Monday, January 22, 2018

Where I've been and what happened to me

"I would really rather feel bad in Maine than feel good anywhere else."  
                                  E. B. White

Where I've been and what happened to me:

I'm going off topic here. Anyone who knows me or has followed this blog for a while knows that I survived a ruptured brain aneurysm in 2005. I always felt lucky, not just because I survived something most people don't but because it was the only aneurysm in my brain.

Until recently.

On September 29, 2017, my husband and I were enjoying the first full day of another vacation in Maine (we wanted to see the fall foliage) and at dinner I said to him, "I think you better take me to the hospital". Not that I have any memory of this. 

Nor do I remember that next eight weeks.

Doctors at Maine Medical Center found two more aneurysms on the basilar artery (the same artery as my 2005 rupture) and one had ruptured. They coiled it and later also installed a shunt, to drain the excess blood in my brain. 

It was a long recuperation (in fact, I'm still recuperating, even though I'm home now). After a month in the hospital, I went to a rehab center in Maine. And after six weeks there, they allowed us to come home to Pennsylvania and transfer to a different rehab center. This second rehab center is the only part I remember. 

I don't know if those lost memories will ever come back to me, but in a way I'm not sorry. Who wants to remember being in pain, having your head cut open, and being hooked up to multiple machines?

When I look at these photos my husband took I feel like I'm looking at a stranger

I know that I'm extremely lucky -- to have survived a rupture not once but twice in twelve years. I also had wonderful nurses and doctors and a supportive husband who visited me every day (my kids came when they could).

So my purpose today is to not only raise awareness of brain aneurysms but to let you know the blog is going to change. I will no longer be reviewing children's books on a regular basis. I'll still talk about an occasional superior book (how could I resist?) but I also want to share photos and thoughts on other topics. So it'll be "my brain on" other topics, not just books.

Bear with me as the blog reinvents itself.

And for more information on aneurysms, visit the Brain Aneurysm Foundation's website.


  1. Wow, Joanne, I'm so glad you're all right! What a miracle!
    I'll be looking forward to whatever you post in the upcoming days, though I've missed your MG reviews and would love to see more!

  2. When I hear stories like this I always think that God has something amazing in store for that person, and this means you! I'm sorry for what you have gone through, but I'm so glad to see that you are on the mend. I look forward to seeing what's new for you and your blog in the future.

  3. Oh, dear, best of luck on your continuing recovery!

  4. LOVE.LOVE.LOVE. Your hubby is the best. You are the best. Your kids are the best. More joy to your world dear Joanne! What an otherworldly experience. Good vibes, good food, good days, good nights all good, good, good from here on out. Congratulations on your hard hard hard work in PT. Appreciations for your posting this. With hugs & more joy from Florida.

  5. Sending healing thoughts, Joanne. What a harrowing experience. Glad to know you are on the mend. Good luck with the rest of your recovery.

  6. Glad you're doing better, Joanne. Have missed you. And just have the blog be what you want it to be. Glad your family was so supportive.

  7. I have been wondering about you, Joanne--and meaning to write a note asking is you had given up blogging in favor of novel writing. Never did I imagine you were dealing with another brain aneurysm.

    All I can say is that you are a strong a resilient person, and that you have a wonderful husband and children. I look forward to seeing how your blog will morph. Sending you positive thoughts as you gain strength in your recuperation.

  8. I'm so glad you are better, Joan. So sorry you had to go through an ordeal like that twice. May support to you, and I'm sure anything new you do with your blog will be interesting reading, so follow your thoughts where they lead.

  9. Oh, my goodness, what an ordeal for both of you!! So glad you're OK! We look forward to hearing more of your wisdom. Sending love and healing wishes!

  10. I am so glad you are recovering. I am sure it is scary to have not memory of the past two months. Thank goodness you had the support of your husband, kids and such wonderful doctors and nurses helping you to get better. Sending you hugs and healing thoughts.

    Looking forward to your new blog- it sounds like there will be lots of interesting posts. :)


  11. I am really glad that you're okay. Did they take care of the non-ruptured aneurysm too? I wish you best of luck with your recovery - I know you can take it all in stride. I'm not quite sure how you do it. :)

  12. Hope you feel a little better every day!


I've disabled comments on this blog. I may be back at some time in the future, but for now, please visit my website:

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.