On 3 July 2013 I was diagnosed with a cerebral aneurysm, which later turned out to be two. This blog is a journey into my brain as I deal to the aneurysms lurking there. Along the way I'm calling on the collective proverbial wisdom and sage advice of some recognised (and maybe a few not-so-recognised) writers for aphorisms which complement my journey.

This is not just a personal journey but also a journey of discovery for everyone who has, had, or knows someone with a cerebral aneurysm.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is. I believe in the latter. ~ Albert Einstein

Love this quote from Albert.  It became even more relevant to me on 3 July 2013.

I'd been getting earaches for a while - to the extent that I couldn't sleep for the pain.  I'd bugged my GP a number of times, so she finally decided I should go for a CT scan to see if they could find the reason.

I dutifully attended, and the process was quick and simple.  I'd only just driven away from the radiology lab when I got a phone call... could I please return?  No reason to sweat, they probably just forgot something. 

And then everything changed.

As soon as I arrived back I was ushered into a consulting room where the radiologist advised me that, while they hadn't found anything that could be causing the earache, they had found something else. An aneurysm.  In my brain.  They would like to do another CT scan, this time with dye, to confirm it.

I went numb.  It was certainly not an ideal way to break it to me - no support person there, no real details - but I stripped my top half again and lay on the gurney and shook my head as the radiologist's assistant asked me if I was allergic to anything. No, nothing except shiitake mushrooms - but that's another story.  He inserted a canula into my arm and explained how the dye would allow a clearer picture of the approximate size and location of the aneurysm.

As the gurney moved into the CT machine, I felt the emotions hit.  I knew I had to be still, but I couldn't stop the tears flowing.  I cried silently through the whole process.  The radiologist talked me through it, telling me when he was releasing the dye, which felt like a flow of warmth through my whole body - and particularly in my groin.  It almost felt like I'd wet myself - which I thankfully hadn't.

It didn't take too long and I was dressed and back in the waiting room again.  Seemed like the longest part of the process was waiting for the pictures and letter to take to my doctor.  See her today, they suggested.  I made an appointment for that afternoon and left with my pictures clutched in my hot little hand.

I drove back to work in a fog, which I don't think I moved out of for days.  I dutifully went to the doctor later in the afternoon, and she had already received an email copy of the letter and the pictures.  She immediately wrote a referral letter to PA Hospital, which has a highly respected neurological department, told me that my aneurysm was "small" and it was possible nothing would be done about it.  I was ever so grateful for her empathy and insights - not. I was not provided with any further information, no support contacts, nothing at all that would give me any indication whatsoever of what I might expect. That was my first taste of how certain members of the medical profession seem to care so little about what, to the sufferer, may potentially be a life threatening situation.  I put it down to the fact that she is not expert in the field, and resolved to do some research of my own.

Many people I have subsequently spoken to have advised against Dr Google, but seriously, when you are thrown such a huge curve ball and no one can give you information, where else do you turn?

So it began.

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