Brain Aneurysm Support Community

Stressed out and starting to worry

I have been recently diagnosed with two unruptured aneurysms in my brain. I am a 51 year old mother of five children and grandma of two. One is 8.8mm in a bifurcation area of the artery (the Y where the artery splits - right in the main stem) and another to the right of that same arm of the artery that is 3.7mm. I had situation at work where they thought I had a TIA - and the only reason these were found is because I had an MRA. The CT and MRI were both clear. I have been given the choice of choosing how I want to get rid of these things and of the four choices; the clipping is the only one that can somewhat guarantee they will not come back. I am scared to have a piece of foreign material; WEB, coil, or sheath/screen inside the artery itself, and was wondering if anyone has had a similar issue with any good advice. I don’t like the idea of my head being drilled into either and the neurosurgeon did state that the smaller aneurysm is near my speech and motor skills part of my brain. I am scared to death of any of these procedures, honestly and don’t want to have to make this choice; but it has to be done. Does anyone have any experience with these choices and having two to deal with?
Please help!
Scared Senseless and Feeling Numb

I am almost the same age as you and facing the same choice which I absolutely hate. Like you, I don’t like any of the options and I’m finding it hard to decide. My decision has been delayed by a separate problem with my optic nerve and that may make the decision for me, but I can definitely empathize with you. I am personally leaning toward clipping based on several factors, but I think it is a very individual process to work through. I know I have a ton of questions for my neurosurgeon the next time I see him, including the specific devices that would be used and the type and length of anti-platelet therapy for the stent option. I made a pro/con list and it didn’t help much because for every pro on one side there is an equally compelling one for the other. Maybe this will work for you? I wish none of us had to make these decisions and I wish you the best of luck in whatever you decide. Keep us posted. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Thank you for the reply. I actually have four pages of questions all based on the four choices I face. After all is said and done - I still want to be ME afterwards. The risks are high with each option, the side effects too. I will know when my surgery is this week Thursday and to say it is causing issues with my nerves, sleeping and anxiety would be an understatement.
Hope all goes well with yours too!
Peg

1 Like

Dear feeling numb, Your situation is very similar to what I experienced last fall. I was diagnosed with a large aneurysm near the right optic nerve and was offered a choice of coiling + stents or clipping. Both options presented some challenges, but I, finally, settled on coiling +stents. I am 74 and I am okay with my decision. The only complication is that the aneurysm being wide necked, I now need another procedure to add more coils. I am also on 2 blood thinners because of the stents. It is a hard decision to make and I wish you all the best in whatever you choose. Waiting is the hardest part. Keep in touch, Ida

1 Like

Hi! First of all, (((hugs))). My story is similar to yours so I hope you will find what I say helpful. I was diagnosed last March after an MRA and only had one aneurysm, but like your it was at a bifurcation. Unlike you, after a CT angiogram and then cerebral angiogram, it was determined that clipping was my only option. Or do nothing. Doing nothing was not an option personally because I have two little kids and couldn’t take the chance. I also was extremely fortunate that after my first appointment with my neurosurgeon, I knew he was my guy. I trusted him completely. That being said, I was terrified, I wrote my kids and husband letters just in case. I was worried I would have deficits or not be the same person. I was terrified it would rupture before surgery. I had my clipping last June and it went way better than I could have anticipated and I’m really glad I did it. For me, the waiting period before surgery was by far the worst part of the whole experience. Only you will be able to decide what’s right for you, but I wanted to share my story of having a good experience. Feel free to ask more questions or message me privately if you need more supports. Hang in there!! You can do this!

2 Likes

Hello feeingnumb- Very sorry to hear about your condition. I had a ruptured aneurysm 5 months ago, I am 46. Clipping was my best option suggested by doctors. All went well. I stayed 11 days in hospital. My incision healed nicely, I didn’t have pain and I was able to sleep during the night. I started going for walks, 20 minutes in the first days and I increased that when the weather was nice and I felt stronger. I drank lots of hot water, kept myself busy with housework and I wanted whenever possible someone staying home with me.
I am doing well. I had the same fears as you do. Thank God everything worked well. Whatever decision that you take, I wish you the best of luck. Keep us posted.
Alma

2 Likes

Elizabeth,
I am leaning towards clipping since it’s a more long term fix and nothing foreign in the artery itself. I, like you, have written letters to my husband and boys just in case. I think the scariest part for me is facing my mortality and all the things I haven’t done but always put it off for one reason or another- when I recover - and I will because I have a fantastic neurosurgeon; you can bet I won’t put things off any longer! I am worried about the deficits too but know I can’t do just nothing. I hate that there are so many people who have experienced this same issue but also grateful to hear good stories - like yours. I cried when I read your reply to me, as we are really very much alike! Thank you for helping me to ease my mind. It was very appreciated.

Feeling numb.

Peggy D

:blush:

Hi I had an incidental find which was a basilar tip aneurysm. It was 6mm. A previous MRI from 4 years previous found it was there then but no-one had commented on it. It hadn’t changed in size. The neuro surgeon first of all advised a watch and wait approach but wanted to perform an angiogram to look more at surrounding arteries. Straight after that he told me he wasnt happy with the position of it. It was pressing against my optical nerve and would discuss my case in the MDT meeting. I had an appointment 3 weeks later and it was decided to operate. He wasn’t sure at that point what to use as in coil, stent etc. He said he would decide once in there. 3 months on and D day arrived. I was strangely calm about it. All went well. A mesh cup was inserted. Had to lie flat for 4 hours after. Stayed one night in hospital then went home. That week I suffered problems with my vision. Not being able to focus. Would only last a few minutes. Called the team and was sent for an urgent MRI looking for signs of mini strokes. All was clear. Got referred to opthamology. Spent 4 hours in that department. Everything fine. Then got sent to a TIA clinic where the consultant said i was experiencing silent migraine auras. The google images matched what I was seeing so got medication for that. I was told initially I would be off work for 2 weeks !!! 2 weeks turned into 4 months. I returned to work on a phased return but was so tired everyday I ended up being signed off again. My memory is awful. Mental fog. I personally didn’t want to take the chance of it rupturing but that decision was kind of taken out of my hands. I still worry with every twinge I get in my head but life goes on and you have to try and live it as best as possible.

Hey Peggy,
I can COMPLETELY empathise with you. I have required a few neurosurgeries (6 so far) and it never gets easier. That thing within our skull, our brain, makes us who we are and all those ‘What if…?’ questions are normal.

It seems to me (from the outside) that you have considered your options, made a decision, so now it’s up to the dr’s to act. You have made plans for the ‘worst case scenario’ ie writing letters and that is brilliant, you’ve considered and acted. So, well done. My only other suggestion here would be making a will AND appointing your husband as a ‘medical power of attorney’ and not just power of attorney. Medical POA gives your husband full right of say over your treatment. A simple ‘power of attorney’ can be open to interpretation when it comes to medical and the dr’s can over rule it. Having a specific medical POA makes it very clear. Having your exact wishes written out signed and witnessed covers you on all sides.

Now, look, we all hope that it’s never needed and that it’s only a precaution and by no means am I trying to scare you, but I have personally been in a situation where a family member lost the ability to clearly communicate her wishes, the paperwork was not in place, the medicos took over and the family lost all right of say.

None of us, me included, ever wanted to have that dreaded conversation of 'What if…" but having been in this situation both as a patient and family member, it’s a must. You will save yourself and your loved ones so much anguish and heartache by having that conversation.

Like I say I’ve required a few neurosurgeries and although things could have been better, I’m still here and still kicking. Having that little bit of peace of mind if the worst came to the worst I was covered and so was my wife meant that was one less thing for me to worry about.

Merl from the Moderator Support Team

1 Like

Merl,
I hate thinking of the “what if‘s”. My writing the letters is my way of communicating to my husband and my kids exactly how much they mean to me.

I’ve always been one to write in a journal so I started to do that as well. Medical power of attorney is actually a really good idea because I don’t want to be kept by extraordinary measures.

My faith in God and in my surgeons hands And her ability are hopefully going to be what gets me through - that and the strength in myself. As I am a survivor of more than just this.

Thank you for the encouragement and I will update as time permits and God wiling.

Peggy

1 Like

Hi, I had aneurysm surgery on 8/30/17 and 9/11/17 After suffering subacharoid hemorrhage. Had two aneurysms and two craniotomies. In the first surgery I had a clipping and in the second the Dr. decided that it was in a spot where it would cause no harm. It is a scary thing to have to deal with. In my case I had no option. It is just good to know that you were given an MRA. So many times that is not done. If the coil is an option for you, go for it, but if they are recommending a crainiatomy than please do that.

Hi Feeling numb,
If this writing isnt normal 29 surgery hand in cast. Your letter was the first one I read and brought me back to my 50ths and same questions.
When I was searching dr and answers I had actually had the director at tuffs who runs the Annersyum cention, call me and wanted to why I didn’t make an apt calling at night. Caring dr . I was afraid and very unknowable of everything.
I do know that I wasn’t to hot on coiling. Had my husbands nephew has coiling and does go in to correct some of the problems still 10 yrs later. So I knew I make the correct decision for me was a clipping. I would not hesitate to go that wY again.
I know it’s a real tuff decision and you alone have to make … I make the letters to everyone the day after Xmas, had all the necessary paper workdone by a lawyer . Etc.
I actually went into surgery without much knowledge, 10 years it seems it was a life time ago.Now I watch videos of surgery.
My plate was removed because if was shifting toward my eye. So I can say that ‘s a good thing . .My hair was short and yes it will get shorter but that’s minor, I was lucky I am a runner I can’t stay long at hospital s, so I was there for 2 days, third day at Walmart looking for specials.
I couldn’t walk the stroller held me up. Have to admit I scared a lot of people I did have a lot of concerns and worries right after I think that normal . As the years have passed I’ve come to terms with another and never think about it. , I was given a gift to me the first time. Because really it shouldn’t have been found.
You should do what you feel comfortable with ask questions and this site you’ll get so much love and understanding nothing will be a stupid question. Everyone has been their. You’ll need time and rest for your self. You’ll know when you need to rest. I had a 6 month old and 3 yrs on my stomache a week after , which gave me something else to think of babysitting for my grandchildren. Get all your necessary done go with a clear head, believe in your dr, you’ll be amazed how strong you are in this special group of wonderful caring people.I meet a nurse on this site and actually saw her in MGH. She wanted to leave like Me… Please contact me anytime you want to talk doesn’t matter the time. .Will be thinking of you how well things went and you are home again.

Peggy,

I’m so glad my message was helpful to you. We are so similar and at least for me it helped (and still helps!)me feel not alone to connect with others. It’s hard even within the aneurysm community because everyone’s journey can be so different from each
other. It is very hard to face our mortality. I was 40 at the time (41 now) so a similar age to you. After coming through it, that is actually the biggest blessing because it puts into perspective everything that is important. It is very terrifying for you
right now but I will leave you with a story I’ve shared on this site before. At my very first appointment, my husband and I got up to leave and my neurosurgeon opened his office door for us. Then he closed it again, turned to me and stared me straight in the
eyes and said you are going to be completely fine and you are the one that has to believe it. His words were a life raft to me and of course, he was right. Maybe his words can help you, as well. Big (((hugs))) to you as you move through this process!

1 Like

I also had a choice of coiling or clipping I had a unruptured aneurysm in Nov of 2016. I also went with clipping because I felt it was a more permanent fix and I also did not want to be on blood thinners. I have had no issues since then and overall my recovery was surprisingly quick considering how invasive it is. I am 63 years old, female. Hope this helps.

It did. I have opted to go with clipping also and I have spoken to several people that I’ve had it and feel this is the best choice for me!

I bet it feels good to have a decision made. Best of luck to you and keep us posted. :slight_smile:

I went through the same thing recently and am now 7 weeks post surgery with no regrets. For me the making the decision and waiting were actually the worst part. Just allow enough time to fully recover before “getting back to your regular life”; I am going to give it at least another month before going back to work.

The update on my process: I only had two choices for the bifurcation aneurysm- webbing (woven endobridge) which is newly FDA approved and I would be the first patient in our area to get it and I am not comfortable with that. My only other option is to clip it due to its location at the top of my carotid artery. I chose to have it clipped before my appointment- so the horseshoe scar on my left frontal lobe is what I will end up with and hopefully they can get the second smaller one on the posterior side of the branch of the carotid with the craniotomy. Otherwise I will have to have a stent put in months down the road. My surgery is scheduled for May 8th. I am scared senseless but know I have a fantastic neurosurgeon and it is also in the hands of our Lord and maker. Please keep me in your prayers!

Wishing you the best on your surgery. Keep us posted!

Wizard
Thank you for telling me what you did the waiting is hell; but I feel I have made the right choice.

I went to get most of my hair cut off and shaved so it wasn’t such a shock when the doctor did it and I still cried when the stylist cut it! Since my scar will be a horseshoe shape on the left front of my skull - I figured I would try to prepare myself first.

For someone who has to go through this - it is 75% mental attitude first and foremost and it is not easy!

Thanks for saying 7weeks and no regrets though - that alleviates some of my anxiety!
Keep healing and getting better!
Peg