After the Angiogram

On Friday of last week, I had the cerebral angiogram. This time was much quicker — the surgeon took fewer images since he knew exactly what area he needed to see.

The good news is that the stent area has healed with no weird formations. The aneurysm still hasn’t grown or changed shape, which is not exactly good news, but it is what we expected.

After the angiogram, I had a headache and felt fatigued for days. I’m still a bit more tired than usual today (Tuesday, four days after the procedure).

Next up is the clipping surgery. There are some great videos online about this, including this a patient account. Her aneurysm was unruptured: There are many, many videos of the actual surgery on YouTube, but only watch those if you have a strong stomach.

pe-aneurclipping_figure1So, what is a clipping if you don’t feel like watching a video? Well, it’s simply clipping off the ruptured place in my brain so that the blood can’t get there and that area can’t rupture again. For me, the clipping will be in between the stent and the coiling, so it’s a bit more complicated, but the idea is the same.  The surgeon (or someone else, I suppose) will cut open my head, including a part of my skull, then move the gray matter a bit until he gets to the offending blood vessel. Then, he’ll place a small device, called a clip, on the aneurysm. He’ll then put contrast in my brain to ensure that the blood isn’t going back into the aneurysm. After that, he’ll close me back up, including putting the part of my skull that had been cut out back in, and sew me back together.

I’ll spend about a week in the Neuro ICU, then be back at home recovering for about two months, and end up with a really gnarly scar. The recovery is supposed to be pretty rough — I can expect more headaches, fatigues, and some balance problems. After my brain explosion, I had a lot of trouble with words and memory, which may be a problem again since the aneurysm is in the communication center of my brain. I’m hopeful, though, since there’s no rupture that I won’t have that part again. I still, six months later, have a hard time remembering names of places, people, medicine, etc…. It’s like the rupture affected only proper nouns, but I suppose that’s still better than the alternative.

The surgery is scheduled for about two weeks from now, and I’m glad that it will be over sooner rather than later. I was really worried that I’d have to spend months waiting for this to happen, so it’s somewhat comforting to just moving towards getting the whole thing done.



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