Survivor

In 2012 I was in the US Army and the best shape of my life. That year would also be one of the toughest years and one that would forever change me. After migraines, confusion, and many trips to different doctors I received the call. I was actually at home recovery from a ureteroscopic kidney stone removal. I had just been diagnosed with medullary sponge kidney (MSK) and was home with stents in both kidneys. I had conducted an MRI at the suggestion of my neurologist and the results were in. I had a brain aneurysm!! I wasn’t ready for that. I didn’t know how to process the information.

I didn’t know how to tell my children or family. Nothing prepared for that call. I kept the diagnosis to myself for months until I was about a week out from surgery. I had shared the information with co-workers, family and friends. I spent the day prior in the hospital at Walter Reed Medical Center and the surgery was the next day. I was scared but was at peace with how I may come out of the surgery. I woke up with the biggest headache and spent several days in ICU.

I went home with over 30 staples holding my skin together of the incision. I expected swelling, black eyes, trouble walking but I didn’t expect the mental challenges. I could no longer go into crowds, stores, cars without having an anxiety attack.

Here I am 6 years later – different but so very thankful I survived. I am so thankful for my great military doctors, the love and support of my family and my belief that God had other plans for me. My maternal grandmother died in her early 40’s of the same diagnosis. There is so much support through communities online and those around you. So happy that I was so lucky.

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