Surviving a brain aneurysm

Image 1 of 2

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -- This is Brain Aneurysm Awareness Month and a Lockport mom is urging anyone who has severe headaches to get them checked out.

Maria Micheletto is one of a few people who have survived a brain aneurysm burst.

"I came out of the shower, and bam, an explosion, it just dropped me to my knees," said Micheletto.

Micheletto, a young mother of two, had been working full time as a dental hygienist.

"I had been having headaches for about six months leading up to the aneurysm. I thought I was just tired.  I was a newer mom.  I was working.  I wasn't sleeping," she said.

Dr. Sepideh Amin-Hanjani was Micheletto's neurovascular surgeon.

"It's more common than most people know." Dr. Amin-Hanjani said.  "It's probably about two or three percent of the population.  At least one in fifty people probably have an aneurysm."

Aneurysms are two times more common in women.  It's believed that people are born with weaknesses in the wall of their blood vessels.   Over time the weak spots can develop a bubble or aneurysm.
When the bubble bursts, it can cause bleeding around the brain.  Depending on how bad the bleeding is, people can have minutes or hours to reach a surgeon.

When an aneurysm bursts, people say it feels like the worst headache of their lives.

"Chronic high blood pressure, obesity, smoking, amphetamine use, those are things that can lead to a rupture," said Micheletto.

She was so inspired by the treatment she received at the University of Illinois at Chicago that she became a nurse and is now working with patients in a Neuro Intensive Care Unit.

"I need to be able to tell people that there is life after a brain aneurysm," said Micheletto.