Just before Thanksgiving, I had the opportunity to speak to the state's only brain aneurysm support group, which is sponsored by the Joe Niekro Foundation and Duke Raleigh Hospital. Natalie Niekro founded the Joe Niekro Foundation in 2007 in honor her father who lost his life from a sudden cerebral brain aneurysm on October 27, 2006. Many remember Joe as a major league knuckleballer who the Cubs (my team) drafted in 1966 and who achieve his greatest fame with the Houston Astros. The foundation is based in Scottsdale, AZ; however, there are foundation affiliates across the country.
Speaking to the aneurysm support group was important to me because I have four aneurysms of my own. It was just about this time in 2009 that three of the four aneurysms were treated via a process known as coiling. Not all aneurysms are eligible for coiling. I was lucky. I was out of the hospital about 36 hours after I had arrived. All I needed was a little Vicodin for my headache, and otherwise, I was told just to take it easy for the next two weeks. Who knew that brain surgery would be one of the easiest surgeries I've had yet?
Exactly why I developed aneurysms is unknown. There is evidence that they are side effects of my overall diagnosis of fibromuscular dysplasia. It's also been said that I may have an undiagnosed and unidentified connective tissue disease overlap that would lead to aneurysms. Speaking to the Niekro Foundation's group allowed me to talk about my aneurysms in the context of FMD and subsequently how social media has played a part in having a disease like FMD.
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