JoAnne’s Story

I had a long history of migraine headaches and eighteen years ago I had a subarachnoid brain hemorrhage while at home. I was a 41-year-old wife, and mother of two children, one in junior high school and one away at college. I was also a non-smoker. I had the classic symptoms including “the worst headache of my life”, visual disturbances and continuous vomiting. I thought it was just a bad migraine headache.

My husband took me to the local emergency room, and they gave me a CT scan which showed a brain bleed. I was transferred to a second hospital and then later to Mass General where I had craniotomy and clipping surgeries. (Thank you Dr. Oglivy and the wonderful doctors, nurses, and staff at all three hospitals who took such wonderful care of me!!!!)

I was in the ICU for almost two weeks before I was discharged to my home. It took eighteen months before I was back to myself prior to the rupture. I suffered with terrible headaches for years thereafter, but I was one of the lucky ones.

Prior to my own experience I knew nothing about aneurysms. Now I know that 50% of people who have an aneurysm rupture die. Those who do not die often have long-term disabilities, health issues and their family caretakers’ lives are greatly impacted.

I am so thankful for the excellent care and positive outcome I had, but I often think of others who were not so fortunate or did not have access to better medical care or scans. I am so happy that the Brain Aneurysm Foundation offers so much education and awareness.

So, eighteen years later, I lived to have so many wonderful life experiences, including seeing my children grow up, graduate from college, marry and have their own children. I was able to work, eventually retire and travel with my husband, family, and friends. I am also able to pursue all my hobbies including sewing, bicycling and being an active grandmother who is a little crazy – as I’ve been told by my five-year-old grandson. Life is very good!