In this story Meg Bowman shares her experience finding an fusiform aneurysm after being in a car accident.
“My story is probably a bit different than everybody else’s. In November 2013 I was in a pretty bad car accident. I had a lot of complications and problems after the accident and was diagnosed with a frontal lobe injury as well as a lower back injury. I never actually hit my head, but my head flew forward so fast that it caused a concussion as well as the frontal lobe injury and a tear to my vertebral artery. The tear was not found right away because I was disregarded by the first neurosurgeon that I saw. I insisted that something was wrong, but he refused to investigate further and as I found out later it healed on its own, and formed a fusiform aneurysm. The aneurysm was found during a MRI for another reason. When I first talk to the doctor that evening, I remember being terrified, because I had seen what an aneurysm could do. Years before my biological father almost died from a ruptured aneurysm. I remember seeing him in the hospital in the ICU and he looked like a vegetable. Amazingly, he survived, but that is something that was embedded in my brain, and now, knowing that I had an aneurysm was terrifying.
I was sent right away to a neurosurgeon in Cleveland Ohio, and they scheduled a MRA as well as a angiogram to get a better look at things. What they found was my aneurysm was a different type of aneurysm that could only be fixed with a stent. The surgeon was concerned about doing surgery, because my aneurysm was located right across from the pica artery with the stent, having to be placed across the pica, there was a small chance that I could have developed a clot and have a major stroke. At that time, neither option was looking appealing to me so I was scared. The surgeon ended up having his right hand woman, call me one night and talk through everything with me. We talked for over an hour and a half and even though I was still afraid, I made the decision to go ahead and have the surgery because I didn’t want to end up being in an emergency situation. My aneurysm was considered a medium size, so it was nothing to ignore but also nothing that was an instant rush to get into the operating room so I was very lucky.
Surgery day came and I remember saying goodbye to my children, as if I would never see them again. I was terrified. The surgical team was wonderful and made me feel very comfortable, or at least as comfortable as I could be. Surgery went smooth and I remember waking up and being surrounded by family. My brother was there and he started staring at me and asking where my “cut was“. I told him that I did not have to have a craniotomy, they went through my femoral artery. He started joking around saying that “Oh, you didn’t really have surgery then“ and I think the nurse about tackled him to the floor while yelling at him. It was actually kind of funny! She told him it was very serious in fact.
I did have some issues after surgery with pain. From what I was told my aneurysm was being deprived of blood and was angry. I remember the headaches just being so bad. I ended up being admitted back into the Neuro unit for a few days on morphine until things calmed down a little bit with the pressure. After that, it was pretty smooth sailing. I had to be on Plavix for six months so that I did not form a clot. About two weeks after they stopped the Plavix, I had a suspected TIA. Of course they didn’t catch it on imaging because it cleared before pictures were taken, but I was kept in the Neuro unit again for multiple days just to be cautious. I now take aspirin for the rest of my life, but other than that, I am doing fairly well.
Unfortunately, I did develop a lot of anxiety and PTSD from the experience, which is something I will continue to work through. Being misdiagnosed with the vertebral tear that caused the aneurysm really did a number on my anxiety. I was in a downhill spiral over the last few years especially and I am now trying to pull my life back together. I’m trying to pull my business back together. Unfortunately I’ve lost a lot but I am determined to come back strong.”