Lisa Anderson survives a burst aneurysm; now home to enjoy Mother’s Day

A benefit is planned for Friday to help defray medical and living expenses

By Tina SnellStaff Writer

Mother’s Day is Sunday. There are probably not many people as grateful as Lisa Anderson to see another one arrive. Anderson is home in a new apartment in Rice after surviving a burst aneurysm. She has two biological children and two stepchildren who are just as glad as she is that she’s just fine. On Jan. 26, Anderson awoke at 2:30 a.m. with a terrible headache.

Lisa Anderson, Rice, was rushed to the hospital Jan. 26 when an aneurysm burst in her head. Today, she is back to work part-time at WACOSA. A fundraiser is scheduled for Friday to help defray her medical and living expenses.
Lisa Anderson, Rice, was rushed to the hospital Jan. 26 when an aneurysm burst in her head. Today, she is back to work part-time at WACOSA. A fundraiser is scheduled for Friday to help defray her medical and living expenses.

“I do get migraines, but this was different,” she said. Anderson, who grew up in Rice, called her friend Linda Zylla who picked her up and took her to the St. Cloud Hospital. Family was called to stay with the children. Before the two women got to the hospital, Anderson had a seizure. “I was told I was stiff as a board and couldn’t be moved,” she said. “Linda had called the hospital in advance and we were met by the doctors when we arrived.” Sometime during the first  moments at the hospital, Anderson’s blood pressure spiked and she had a stroke. Anderson had a CT scan which showed bleeding and the burst aneurysm. The doctors drilled a hole in her skull to relieve the pressure on the brain. She then had seven coils inserted through the femoral artery to the brain to stop the bleeding. On Jan. 31, Anderson was out of the hospital’s intensive care unit and placed in neurology. “I don’t remember a thing,” she said. “Even afterwards, for several weeks, it’s all a blur.” Zylla said that during the first couple of weeks, Anderson was not sedated, but that her brain had somewhat shut down, a self-preservation mechanism, so it could heal. When her brain finally allowed he to realize her surroundings, she had to be told several times what had happened to her. “I didn’t know where I was or why I was there,” she said. “I was told I had an aneurysm burst, but wasn’t able to process that. People had to keep reminding me.” At first, because she was still out of it, the fact that she had lost several weeks did not bother her. But now that she’s much better, she said it has hit her what happened. While in the hospital and after she became more alert, Anderson was given physical therapy (she had no strength in her left side) and occupational therapy to help with daily activities such as cooking and reading. She is also still receiving speech therapy that exercises the brain. “Right now I am writing out a lot of lists until my brain gets stronger,” she said. “I also use a planner for my daily activities.” Anderson went back to work part-time this past week. Part of her job at WACOSA (a non-profit organization in Waite Park providing individuals with disabilities the opportunity to work and live in their community) is making out work schedules. She takes that task to speech therapy to work on. Anderson came home Feb. 17. She said she did a lot of napping and resting during the first weeks at home. “I started to feel good in the end of March,” she said. One of the hardest things to think about was what she put her children through during this time. How scared they must have been. “They were wonderful, though, when I got home. Maggie (age 9) and Rilie (age 15) kept telling me to rest. Maggie wouldn’t leave my side at first and neither one would let me lift things,” Anderson said. “All they wanted was for mom to get better. I had to keep telling them it was good therapy for me to be up and around.” Anderson’s headaches due to the aneurysm have almost stopped, and her migraines are less severe than they were before. Thinking of all the help she received taking care of her family and the support she received while in the hospital, Anderson is very grateful to everyone. “I have no idea how I had the where for all to call my friend Linda,” said Anderson. “I am so thankful for her, my best friend for more than 30 years. She came and got me at 2:30 a.m.” A benefit is planned for Friday, starting at 3:30 p.m. at Von’s Primetime Saloon in Rice where there will be a raffle drawing for $1,000, $500 and two-$250 prizes Afterward, there will be a dinner of pulled-pork sandwiches, chips, beans and dessert served at the Living Waters Church at 1911 Fourth Ave. No. in Sauk Rapids. Also available will be T-shirts, bracelets and can coolers. One hundred percent of the proceeds will benefit Anderson. Monetary donations may be made at any Bremer Bank location under the name Linda Zylla; Lisa Anderson Benefit Account. For more information, contact Amy Danielson at (320) 420-4080 or Lori Schneider at (320) 266-2437.