When his wife returned home, he asked her to call the doctor, then changed his mind. “I think I have to go to the hospital,” he said.
Marc invites other survivors of ruptured brain aneurysms to visit:
Tri-State Brain Aneurysm
Support Group's Web site.
The support group provides information, encouragement and understanding to survivors and caregivers during the ongoing recovery period.
Marc knows that his story is not typical. Several years ago, at age 38, he suffered a ruptured aneurysm in his brain, a cataclysmic event in which a balloon-like bulge in an artery finally became so weak that it burst. Marc not only survived the ruptured aneurysm, he also made a nearly complete recovery.
Four months after the rupture and subsequent surgery by Dr. Brad Skidmore of the Mayfield Clinic, Marc returned to his job as an applications engineer for a machine tool business in Northern Kentucky. Today he engages in all of his normal activities.
“Usually when I talk to people about aneurysms, they’ll say, my uncle had one – he’s dead. Or my aunt had one – she’s dead,” said Marc. “You don’t hear about the success stories.”
With the help of expert surgeons and hospital care, some patients do recover from ruptured aneurysms. And of those who recover, a few, like Mr. Jagoda, are almost as good as new.
Aneurysms can occur anywhere in the body; but those that occur in the brain are often deadly. If they rupture, they can cause a bleeding stroke, a condition in which blood flows into the brain or into a protective membrane surrounding the brain called the subarachnoid space. Marc experienced a subarachnoid hemorrhage of this kind.
Marc knew very little about aneurysms before experiencing one first-hand. He did not know that he harbored the two most important risk factors for aneurysm: a history of smoking and hypertension. At 5-foot-8 and 210 pounds, he also was on the heavy side. Like most people, he was well aware of smoking’s link to lung cancer and heart disease, but he was unaware that tobacco use also can lead to aneurysms. Unlike lung cancer, he now realizes, an aneurysm “can kill you instantly.”
Marc was at home doing yard work when his aneurysm ruptured. “I got some trimming done, then went inside for a glass of water,” he recalled. “I felt fine. Then something happened – but I didn’t know what. I felt like my ears filled up with water. I started feeling nauseated. I lay down, and within half an hour I was vomiting.”
He asked his wife to call the doctor, then changed his mind. “I think I have to go to the hospital,” he said.
Dr. Skidmore operated on Marc, removing a small piece of skull and replacing the opening with a flap of skin. “He said my brain was very angry and needed room to swell,” Marc said. The remaining scars around his scalp are imperceptible to the casual observer.
Although Marc has some residual weakness on his left side, especially in his legs, he feels virtually normal. He believes his speech and eyesight were unimpaired by the event. He enjoys reading science fiction and fantasy, and is especially fond of Robert Jordan’s 900-page epics.
He has lost several pounds and has brought his blood pressure under control with medication. In his free time he is active with the Tri-State Brain Aneurysm Support Group, which serves survivors and their caregivers.
Hope Story Disclaimer - "Marc's Story" is about one patient's health-care experience. Please bear in mind that because every patient is unique, individual patients may respond to treatment in different ways. Results are influenced by many factors and may vary from patient to patient.