"I wouldn't have gone anyplace else."

Bettie NessmithMy name is Betty Nessmith and I've lived in North-East Atlanta most of my life. I've been married for 53 years. I have two daughters and five grandchildren and they're all smart.

In 2005, I had a severe problem with my ear and I went to an ear specialist. He ordered an MRI and when I went back to see him, he told me that I had an aneurysm and he recommended that I see someone at Emory.

When I came to Emory, Dr. Dion did an angiogram. I asked him, “Well, do I have an aneurysm,” and he said, “Yes, you have four.”

I told him that I wanted to live and he reassured me that everything would be okay.

Dr. Dion was able to treat the three smaller aneurysms on the right side of my brain with a procedure called coiling, but there was one large aneurysm on the left side of my brain that he could not treat. He told me that it would be more dangerous to try to treat it than to leave it alone. So we left that one aneurysm untreated and made a plan to monitor it.

I lived with a giant aneurysm on the left side of my brain for more than 5 years. I could have had a hemorrhage at any time, but I tried to live as fully as I could. I made an effort not to dwell on it and I don't think many people suspected that I had aneurism. If you can do something about it, you do it, but otherwise you go on as normally as possible. That's what I did.

Then one day, I came in for an MRA and after that test Dr. Dion’s assistant asked me if I would like to speak with him about a new device that might be able to treat my aneurysm. He drew pictures and did a good job of explaining this new little Pipeline Device. He told me that it was very new but that he could put me on a list for when it became available.

I got a call 2 weeks later, and they told me that I had been approved. Of course I was aware that it’s dangerous anytime they go into your brain, but I considered it a small risk compared to the risk of leaving the aneurysm untreated.

The procedure really was not bad at all and everyone took wonderful care of me. They took me back for the procedure and before I really could give it much thought, I was asleep. I remember waking up and they had something wrapped around my head and I had oxygen. I went to intensive care for the night, and I felt sort of sick to my stomach, which is not unusual because of the medication. I don't remember the name of my nurse, but she was a saint, she really was. I stayed at the hospital for one night and went home the next morning.

I've always known about Emory University and Emory Hospital, that it is a teaching hospital and that they are up to date on things. So I wouldn't have gone anyplace else. It was a wonderful feeling to know that something can be done about this problem, for me and for other people.

I'd lived for 5 and-a-half years knowing that I had a large aneurysm on the right side of my head, and I didn't know when a treatment was going to become available. But when it did become available, I was very happy. And very relieved.

Bettie Nessmith, 76, Atlanta, Georgia

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The Physicians

Jacques Dion, MD, FRCP

Learn more about Jacques Dion, MD, FRCP

Michael Cawley, MD, FACS

Learn more about Michael Cawley, MD, FACS

Frank Tong, MD

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