I wanted a few weeks to process this new development before I shared it on here. Below is the email Jay sent to a few friends and family after we met with Dr. Gonzalez on 11/15. Long story short, my most recent MRI revealed that I have a small aneurysm in the left side of my brain. It has likely been there for many, many years, though this was the first time we had heard of it (Dr. Gonzalez had hoped that it would disappear after my AVM was removed, which is what happens 80% of the time with aneurysms like this one).
In the grand scheme of things, it is actually pretty minor and NOT an emergency by any means, but it was still a rather unexpected and kind of frustrating thing to hear. As much as we are still in the midst of trying to overcome my lingering deficits, we never really anticipated that I might have any more brain issues like this. Nonetheless, I am fine with it, perhaps a little annoyed to have one more thing to deal with, but I’m always open to new experiences to trust the Lord.
Please pray for this issue to disappear by my next appointment with Dr. Gonzalez, in November 2011.
Sadly, it seems that when my brain was formed, before I was even born, there were some weaknesses in my vascular system, which have resulted in my huge AVM and aneurysms. Please pray that anything that is ill-formed will dissipate in the coming months. (Hey, I’ve seen a miracle, and I’m not scared to ask for another!)
Psalms 139 brings the most comfort to any of us whose bodies are not working the way we wish they would–”the Lord created our inmost beings; He knit us together in our mothers’ wombs; we praise Him because we are fearfully and wonderfully made. The Lord saw us before our bodies were even formed, and He knows every moment of our lives before we have lived even one of them.”
Hey Family (and a few friends, too)-
Today we had our annual appointment with Dr. Gonzalez (Katherine’s neuro-surgeon) to check-in and to review the MRI that Katherine had done last week.
The very positive note is that there does not appear to be any of the AVM left over, not even a tiny remnant. Obviously any residual AVM could create a high risk of future bleeding, so the fact that there is no AVM is a huge praise.
On sort of an unfortunate note, there is a very small aneurysm that is in her brain (on the left side this time) and has been there since Katherine’s AVM rupture. Today was the first time we had heard of it, though it has been there for many years. Dr. Gonzalez never mentioned it before because typically aneurysms that are connected to an AVM almost always disappear within about 2 years of the AVM being removed. Dr. Gonzalez was anticipating that would the case, but this most recent MRI showed the aneurysm had not changed in size since last year. He was visibly quite sad to have to tell us this because he wants all of this to be behind us, but he was also quite encouraging about what this means.
The good news is that the aneurysm is not growing and has not for the past 2 1/2 years since the AVM, and there seems to be a possibility that in the next year it could shrink/disappear–point of prayer please.
Further, this is NOT AN EMERGENCY, and the next course of action will be a follow-up MRI a year from now, in November 2011. The possibility of it rupturing in the next few years is tiny, less than 1%, and though an aneurysm is nothing to take lightly, it’s really minor compared to the AVM–a totally different scenario. Nonetheless, this was pretty unexpected news and was definitely sad to hear, especially since we’ve kind of thought all the brain-related issues were totally dealt with, but we are OK, and God is in control.
Lastly, in the future, if it seems like the aneurysm needs to be dealt with for a reason such as a future pregnancy, UCLA has pioneered a special technique since the 1980s–this is now the norm for dealing with aneurysms around the world–of filling the aneurysm with a platinum coil which effectively creates scars which seal off the aneurysm, preventing it from ever rupturing. This is done through a vein in your leg, like an angiogram, so it’s much less invasive than some alternatives, much less brain surgery. Dr. Gonzalez’s practice focuses much more on aneurysms than AVM’s, so we feel very confident in his handling of this situation.
This is certainly no cause for alarm, but we just wanted to update you. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers. .
All the Best-