Pursuing Results – Scheduled To Die And The 5 Miracles That Saved My Life

“Oh shoot!” I jumped up off the couch and headed into the kitchen. It was Tuesday around 5p.m. and I was making dinner for my family. Spaghetti and meat sauce. I will never forget.

Mom had gone to work with Dad, and my little brother was sleeping in the other room. I stirred the food, tested for taste, and headed back to the couch where I had been resting.

I woke to a kiss. My boyfriend, Chad (now Husband), had been on his way home from basketball when he had an overwhelming urge to come see me.

Miracle #1 – I still believe that God sent him.

We kissed… for awhile 🙂 I stood to hug him when I collapsed on the floor screaming and holding my head. I couldn’t stop crying! Chad was telling me I needed to go to the doctor and was chasing me through the house as I yelled out, “BUT I DON’T WANT NEEDLES!!!” Mature. I know. I remember him getting me to the car and then things are vague for awhile.

My memories in flashes:

    • Chad slapping my face to keep me awake on the drive
    • Chad yelling, “Don’t fall asleep!”
    • The nurses lying me on a bed and placing hot blankets on me. I couldn’t stop shaking. I was SO cold
    • Getting an IV
    • Getting a catheter- I remember mumbling to them that it felt good! I am guessing there were drugs in my IV
    • Opening my eyes to a LOT of people around my bed crying
    • Not having a foggy clue what was wrong and yet knowing it must be bad
    • Talking to my sister on the phone as the medics wheeled me out
    • Waking up stoned on the medivac (medical plane)
    • Waking up in an ambulance so bumpy it felt like a 4x4ing trip down a really bumpy gravel road
    • Being wheeled through a hospital with a towel over my head because I was not allowed to have light in my eyes
    • Seeing my gorgeous doctor and when he asked if I had any questions, asking him if I could still get married! (Husband had given me a promise ring two days earlier on our two year anniversary.)

What really happened according to everyone else!

  • The doctors thought I just had a headache and wanted to send me home from the emergency room
  • Chad got…ummm… angry at the Doctor. Security was called.

Miracle #2 – The doctor that came running was a crohns specialist who took one look at me and sent for my parents.

  • This all happened three days before my 18th birthday, so they needed my parents to sign off on any medical procedures that happened
  • Chad went racing around town trying to find them

Miracle #3 – My mom was parked in a place she had never parked, they were running late and my dad was still there from dropping her off. He managed to catch them both!!

  • They sent me for a cat scan and realized I was having a brain aneurysm. It was leaking and they had to get me to a major hospital as soon as possible
  • They couldn’t find a bed anywhere
  • The doctor came in and said “if you guys are praying folks? Start praying”

Miracle #4 – They found a bed

  • They knocked me out so that I would feel no stress
  • They couldn’t find the medivac plane
  • The doctor asked for them to pray again

Miracle #5 – They found the medivac plane

At this point, they didn’t know if I was going to live or die.  They had to get me in for surgery as soon as possible.  I was medevaced to New Westminster BC to Royal Columbian.  After we arrived, the doctor came in to check on me and review my case, ready to do surgery if needed.  He signed with relief. “Oh good! We can wait till tomorrow. If she was going to die, she would already be dead. And I have been up for days and need sleep.”

My Mom passed out.

The next morning they took me in for an angiogram in order to determine exactly where the aneurysm was. After digging around for quite awhile, they announced that there was no aneurysm! I remember vaguely lying there and wanting to cry with excitement. They started cleaning me up when they decided to look again.

They found it. It was in the “V” between my optic nerve and whatever the other one is.

Fuck. I remember going back to the room and waiting. I went in for surgery after having my mom sign away my life. I had to go on life support and there were huge complications and risks. There was a chance I would not wake up. She had to sign waivers saying that they would not sue if I died. Can you imagine signing those papers??

From what I’ve been told, I went under reasonably well. The surgery took way longer than they thought. They put the clamp on the aneurysm and as they went to move it, it burst. Yikes! I have always wondered if the clamp is loose in there.

I came out of surgery and then the wait started. I did not wake up easily. It took them over 8 hours to get me back to life. Once I woke up, I panicked. I pulled out my drainage tube (for the fluids in my head that needed to come out) and also freaked out about needing the compression bandages off. There is a story out there that I was standing on my bed at one point screaming and trying to get them off.  I would like to think I was more graceful than that, but let’s be honest. Who knows!

I was in the hospital for 14 days. My mom, dad, and sister were there with me.

I remember:

    • a ton of pain.  Supposedly bad enough that giving birth would be a fart in comparison
    • crying and begging them to let me die.  I was miserable
    • getting my period to top off the loveliness of what I was going through
    • food rages. I was on so many steroids that I couldn’t stop eating!
    • the pity in the eyes of everyone who came to see me
    • my husband’s neighbours flying him down to see me
    • having a super hot doctor!
    • the little asian male nurse who I loved. He was amazing!
    • guilt. Feeling incredible guilt at what stress I was causing people. At what this must be costing them and the time away from work and life.

When the doctors finally released me, plane tickets were booked for me to go home. I had to have doctor’s notes in order to fly as I could have complications and they didn’t know if I would beep in the security gate/scan at the airport! I remember yelling, “It didn’t beep!!” when I went through. Bad idea. Out came the pat downs and the doctors notes! OOPS!

Life at home was different now. I had no short term memory and my long term was sparse. Here’s an odd way to describe it: I am standing in a stadium and am surrounded by bubbles. They are all filled with memories. If someone breaks them, tells me a story/shows me a picture/teaches me something, the bubble pops and they come back.

If I am lucky, it is a real memory and I have not just formed a random made-up one in my head.

I also deal with random losses. I deal with not being able to remember certain addresses, and I am not talking about places that I never go, I am talking places that I go almost weekly and cannot for the life of me remember where they are or how to get there!”

This Is A BIG Miracle Month

I am writing a book about my life more for me than for anyone else (who knows if I will do anything with it!) and this last section always makes me stop. There are a lot of feels around the brain aneurysm this year. This year is 20 years. Most years I breathe deep, deal with the headache, and look in the mirror either cursing it or being grateful that I am alive.

The feels are bigger this year. I was told that there was a 50% chance I would die of a second Aneurysm within 10 years and 100% chance by 20 years. This is 20 years!  I am alive. I am in awe. I have spent YEARS not believing I would live past this month and now it is here and I am healthier and happier than ever and it is causing a lot of reflection!

Things that are different in my life because of the aneurysm:

No kids, overweight, hair color, skin color, memories, memory, voice, personality, physical body (nerve endings etc) and more.

Things that are amazing in my life because of the aneurysm:

I have more love and empathy for people than you can imagine.  I am driven and determined and don’t ever stop trying to be healthier.  I fight for my health every single day and it makes me so glad that I have the support team around me that I have.

Am I going to sail through this next week easily? Probably not. This week produces an emotional rollercoaster inside of me, but for the first time? I am going to allow it.  I am going to allow myself to feel all the feels and dig deep into what I want for my life, where I want to go and how grateful I am to be alive.

There is a reason I am here on this planet… Now to show up and see where this life takes me