Alana Subleski was 25 when she suffered a ruptured aneurysm while working at the gym
Her parents, out of town, were told they may not make it home in time to see their daughter alive again.
It started off a normal day. Sunday. I ate breakfast, took my dog to the groomers and returned a movie I rented the night before. I’d woken up with a headache, but that wasn’t unusual. I didn’t think anything of it.
Later that day, I went to the gym — I’m a big advocate of working out. I had just gotten off the treadmill when I felt funny. It’s hard to explain. I saw a flash: pink and yellow went by me. My whole left side went numb.
One of the managers walked by, and I managed to say, “Help me.” He called for a nurse who was there working out. She asked me questions. I just wanted to get up and get going again, but nothing on my left side was working. Then, I passed out.
When I woke up, it was two weeks later. My parents said I was trying to get up like I could just walk out. That’s the fighter in me.
They told me that I had suffered a ruptured aneurysm. I had been life-flighted to the University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System where Dr. Amin-Hanjani performed emergency brain surgery. During surgery, she found four more unruptured aneurysms that she coiled, a procedure that blocks the aneurysm from circulation and effectively destroys it.
That was a year ago. My family has been by my side every minute making sure I was going to get through this. We all have tattoos that have a symbol for brain aneurysm.
It’s going to take some time, but I’ve come a long way. When I first woke up from my coma, I didn’t remember anything. I couldn’t count to 10 or say the alphabet. My fiancé had to re-teach me colors with peanut butter M&Ms.
My hips and knees are still weak, but I’m determined to run again. Ideally, I’ll get my hand back so I can write again. I miss my job as a development coordinator for hospice, and I want to go back to it because it’s my passion in life to give to others. Also, I want to have kids one day.
Every day is not a great day. I still have bad days. But I refuse to give up. This will not define me...That's what keeps me going.
I owe my life to Dr. Amin-Hanjani. If she wasn’t on call that night, I don’t know if I’d be alive right now. Words can’t describe how thankful I am — every day is a gift.