Influencer Meredith Staggers Says Her Migraine Turned Out to Be a Life-Threatening Mind Aneurysm

meredith staggers

meredith staggers

meredith staggers/Instagram

Meredith Staggers was driving via Houston, Texas operating errands on Aug. 4 when she was struck by a blinding headache and compelled to cease on the aspect of a busy street.

The 35-year-old Cake & Confetti founder suffered from migraines all through her being pregnant earlier than her third youngster was born in June, however the ache degree in that second was not like something she’d skilled, recalling stroke-like signs.

“I began seeing an aura in my left eye and began slowly dropping my imaginative and prescient. My face began going numb after which I began dropping feeling in my arms and toes,” she tells PEOPLE. “I used to be attempting to name my husband and I could not press the buttons on my cellphone, prefer it wasn’t registering in my mind. I used to be lastly capable of contact him however 10 or quarter-hour later I misplaced the flexibility to talk coherently.”

Staggers’ husband rushed to her location and instantly took her to the emergency room. “Once I checked in and so they triaged me on the ER, they requested my husband, ‘Is there any likelihood she’s below the affect of medicine?’ That is how incoherent I used to be,” she provides.

Medical doctors ran a head CT scan and chest x-ray that each in the end got here again regular. Her subsequent choice: sit within the short-staffed ER ready room to be seen. After ready for almost 9 hours, Staggers determined to go house, dismissing the episode as a migraine that had now subsided.

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meredith staggers

meredith staggers

meredith staggers/Instagram

Nevertheless, Staggers suffered from some kind of migraine for six consecutive days. And fewer than per week after the ER go to, the mother of three was at an OB/GYN appointment along with her daughter when she skilled one other main episode. Staggers says she rapidly misplaced imaginative and prescient and wasn’t capable of maintain her youngster or talk with medical doctors, however once more believed she was having one other migraine.

“I wasn’t solely simply coping with the postpartum hormones that a mean girl experiences, I additionally had this uncommon case of getting to be within the hospital with my tiny little child,” she says, referring to the added stress of her new child daughter being within the hospital attributable to RSV and pneumonia. “And so, in that second I assumed I used to be having a extremely unhealthy panic assault and it triggered this migraine once more.”

Staggers’ nurse then prompt she see a neurologist simply in case her episodes had been greater than what they believed to be hormonal migraines. The next day, she scheduled an MRI along with her major care doctor.

The MRI revealed Staggers’ migraines had been really attributable to a 5-6mm mind aneurysm — in regards to the measurement of a fingertip — and she or he was instantly admitted to the hospital. An aneurysm is a ballooning of a blood vessel within the mind. When an aneurysm ruptures it releases blood into the areas across the mind, which may trigger a life-threatening stroke.

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meredith staggers

meredith staggers

meredith staggers/Instagram

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Staggers’ neurosurgeon, Dr. Joseph Cochran at UTHealth Houston and Memorial Hermann, explains that her signs had been attributable to a leaking or bleeding mind aneurysm, which was situated behind her left eye and pushing on the nerves. Staggers says she’s “fortunate” to have caught her aneurysm earlier than it ruptured.

“When an aneurysm ruptures, solely about half of individuals make it to the hospital, most likely about 40% of persons are useless earlier than they get to the hospital,” Dr. Cochran tells PEOPLE. “So it is a devastating factor however should you catch it earlier than it ruptures, it may be very simply mounted with little or no ache and struggling.”

Inside days, Staggers was scheduled for surgical procedure.

“That was clearly very emotional information as a mother of three younger women and simply feeling instantly actually petrified of what was to return. However on the identical time, I did really feel an enormous sense of reduction that I did even have a solution to what had been occurring,” she admits. “It was only a very surreal factor as a result of it occurred so rapidly. One minute it was like, ‘Oh you are having a migraine,’ after which the following it is no, it is one thing that is going to require surgical care.”

“I’d have by no means, in my wildest goals, thought that it was an aneurysm,” Staggers provides.

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On Aug. 15, Dr. Cochran carried out an endovascular circulate diversion, the place a catheter is handed via the groin up into the artery containing the aneurysm. The machine is then deployed, which acts like a stent to divert blood away from the aneurysm. He calls the process a “game-changer” as Staggers was capable of be again house along with her household inside days, in comparison with an open mind surgical procedure that will require an extended restoration interval.

Although some kind of blood vessel imaging like an MRI is required as a way to detect an aneurysm, Dr. Cochran says anybody immediately experiencing “the worst headache of your life” that might embody nausea or vomiting ought to search medical consideration. He provides, “If any individual’s having complications, and signs are unrelenting, they need to get some kind of imaging of the blood vessels of their mind to be sure that there’s not an aneurysm.”

The three principal causes of aneurysms are smoking, hypertension, and household historical past or genetics, Dr. Cochran explains. For Staggers, genetics was probably the trigger as she discovered after recovering that she has a household historical past of aneurysms.

“As soon as I used to be identified with mine, my mother informed me my grandfather had two aneurysms, certainly one of her cousins after which a number of different folks within the household on the identical aspect all have both died or had an aneurysm that was caught,” Staggers says. “There have been a number of circumstances in my household nevertheless it was one thing that earlier than I used to be identified, nobody ever talked about. After which that impressed my mother to go get an MRI and get checked out simply in case.”

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meredith staggers

meredith staggers

meredith staggers/Instagram

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“On the whole, we advocate that anytime any individual has an aneurysm that their first diploma family members get checked,” Dr. Cochran provides. “So in Meredith’s case, her youngsters, her brothers and sisters can be value getting checked to see if they’d an aneurysm. And we do it with simply an MRI scan so it is not an invasive examine.”

As a social media influencer, and in honor of September’s Nationwide Mind Aneurysm Consciousness Month, Staggers is hoping her survival story will assist encourage others to remain on high of their well being and get scanned if there’s a household historical past of aneurysms.

“Impulsively I used to be like, why is nobody speaking about this? I did not really feel like there was a lot consciousness round mind aneurysms,” she notes. “Everytime you go to the physician and so they ask about your loved ones historical past, mind aneurysm is not on there. They ask about diabetes, most cancers, excessive ldl cholesterol, hypertension, and it simply actually made me understand that there is a enormous void.”

“So sharing my story, if I may probably assist one particular person catch it like I did then I’d really feel like it will be an enormous success,” Staggers says.

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