Most days, 59-year-old Connie Gonzalez of Havelock, NC, says she is going 100 miles an hour. “I’m very active. I love gardening, feeding the birds, fishing, and being on the beach,” she says.
However, in August 2013, Gonzalez began experiencing excruciating headaches and extreme fatigue in the afternoons. A local doctor assured her nothing was wrong. “He said he was 100 percent sure I had nothing wrong in my head and that I had a virus,” she says.
His diagnosis didn’t sit well with Gonzalez. “My sister and I came back the following Monday and demanded an MRI, but they couldn’t get it scheduled for two weeks,” she says. Finally, Gonzalez got confirmation. The images proved she was not only right; she was also lucky to be alive.Gonzalez had a ruptured aneurysm in the middle cerebral artery of her brain, which is fatal in the majority of cases. “The doctor said there’s no doctor close to here that can help you,” she says. “I said immediately that I wanted to go to Duke.”