LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A painful headache landed one local woman in the emergency room. Doctors told her had she ignored the warning signs, her outcome would’ve been different.
Hypertension runs in Nichole Terrell’s family. She says she experiences headaches and migraines from time to time.
“I would say for about three months, the headaches were a little more intense,” she explains.
But it wasn’t until last summer when things took a turn for the worse.
“The eruption I felt, the volcano and those spasms. That’s when I knew there was something not right,” Nichole continues.
It was a headache unlike anything she’d ever experienced before. Nichole didn’t go to the hospital until the next day. There, Baptist Health neurologists found bleeding in the left side of her brain.
“We found that she actually had two aneurysms, not one,” says Dr. Sushrut Dharmadhikari, Interventional Neurologist.
Dr. Dharmadhikari says this is such a dangerous disease that one in four patients don’t make it to the hospital.
“Sometimes if the aneurysms continue to leak in the brain, the pressure in the brain builds up to an extent where it basically chokes off the circulation and then you’re basically brain-dead,” the doctor adds.
When he found the aneurysms, he used a catheter to apply medicine to help restore blood flow to the brain.
“One of the nurses said I was probably in the worst shape of anybody in the ICU, but I looked the best in my spirit,” Nichole says.
She leaned on faith and her family and friends, who were there through it all. Nichole hopes people listen to their body and go to the hospital when something doesn’t feel right.
“I just say the grace of God led me there,” she says.
Nichole will be on close watch for the next two to five years. Brain aneurysm risk factors include high blood pressure and smoking.