A North Carolina family is mourning over the sudden déåth of a mother of four due to a brain aneurysm which they initially mistook for a migraine.
Lee Broadway was born in Germany to her Air Force parents and married Eric, her middle school sweetheart in 1998. She was a friend to many and a mother to Adrien, 8; Alex, 10; Averi, 16; and Adair, 22.
According to Eric, Lee had high blood pressure, but she took medication for it and was healthy enough that even their family doctor felt shocked by her passing.
In early April, the married couple had some rare time alone, enjoying coffee and each other’s company on their porch in Matthews, North Carolina as their children were out of town.
But that calm was disrupted when Eric needed to head to work while Lee stayed at home. A few hours later, Lee shared some worrisome news.
“She said ‘I have the worst headache of my life’,” Eric recalled. “She lost feeling in her left leg and she fell.” Eric wasn’t too concerned at first as Lee had a history of hereditary migraines since she was 8 years old, but the episode was different.
Broadway encouraged Lee to remain on the line while he drove home. Shortly after arriving, they headed to the emergency room at the local hospital. After a CT scan, the doctors knew she needed specialized neurological care and they flew her to Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center in Charlotte.
While the transfer to the hospital went well, Lee’s condition didn’t improve. A nurse practitioner reassured Eric so he went home to sleep while his in-laws stayed at the hospital. “We never once thought we’d never see her again, you know?” he said. Two days later, Lee diéd from complications of what ended up being a brain aneurysm.
A brain aneurysm is an abnormal, weak spot on a blood vessel. If it ruptures, it can cause hemorrhage and sometimes death. An estimated 500,000 people worldwide each year die from an aneurysm, and half the victims are younger than 50.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the headache associated with a brain aneurysm is often described as the “worst headache” ever experienced, and one must seek immediate medical attention if s/he develops a “sudden, extremely severe headache.” People who smoke, use cocaine, or have high blood pressure are at higher risk of aneurysms, but doctors remain uncertain why they occur.
Friends have set up a GoFundMe page to help the Broadway family with medical expenses. Since the tragedy, the entire family continues to grieve while making sure they keep Lee’s memory alive.