Susan’s Story

On my home on December 12, 2017, I suffered from a ruptured brain aneurysm. At the time, I didn’t know what one was or what was happening to me, but I knew that this was the worst headache of my life. I called my husband who then called 911 as he was on his way to help. I was given a CT scan in the ER and it was determined that I had suffered a brain aneurysm rupture and would need to be flown from where I was in Alaska to Swedish Hospital in Seattle, WA from where I was in Alaska. I then had five surgeries within a four-week time period. In total, I was in the hospital for five weeks, but I only remember the last one. I was on medication and relearning to see, talk, read and walk again.

On my original CT scan, the doctors also found a second aneurysm that was in the back-left side of my head. They didn’t do anything at the time of the rupture because the goal was to stop the bleeding and treat the ruptured aneurysm. At a follow up visit, I was given three choices for the treatment of the second aneurysm: Leave it and monitor it, insert a stent, or clip it. We decided to start with a stent. I definitely did not want to go through another rupture, so a stent was inserted to cut off blood flowing into the ballooned area.

Five years ago, I wanted to lose weight, so I started an exercise program to help my muscles get stronger. I always ran but never had a real goal until my trainer and I created one. I started training for half marathons, and since then I have participated in 4. My daughter then joined and ran one with me – a memory that we will never forget. I believe that the exercise endurance and strength training prepared my brain and body for survival. I was literally running to save my life! Today, I am back in the gym getting stronger every day.