Heed Warning Signs, Don't Just Take An Aspirin For Severe Headache

Huntley Patch's local editor shares experience hoping to bring awareness to signs of a brain aneurysm.


The pain, at the back of my head, came on suddenly and made me feel as if I was going to pass out or vomit. I’d had that kind of headache before and it had gone away. So I took a few aspirin and waited for the pain to subside.

This time felt different.

It didn’t go completely away. The dull throbbing kept waking me up all night. The next day, 24 hours after the first attack, the pain moved to the right side of my head.

My family urged me to go to the emergency room. I couldn’t even argue back the way I usually do when it comes to going to the ER.

Hours later, an ER doctor informed me that I had bleeding in the brain and had had a minor stroke. I would have to be transported to another hospital that had a neurology unit for more testing.

It would be another two weeks before a test uncovered the aneurysm on the right side of my brain. Those weeks were marked by uncertainty but also by faith and prayer.

I had brain surgery in mid-December. I remember feeling completely at peace going into the surgery. I knew a lot of prayers were being said for me, and it helped me stay strong. I awoke what felt like a few days later.

A few days later, I was up and staring at my image in the mirror. I could’ve been a character in A Nightmare Before Christmas. But I was alive.

I often joke about the situation; otherwise I get very emotional about the experience. The websites I’ve visited say that moodiness and emotional outbursts are common in recovery. I find myself wanting to cry when I realize that I can walk, talk and swing my 2-year-old twins in my arms again.

I debated whether or not to write about the experience. What made me decide to share this story with others is the advice from someone who lost a loved one to the same condition. You need to help others and raise awareness, she said.

You may not have any symptoms until the aneurysm begins to rupture, according to Webmd.com. If a person has a sudden, severe headache at the base of the head, neck pain, nausea or sensitivity to light, contact 911 immediately, the site states.

The headache will feel different than any other you’ve ever had. Do not ignore the symptoms, get help right away. And don’t just take an aspirin.


Quincy Hodges February 22, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Thank you for sharing your story Gloria. I'm happy you're back.
Cristel Mohrman February 22, 2012 at 08:00 PM
I'm so glad you're OK and that you're back! Thanks for the warning, too. I will be sure to share this with others.
Michael Bivona February 22, 2012 at 08:21 PM
Thank you for sharing your experience. I'm not even directly involved and I've been terrified and elated at the same time. Welcome back, Gloria!
Gloria Casas February 22, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Thanks to everyone for the kind thoughts. I'm very happy to be back and grateful to be here!
Amie Schaenzer February 23, 2012 at 01:18 AM
Welcome back, Gloria! You have been in my thoughts over the past couple months. This is such a touching column — thank you for sharing!


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