Aneurysm and Depression


May 9, 2022
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Hi everyone - I just wanted to post the detailed notes on timeline I took throughout my medical certification process in case they are helpful for someone now or in the future. I was ISSUED last week after a little over a year of back and forth with the FAA after my initial exam with @lbfjrmd in December 2022. Feel free to reach out with any questions - I want to help anyone in a similar situation as best I can.

  • Depression/anxiety related to stressful work environment (80 hour weeks in management consulting) and moving cities
    • Took Paxil starting in December 2018 for a few months then switched to Wellbutrin due to side effects. Prescribed Xanax one time at low dosage while on Wellbutrin by PCP. Came off of all drugs one year prior to medical exam (approx three years total on SSRI's)
  • Unruptured 3mm brain aneurysm
    • Went to ER for migraine with aura in July 2017 but was given CT scan to rule out stroke (stroke code was called in ER for emergency CT scan after a few stroke like symptoms). Incidentally found aneurysm during that process and stayed overnight for observation. No symptoms have been experienced due to aneurysm and the migraine with aura never reoccurred. I've been getting updated scans approx every year


  • October 2021 - November 2022
    • Spent about a year gathering records and making sure I had completed all of the follow up appointments that would be necessary after consulting Dr. Chien and Dr. Fowler
  • December 1, 2022
    • Had AME appointment and submitted initial 8500 where I was deferred (obviously)
  • December 23, 2022
    • Initial review of application completed by FAA and advised on correspondence being sent out typically within three days
  • January 5, 2023
    • Called OK FAA office to ask them if they could email me the letter as I was worried about it getting lost in the mail. They were extremely helpful and did so within an hour. Began putting together plan of action to address what was required from the FAA
  • February 16, 2023
    • Called FAA with some clarifying questions and to request extension
  • March 13, 2023
    • Granted 30 day extension
  • April 11, 2023
    • Submitted first response to deferral letter, including a neurological evaluation, letter regarding my situational depression from my primary care doc, hospital records, radiology reports, CD's with scan images, and a number of doctor visit notes related to the aneurysm
  • April 14, 2023
    • Documents from initial packet are scanned in
  • May 11, 2023
    • Called OKC and advised currently with neuro panel reviewer
  • August 7, 2023
    • Status in MedXPress changed to "In Review"
  • August 17, 2023
    • Status changes back to "Action Required"
    • Status messages says: "Review of your submitted documentation was completed on 08/17/2023. That documentation was insufficient to make a determination. The FAA requires additional information to determine eligibility. You will receive correspondence with additional details via mail. Correspondence is normally mailed within 3 business days of completing the documentation review"
  • August 24, 2023
    • Received certified mail with letter asking only for a current psychiatric evaluation by the psychiatrist in accordance with enclosed specifications
  • January 8, 2024
    • Conducted psychiatric evaluation with Dr. Bradshaw ($3.6k fee) after requesting numerous extensions as a result of scheduling difficulty and needing the FAA to provide my airman medical record to Dr. Bradshaw
  • January 31, 2024
    • Dr. Bradshaw submitted psychiatric evaluation
  • February 8, 2024
    • MedXPress status changed to "Final Review"
  • February 9, 2024
    • MedXPress status changed to "Certification Decision" and I was issued!
  • February 16, 2024
    • Received medical certificate along with SI conditions, which require me to get an MRI and a detailed clinical progress note from the neurosurgeon every two years
Congratulations. Long road, but the longest stretch is done. Now go start exercising that medical certificate.
Congratulations. Long road, but the longest stretch is done. Now go start exercising that medical certificate.
Thank you! Appreciate some of your insight throughout the process! You helped keep the hope alive
That's a long journey that should take a small fraction of that time, but congrats for going through with it.

Depending on your long term goals (and other factors) you should at least consider also getting Basic Med in addition to the AME assisted medical. That would allow you to continue training and exercising private privileges if issues come up that delay (or jeopardize) re-issuance of the Special Issuance. A yearly MRI for me ($5,000 not covered by insurance) was enough for me to switch.
It's arduous. When it that situation I usually advise- get the HIMS psychiatrist eval. ahead saves ten months.
CONGRATUALATIONS, tho.....and welcome to the Air!