Brain Aneurysms & Vascular Disease

On May 25, 2001 I was diagnosed with a possible brain aneurysm. It was a bit of a shock to me. (understatement of the year, eh?) I had been at the doctor two weeks before having a small growth removed from my arm. I asked him about my headaches which I had been having, which always originated from the left side, my nosebleeds which I have had for years, again always originating in the left nostril. Plus, I had been having pain and throbbing in the vein or artery on the left side of my neck. I think the clincher with him was the report that the previous week I had been in the eye doctor for my yearly exam and they had noticed a slight increase in pressure in the left eye during the glaucoma test.

My doctor immediately yelled for his assistant to schedule me a CT scan at the local hospital. Two days after the CT scan, he called me himself to tell me about the possible aneurysm. It said it was very small and not to worry since he wasn't worried. Of course, he wasn't. It wasn't HIS brain. He scheduled me for a MRA to receive more details on the possible aneurysm.

I had to go back to the hospital and pick up copies of my CT scan so the people at the MRA place could see them and compare. Of course, I looked at the scans. If you look closely, you can see where the radiologist circled the suspected aneurysm.
It doesn't look all that big in comparison with the rest of the brain. This is a good thing. Trust me. If I have to have one, at least its small. In my research, I have discovered that generally, any aneurysm under 10mm., which is less than the size of a raisin, they will usually leave it alone.

That revelation caught me by surprise. I figured Dr. Benton from ER or McDreamy from Grey's Anatomy would swoop in, operate and I'd be better by the end of the hour. Just like TV. Wrong. They usually leave them since the chances of it rupturing, if its under the 10mm. size, is small. The chances of complications from surgery is greater. No thanks! I prize my mind too much to end up stroking out or living in a nursing home drooling and babbling, and not aware of my surroundings.

On June 5 I had the MRA done. On Friday June 8 I heard from my doctor. I don't have an aneurysm, thank God. I have Vertebrobasilar Artery Tortuosity, which in English is a twisted blood vessel in my head. This mimicked an aneurysm on the CT scan. It took the more advanced MRA to determine the difference. Though the twisted blood vessel gives me some of the same symptoms of an aneurysm such as headaches, it has none of the consequences of possible rupture. My friends and family swear they always knew I had a twisted mind, now they have proof.  *laughs*

The following links are those which I and an Internet friend found to explain an aneurysm and how one lives with one. I hope you find them as useful as I did. Many, many people have aneurysms but don't know it. We found the possible one in my head because we looked.

This page was created so people could understand aneurysms and vascular disease. If you view any of my pages, you'll quickly see I believe in education. The Darby Diary is proof of that.

The two weeks between CT scan and MRA were dreadful. Though I tried to stay positive, I would be lying if I didn't say I was worried. Though I layed the problem in God's hands, it still plagued my thoughts. I was extremely blessed in my final diagnosis and for that I praise God.

I have decided to use a protocol of supplements to guard myself against further vascular disease. My father died of a stroke, my mom's brother has had strokes and my brother had what they believe were "mini-strokes" in 2000. I obviously have a family history and in my opinion, these precautions cannot hurt.

My doctor and I talked about the headaches and nosebleeds on Wednesday June 13. Bad, bad day for a headache so I felt it best to go in and see him while I was having symptoms. He feels the headaches are due to the Vertebrobasilar Artery Tortuosity and my allergies. The nosebleeds are most likely due to my VAT and allergies. Lucky me.

He decided to put me on the protocol developed for headaches at the University of Michigan hospital. So for the acuteness he prescribed Midrin. For long term he prescribed very, very low doses of Lopressor and Pamelor. (25 mg each at night) He's hoping that soon the supplements will be all I need, but in the mean time I will also use the conventional meds he prescribed.

UPDATE:  I am off all of the above meds. I do take something for high blood pressure, an aspirin twice a day, Vitamin E and Omega 3 supplements.  I still have a few headaches, but they are not severe.  I still have nosebleeds almost daily. I've come to the realization that these are just part of who I am and deal with them.

This is MY decision, which doesn't necessarily mean its the best for you. Please contact your physician if you or a loved one is faced with a brain aneurysm or any other vascular disease.

Site Menu | Contact the owner