Brain Surgery! Seriously?

Time to Move On – February 2014

I think in March I had a premonition. I must have known in some way that I would be leaving Dr. Connolly. I cried, but he did not know that. I relocated to Tampa in July. It was a good thing to do professionally and personally. It was a perfect time to begin an amazing adventure in a place I had never been. I was having trouble remembering that two years ago I thought I may die and now I was being asked to take on a challenging task, well I never would have thought this would be happening. Even without the physical challenges I have been through, many people at my stage in their career are being hidden in an inside office while the new graduates are being primed to take over. I felt honored that I still had so much to give. So I told Dr. Connolly that I was moving away. I told him that the first thing I asked my firm was for them to guarantee that I could come back every year for my annual check-up with him. I was not going to go if I could not keep him as my neuro-surgeon. They told me I could (sigh). He told me it was probably the best thing I could do for myself and that he was jealous. He said it would work out perfect. I would get my scans done each year here in Tampa and then fly back for my annual with the results in hand for him to review. Well that went well, so why am I crying? Probably because I will be hundreds of miles away when I was so close. Probably because I knew that if anything happened, he was right there, now he isn’t. It scares the crap out of me ….


One Month To Go – March 2014

Well it is almost my 2nd anni-versary. I have to call to get the script for my CTA scan. I had a dream last night that Dr. Connolly was telling me during my annual checkup next month that he was leaving the hospital and moving away and I had to find another doctor! Could there be anything worse? So, that dream tells me that I am a little nervous. It may be partly because I feel good and I worry that something might be lurking there in my brain. Partly because I might be doing so great that my dear Dr. Hero might tell me to get lost, I do not need him any longer. I cannot think of anything worse happening. He is my safety net and I will never give him up. He is stuck with me and I plan to tell him so when I see him. How do you cut the tie with someone who did what he did? Someone asked me if I had a crush on him and I laughed. I said that I guess I did, but in a different way. When I think of him, I see his hands, not his face. I am not sure anyone else in the world other than someone who had brain surgery or open-heart surgery can understand that. So, next week the countdown begins for the annual checks and balances of 2014. Each year is a celebration of another year that Dr. Sander Connolly has given me, and I thank him for that gift and treasure every single moment.


Too Selfish

I feel so selfish, is it possible? I am at a place in my life where I need to take care of myself. A few months ago I accepted that and told (convinced?) myself that was the right thing. I felt empowered by that and could feel myself get stronger; I felt my life come together in so many ways. I was mentoring people in the aneurysm community, attending meetings, taking care of myself. Work was going great. It was all just falling into place.

Those who have been following may realize all the negativity that was in my life on top of the brain surgery. Right after the surgery, my dear Aunt Ruth passed away, my sister went to jail, my nephew became ill and dropped out of college (possibly an excuse to live a life like his mother, but that is his choice and I had to separate myself from that), my niece threatened suicide and asked to live with me while I was still trying to heal myself.

All of this made it so difficult to spend time taking care of me. Then, because I wanted to take care of me, I felt as if I were a selfish little witch who only cared about herself. How dare I not care more about a suicidal 13-year-old than myself? How dare I judge my 25-year-old nephew who wanted to lay home in bed and not get a job yet complain about his mother who did the same thing her whole life? How dare I complain that I had head pains 24 hours a day and did not really feel like shopping and cleaning the house on the one day I had off after working 6 days for over 12 hours a day? How dare I not care about everyone else more than I cared about me?

Well, just as I was about to break, life fell into place and all the boulders on my back fell away. They seemed to take care of themselves before I had to take drastic actions in my life. I was able to take care of me. I started seeing a neurologist and the headaches are gone. I started seeing a therapist and corporate coach and life has found balance and work is wonderful. I started attending aneurysm support groups and mentoring others and I feel as if I have something to share and I see myself making a difference. I started working on myself and my needs and I lost 25 pounds.

Then the email came this week while I am in the Philippines, my niece is in the hospital and has threatened suicide. She wants to talk to me. What do I say that will not break her young heart? What do I say that will tell her how much I love her but also help her understand I have to love myself too? Will she understand she cannot live with me? Will she understand I am not equipped to parent her? What if she does not understand and something happens to her, is it my fault? Will I be able to live with myself? I know I will not, I know my sister will not, I feel lost as if I am floating and very alone.


Hello Old Friend

It has been far too long. Months actually. I have graduated. Yes, you read that correctly. I have graduated from monthly neurologist appointments to every three months. I feel as if I am “normal” again. The meds are working like magic. It is sometimes hard to remember the last time I had a headache. I actually made my neurologist smile the last time I saw her, which is also a major accomplishment.

I cannot wait to see Dr. Golnaz Moazami and Dr. Sander Connolly and tell them how great I feel. I still send Dr. Connolly my email now and then so he does not think I have forgotten him. How could I ever forget the man who saved my life?

So, I welcome in 2014 and say that I will continue to be my own Champion! I will celebrate me! I have lost over 25 pounds. How, I’m not sure, perhaps a combination of everything. I have been eating properly since the summer but I was just not in the right frame of mind, so maybe feeling well has something to do with it. My neurologist says the meds also can cause some weight loss so that coupled with eating right and feeling good all hold hands I guess.

I leave in two weeks for the Philippines. I am excited but also a little nervous. This will be my first time since right before the aneurysm so it will be so good to hug my Nak. I need to see my team and I feel they need to see me, at least I hope so. I need to feel the warmth of the sun on my face. I need to remember a time long ago when there were no worries. I need to return to my second home.


Taking Care of Business – September 2013

Well it has been two months since I started taking care of me instead of taking care of someone else. It feels good. Yes, perhaps it is selfish, but good. I feel healthier. My headaches are subsiding. The neurologist I am seeing has tweaked the meds and they are helping so much. The days where I do not have to take any pain meds are beginning to outnumber the days when I do. That is a major accomplishment.

My niece seems to be doing very well. I still get nervous when I speak with her that she will want to come back and I really do not know what I will say. I would want to say yes but I know that I cannot. I know that I am not healthy enough to take care of her yet. I know I still have to worry about me. I also know that it feels good to be able to worry about me again and I need to hold onto that for a while longer.

I realized how angry I am at my sister for letting her daughter call me from a mental hospital and ask me to allow her to live here. What did she expect me to say? How could she put me in that position not even 6 months after brain surgery? How could she do that to me? To her daughter? How could she still not know what she did? How does she still not understand what she is doing to everyone? I am angry yet I know I will not say anything to her because I understand a little better what she goes through every day and my being angry at her will do nothing to help her or help me.

I started attending a support group for brain aneurysm survivors. I cried at the first meeting because the neuro surgeon was speaking about the area of the brain where I had my surgery and he discussed changes in personality and visual perception and numbers. It all started making sense and I just cried. Then I noticed the woman next to me crying also. We just looked at each other. Nobody else could understand until you have been there.

The parking garage for the meeting was on the fourth floor and you had to drive up a circular incline. When I got there I thought, “Whose bright idea was it to have a bunch of brain surgery survivors meet here?” We are lucky we all made it. Funny though, you could tell who was going to the meeting by the way they were driving up that incline.

Dennis’ cousin Rosalie had a brain tumor 12 years ago. She is doing great. Every time we see each other, we start jabbering about things only we could understand. The whole “bald spot” problem, the headaches, the drinking, etc. Stuff others do not get. It is like a very private club. I saw her last week and it was great to catch up.

I received the thumbs up from Dr. Hero for long flights. I am ready to return to the Philippines. Scared to death but ready. Wow, I have not been there since before surgery. It will be an amazing homecoming.


Announcement – August 2013

Well this will be the quickest post ever (I do know I have been lacking lately). I have had 7 days this month headache free! I cannot believe it. This has not happened since my craniotomy last year. I spoke with (another term for emailed with) Dr. Connolly, and he gave me the thumbs up for flying to the Philippines. I cannot wait. I miss everyone in my adopted family so much. Now I actually feel comfortable going knowing that I will not be in constant pain the entire time (and acting like a little baby).


Ups and Downs – July 2013

Well this is a down period I guess. Sometimes I do not think anyone could understand what I am going through but most of all I do not even understand it. I feel great for a week then I feel frustrated and stressed and confused. I wonder if it even has anything to do at all with my brain. How absolutely hysterical would it be. “Carol your brain is fine you are simply going through the changes and there is nothing you can do about it other than drink more alcohol!” Lord sometimes life is odd. I do think it is me though. I’m extremely emotional, everyone pisses me off, I hate my job, I have trouble communicating (hearing and speaking), stress us a major issue so that factors into everything. Hey, I still vote for just packing everything up and running away. Live on a beach somewhere all alone. Who am I kidding? I would still find something to complain about 🙂 Happy 4th of July!


Changes – June 2013

Well I finally gave in. After a year of hearing Dr. Hero and some people from the Brain Aneurysm support group tell me I needed to see a Neurologist, I called. I had been trying to find the right doctor since the beginning of the year and did not have much luck. After one phone call, where the Neurologist actually told me I had to drop Dr. Hero and use a Neuro-Surgeon from his neurological group (!!!), I actually wanted to give up. I’m now glad I didn’t. I found a woman here in New Jersey. I went to see her last week. I waited almost 2 hours in the waiting room. I almost walked out but I had been warned that the wait would be long for the initial consultation. When I finally get called in, she spent 1 1/2 hours with me! She covered everything. She recorded our entire conversation. I never had such a thorough intake in my life.

She went on to explain that my brain will never be the same. That it is trying, and by trying so hard it is having these little seizures. She put me on anti-seizure medicine. Well, it worked. I have gone from taking 8-10 pain pills a day to taking 2 Aleve a day. I almost forgot what it was like to live without a headache all day long. I have been in such a good mood. I just cannot believe it. This all came just in time because the results of my most recent blood test came back and my liver function was a 29 (it should be a 10) so the pain meds were almost ready to destroy it (I can think of so many other ways to do that which would be much more fun if I wanted to). The doctor told me that it is reversable so we will test it again in a month or so.

Today I had tests done for my memory, cognitive function and balance. All were as expected. The cognitive function was a bit unsettling but again, as expected. To have to sit there and use my fingers to figure out 7 + 2 kind of gets to your ego (at least for a Math Minor it does). The word memory function and thought process was also tough. The doctor said this was all expected because I had surgery on the left side of my brain. It is odd to be able to go to work every day for 10 hours, appear to function as normal to everyone, but look at a picture of a tamborine or windmill and call them a “thingy”.

Anyway, brain seizures, who would have thought. This has been a great two weeks!


Happy Anniversary – April 2013

One year ago today I was getting ready to have brain surgery. I was not sure I would be here today but had faith in Dr. Sander Connolly, my hero. I remember walking down the hall being brought to the OR and turning to look at my husband one last time. I was thinking “I may never see that wonderful face again” because I had been told that I should expect to lose most of my vision (I never told him that). I was in surgery for 8 hours and I cannot imagine what Dennis was going through all day. Now a year later there are so many reasons to celebrate! Thank you everyone who has been on this amazing journey with me, laughed with me, cried with me, supported me and held me up when I was too proud to ask for your arm. You are all my heroes!

At the time I wasn’t even a little nervous. I look back and think this was the only way I could deal with it. If I had been nervous or non-trusting I probably would not have gone through with it. I would have been crying like a baby.

I have some cognitive issues that have become jokes. I am definitely now numbers challenged. This coming from a Math major is difficult. But I am lucky. It seems there are two different areas of the brain that handle numbers. One that looks at volume and one that looks at mathematical. The area that looks at volume is the one that is affected in my brain. So if you ask me which is more 58 or 64, I would have to think about it. I can live with that. The first few weeks back after surgery were interesting because I kept going up in the elevator when I wanted to go down. I spent half my day riding the elevator.

My balance and dizziness have gotten better. It is odd that one day you wake up and little things are better. I can now bend over without falling down. So that is a good thing.

My eye sight is not the best. Although it has not changed significantly with distance vision, it has become worse with reading. I also see shadows, especially at night. So driving at night is a problem. They are very sensitive so lights bother me now. Sometimes in the late afternoon, it seems as if I am seeing things as if I am looking through a glass of water. Things are wavy and blurred.

The worst is the headaches. They are 24/7 with no sign of getting better. I’ve had scans and angiograms and nothing is wrong in there, which is great. But the headaches do not stop. I think I need to start seeing a neurologist to figure out what to do. I keep hoping, like the balance and dizziness, I will wake up and it will just be gone one day.

I told a friend that my liver was going to fall out because of all the Tylenol I was taking. He told me there are much more enjoyable ways to destroy your liver. I agree with him.

I think one of the bad things is that, I look fine. People don’t know there is anything wrong with me so when I get cranky or the lights are bothering me or I feel ill, they don’t understand why or they think I’m just some annoying broad. You want to explain what is wrong but you also don’t want to explain or use it as a crutch.

So now, a year later, would I do it again, would I still have brain surgery? So much has changed in my life it has been such a stressful year in so many ways. Some of it has been related to the surgery, some has not. No hesitation, I would do it again because I would rather be ALIVE!


Random Thoughts from Today – March 20, 2013

Well in less than two weeks, I will hit my 1-year anniversary since my clipping. I keep waiting for someone to flip the switch and have the headaches stop. There has not been a single day in the past year that I have not had to take something for the head pains (usually 4-6 Tylenol or Motrin a day). I guess I am lucky they work and I do not have to take a script. I had follow-up scans and even an angiogram and everything is fine in there. It is frustrating and I am just wondering if they every go away totally? Stressful week at work and I truly need to make a career change or manage it better.

I put so much on my plate, why is it we do that? Women always feel as if we have to take care of everyone and everything. We need to take care of ourselves as much as anyone else. Yet, when we do have a WIN, we sabotage each other because we do not want anyone else to have something better or feel better than we do. Women need to stop doing that. We need to be each other’s champions! Celebrate each other’s wins and glorious moments. We have precious moments and we need to celebrate them for ourselves and for each other.

I know this woman, Jul’s, who does my niece’s hair. She is an absolutely glorious woman. She is fighting for breast cancer awareness in Africa where the stigma is almost as bad as the disease. Jul’s is a breast cancer survivor and is a true champion for all women.

A dear “cyber friend,” Liam in Australia, is going into the hospital next week for his second try at getting his aneurysm clipped. He had a reaction to the anesthesia the last time and his heart stopped so they could not continue with the surgery. He is so far away, I have never met him, yet he is in my thoughts and I am asking you to think of him also for strength and success with his journey.

Last thought for today. My husband is wonderful! He not only takes care of me when I need it, without making me feel weak and needy, but he has become a super Mom with our niece, Yvette, who is now living with us. He gets up at 6 am (he is retired) to get her to school on time. He drives her to the bus stop only two blocks away so she does not have to wait in the cold. He drives to school when she has a headache to give her Excedrin. He takes her for Chipotle when she feels like it. So, Dennis is also my champion.


February 16, 2013

Setting Priorities and Taking Control

Time to take care of me. Sound selfish? It’s not. There is too much stress in my life within the past two months. I decided that I had to make some decisions. Between my two sisters, Aunt Ruth, Yvette, work and my healing brain I have to eliminate some baggage. So this is what I did:

1) I signed a waiver for my Aunt Ruth’s estate in Florida relinquishing all rights she left me in her will (she left me her house). I do not want it and it is just one more piece of baggage to carry around and worry about so I told them to sell it and give the money to charity. Gone.

2) I cleaned my office of all personal belongings. Shipping them home. This is simply a room that they give me to work in. I do not want to contaminate them with negative work energy; I want them at home with good vibes. Done.

3) My younger sister is in a bad place and she will get through. All I can do is pray for her and hope she gets home soon. I cannot waste negative energy on what she did with her life. I love her and there is not much more I can do. Done.

4) My older sister needs to start taking care of herself. I have no more time or energy to take care of her and all I can do is take care of her daughter without worrying whether her feelings are hurt because I “stole” her child. She asked to live with me after she threatened suicide. She needs to be someone’s priority and I am making her mine. Done.

5) Listen to Dr. Connolly! I will stop working 10 hour days every day and then even more from home and on weekends. It is not worth it. If the firm decides that is what the position requires, then they will let me go and it was meant to be. I have decided that it is not worth my health to work so much so that they can tell us again next year about the record revenues they achieved. I am tired of trying to direct a global department and get the work done with less staff and then try to assure them everything if great here. Done.

So, life is good now. I have accepted into my life what I can, and I have thrown away what I do not accept, do not want to change, or cannot change. Once I decided it is not worth wasting energy on them, it was so easy to throw them away. I have taken back control!


February 12, 2013

Work (sigh)

So, I noticed something this morning. You are going to think I am an idiot but I need to say it out loud. Isn’t that part of this whole journey, admitting your weaknesses? Anyway, I didn’t take any meds the past two weekends. I’m back at work for two days and notice that it takes about 2 hours before I have to take something for the pain in my head. Coincidence? I wonder if it is worth my health to stay. Will things ever change? When will I realize that I am more important than the political crap that goes on here … So I cleaned out my office of all personal items. I feel that it is just a “room” that I work in. It has nothing to do with my happiness and my life and I didn’t want anything personal in that room. It felt good to separate the two.

I asked my boss why he didn’t postpone a huge project until I returned from disability.  He told me, seriously he actually looked at me and said “I thought you would die.”  Well, kick me in the ass!  Of course, this is the same guy who told me he thought I had asperger’s syndrome.


January 31, 2013

Nobody’s perfect, and that’s okay

I survived the cerebral angiogram last week. It was not as “fun” as the last time. The vascular surgeon who did the procedure last time only “observed” this time. Does that mean they take a nap or do they actually do something? As I’m getting prepped he said “Lord I’m tired” Not exactly what you want to hear before they run a catheter through your femoral artery up into your brain and start injecting you with dye. I don’t know, perhaps it’s just me being fussy.

The woman who actually did the procedure beat the crap out of me. Here it is over a week later and I am black-and-blue from the middle of my thigh to my hip. The only good thing was that after the procedure Dr. Hero came to see me and said I am in great shape. He is not sure what is causing the head pains. He said he could go “back in” and put a stent in the left ophthalmic artery in my brain, but then you are talking blood thinners and aspirin the rest of my life. Oh, and a 20% chance of stroke. I was shaking my head as soon as he said “…go back in…” I told him I thought brain surgery was a drastic solution for the head pains I get. I’ll just have to learn to live with it and suck it up. He said he agrees and would have tried to talk me out of it but needed to tell me all the options.

He said we can try some meds. So we’ll see. Right now, I’m suffering through. My dear friend Ebony swears by Yoga. Who knows. I figured I would wait because I have my 9-month check up with my neuro-ophthalmologist on Monday. This seemed like perfect timing because yesterday the vision in my left eye did, who knows what. It was scary. It was as if I was looking at things through a glass of water. Upset me since this is the first time I had problems with my eyesight since right after surgery.

I know, more than I know anything else, that there is nothing wrong. It makes me wonder if I am just making these more serious than they really are. I think I’m doing pretty well otherwise and never thought of myself as a sissy but who knows, perhaps I am. Either that or I do not want to cut the tie with Dr. Hero.

When I was lying in OR one of the nurses asked me how I found Dr. Connolly. I told her and she said “You know you are so lucky, you have the best neuro-surgeon in New York.” It is nice to hear that from other people so I know it is not just hero worship. He really is great!

I keep expecting to wake up one day and feel the way I used to. I was talking to my niece tonight and told her nobody is perfect and they are loved anyway. I believe that is true …


January 12, 2013

A New Year

This is the start of a new year after brain surgery. I sent an update to my neurosurgeon for my 9 month check in. I send him email often because I always think he is rather busy to chat. I told him of the good changes I have noticed, my balance is getting better and I’m not as dizzy when I bend down. I told him about the headaches still happening and that I take 6-8 tylenol or motrin every day. I thought it was a good update. He is now sending me for another cerebral angiogram (sigh). Perhaps I made it seem worse than I should have. I’m always worried that I am taking up their time with the attention they give me. I guess that is the caregiver in me thinking that there are other people they should be worrying about and not me (simply the trait that all women possess). Not like I’m not worth it, but sort of. The headaches are not “stay in bed can’t move” headaches, they are “all day dull pain” headaches. So, not bad enough to get you out of doing something you don’t want to but bad enough to be constantly annoying.

With all this going on, my niece has finally come to live with me. She is 13 and depressed and needs to be guided and made a priority in someone’s life. Dennis and I will try to give her that and perhaps we will have a small role in making her happy again.


January 5, 2013


How does brain surgery change you?

Well I have come to realize how much brain surgery changes you. Little things that you don’t notice right away. I talked about the “number” issue. Now I notice that my personality has changed. I seem to get angry quickly and have no patience. I thought it was just part of getting older or becoming less tolerant but it is a total change in personality.

I have read that others go through the same thing and I didn’t really think about it at the time. When I began noticing changes in my own personality I realized it was happening to me. If you think about it, when you break a bone, the doctors reset it and it begins to heal. The bone is never exactly the same as it was before you broke it. It does what it should, but it is not the same. The same thing happens with your brain. They move it around and you get back to functioning but you are different because it hasn’t healed the way it was before. So things are different. The nerves are firing and trying to work again but they do not work the same way they did before.

So with me, I notice my perception of things has changed. Colors are more or less vibrant, food tastes different, things I used to like to do I don’t like any longer. Someone told me part of that was probably a hidden fear of being in crowds, probably true to an extent. I’ll hear someone say something and I hear it different from everyone else. It all comes down to perception, my perception of things has changed ….


December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas

Not sure what is going on. I actually felt pretty good all week. The vertigo subsided. The head pain was not as bad this week. Hmmmm ….. a turning point? An early Christmas gift? I’ll take it.


October 21, 2012


Dr. Hero tells me all the exercise I can do is walk, moderately. I just finished walking 2 miles on the treadmill and my balance is all shot to hell. It is just that I have days where I am so frustrated. The headaches, the numbness, the dizziness, the tinnitus (I know the tinnitus has nothing to do with the aneurysm but that doesn’t mean it cannot annoy me!), the fatigue, the waking up in the middle of the night thinking my head is going to explode. I told my husband that it was as if there was a little man in my head with a spear poking me. Did you ever see the Trilogy of Terror movie with Karen Black and the little “warrior doll” with the spear? That’s how I imagine him in my head. Oh yes, but I am so grateful and blessed, just don’t feel like it sometimes and want a few minutes to whine and complain. I swear I am doing something to make the recovery worse, I just cannot figure out what it is.


February 2, 2012

Brain Surgery!  Seriously?

“You have no options, you need brain surgery, or you will be dead within 3 years.”  I do not remember much of what he said after that.  Thank God, my husband insisted on coming with me otherwise I would have been in real trouble.  Right from his office to get blood work, chest x-ray, schedule cerebral angiogram.  What?  Did he really say brain surgery?  Okay, that was six months ago and I can actually type this today.  What happened in between then and today, or better yet, before that day is a journey.

I was having ringing in my ears.  It had been going on for a while and it really was an after-thought for me, until the vertigo started.  I finally made an appointment with an ENT to figure out what little pill he could give me to make this go away.  Well he told me there isn’t a little pill.  You’re just getting old and need a hearing aid.  WHAT!?  Take a friggin’ hike, I’m only 53, and I’m not wearing a hearing aid.  It’s bad enough my boobs and stomach have finally been introduced to each other after never having seen each other for 50 years, listen to me I AM NOT WEARING A HEARING AID.

Why is it that doctors think we don’t know our own bodies?  Just because we didn’t go to medical school doesn’t mean we don’t know what doesn’t feel right.  So I get up to walk out of his office, already thinking I’m going to have to live with this ringing and spinning, when I turned to him and said “I just want to make sure I understand correctly, you are not concerned at all.”  After some rolling of the eyes, he said fine, he would send me for an MRI of my head just to “prove” there is nothing wrong.

Go home, make appointment, go for test.  Three hours after my test the brilliant ENT calls me up stuttering.  Well, there is nothing causing the ringing and spinning but if I were you, I’d call a neuro-surgeon.   What did you say?  (Do you get the impression that I am saying “What” quite often?)  Oh, sorry, it seems you have a 9mm brain aneurysm.  Okay, thanks for letting me know.  Well I was leaving at seven the next morning for Manila, yes in the Philippines, so I didn’t call a neuro-surgeon at that point.  I was still sure he was reading someone else’s test results.

I tiptoe around the Philippines for two weeks.  Everyone I looked at I said “I have a brain aneurysm.”  I think that if I say it often enough it will sound insignificant.  It doesn’t.  Yet I’m not really afraid yet, just confused.   When I get home, I have another test done and that famously brilliant ENT calls me and tells me that it looks so much smaller on the new test so it is probably nothing but I should see a neuro-surgeon and get their confirmation.

I’m not really sure what to do so I go and talk to the nurse practitioner at work. She tells me when you need brain surgery you don’t open the phone book and look under N.  You don’t?  Well how do you find one?  She did some research and made some calls and guess what, I had an appointment within 2 days with the best in NYC.  My hero, Dr. E. Sander Connolly, Director of Neurosurgical ICU at New York Presbyterian – Columbia.  Now here we are, “You have no options, you need brain surgery, or you will be dead within 3 years.”  Guess I’m having brain surgery.