Bullet In The Head

Having brain aneurysms is weird.

Well, *two* bombs, actually.
“Now, Stroke Bloke. The bad news is, I’ve put a bomb inside your body.”

Yeah. It’s a bit like that. And an associated problem is, if an expert goes in there to defuse the bomb with a mesh implant or a tiny titanium clothes peg, they might just set the whole thing off.

[I know. Fun, right? Prefer whimsy and good tunes? Check out the Apoplexy Tiny Letter.]

Until this past autumn, it had been over three years since the last scan of my two aneurysms. Regular readers may be aware that an aneurysm is kind of like a bubble on an inner tube. A weaker area on a blood vessel, not unlike a ballon.

<Aside: Not like that.>
Yep. Just like that.

In everyday life, this aneurysm carrier tends not to think about their aneurysms. Mostly because the vast majority of people with aneurysms don’t even know they have them. But if you do know, they’re always there like a background hum. Somewhere at the back of my brain, if you will.

And thinking about them, and reading back over the foregoing paragraphs, the idea of brain aneurysms can be a bit of a downer – sorry about that. According to the American Stroke Association

once an aneurysm bleeds, the chance of death is 30 to 40 percent

On the upside, the chance of moderate to severe brain damage is only 20 to 35 percent after a bleed.

Eugenics, innit mate.
“Less than the risk in the general population for the offspring of Radio 4 producers and Labour peers.”

I guess what I’m saying is, it’s important to keep an eye on a brain aneurysm and watch out for any concerning developments. So when the letter from my last MRI came in a said We’ll see you in a few more years without any explanation, my first thought was

Can you be absolutely sure about that?

And I made sure that I was sitting in a consultant’s office yesterday, watching as he spun a slice of my brain around on his fingertip computer monitor.

Are you sure there's not a weak bubble on that?
This is your brain on drugs

The aneurysms still look like tiny Cheetos. Which is cute and all, but I explained to the consultant that the stat I’d heard – which I can’t immediately find a citation for – that the general rule of thumb that there’s a one percent chance per year of a brain aneurysm rupturing becomes less encouraging when it’s been five years since your last scan and you’ve got a headache.

Seriously. Having a headache really freaks me out now.

But then – obviously – the consultant Top Trumped me with his own stat. And since the Brain Aneurym Foundation’s information booklet on the subject cheerily kicks off by noting that

discovering you have a brain aneurysm is a frightening and sometimes isolating experience

I thought I’d share it with you.

Me want to share coat
“Oh no, baby. Cookie don’t share.”

The ISUIA (International Study of Unruptured Intracranial Aneurysms) trial some years ago

reported a 5‐year ruptured rate of 0% for aneurysms smaller than 7 mm in the anterior circulation and 2.5% for those smaller than 7 mm in the posterior circulation.

Yeah, I know. Wurdz. And of course, the journals do point out exceptions to the general rule.

But for now, I’m going to have a cookie and chill. I’ve got a pre-intake appointment for my Sleep Deprivation EEG Test (Initial Caps!!!) shortly. I’ll look forward to telling you all about it next week…

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One thought on “Bullet In The Head

  1. Well I’ll say this. The last time you had an ambulatory eeg we wrote a cracking good musical about it.

    Sobering stuff. But I’m glad you are keeping care of yourself. Continue to be well

    Ok now back to my singing robot hamster schemes.

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