Confirmed Fusiform Aneurysm in Right Carotid Artery
I made it through the procedure on Monday without a stroke or any other complications (praise God!), and met with my neurosurgeon on Tuesday morning. I knew I had a confirmed aneurysm before I even went to that Tuesday appointment thanks to the neuroradiologist showing me the scan of my right internal carotid artery after the cerebral angiogram was over on Monday.
On Monday, I checked in at 6:15 am at the cath lab of the hospital and didn't get 'home' to the hotel room until 5:30 pm. It was a very long day indeed, however it seemed shorter thanks to the nurses in the recovery room. They were kind, funny, and most impressively, they checked in on me often (I tend not to be the 'squeaky wheel' when I'm in the hospital so I sometimes get overlooked). They expertly took care of the incision site where the catheter had entered my femoral artery during the procedure. And they accommodated my healthy appetite with foods and drinks I could consume while laying down (they understood that as a stroke survivor, drinking water and eating juicy orange wedges was difficult for me to safely swallow in my supine position). I had to lay on my back with my leg straight in my little cubicle for at least four hours so the incision site would close properly. My job was to keep my leg straight, not use my head or neck muscles and to put pressure on the incision site every time I coughed or sneezed. I remember laying there, marveling at how advanced the technology is to guide a catheter from my femoral artery through the arteries in my abdomen and chest to the vertebral and carotid arteries in my neck, and then take images along the way!
On Tuesday, the neurosurgeon explained that the aneurysm is long in shape (fusiform), but still considered to be a small one at 9 mm. I was relieved to hear that! So I won't be needing the high risk surgery I learned about last week. Instead the plan is to go back for a CTA (a much less invasive procedure than the angiogram) in 6 months, and then keep going back for follow up scans every year after that. He happily brought our appointment to a close, but not before telling me to go to the ER if I notice any signs and symptoms of a stroke (if the aneurysm leaks or bursts). That was a little disconcerting at first. Now, three days later, I'm gloriously happy and feeling blessed that I'm still here!