Sarah’s Story

My name is Sarah. I live in the UK. I had an aneurysm rupture. That was in December 2014 and I was living in Boston. I just arrived back home after a weekend away. I was unloading the car and then there was this instantaneous, very, very, very bad headache. So it was like crushing me all the way around here. Absolutely no idea what was going on. My neighbor actually took me to our primary care physician and she said, it’s a stiff neck because I do have problems with an old whiplash injury. She says, yeah, it’s just that. She prescribed some muscle relaxants and sent me home. The symptoms got progressively worse and I was feeling fluey and all the rest. So I just assumed it was some sort of infection and it would clear up.

But the one good thing was I was supposed to be on a flight to London two days later and I was feeling too ill to go. And had I got on that plane, I don’t think I’d be here now. Eventually, they found that I’d had a ruptured aneurysm. It’s kind of weird because it’s not that unusual, really. When you start talking to people about aneurysms, the number of people who say, oh yeah, my grandma had one of those, and there’s an awful lot of them about, but people just don’t realize what the symptoms are. I’m an educated person with an insight into a lot of things medical and whatever, and I didn’t have a clue what that really bad headache I had meant.

I just thought it was a really bad headache. A lot of it is about raising awareness and advocacy on the Hill and trying to get research funding specifically for aneurysms. If we were able to predict who was more likely to have an aneurysm and be able to do something about it before it causes a problem, then you might have a bit of surgery or an intervention to prevent it leaking and it’s a bit of a bit of an intervention, but it’s nowhere near as much of an intervention as if you have a rupture. The odds of surviving are substantially better if it’s fixed first.