Dealing with an Aneurysm by Hilary Topper

Reposted from HilaryTopper.com Written By: Hilary Topper

I did a podcast about this, but I decided to write about it since it’s on my mind, and I’ve been having a lot of trouble thinking about anything else.

I have an aneurysm in my brain.

There, I said it.

How I found it

It was found after my miserable experience at Northshore University (I’m not sure if they now call it Northwell or Northshore) in their ER. The staff sent me on my merry way, and a few days later, I got a call from a neurosurgeon’s office. “This is your follow-up call to the ER. Can you come in next week?”

The funny part here, is I’ve known about this for a while. I had an MRI after my sister passed and have been getting one every year since. The first time I got the results back, the doctor suspected that I had something there but said, “Let’s watch.”

This past year when I had it done again, the NYU affiliate doctor told me there was “No aneurysm.”

So when the neurosurgeon from Northshore came in to explained I had an aneurysm in my brain. I wasn’t surprised.

“It looks like a heart,” he told me. At first, I thought, “Awwww…” then I thought, “Is this a joke?”

Thinking about people who passed

Lori, my sister, came to mind. She passed away from a brain aneurysm nearly six years ago in a traumatic way. (You’ll have to listen to my podcast or read my book, From Couch Potato to Endurance Athlete.)

I started to think about my grandfather, who said to “shoot for the stars.” He also died of a brain aneurysm.

The feeling of being out of control clouded my head. I started to experience that “silent scream” in my head but had to stay calm and steady.

Surgery date

So, I interviewed a bunch of surgeons and decided to go with one from Mt. Sinai. He was recommended to me from the Bee Foundation (a non-profit that deals with aneurysm education and research).

I was going to go with the neurosurgeon from Northshore. but the thought of lying in the ICU where my sister passed away brought back too many hard memories that I would like to forget.

Now, I’m nervous and self-absorbed. I shouldn’t be. But, I am.

There are so many good and amazing things that happen during life. I’m making it my business to do everything I set out to do this year and hopefully, this won’t set me back into 2024. I’m not going to let it set me back.

Although Key West Triathlon didn’t go as planned, the Running Event in Austin was amazing. This week, I will be going on our annual ski trip I take every year with my family. I love being in Mt. Snow during Christmas.

Then… the surgery before the end of the year.

I know I’m not Alone

There are so many people going thru bad things all the time. One person is going in for back surgery. Another has a problem with her knee. Another one has something else. The list goes on and on.

But the point of this blog post is, we need to stay positive. Even if it is hard, we must try to stay in the moment and appreciate everything in this world. Things can disappear in an instant. Unfortunately, I know that all too well.

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain!