Thursday, May 17, 2012

Day 954

We often hear that quote but it really rings true when someone in your inner circle dies.  Particularly if they die suddenly.

Did you know that it is estimated that one in fifteen people in the US will develop a brain aneurysm during their lifetime?*  That's a pretty daunting statistic. The more people I talk to, the more people know of someone who has either died or suffered from a brain aneurysm.

Yesterday I received the shocking news that one of our cheerleading dads died last week of a brain aneurysm.

He went to sleep a seemingly healthy, happy and content father of four, but did not wake up. I didn't know him well, just enough to say "hello" to and to admire for his commitment to his family, and for stepping up and being part of the parents cheer squad.

As I sit here and reflect on him, his family and think of the grief and shock they must be feeling, I also think about my own husband and family. Can I just say I am extremely grateful right now to be part of a loving marriage with healthy kids and (despite my lack of sleep and the odd discomfort from certain afflictions) overall good health and well-being.

As a migraine sufferer I often think about brain aneurysms ....

A brain aneurysm is an abnormal bulging outward of one of the arteries in the brain. Brain aneurysms are often discovered after they rupture, causing bleeding into the brain. Women are more likely to get a brain aneurysm then men with a ratio 3:2*.  I get so many headaches, a huge number of them "very bad" that I don't know if I could distinguish between a brain bleed and a standard everyday migraine.  The symptoms are scarily the same:

Ruptured cerebral aneurysm symptoms include:
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stiff neck or neck pain
  • Blurred vision or double vision
  • Pain above and behind the eye
  • Dilated pupils
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Loss of sensation
In about 40 percent of cases, people with unruptured aneurysms will experience some or all of the following cerebral aneurysm symptoms:
  • Peripheral vision deficits
  • Thinking or processing problems
  • Speech complications
  • Perceptual problems
  • Sudden changes in behavior
  • Loss of balance and coordination
  • Decreased concentration
  • Short-term memory difficulty
  • Fatigue

All of that sums me up around 15% of the time!

Now that I've scared the shit out of you all, and we're all now walking around with brain aneurysms, lets take a moment to think. Is there any point worrying about it? What can you do? If we are living fit and healthy lives, can we prevent it anyway?

Sure I worry. But then I think, well, if it happens, I'm not going to know about it.  It'll be quick.

We benefit little from worrying about the small things in life, and we gain lots from reminding ourselves that life is short.  Life is for living, whether it's for a short time or a long time, and it's up to us how we'll be remembered.

I will remember this man for his smiles, his commitment, his pleasant attitude and his support for our team. I am sure there is a whole lot more to him ... a whole other person I will never get to meet ... but the man I knew contributed positively to my life the few times I crossed his path.

We can all contribute positively to the lives of the people around us.  We have to. Coz we never know when it may be our last chance ...

My thoughts are with his family right now.  May they find strength and support from those close to them at this extremely distressful and difficult time.

*These facts and figures found at 


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