Part 9 – My surgery, the coiling of my aneurysm.
The visit before my surgery
The following morning the hospital phoned my parent’s to confirm that I had a brain aneurysm and that they were going to do surgery to fix the bleed on my brain. So at this point my parent’s and my eldest niece came to the hospital to see me one last time before my surgery.
When they arrived I was in a room that my niece described as being an empty, cold, all white room where I was strapped into an elevated bed and hooked up to a lot of machines, she described it as being a frightening experience.
She proceeded to say that I looked like a shell of my former self and that all the colour had gone from my face, she remembers looking at me and seeing my heart beating and thinking my auntie’s heart is beating but she doesn’t look like she’s alive… She said that I literally looked like I was hanging onto my life by a small thread!
A mother’s strength – no one knows you better than your mum!
My dad and my niece were crying, my niece told me that my dad could barely look at me and my mum was holding it together for everyone. My mum held my hand and said to me time and time again:
“Fight Danielle, you’re a fighter you can survive this, fight Danielle.”
My mum later asked me if I could hear her or remember anything that she said to me when I was sedated. I have no memory but the fact that she asked me tells me that she has said some very heartfelt things to me during this time and this breaks my heart, just imagining how my family must have felt during this time.
At the same time I do wonder if my mum’s words had an effect on my subconsious mind and my recovery, or if it’s just the story that my niece has told me. I’ll never know but when I’m having a difficult day, I think of those words that my mum said to me and I use them to dig deep and find the strength to get me through each day.
Everyone else was thinking the worst and I’m sure my mum had these fears too…but from what I’ve been told my mum wasn’t taking any negtive energy or thoughts from anyone. She kept saying Danielle will survive this! She wouldn’t let anyone tell her any different, this could have been a coping mechanism, denial or mother’s intuition – actually I think it was most likely a combination of them all.
I was then sent down to surgery…
The waiting game
My parent’s and my niece sat and waited in the family room while I had my surgery. My niece was on her phone scrolling through my Instagram page and repeatedly watching a video that I had posted on my Instagram page a few days before. At this point, she described the mixed emotions that she felt of anger and sadness.
While my family were sat in the family room my partner phoned at this exact point. My niece answered the phone and said that he sounded worried but at the same time he didn’t understand the severity of what was happening. My niece couldn’t understand what he was saying – she’s only use to her grandad’s more subtle Jamaican accent, lol
So when she heard a strong accent she just couldn’t make out what he was saying and passed the phone to my mum. My mum then spoke to him and explained what had happened.
The surgery did take some time so they decided to go round to my sister’s house to wait together and process what had happened.
How did they save my life?
The aim of the surgery is to prevent bleeding or re-bleeding from an aneurysm. There are different possible treatments and the decision about which particular method that should be used was made by my neurosurgeon.
The chosen method will be the most suitable for your particular situation and will depend on a number of factors, including the size and position of the aneurysm. The chosen method for my aneurysm was coiling.
Coiling of my brain aneurysm
Coiling was introduced in the 1990’s as a way of treating ruptured and unruptured aneurysms without the need to open the skull. Coiling involves treating aneurysms from inside the blood vessel. Small metal coils are inserted into the aneurysm via the arteries that run from the groin to the brain.
The coils remain in the aneurysm – they are not removed. They prevent blood flowing into the aneurysm and therefore reduce the risk of a bleed or re-bleed. Blood then clots around the coils sealing off the weakened area.
The waiting continued, another 3 days…
My sister had now arrived at the hospital and she sat with my parent’s and my eldest niece, they sat in silence and waited for the next three days while I was sedated to see what the outcome of the surgery had been.
My niece described this as being the longest 3 days of their lives! They didn’t know if I was going to survive, what the level of damage to my brain or disability would be, if my personality would change or if I would be a completely different person.
The next 3 days involved my family updating everyone on my progress as it was only my immediate family that was allowed to see me at this stage as I was in such a critical condition.March 14, 2018 7:30 pm