After a full week, Elizabeth Burke couldn’t get her headache to go away. “I never thought it could be an aneurysm,” she says. Instead, she related it to conditions she sees in her work life as a veterinarian in Easton. “In animals I care for, I often see treatable tumors or lesions,” says Burke, 60, of Fogelsville. “So that’s what I thought it was.”
To investigate her pain, she first visited her family doctor. “He thought I might be starting with migraines and suggested I get an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) test,” Burke says. “I was naive about it and put it off.”
While she waited, her vision became blurred, and one of her eyelids drooped. When her co-workers saw it, they urged her to get help – now. So she went to the emergency room at Lehigh Valley Hospital–Cedar Crest, where tests revealed an aneurysm.
“It was unusual in that it pressed on a cranial nerve, causing eyelid paralysis and double vision because of disrupted eye movement on the affected side,” says a LVHN neurosurgeon with LVPG Neurosurgery-1250 Cedar Crest. “That’s rare for an aneurysm, because most are silent until they rupture.”
Surgery close to home
To find a cure, Burke considered traveling to Philadelphia for care at the suggestion of her sister, a nurse who lives in Dallas. Instead, Burke put her trust in Li. “He assured me the aneurysm had been there for a long time – maybe decades – and was easily treatable,” Burke says. “He made me confident I had come to the right place.
On March 13, Li performed a “clipping” procedure, in which he surgically inserted a titanium clip into the affected aneurysm to prevent blood from flowing into it. “I was out of the hospital five days later,” Burke says.
In another two weeks, Burke felt well enough to return to work, but she asked Li just to be sure. “He said, ‘You’re fine; I fixed you,’” Burke says. “In my view, he saved my life.”