Written by: Sarah Cousineau
I think most teenagers feel at some point like they are invincible. Never for a second thinking something can come and threaten their lives, at least I thought that way. I never once thought that I would have to fight a battle as large as the one that was placed in my path when I was only 14.
It all started October 2006 when I suffered from an unusual and excruciating headache. I thought that a good nights sleep would cure it, but found out the next morning it wasn’t so. My mom took me to the clinic just in case but the Doctor claimed it was just a virus. I was to take some Advil and rest. After a few hours it passed and I felt normal again.
A few weeks later I was attending my brothers football game when the pain returned. Only this time it was stronger and was accompanied by neck pain and vomiting. The next day we went back to the clinic. My mom was starting to worry. Based on the symptoms she wondered if it could possibly be Meningitis. When she expressed her concerns the Doctor laughed it off, claiming again that it was just a virus and all I needed was Advil. However this time it took four days before the feelings passed.
A month later it came back with a vengeance. I could barely walk on my own. I spent almost a full week in bed. Something was definitely wrong and it most definitely was not a virus. My mom took me to our family doctor. He took one look at me and noticed that something wasn’t right, thus began my nightmare.
A cat scan was ordered immediately. The results indicated that there was an abnormality in my brain and I was sent for further testing. The MRI revealed something that we were not prepared for. An aneurism was discovered on the right side of my brain.
I was 14 at the time and had no idea what a brain aneurism was. I assumed it was serious but yet wasn’t overly worried. I guess you could say ignorance is bliss.
Once the results were in I was sent to a local neurologist. He wasn’t overly worried at first; he even went on to say that it might not be an issue until I was much older. A week later I went in for more tests and again everything seemed fine.
On January 3rd 2007, my parents got the call that changed everything. They were instructed to pack my bags and head straight to the sick kids hospital in London immediately. With no real answers I still had no idea the seriousness of my situation, but there was a nagging feeling inside that this was far bigger then we realized.
Once we arrived it was a flurry of activity as they admitted me and started to run tests at an urgent speed.
When all the tests were completed I was set up in a room, where I just laid and cried. I was so confused and uncertain of what was to come. It wasn’t long before I had all the answers.
The next morning I met my nurse practitioner who explained that I would need to have an angiogram, a procedure that would determine exactly where the aneurysm was located and the size. All these details were necessary as they planned out the surgery.
There it was. I was scheduled for major brain surgery.
In a weeks time I had seen over 15 different doctors/ specialists. Each one of them reiterated how rare this was for a person my age and that I was “lucky” to have had these headaches because they acted as a warning sign which most people with aneurisms don’t get. Even though I was young they didn’t spare me any details. This was an incredibly dangerous surgery with a 10% chance of never waking up and a risk of a stroke. After a week of tests and waiting that day finally arrived.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God… Phil.4:6
Surprisingly I was very calm that morning because I trusted in God and I knew he had a plan. He had taken care of me this far and I knew he wouldn’t stop there. There were SO many people from home and from churches all around praying for me. My family never left my side. I was never alone.
I had an amazing team of doctors doing the surgery.
It also didn’t hurt that I was promised a puppy when I woke up 🙂
After about 6 or 7 hours in surgery the surgeon greeted my parents and said that the surgery went very well and there were no complications! Praise the Lord!
The road to recovery went exceptionally well. I was out of the hospital about a week and a half later, which is unusually quick.
All the doctors and nurses that I encountered were in awe through the whole process. Always stating that I was a miracle and had a guardian angel. They hadn’t seen a case like mine; most patients took much longer to recover and had so many complications. It was an incredible testament to the powerful God we serve.
Through it all I never thought to myself “why me? Why is God punishing me?” which is strange considering that is usually the first thing people think. Instead I had a peace through the whole experience that could only come from God alone. Even when I was told that I may not live, I could have chosen to fear the worst, but I knew that I had to just trust in God and that he would get me through this.
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
It has been almost 8 years since my surgery. I still have a very small aneurism on the left side of my brain, which requires me to have an MRI every two years. But I’m not worried. God holds me in his hands and He is the one who has the final say. So I just pray and trust that He will continue to heal and take care of me in every way.
God is and always will be good. He deserves all the glory and all honour!
Sarah lives in Essex ON with her parents. She works at Libro credit union as a service representative. She’s the youngest of 4 and is a proud auntie to her niece, 3 nephews and one on the way!