Medical expenses during & after Craniotomy

Hi, I’m Delee. I’ve met a million people along my journey and am not trying to sound like Bernie Sanders, but “am asking for support, once again”. Within the past few years, I have experienced tougher times than I would like to have - and haven’t worried much, as I believe in the power of community care. I have a craniotomy on October 4th, in the lower mainland to clip two aneurysms, before they rupture. Medical will cover most of the trip to my operation, for myself and a medical escort (flight, pre-op accommodation, meal allowance). It won’t cover post op recovery time off and/or for family to come down to see me in the hospital - which would go to expenses if things go wrong (not planning, but preparing).

How did I happen to find aneurysms before they ruptured?? Well, when I shaved my head and I had gone to an awesome barbershop in Toronto. The owner always did my hair and gave me scalp, neck and shoulder massages each time. One of the times, she noticed a lump on head and asked about it (I highly recommend “Mankind”). I went and got it checked and (due to history of small tumour on pituitary gland, a car accident which was followed by seizures) my dr sent me for a CT. The results came back and they couldn’t tell if the lump is malignant or benign, and couldn’t biopsy because of the location. I was told to monitor (as I had no symptoms of anything and it would have to be further checked).

However… my dr said “while we were looking at that area, we had what we call an ‘incidental finding’… you have a small brain aneurysm. Before you get too worried, it looks very small, and aneurysms can be there from birth & people may never know they have them. We will get an MRI and get a better look.” I was sent for an MRI and they found a second aneurysm. One was just over 2mm and the other just under 4mm. My dr said the reports would have to be sent to a neurosurgeon to look at.

Thankfully, an awesome neurosurgeon in the lower mainland took my file (he had a massive wait list, but I got in relatively quickly, with an in person follow up). He’s the same neurosurgeon who worked on my uncle after he had a stroke. I googled him and he’s got an amazing record, and is very confident (nobody wants a neurosurgeon who isn’t confident, amiright?). He explained that surgery isn’t generally necessary until after 4mm, and that we would get another CT after a bit of time (or if I have any symptoms, obviously). We met in person and he explained the surgery and the complication rate, and scarring etc. I didn’t look it up, because I didn’t need to have it at that point.

I had a followup CT (post covid), and Dr Janicki said he would like to get a second opinion. I legit thought he was going to say “you’re all good “. He didn’t… he called back and said “my colleague agrees, the size is operable and family history of heart problems, blood clots, strokes, puts you at much higher risk. You always have the right to say you don’t want a surgery, but it’s highly recommended that the aneurysm is clipped, and we can clip the other while we are in there. Because your family history showed most health issues in their 50’s, you should have it done before then.” I’m 45 this year, so… yeah.

Soooo, his office/medical team called and booked for October 4th. At first I was Chill… I thought “it will be fine”, nooowww, the realization of recovery time and seriousness of it, is overwhelming. I should not have looked at photos of a craniotomy, lol… that’s on me. I have so much to do before then, and appreciate the love and support - as I am overwhelmed rn, so may not answer. Stress mitigation.

One of my best friends will be coming down while I’m in the hospital. My parents will stay up North. I don’t expect a bad outcome - an exhausting recovery, yes. Painful post surgery, yes. Extreme financial stress, yes. Long term fatigue and possible difficulty with the logical (the aneurysms are on the left side of the brain), yes. I do trust that I will be in good hands though. I have also given a number of people very explicit instructions regarding arrangements, should something happen. I just ask that people help out my parents and watch my nieces & nephews… as I may not have the immediate energy to do so.

I will try to make some TikToks/videos for my niece, nephews, and loved ones JIC. Masih to those who have taken the time to read this ❤️

YKYLM, XOXO, GG jk jk,
Nothin but love,

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Delee Nikal
Smithers, BC

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