to the diameter, so you can't say 9 mm is 3 times bigger than 3 mm.

2) I have no idea what's harder to repair or where the best or worst places to have bleeding are. Whether you die, recover, or are significantly permanently impaired by a bleed depends I am sure depends on many factors, including your overall health, how quickly you can get help, how good the help is, how fast it's bleeding (apparently some bleeds just drip a little, some burst), your blood pressure, and who knows what else. Ask your doctor, but I bet you don't get a much clearer answer; no one wants to make bets on that kind of question.

3) The fear I can address from my perspective. I am not a religious person, so I can't invoke God here, but I know that helps a lot of people. I would say that first, you have almost certainly been living with this thing for years and years, and so chances are good you'll just go on with it for a few more weeks until a plan is decided on. If you look at studies, the chance of a rupture in any given year is only a couple of percent, so you figure during a month or two, it's less than that. You know it exists now, so if you get "the worst headache ever" or a seizure, you'll know to go straight to the emergency room, which you might not have before, and there's a doctor out there with some imaging, so you're in better shape than before in that sense. Next, this is a scary, but most likely fix-able problem. It's not terminal cancer or some chronic disease that will kill you slowly; almost certainly you'll get through this crisis and be the stronger for it.

I focused on three things during the pre-surgery scary time: 1) I thought very hard about how terrific my life is and has been, and tried to be grateful for it, just in case this was a terminal thing. I tried to relax and not ask much of myself otherwise-- no training for marathons, applying for new jobs, etc. Meditate, journal, pray, maybe. 2) I tried very hard to tell my spouse, children, friends, how much I appreciated them and needed them and what I hoped for their future, if I didn't get to live to see it. Show your love while you've got the chance (and maybe they'll remember that, when you're no fun to be around during recovery). 3) in some ways, you should go ahead and wallow-- if you were going to die from this, what would you want to have done? Write letters to your children, make sure your will is how you want it, tell your spouse where the important papers are, make the apologies you've been meaning to, take that trip you've been dreaming of....get as close to no-regrets as you can.

As for the kids, I would be very careful what you tell them and how you act around them, because they will look to you for cues on how to handle this and even future crises they may face as adults. The simple truth is a fine thing to start with, but you need to be calm as you explain what's known and what's not, and not over-promise either. You can tell them you're nervous, but you also need to tell them all the positive steps you're taking to ensure that you'll be fine. The younger children will worry about how this is going to affect their routines and their lives-- it's not that they don't love and worry about you, but they are innately self-centered: e.g., if you're sick, who will take them to school? If you can't work for a while, will there still be money enough to have cable TV?(dumb example, but you get my drift). Reassure them of your love and that they are your top priority. And share information about what's going to happen to you; when you get close to surgery, they may need to know, for example, that children aren't allowed to visit in ICU, or that you'll be drugged up and sleepy after surgery.

As for the wife, ask for her support in whatever way you need it. But you may also need to cut her some slack if she doesn't react the way you expect. I wanted my husband to get choked up and emotional and tell me how vital I am to his existence and that he was terrified I would die... but that's not his style. He goes more for the quiet "what can I do" approach to any crisis. I had to ask for an display of emotion, basically. Some wives are going to be sick with worry about how life will be for them and the children if you die or are disabled, so you may need to comfort her.

Finally, you could ask the MRA people to call you if they have cancelations, that might move up your July 7 date.

I hope some of that helps. I am so sorry anyone has to go through this. It was such a shock for me to go from being just fine to scared I could die any ol' second, and even in recovery from surgery, I still have some fears. Post again here, if you can.


So sorry that you or anyone has to deal with this. While it won't seem so now consider yourself very lucky that these have been found before they rupture and cause a further problem. Now consider the fact that these are very fixable and that there are a few options to do so. My wife was found to have 3 annies a 14mm a 6 and a 3. I'm very happy to tell you that 2 of the 3 have been fixed the first was done with a pipeline embolism and the second was a stent assisted coiling. both where done endoscopically and require only a overnight in both cases. You a foun a great place to be this site provided my wife and I an enormous amount of compassion and support for which I will be forever greatful. If I may give any advise at all it would be 1- remain positive at your age you have a long life in front of you and with 2 kids and a wife 3 strong reasons to be positive. 2- easier said than done but don't stress over it, these where there yesterday , last week and probably last year a little longer to get the best possible outcome will be worth it. 3- read and read some more ask questions so that youl be well versed.4- by all means get a second or even a third opinion on the best course of action, find a doc that you a comfortable with and don't be afraid to question him after all it is your life don't be afraid to ask why they want to do it that way one doc told us a pipeline was to risky while 2 others said it was by far the best way to go.

Remember your not alone it this.

I am so glad you found this site. Sometimes other peoples stories can be frightening…that’s when you take a break from us. I also don’t know anything about annies where yours is. Mine were in my rt. carotid artery in the circle of willis… I had stent and coils put in through the femoral artery… I was awake through the procedures… Saw what I could out of the corner of my eye on the computer screen. That helped me those days…feel sort of in control.

The fright is very overwhelming…after all…who’d have ever thought of such that thing could be wrong. I was completely debilated for days at first…from the fear/disbelief. I had to press on…it was Christmas time, my daughter told me she was expecting our first grandchild the same day I told her of my problem… I’m afraid I did not act excited about her pregnancy…I think I was afraid to… I think knowing I would becoming a grandmother kept me going, though. I had to wait until February for my first procedure.

I wish you the best! Try not to worry. The kids are old enough…they will be checking online just what’s wrong… I’m sure the smile on my face after my first procedure alleviated a lot of my family’s apprehension… It was such a relief to me… I had to wait 3 months for the second procedure…but by then felt very confident all would be well. This was all 9+ years ago… I’m still around and doing great. Enjoying being a grandma! Good luck. Let us know how it goes. Just be thankful they found it before anything happened. Specialists today are amazing!

My aneurysm was an incidental finding (5mm). I also have 3 children and did not share with them until all the facts were in and we had a plan- clipping which did not take place until 3 months later. The incidental finding patients are growing. We scan more, know more....for this I am eternally grateful. I had sinus issues. I might as well have been run over by a truck when I found out. I was paralyzed. My primary care doctor didn't quite empathize with my reaction. I found solace with the nursing staff at my surgeons practice. They got it! Calll and tel them how you are feeling. I remember asking how many 50 somethings my age have this surgery rather than watch and wait? The nurse simply relied. They ALL have had the surgery. (Not to be flip, but it was like we were talking about getting the oil changed in the car!!) My surgeon was very frank about rupturing before surgery. In my case (mid cerebral artery at a bifurcation) it was extremely unlikely but being a research guru he had a assign a number which was one in some gazillion but the risk still existed. I took comfort that I was in the best hospital in Boston with the top team and doc. And in the waiting room were a dozen more people facing the same uncertainty. I was fortunate to trust him, his team, and the process with my whole being. Not blindly, but based on fact. He had successfully done my surgery a thousand times. Maybe naively I also thought if I need surgery immediately, they'd have me in the OR immediately.

As for my kids, I do not regret waiting to tell them. My kids are older (high school, college) I could muster up the courage at that point. The dust settled a bit with my emotions and I told them what was going to happen. I hid it well but did not fool my son who sad I knew you were "sad" and that was a great observation. I was sad! My husband would literally hold me my shoulders every 2 weeks, look into my eyes, and tell me "You got this". That got me through. It was like the sidelines of a NCAA playoff game every few weeks. He was right, and I believed him. Talk about a sports metaphor. He held me up. Sharing my feelings allowed him to do what he had to do.

My message is don't try to do this alone. Talk to your surgeon. Talk to his staff. I spoke with a fellow survivor through my surgeon's office and she was my touch stone. She was hilarious, but at the same time had walked in my shoes and knew what to say. Everyone reacts differently. I shook, cried, thought of worse case scenarios. Knowing what I know now, I would have trusted earlier. Spoke up earlier.

Again, I am sorry you have to go through this. Try to find the blessing in having this wonderful option to fix your issue. It is a gift. Hard to believe that where you are right now but you will get this corrected and live a long life- filled with 3 great kids, dirty towels on the floor, homework undone, chores forgotten, missed curfews....the joys of life!!! I wish you all the best!

I completely understand your fear and anxiety. None of us can answer question number 2 for you; however my guess is if they expected a rupture right away they would not be waiting until the 7th. Why are they doing a second MRA?

I can say it is important for you to be treated at a center that does has treated MANY of these and are up to date on all the newest technology. I"m not sure where you live but places like Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins are very familiar with aneurysm treatments. I had a consult at Hopkins and for personal reasons chose Mayo; both are equally as good. There are others as well; in NYC, Boston, etc. Travel is important because you will have followups for your treatments so that is something to consider. I had two aneurysms on the left carotid artery one was 9mm the other 5 mm. I had a pipeline flow diverter put in to cover the neck of both aneurysms. I also have a small one on the right that is 3mm and they are not worried about that one. Mine were also incidental findings after an accident (the accident was not the cause). It is amazing how many of these are picked up by incidental findings. 3rd question. I was terrified as well. I spent my energy getting everything in order for worse case scenario and that really was enough to keep me busy until I went for my treatment. Maybe it was foolish but no one is invisible and it was stuff that one day would have to be done sooner or later. It is done now. Please use this support group. IT got me through the two months from diagnosis to treatment. Trust that you will be ok; it was a blessing this was found....your children will ultimately grow from your experience; it is life changing but once treated you will be good as new!! Remember V.P. Biden had two aneurysms treated over 20 years ago and he was raising his children alone and he went on to be vice president....maybe you will too. Good luck and keep writing. Your wife can join too...

I don't know the answers to your first or second question. I can address the question of fear, though. I have a 4 mm. fusiform aneurysm that was found incidentally. I have no symptoms whatsoever. I have felt fearful, but it helped me to talk to my doctor and to other people who've actually had an aneurysm rupture - I've talked to two in person, and have read some of the postings on this website. I have to admit that I quit reading on this website for awhile because it was making me more frightened. I memorized particular Bible verses to help me through my anxiety as well. My aneurysm was found back in February, so I've been dealing with the fear and anxiety for several months. I'm going in for surgery on July 2 to have my aneurysm clipped, and yes, I'm afraid of the surgery, but I know I have a very good doctor.

Hi. This will be quick as I'm in an airport waiting for a flight. I know how you feel. When I was told about my annie I was so surprised (or do I mean shocked) that I didn't ask any questions at all. Big mistake, because I ended up in the same state as you. I've been through the MRI's and angiograms etc and on July 7 I get a verdict - surgery or through the arteries. I don't know much about fusiform annies but what i do know is that the risk of a 3mm annie exploding is very low. However, I strongly advise you to start writing a list of all your questions - everything! Even if it sounds stupid. Like, can I fly, should I stop drinking, can I carry weights. Everything. And, when you get in front of a medic, you don't walk out of there until you've got all the answers. I did it and it helps a lot. Also, get a second opinion. The first guy I saw said that surgery was the only answer - which simply wasn't true. Have to go now. Remember, it's your life and you've got a right to know what's going on. Very best of luck, Richard.


Boy can some of us relate. It is completely normal to be terrified. It means you want to live and that is half the battle. Trust that your Drs. know what they are doing and if they say wait til July 7th, know they would never put you in harms way. If they didn't think you were safe they would get you in immediately. Were you told you are in the "safe" mode until it's 10mm? That's what they told me so my advice to you is breath.

I'm going to play bad cop here but I don't think you should hide it from your kids. My kids were 12 and 8 when we found mine but I lived with it for 10 years before it grew big enough for intervention. Of course you and your wife know what's best for your kids but they need to be a little prepared. Don't scare them too much but let them know "something" is going on with dad but that the Drs. are going to do everything they can to fix it. They need to know because when you come home from the clipping, and you WILL come home, life as you all know it will stop for a while. Things will be completely different and if you would like more info on the "after surgery" part, please message me. I would LOVE to prepare you and your family for what lies ahead.

Oh and it just means that the 3mm artery now has a 6mm "bubble" coming out of it. :) Hope this helps and please, remember to breath and relax as much as possible. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you and I'm so glad you found this site.

Good Morning,

I know and understand the fear. At the time I was waiting for surgery, I just tried to stay calm, discussed what I was feeling with my children and family, and I remember laughing a lot - I think this may have been due to the

panic I was feeling but refused to acknowledge.

I think we all deal with this in our own way and somehow, we do find a way even if it feels like there is no way of dealing with it.

My advise is to stay positive, keep calm and have lots of faith.

Hi. I had a7 mm aneurysm found incidentally. I am 60 yrs old. I am a nurse. A 7mm Annie didn’t strike me as that large… It is in my opthalmic artery left side. I happen to live in buffalo NY where we have the Gates Vascular Institute (GVI). They use the pipeline stent inserted endovascularly via groin… I’m told they are world renown and Dr’s come from all over to learn how to place them. I had it done in January 2013. My Annie currently is 4mm. It hasn’t extended but I was led to believe it would resolve by now. It worries me some, I can’t scuba dive anymore, but I know that the fact that it hasn’t extended shows it’s stable.
As to the effects of a rupture, google the areas of the body controlled by this area of the brain. I’m not sure which they are.
As far as measurement,I think an Annie is measured from beginning of " bubble" in artery to the end not the diameter of the vessel. However these are questions for the doc.
My Dr is Dr Levy at GVI he is very good. If you don’t know your doc is you may want to find someone who you have faith and confidence in.
I hope all is well with you. God bless you always in your treatment. With 3 young children it sounds like he has a plan for you that’s not completed yet so pray his healing and guidance and I will do the same for you!