Yesterday, I had an appointment with the neurosurgeon who operated on my mom when her brain aneurysm ruptured last September. I was referred to him after a spot on my recent MRA came back as “inconclusive.” For weeks, I have been anxious about the appointment and nervous about what I would hear.
My dad came with me to the appointment which I will admit I felt a little silly about seeing as I am 26 years old and have two children of my own, but I am so thankful he was there with me. No matter how old you get, sometimes you just need your daddy with you for support.
It was my first time stepping back into the doors of Gates Vascular Institute and as soon as the elevator doors opened to the fourth floor, a flood of emotions came over me. I took deep breaths as we walked past the waiting rooms that hold so many awful, scary, and bittersweet memories from a year ago. We walked past the waiting rooms filled with families waiting on loved ones and I instantly got a pit in my stomach. I wanted to turn around and sprint down the hallway to get away from it all.
We made it to the waiting room for my appointment and were informed that Dr. Siddiqui had been called into surgery for a stroke patient, but we decided to wait and see if he would still be able to meet with me. 35 minutes later, my name was called and we walked back to the room.
Dr. Siddiqui came in and informed me that he had two pieces of news. First…. “I’m not confident you have a brain aneurysm.” I thought he was kidding, until he kept talking. Apparently, there is a spot on my brain that is, in fact, inconclusive. Where a certain artery usually thins as an adult, mine looks to be shaped more like a funnel, making it hard to tell if it is just the shape of my artery or if it is, in fact, a small aneurysm.
The doctor drew a diagram on my patient sheet eerily similar to the diagram he showed my dad the day before my mom’s surgery. I remember so vividly sitting in the small separate waiting area, crying as my dad explained what we were looking at on that tiny sheet of paper. The odds were stacked against us, and we knew it. It was one of the most emotional and scary moments of my life. Seeing his diagram drawn out and having him explain what was happening in my own brain was all too surreal for me. I burst into tears as he reassured me that he doesn’t feel there is any cause for concern. He scheduled me for another MRA scan at a better imaging center in January, and until then directed me to do nothing but “live life to the fullest and not to worry.” That we will be on top of it if it is in fact something to be monitoring, and even if it were to be an aneurysm, it is so small (1-1.5mm) that he would not treat it anyway.
So… that’s that. I could potentially have a brain aneurysm. I could potentially be totally fine. Until January, I won’t know for sure. I am trying my best to remain optimistic and not feel like it’s a death sentence, but with my family history it’s been a bit difficult not to be a little “doom and gloom” about it. I had a good crying session last night before bed, and now I’m trying my best to change my outlook for the next three months until we get more answers. In the meantime, I’ll take any prayers you have to spare that it isn’t an aneurysm and if it is, that it never ever ever ever ruptures. Amen!
image via buffalo.edu