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Second Chances: Kimberly Sidor survives brain aneurysm

Published On: Feb 20 2013 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 22 2013 05:34:01 AM CST

She was training to go 26.2 miles but a medical condition not only sidelined Kimberly Sidor for her first marathon, it almost killed her.

She was training to go 26.2 miles but a medical condition not only sidelined Kimberly Sidor for her first marathon, it almost killed her.

That was nearly two years ago.

Kimberly Sidor knows she's lucky to be running again.

Doctors say 1 out of 15 people have a brain aneurysm and don't know it until it is too late.

In August 2011, Sidor, of Allentown, was training to run in the Marine Corp. marathon in Arlington, Virginia.

She'd just returned from Colorado after completing a trail race.

Then something went wrong just one week later on the elliptical machine at the gym.

“I was only on there for three minutes, like literally warming up and all of a sudden the room gets far away from you and you feel like you are going to pass out,” said Sidor.

She had a friend take her to the hospital.

“They took my blood pressure and it was outrageous," added Sidor. "It was like 220 over 160. I mean it was crazy.”

After several tests, the 41-year-old mother of three found out what was wrong.

“I just want you to know I think you have a brain bleed," said Sidor. "And he also said you're probably going to have to have brain surgery.”

“About 1 in 15 people in the United States have aneurysms in their brains," said Darren Shaff, a surgeon for the Lehigh Valley Health Network. "Probably somewhere between 30,000 to 40,000 people a year bleed from the aneurysm into the brain.”

“You just realize how close you came to death," added Sidor. "It's very scary.”

Kim chose Lehigh Valley Hospital in Salisbury Township.

Dr. Shaff, chief of Neurointerventional Radiology, used a technique called coiling.

“Soft metal coils made out of platinum through a relatively minimally evasive method," said Shaff. "That is through a catheter technique.”

The catheter is inserted in the leg and then doctors use x-ray to guide it to the brain.

Kimberly was in the hospital for two weeks.

“I was very determined to recover as quickly as possible," said Sidor.

A month later, in September, she had to learn to walk again.

“Everyday I would take a few more steps," said Sidor. "Just like I can do this, I can do this.”

She has had two more coiling surgeries since then to prevent further bleeding.

She says she still tenses up every time she goes in for her follow-up visits.

“You leave that doctor's visit and tears come to your eyes and you start feeling normal again," she said.

Normal for Sidor meant running again.

She still went to the Marine Corp Marathon in 2011 but a friend took the steps for her.

“Once she crossed over the finish line, she put the medal over my neck," said Sidor. "It was very emotional."

A year later, she didn't need her friend to run for her.

“In May of 2012 I did a half marathon, The Marine Corps. half marathon,” added Sidor.

She has also completed a full marathon and says she has a new outlook on life.

“I'm just not going to let this get me down," added Sidor. "You just got to keep on going.”

Doctors admit Sidor's case is a rare one.

She was healthy and got to the hospital quickly.

Sidor says she's ready to run in the 2013 Marine Corp. marathon and help raise money for brain aneurysm awareness.