Survivor Around the Globe, Sarah Martz

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20170416_121624 (1)Thanksgiving Day 2016 was a normal day for my family and I.  I spent a lot of time with my son, niece, and sister, baking pies and watching the parades on TV.  Dinner was wonderful and full of activity followed by some late night shopping with my best friend.  When I got home, I started getting ready for bed and it felt like a shovel hit me in the back of the head.  I remember feeling incredibly dizzy and I grabbed onto the bathroom sink to try to steady myself, but collapsed onto the floor.  After I woke up, I was able to get my husband’s attention and he called 911.

The small hospital they ambulance took me to, Jersey Shore Hospital, diagnosed me with a brain bleed after a CT scan.  I was transferred to Penn State Hershey Medical Center by helicopter.  My neurosurgeon found a 6×6.5mm aneurysm that ruptured on the vertebral artery, he was able to repair it with 8 coils.

I spent 2 weeks in ICU and then transferred to a rehab facility for another week before being able to go home to spend the holidays with my husband and son. My major deficits prior to rehab were being off balance, having no peripheral vision on my right side, and of course the constant headache. Now, almost 10 months later I am almost 100% back to my normal self. I enjoy reading, camping and spending time with family and friends. I still suffer from some brain fatigue and have difficulty driving in the dark, but I’m happy to be alive.

Since I was only 30 years old when my aneurysm ruptured my surgeon recommended that my immediate family have MRA scans to see if aneurysms could be hereditary.  My dad was the first to have his scan and the doctor found a 5x5mm aneurysm.  His was coiled and he left the hospital 24 hours later with no deficits.  My sister and aunt also found out they have aneurysms that are too small to operate on at this time, but they are being monitored.  If I would not have gone through this experience, it’s unknown what would have happened to my family that are also affected by these.


The Joe Niekro Foundation would like to thank Sarah for sharing her story. It is another important story and message that we so often see – if you have a family history of aneurysms, getting scanned is critical.

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