To whom it my concern:
On December 13th, 2013, my wife was attending school to become an acupuncturist and doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in her third year of study. She was in class and all of the sudden she had stiff painful neck and then she began losing her hearing, when she trying to stand she collapsed. An ambulance was called and she was transported to the Hospital. During the trip she had a seizure and was unable to breathe and required the use of a ventilator. On arrival at the hospital she was already in a coma.
A CTA scan was done and it was determined that she had a 4.5mm subarachnoid hemorrhage ( SAH ) of the Basilar artery tip Also Known as the (widow maker) aneurysm among Nero Surgeons. Along with an arterial aneurysms along the left and right Middle Cerebral Artery (MCA) that had not ruptured. They were able to repair the basilar aneurysm with 3 coils during a 7 hour operation. The Nero surgeons didn't have high hopes of her surviving, telling me that it only takes 9 – 11 seconds to die from that kind if aneurysm bleed and they could not explained why she was able to survive to this point.
They also told me that this type of aneurysm causes many deficits from organs not working, stroke like paralysis, and she may be unable to eat on her own, speak or function normally. I researched statistics and found that out of a 1000 people this happens to only 20 survive, by the end of the first year only 2 would be left alive, but with major deficits.
The following day they were able to remove the ventilator once she was strong enough to breathe on her own and bring her out of an induced coma at this point. She was able to speak both languages fluently without slurring in about 20 minutes (Korean and English). Her motor skills were fine with no problems, she only had about a three minute memory at this point and remained that way for about a week before the swelling on the brain went down and she started to remember. She remained in ICU for 5 days until a bed was available on the Nero unit.
She was able to walk to the washroom with help on day 5. By day 7, she was improving greatly, her short term memory returned and she was doing well other than massive body and head pain. She was ready to be released on day 14 but had contracted e.coli pyelonephritis and had a kidney infection and was kept another 4 days and released on December 31st 2013.
Once home she started to fall into deep depression. Her world as she knew it had come crashing down, she was the type of person that would run 18 hours a day and tried to be the best at everything she did. Now she was unable to look after herself. And didn’t even want to see friends because she thought they would see her as weak and a failure. She was also so scared of dying that she was getting anxiety, and every new headache was an alarm that maybe another aneurysm was bleeding.
After about 3 months battling depression she started to turn around, and showed signs of improvement each day. Between January 2014 and June 2014, we had over 30 visits to the emergency department. On June 11, 2014 she had her next surgery on the right MCA temple area just back from the right eye. They were able to Clip this aneurysm and the procedure went well. She went home from the hospital after about the 3 day, but 2 days later had to return due to a bleed between the brain membrane and the skull bone that was putting pressure on the brain and was causing her to keep trying to throw up. After a few days in the hospital she was able to return home and improved daily.
She was busy trying to do things and felt life was improving, the trips to the emergency also slowed down. We arranged her next surgery on Monday October 06, 2014. They were going to repair the last one on the MCA left in the speech area of the brain and went through the skull in the temple area just behind the left eye. They completed it in about 6 hours using 2 clips. They were worried about her speech, but when she woke up in recovery she was able to speak with no problem. They preformed some follow-up scans on Thursday October 09, 2015 and realized that there were more aneurysms deeper in the brain past were they had operated.
So on Saturday October 11, 2014 they took her back into surgery and went in through the same hole as Monday, when they went in deeper they found 2 more aneurysms that were wrapped around the vessel and didn’t show up on the previous scans. One appeared to have micro bled in the past by the scar tissue they encountered around it, and the resident said it was scary thin and could have bled any day. They were able to remove 1 of the previous clips and put in 2 more.
She has had no lasting deficits from any of the surgeries and returned to school on Feb 09, 2015 to resumed classes and treat patients in clinic. We were ask to join the inspires program at our hospital and have been seeing patients weekly since, we are working with brain aneurism patients and giving back support and hope to the aneurysm survivors and families, who better to ask then a survivor of 5 aneurysms and 4 brain surgeries that has pulled through to answer questions and give hope. We are also active with the brain aneurysm meetings at our hospital each month to provide support to other survivors. Currently we only have 3 volunteers for the aneurysm patients.
On June 28, 2015 my wife graduated, it was yet another hurdle that she had to climb and a very joyous occasion.
So in one year she had about 19 CTscans, 4 Brain surgeries and 5 Brain aneurysms repaired 1 coiled, 4 clipped. With no deficits or Memory loss which is unheard of. Some might say she’s lucky but it was more than luck, everybody was at the right place at the right time even the ambulance guy were across the street from her school grabbing a coffee when the call came in, they were there in less than 2 minutes. She has surpassed statistic after statistic. She is a Victor not a Victim. We would like to thank the Nero Team at our Hospital who preformed all her surgeries. Everyone from our daughters Christian School That she attends, for their support and prayers. Our church for all their prayers and support. Along with my wife's Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture school for their payers and support along with the many others who helped and supported us through this past year and a half.
I have been with my wife every single day through her surgeries and recovery. She is inspiring people and giving hope to others through her story and experiences everyday by taking a negative experience and turning it into a positive experience.
Brain Aneurysm month is September here, I felt that the awareness and hope she can bring to more people, that you can survive an aneurysm and recover and you can move on with life needs to be told. Lots of people hear the word aneurysm and they assume the worst.
This is just a small amount of the things we have encountered over the past year and a half, along with the tears and suffering our children have endured.
My wife continues to treat patients in clinic at her school of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture and is pursuing more knowledge to help treat her patients to the best of her ability through her own experiences, compassion and acupuncture.