I had my brain aneurysm surgery in May 2017. The surgeon told me I may have some short-term memory loss but I am still experiencing some loss and it’s creating difficulty in communicating with my family. Does anyone else have the same problem?
Welcome to our group @Zaplady! We are glad you joined us!
A couple of questions, if I may, did you rupture? For those of us who ruptured, short term memory issues can be a huge hurdle, not for everyone as some have no problems. Age throws a wrench into things as well.
Have you been playing any of the brain games to help with your short term memory loss? It’s something my Speech Therapist told me to do to help my memory.
Do you have any tricks you use to help with it? I used to use a lot of sticky notes, a beautiful white board that a friend presented to me and now most everything is on my smart phone. I look at my calendar first thing in the morning as my Speech Therapist taught me, it helps tremendously though some days I have to keep looking at it. If I have an appointment, I set two reminders to go off 30 minutes apart. It gives me time to get ready and the second is to leave for the appointment. I’d rather wait than be late.
I also make a lot of lists for what I need to do, I put all these on my phone now because I always have my phone on me and can check them off as I finish them. I get easily overwhelmed and can shut down, so I try to make the lists more exact then I did before I rupture. For instance I used to just tell myself I needed to do yard work and now I have to put down all that entails.
When I first went grocery shopping after rupturing, the list said kielbasa. I couldn’t remember what kind we liked. It was on sale. And yes, I did come home with every type they had. ROFLOL. It was a lot of kielbasa and our refrigerator’s freezer couldn’t hold it all. It’s a good thing it didn’t say ice cream… If and that’s a big if, I go to the grocery store, the list is short and exact.
Some days I get what I call “Information Overload”. Too much information, I literally can shut down, so I try to limit what my brain receives. This is probably my most difficult hurdle, but I’m still working on it. I have learned to ask, sometimes tell, family and friends that they are giving me too much to process. They usually slow down.
Hoping other members come on and help you out. Again Welcome and we are glad you joined!
All the best,
Yes, it is an issue for me too… …even years later.
When they say ‘…some short-term memory loss…’ I think they mean issues with my short term memory rather than the length of time these issues have continued for. For example, sometimes I’ll be doing a task, get distracted and forget the initial task I’d started. Or someone will call whilst the wife is out, if I don’t write it down, who called, when and why. I’ll hang the phone up and POOF, it’s gone.
I’ve also found that when I get stressed my vocabulary shortens which then stresses me further because I know what I want to say but I often can’t get the words, then instead of being polite/diplomatic I tend be be direct, too direct and it can sometimes be interpreted as offensive. And the one thing I absolutely hate is when I’m stumbling for the words and others finish my sentences. That just lights my fuse (which can be fairly short anyway).
Trying to juggle it all can be a real battle, especially with self.
Merl from the Modsupport Team
I had an unruptured aneurysm clipped in 2016 and a flow diverter deployed in April 2021 for the same aneurysm. I have major issues with short term memory. How can we not? I don’t know about you, but they drilled through my clinoid and the distal dural ring. My aneurysm had adhered itself to the dura so it had to peeled away. My neurosurgeon used cotton between the clip blades and laid a piece of muslin over the entire area. I had a really bad aneurysm type; a blister aneurysm. I have a second one being watched.
My biggest issues are remembering conversations and TV shows/movies. My husband used to get really annoyed with me until he realized I really just do not remember!! Now he just says “we talked about this, remember?”. Well, no I don’t or I wouldn’t be asking the same questions or making the same statements!!
You are not alone here. I think many of us have similar issues. Your family may want to do some research on how to best communicate with you…with kindness. No one wants to have a brain aneurysm. For me, there are no tricks or puzzles or word games that help. I am really good with data and math and I have no problems remembering random factoids. It’s the silly stuff like a movie. And at the end of the day, I don’t care if I can’t remember a movie!
Hugs to you!
@ModSupport I have word finding difficulties too! It has gotten better the further out I am from my craniotomy, but it still happens. It is super frustrating!
In your hubby’s defence that’s not just a brain injury thing, my wife does the same thing and it’s me that has the brain issue (I just accept it’s an age thing )(did I just say that out loud? )
Merl from the Modsupport Team
Many thanks to all of you who responded to my post! I was feeling so alone in all of this and at times thought I was losing my mind. It’s somewhat of a relief to know that I am not alone in this. I’m very happy to be able to share with all of you and hope we can continue to keep in touch. You all have addressed the very same kind of memory problems I am having and there is comfort in knowing that I’m NOT crazy.
I used to have to have a dictionary to get a definition of a word. In ICU, I just asked whatever poor soul was near my door. My BF brought in a really easy to read novel as I had been a voracious reader. I just couldn’t remember what words meant. Didn’t matter if it was someone in the medical field, the house cleaner, the food service person or a visitor (visitors are iffy in their assistance) . Then I learned I could use my phone and just Google it. I also went back to word of the day on emails to try to get my vocabulary back up. It’s an incredible amount of work to say the least, but relearning is a fact of life for many of us and we do have to be willing to work on it daily which sucks.
There’s no nice way to put this… …so I’ll just say it… this is isolating, others don’t understand. Unless you’ve been HERE, unless you’ve had to live THIS, how would anybody know what THIS is like?
Everybody may have an opinion or a view but honestly, they have no clue of the realities of it all. It’s hard enough for us, ourselves to grasp AND comprehend it all and we’re the ones living it!!! How can others perceive it all??? The list of questions/answers is just endless. Even the medicos don’t know it all. They have their textbook theories, but we don’t all work to the same textbook. I’ve been given the ‘All fixed’ speech by the medicos a few times, only things weren’t/aren’t all fixed at all. My personal view is that if the dr’s tell us all fixed, we don’t question the dr’s, we question ourselves ‘So what am I doing wrong…’ ‘It must be me because the dr says everything is fine… …but it’s not fine…’ When we question ourselves, when we question our own sanity at least we aren’t questioning the Dr’s. (I have questioned the dr’s. They don’t like being questioned at all)
We know this because we’ve lived it too.
As I’ve said to others “Well, if you are crazy, you’re just as crazy as the rest of us. Welcome to the club”
Merl from the Modsupport Team
Thanks again for the continued support. It means a.lot to me and I am so grateful for all your input.
3 years after my surgery I too struggle with memory and losing words, as well as with anxiety, anger and persistent headaches. I have been told to be grateful that is all I took away from my ruptured aneurysm. I am trying to learn new methods to ensure I am communicating effectively with my family. It’s so frustrating stuttering and hesitating and then not getting the message out clearly. Don’t feel like you are alone in this.
Sparky, Thank you so much for your input. The more I see on this site, the more I don’t feel so alone. It’s hard for anyone who hasn’t been through this to understand what we go through. Maybe it’s selfish for me to say, but I’m glad I’m not alone in this.
Hello Zaplady and others here! I am new to site, I am copying pasting my summary- I am here for my dear friend.
Treatment: not sure, my friend can"t remember
Your story: I have reconnected with dear girl friend last year, in 2020, from many years ago as good friends. I have learned from her she has had 2 to 3 Aneurysm’s in prior years, probably 5 years back and before, probably latest was 2015 approx. I am seeking help here from others as to better understand her long term difficulties and behaviors after her Aneurysm’s and continued recovery. I am looking to be able understand better (BA) and to help her as well.
Something else: Friend is very difficult a lot of times, with me personally and also socially when we are out and doing things.
Ok, so we (my friend and I) have now taken two short trips together, and also have a lot of phone conversations, catching up.
Let me say, she has not been able to tell me a whole lot about her prior aneurysms, the main reason is, she says she really can"t remember a whole lot.
Here’s what I have noticed that seems to happen kind of often (2-3 times a month, maybe).
She will tell me something fairly specific of her day or something that specifically happened. Then, at a later time, like few days later, or the following week, she will re-tell me same story but she tells it, (remembers it) quite differently, and it changes up the situation to mean a quite different thing. So if I say, Wait, You actually told me it happened this way, just the other day. She will get frustrated and say no, I didn’t. I let it go as to not keep the frustration going.
Socially, when we are out and about, I’ve noticed she can very direct like, “overly vocal” to others because she’s not getting what she wants quick enough possibly and turns argumentive sometimes - folks behind the counter or waiter/waitress- or her food wasn’t just right, etc.
Anyways, is anyone experiencing this? I do know of course, she did not have this type of personality in prior years. Any suggestions, I would love to hear! Thanks!
I have the same problem of repeating myself and not remembering. It’s very frustrating for me and my family. They don’t understand and often argue with me. I’ve learned to walk away from an argument and I wish they would be more understanding. It would probably be easier if you could just be patient with your friend and just let her talk without reminding her that she has already told you something. As for her being argumentative, I don’t have any answers unless you choose to go to places where this type of behavior wouldn’t be so noticeable, for example, a picnic in the park or lunch at home. I haven’t found many support groups for people like me other than this one, which has been most helpful. Please keep in touch. Others have helped me and I hope I’ve been able to do the same for you. God bless!
Welcome @GalFriend!. One of the things I’d like to ask is if your friend ruptured. There’s a big difference between just having an aneurysm and having a ruptured aneurysm in relation to the damage wrecked on the brain. For those who have ruptured, early onset dementia is a higher probability. If she remembers how long she stayed in hospital, that would give a clue to if she ruptured or not. I don’t know how long someone would have stayed in the hospital 20 years ago for an unruptured aneurysm, I imagine around two to three days. Craniotomies may cause more issues than endovascular procedures as more things can go array like infections. Craniotomies are getting one’s skull cracked open, endovascular is where the doctor sends a tube up your artery into the brain aka catheter.
Your friend may be of an age that Alzheimer’s can be a concern. There’s so many possibilities it’s difficult to say and we can’t diagnose obviously. I can share that since I ruptured, I have had a lot of personality changes. Most notable is my chatter box. Prior to rupture, I was very quiet, reserved and kept my opinions to myself unless asked or had to because of work. People who knew me, knew to be very cautious the quieter I became as this was a “tell” of how angry I was becoming. Until this past December, I would blurt out whatever and we never knew what would come out of my mouth. I also used to have what people said was a photographic memory. It was quite irritating to most as I could recall exactly a moment in time when I needed to, down to the weather and what a person was wearing. I cannot do that anymore and it’s frustrating as all get out.
If you know any of her family that could fill in the blanks about her procedures, that may help you. I agree with @Zaplady, it does no good for either of you to try to correct her as it causes nothing but frustration for both.
One thing that comes to mind that might help is for the two of you to join a yoga or Tai Chi class, I love Tai Chi personally, but many folks here do Yoga. Either will help with balance which is very important as we age, better yet, they both teach relaxation breathing. So if she can learn to do the breathing and your out in public when something happens that causes her to lose her patience, maybe you might be able to say “hey, let’s practice our breathing “. My guess and it’s only a guess, is that it will take her mind off the issue that has her aggravated and impatient for the moment. Hopefully long enough for her to be able to get some control back.
All the best,
I have absolutely the same issues. I get so frustrated when trying to finish my sentences sometimes, especially when tired. Then I snap at people. Ugh. I also am even more blunt than I used to be🤣 I definitely lost my “filter!”
I have headaches all the time. I purchased ice-pack wraps online and I love them. I walk around all the time with them on.
Welcome @dragonfly2013! Ice packs are wonderful aren’t they! When we first got our rescue dog after I ruptured, she would lay her head on my carotid artery and that was fantastic for me🤣
Hi y’all. I usually just read because I don’t get technical enough with my condition. I’m post subarachnoid hemorrhage with coiling in January 2018 - I had bilateral aneurysms - one hemorrhaged after a cross country plane trip. Guess I was lucky it waited until I got back from my trip. They stented the right in April 18. They stented the left in May of this year due to a recurrent aneurysm.
To answer the original question, at least for me, the short term memory loss, word finding, etc, didn’t stop. I tried to go back to work about four months after surgery. It worked as long as there wasn’t any stress. lol
Multi tasking was out of the question. We merged with another firm approximately two years ago and I just couldn’t handle it. I quit in December of last year. I used to be really good at my job and it hurt to realize that I wasn’t anymore. I literally could write things down, put yellow stickies and tasks on the computer and still forget to do them.
So don’t feel alone. I still get the ice pick headaches, still have the word finding difficulties and all of the special issues that make us different from everyone else.
All you can do is take it one day/issue at a time and if you are dealing with someone that has issues like we do, you just have to try to have the patience of a saint.