>> Saturday, November 9, 2013 – Aneurysm
Of course, the brain is a busy place....lots of blood and electricity flowing through that crazy mass of grey matter at any given moment. According to my medical records, "A 1.5 mm diameter aneurysm is suspected at the anterior communicating artery region."
What does that mean? Well....not a whole lot by my layman's interpretation. It's just a basic description of the general place in my brain which contains the ugly little SOB. It also describes the aneurism by size. 1.5 mm is TINY. So the good news is that this was caught very early.
It's also interesting that I had an MRI 3 years ago after a family member was diagnosed with an aneurysm. That scan was completely normal, so this a new development in my head.
I can not find a description of the shape, which seems pretty important. There are a couple of different types of treatments, and shape plays a factor in deciding which direction to take. I imagine the specialist I'm scheduled to see this coming week will be able to tell me more.
The family member who had an aneurysm, had a berry shape. It'll be interesting to see what shape mine is.
As I've been sharing this news with people, a common question is "Why did you have an MRI in the first place?"
Good question - MRI isn't exactly a small deal! The answer is I was having insane headaches when I tried to exercise. As in drop me to the floor, I would cry or puke if I could move, hold a pillow over my eyes and moan.....insane pain. The worst headache I ever experienced. The first time one of those headaches happened, I thought it was a fluke. Then it happened a second time and was even more excruciating than the first. I made a doctor appointment to ask what she thought it might be. Given my family history, she ordered an MRI....and here we are.
Another common question is "What's the worst case scenario?"
Well....a rupture would be the worst. Only about 50% of people survive a rupture and a very small percentage of survivors escape without long term brain damage. It's impossible to know when an aneurysm will rupture. There is no set size at which there is most commonly a "blow-out", as I've been calling it. Some people are walking around right now with a 6 mm aneurysm and are not having problems (although, they should get to a doc asap!). Like I said, mine is just at 1.5 mm. It's a pretty decent assumption that I'm not in immediate danger. But who knows? Mine could be on the verge of rupture and we'd have no way of knowing.
I don't share that doomsday scenario to be scary or morbid....thinking like this helps me keep perspective and reminds me that I don't have the luxury of sweeping this aside to deal with later. And believe me....there are lots of times I'd like to just pretend this isn't happening.
Another frequent question is "What's your next step?"
My next step is to see a specialist this coming week. That doctor will give me his opinion regarding next steps. Like I said, I also have a copy of my records. I got those documents so I can send them to a couple other doctors for their opinions. I'm especially interested to get feedback from the rock-star who repaired my family members' aneurysms with success.
And, of course, people want to know, "How do they treat this?"
From my limited research and family experience, there are 4 options. One - wait and observe. If they check again in 6 months or a year and this thing is still at 1.5 mm, that would tell us a lot about the speed at which it's growing. Two, Three, & Four -- surgery. I won't go into details about surgery until the doc gives me advice about which surgery he'd recommend. Needless to say, I'm not real crazy about the idea of brain surgery. However, I'm even less crazy about the "wait and observe" path -- I just don't like the feeling of a time-bomb in my brain.
Ok - I'm done talking about this for tonight. I can only talk so much before the veil of denial starts to lift from my eyes and mind an I start to really THINK about this. Freaks me out!
Hug your loves tonight, friends. xoxo Daiq