After a decade of careful monitoring and selective surgeries, Daniel is beating the odds.
>> Despite a worrisome family history and multiple aneurysms, Daniel credits his National Brain Aneurysm Center team with giving him a future to look forward to.
Although he has heroically endured multiple conditions and surgeries, Daniel's highest praise for his doctors at the National Brain Aneurysm Center have nothing to do with his medical care: "Both Dr. Nussbaum and Dr. Madison talk to me like a person. They're human and they treat me like a human, too."
Daniel's first aneurysm occurred in August, 2000. "It was like having a charley horse—only it was on both sides of my head and running down my back," he remembers. "I couldn't shake it off." His wife drove him to the hospital on a Thursday, where they directed him into a room; his next memory is waking up on Friday afternoon. His brain aneurysm—the first of several discovered over time—had ruptured.
In the following months and years, seven more aneurysms were discovered and treated, but not without affecting other aspects of Daniel's life. "There's a hereditary kidney disease in my family that develops weak spots in your blood vessels. Unfortunately, the treatment for my aneurysm hastened my kidney failure."
Daniel found out that the annual angiograms that measure the growth of existing aneurysms was detrimental to the new kidney he received in a 2003 transplant. This discovery led to Daniel's care taking a different twist: "It's one of the reasons I respect Dr. Nussbaum so much. He knew how much trauma my brain could take, and strategically planned out my aneurysm surgeries based on that. At the same time, he worked with my kidney transplant team to schedule a clipping procedure, so that now I don't have to have angiograms."
Both Daniel's father and grandfather died of strokes at the age of 53. At 56, Daniel feels he has gotten a new lease on life: "Technically, I beat them. I'm three years past my goal of living longer than my dad. I like to say I'm surgically enhanced. And I owe it all to my doctors. They're my heroes."