"Life as you know it can change in an instant!"
How many times have you heard that in your life? Well, on October 12, 2017, it happened to me! I was walking out to my car when I felt what seemed like a simple "POP" right in my forehead area, followed by horrible pain that almost took me down to the ground. I made it to my car and leaned against it. Realizing that the pain had subsided, I checked to make sure that everything was working before I attempted to return to the house.
Unknown to me, I had just joined a fairly unique group of people -- I had survived the rupture of a brain aneurysm. However, it would be 2 days later before I was diagnosed because I did not know that at the time! And that diagnosis would lead to being transported 200 miles for treatment, 11 days in the Critical Care Unit, a week of rehab and months adjusting to the changes in my life!
People tell me that I look great and that they are so happy that I have recovered so well. Most of the lingering effects I deal with are things that are invisible to others. Depression and anxiety have changed me from being an outgoing people person to someone who hates to leave my home. I battle with fatigue on a daily basis. I have trouble concentrating to read, write or do daily tasks. After working most of my life in call center and customer service positions, I can barely tolerate being around people or talking on the phone.
The Joe Niekro Foundation has played a big part in my recovery and adjustment phase. Through them, I have been able to connect to others all over the world who have experienced brain aneurysms either as patients or caregivers. With them, I can ask questions and exchange ideas on various topics that may or may not be related to the aneurysm. Everyone is very supportive and understanding. That means a lot, as living in South Dakota does not offer any support group meetings.
In honor of September being National Brain Aneurysm Month, I am conducting this fundraiser for The Joe Niekro Foundation. This organization means a lot to me, and as a survivor, I know all too well the importance of continued research and development is in this field. Please support this fundraiser so that more people can survive in the future!