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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 28, 2013/ 19 Iyar, 5773

My brain surgery

By Betsy Hart



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | As I write this, it is my last day before a birthday. A big one. One of those with a zero in it. (Let's leave it at that!)

And I'm finding that I'm more reflective than usual.

Not for the standard "What have I done with my life so far?" reasons. Not even because I married again last October, after eight long years of being, involuntarily, a single parent, and am busy learning, and enjoying, what it is to have a new life and new family.

It's that I recently discovered a menacing and potentially life-threatening cerebral aneurysm before it ruptured.

It presented no symptoms, I had no risk factors for one and it was found by God's grace, in that I had a routine "let's just check" MRI for something completely unrelated that itself turned out to be nothing. Discovery of the aneurysm led to brain surgery, aka a craniotomy. The aneurysm was treated by top surgeons, involving a several-hour procedure, three clips, a long scar behind my hairline and a stint in the ICU.

Now it's gone -- like it never even happened. But it did. And it makes this birthday a little different for me.

It all started with the discovery of the aneurysm just days before my wedding last fall. Suddenly, I was juggling dress fittings and neurologist appointments. My fiance and I were devastated: Who needs this just before a wedding?

The ceremony went on as planned, though we told almost no one about it at the time. We didn't want any unnecessary clouds on our big day. But wow -- my husband and I and the pastor sure knew that "Till death do us part" meant something very special.

A lot of things needed to fall into place before I could have the surgery in early January. People ask me now what it was like living with the aneurysm while waiting to have it removed, knowing it would be deadly or, at least, devastating if it ruptured. Well, during the entire ordeal God gave me amazing grace to not focus on it much and, instead, be thankful that I had a life-threatening condition that -- unlike so many terrible diagnoses -- could be completely fixed.

It was. I went into surgery calm but with a real sense that much could go wrong. I made sure my will was organized, and I talked with my four kids about death. My husband and I held each other really tight. It turned out that the aneurysm was bigger, more complicated and more vulnerable than the scans had shown. Still, the surgeons were able to essentially render it benign. Incredible.

My open head was sewn back up. I was sent to the ICU, where another woman my age with a ruptured aneurysm smaller than mine was dying while I was recovering. Later, when I heard about that, it just felt really unfair and unreal.

By late March, I was back at the gym. There are, seemingly, no side effects. I find that simply amazing.

There are, of course, all the times I try to get away with something by saying, "Of course, I can't remember/think of this or that -- I had brain surgery!" But even my kids, who had been so worried about the whole experience, now just roll their eyes at me.

Almost every time I share this story, people tell me about someone they know devastated by a ruptured cerebral aneurysm.

So why was my asymptomatic aneurysm (they rarely have symptoms) discovered in a crazy way, and so many others are not? I don't have an answer for that and God didn't tell me, but I do know I don't deserve it.

And this is what I'm trying to process. On the one hand, through Providence I'm alive. I want to look at this and say, "It changed my life," but that's not quite true. Should it be? On the other hand, it seems to me we should see every day as an amazing gift we don't deserve, whether it's obvious that we avoided death that day or not.

Because every day we draw breath is, as I've heard it put, "Another day not promised."

Still, I find that even with this incredible experience and all the love and care shown by friends and family and my new dear husband, I'm back to whining about a birthday with a zero in it.

Maybe that's human nature. Maybe it's not all wrong. We have to go on living, right? This new history isn't too far in the rearview mirror for me, so I may be writing about this again later on.

For now, though, I know I can say this much: Even as I whine a little, I now gratefully raise a toast to birthdays with zeros in them.

For more information on cerebral aneurysms, visit http://www.bafound.org

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