Doneeka’s Story

Prior to March 16, 2021, I had never heard of brain aneurysms. My husband and I went to get tested for COVID-19 because we both woke up with a fever. In addition, I had a slight headache and a cough. We were convinced that it was COVID until a doctor at the testing site told me to go to the emergency room. After explaining my symptoms of chest pressure and trouble breathing, the doctor thought I might have a lung infection.

After the screening, I was admitted to Carney Hospital and given a CT scan to see if my symptoms were related to a lung infection. While I sat on the CT scan bench feeling scared, my world went dark. I woke up days later at Boston Medical Center.  I had a seizure while getting the CT scan and it prompted the doctors to scan my brain. They discovered a ruptured brain aneurysm. I was unaware as I fought for my life with the first three brain surgeries. I spent two months in ICU, had a total of five brain surgeries, what seemed to be endless vasospasms that made my words slur, a mini-stroke that left my right side paralyzed for weeks, and my legs swollen like balloons.

It felt like my life was turned upside down in a split second. I went from being a 33-year-old making strides as a new homeowner, owning my role in a fulfilling career, to suddenly fighting to make it to another day. I  was, however, blessed to have my husband and my mom by my side every step of the way. I somehow found a sense of determination that I never knew was within me.

I have a heart full of love and appreciation for my family’s support, the expert care from all the doctors, nurses, and auxiliary staff who had even a glimmer of hope for my recovery. This experience made me cling to my faith in God even greater than before. I am still recovering and hoping to return to my life as a banker, a wife, a friend, a sister, a cook, and a confidant.

I found the Brain Aneurysm Foundation in my quest to bring awareness to this silent killer. Most Jamaicans like myself may have heard of “a blood vessel bursting in your head” but unaware that the proper name is a brain aneurysm. It can happen to anyone, at any time, and 50% of the people who experience a ruptured brain aneurysm die in less than 24 hours of hearing that pop. Awareness can help you or your loved ones recognize the need for urgent medical attention which could save a life.