Mayra Kent and her family.
Mayra Kent

Taken shortly after my 2nd sur
Mayra Kent

Mayra, Dr. Chen, Dr. Koebbe, N
Mayra Kent

Mayra Kent

Founder, San Antonio Chapter

My name is Mayra Kent, I am a 42 year old mother of four wonderful children and the wife of a devoted and compassionate active duty military member.   Brain aneurysms are silent killers.   It’s a scary diagnosis and a terrifying time.   For me it started with worsening headaches and double vision.   Doctors attempted multiple times to diagnose and treat my worsening headaches but I was reassured that it was nothing serious. After several doctors, many visits, a variety of different medications, an MRA was finally ordered.   During the holiday season last year I was found to have a brain aneurysm.   

The months that followed seem like a blur.   I saw three different surgeons after I was diagnosed.   The first surgeon terrified me when he told me I was facing the possibility of sudden death; and he couldn’t treat me.   The second surgeon, Dr. Christopher Koebbe (which ultimately performed both my surgeries and is a critical part of our support group) recommended surgery, but I later found out that the procedure that he recommended was the first ever at that facility, and this terrified me.   A third surgeon recommended more risky invasive testing with no specific treatment planned.   In fact, the third surgeon told me that if the additional testing uncovered more information he would recommend watchful waiting without treatment, which only added to my confusion.   

I had been educating myself about aneurysms and I knew that I was very fortunate that I had not ruptured, but aneurysms can strike without regards to age or physical condition.   When an aneurysm ruptures, 60% of people die and the remainder could have long-term physical deficits.   So, a decision to not have surgery meant I was at risk of rupturing with a 60% chance of dying.   My concern was rupturing in the presence of my children, or even worse while driving, injuring them and others.   On the other hand, having surgery meant that I had to accept the possibility of having a stroke or that the surgery would not work and would require subsequent procedures.    If something were to go wrong during the surgery, I would be a burden to my family, including my husband who is active duty Air Force.

Eventually, I decided that it was in my best interest to have the surgery.   In February of this year, I had my first surgery where a stent was inserted in preparation for a second surgery in April in which they placed coils.

The recovery from the first surgery was challenging.   I had severe side effects, with terrible headaches and temporary difficulty with my speech.    Most of these side effects I had to endure while my husband was away on military assignment.   Adding to the stress, I hadn’t shared the news of my aneurysm with my 80 year old mother and my younger children who couldn’t understand.   Although I was not entirely alone, I had few people with whom I could share this life threatening experience.  

I needed desperately to speak with someone who could understand. I wanted to meet someone in person who could identify with what I was going through.   I contacted the Brain Aneurysm Foundation (BAF) in Boston in hopes of finding a local support group.   Unfortunately, one did not exist.   I knew then that I wanted to start one.  

Anticipation of the second surgery was terrifying in light of how difficult the first surgery was for me.   Once again, my husband had to be away shortly after the surgery was completed.   I still had not met anybody in my local area that had gone through a similar experience.   Fortunately, the second surgery was not nearly as bad.   My recovery involved headaches and speech problems but not as severe.   During my recovery from the second surgery, I began to coordinate the local San Antonio support group.   We had our first meeting on June 17, 2008.   Since then our membership has increased from 4 to 15.   My recovery still continues; I will have another brain angiogram in October to make sure the coils that take the blood flow away from the aneurysm are not compacting.

Facing an unknown and life threatening illness is much more terrifying when you face it alone.   The support group has been a tremendous success for my recovery, physically and emotionally and my hopes are that by founding this group I can provide the same to others. Aneurysm awareness is important and I am making it my personal mission to make sure no one has to face this alone.   

The Brain Aneurysm Foundation - San Antonio Chapter
Contact:  Mickey Urias, 210-204-9878
Web Content Focal: or 210-744-5821