The Walkers' story

Erica Walker shared this story with us online:

On May 2, 2012, my husband Eric and I sat anxiously in the office of world-renowned neurosurgeon, Dr. Michael Cusimano.  It was time to receive news regarding my husband. I will never forget this moment, as we never anticipated what we were about to hear. My husband was diagnosed with a very complex brain aneurysm, and the possibilities were scary.

However, action was necessary. Invasive brain surgery and a procedure called coiling which is a miraculous way to wall off a brain aneurism were our two options. Of course, the team was the expert and that decision would be in their great hands, literally! I tried to be positive and not show any distress but inside I felt tears for my husband who had already undergone so much in his life. I think we were both in a state of shock, and probably life didn’t seem to return to daily “normal” for a little while, until we had digested everything.

My husband had been given a true gift of life from St. Michael’s 15 years earlier when he received a donated kidney. Because of a disease inherited from his mother, there was a correlation between this previous problem and the aneurysm. To top it off, Eric had had deep vein thrombosis in both his legs, so you can see the complexity for the team to consider as well as for us to be worried about. Here began our journey of more appointments, more tests, anxiety and decision-making about contingency plans depending on the outcome of the procedure. We ended up with the “coiling” procedure.

We are blessed to be with the best healthcare professionals in the world here at St. Michael's. – Erica Walker

We knew that life must go on and thankfully my husband has always been a very positive person. On October 9, 2012, we went to St. Mike’s for the procedure. The entire team under Dr. Julian Spears was preparing for what would be a very complex procedure. Eventually, Dr. Cusimano was called in to oversee things and make some significant decisions since Eric was not the usual case. 

We wish we could remember the names of everyone we met from our first encounters, the pre-op, the OR, recovery and the ICU – everybody who made some contribution to my husband’s astounding successful outcome. The first words my husband uttered when he awoke from the procedure was, “I’m alive!”  It was probably the scariest experience we have encountered as there’s nothing more important than our health. I could never imagine my world without him.

More importantly, there is no way of truly demonstrating the gratitude we felt and still do for the brilliant, compassionate and seemingly calm way the team performed during the entire situation from start to finish. That includes their much-focused care for my husband, full emotional support, leadership and great communication to both of us. They gave us another gift of life. We cannot thank you enough.

We had to say that we had faith in St. Mike’s and the neurosurgical team, as we have always had in the past. You are all truly Urban Angels. I finish this story with tears in my eyes. We are blessed to be with the best healthcare professionals in the world here at St. Michael's.

Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts. There are no words that are sufficient.

Erica and Eric Walker

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