Kathleen remembers thinking, “I have a ticking time bomb in my head waiting to explode.”
>> Only seven months after her surgery, Kathleen ran the Fargo Marathon wearing the names of 65 patients who had suffered or died from a brain aneurysm on her race shirt.
>> “I am fixed and strong and able ... I will never be what I was before, so I have to carve out a new normal.”
Back in her 30s, Kathleen Wrigley was known as the perfect example of health and wellness: an avid runner for years, she was also an aerobics instructor. But in 2004, she started experiencing spells of numbness in her face. A doctor's appointment and subsequent MRI eliminated her first worry, multiple sclerosis, but confirmed another: an aneurysm. Kathleen remembers thinking, "I have a ticking time bomb in my head waiting to explode."
Only one week and a half passed between her diagnosis and her surgery at the National Brain Aneurysm Center to address her issue with a coiling procedure. And while the recovery was challenging, including adapting to partial blindness on her right side, her drive to return to her normal life added a new passion for running marathons.
"The surgery gave me a second chance and reminded me all over again how precious life is," said Kathleen. Running a marathon had been a lifelong dream, and Kathleen felt there was no time like the present.
After only seven months of training - not to mention only seven months after her surgery - Kathleen ran the Fargo Marathon wearing the names of 65 patients who had suffered or died from a brain aneurysm on her race shirt. She did it not just to raise awareness as well as funds for the National Brain Aneurysm Center, but also for herself.
"I am able to look my three kids and our family and friends in the eyes and have them really believe that I am fixed and strong and able," she said. "My daughter asked, 'When will you be a normal mom again?' I will never be what I was before, so I have to carve out a new normal."